Appointment of Assistant Minister at Grace and Four O’Clock Church
At our “Together” Service in mid-May we announced that an Assistant Minister has been appointed to start 1st September 2018. The role is specifically to work with two of our congregations, Grace Church and Four O’Clock Church. We are very much looking forward to welcoming John Khnana, his wife Ailsa and their two children. John has recently finished ministry training at Moore College, Sydney and we believe he has the gifts to strengthen and encourage the ministry at Grace Church and 4OC.
The background to this appointment lies in our deliberations in PCC over recent years. Initially, at the time of Joe Dent’s departure there were calls for additional assistance to help with the growing work in these two congregations. More recently the PCC has also been prayerfully considering whether we should be contemplating an additional church plant in the future. The recommendation of a PCC working party, which reported in 2016, was that as part of our ongoing strategy, we should strengthen the provision of “word ministry” so that we would be better placed to facilitate further growth. Though currently we have no specific plans for any further plants, the PCC felt that this appointment would therefore be an investment in future growth.
Ultimately, the reason for this appointment is that we recognise that in the New Testament the growth of the church is intimately linked with the ministry of the word of God and prayer. For example, having stated that very principle in Acts 6:2-4, Luke regularly records the growth of the church in terms of the spread of the word of God (6:7; 12:24; 13:48; 19:20). For the word of God to spread believers need to be equipped and, as Ephesians 4:11-16 shows, the catalyst for the equipping and growth of the church comes from various word ministries. So in line with this New Testament emphasis, the PCC has made this appointment to assist us in our vision for the growth of gospel work in Sevenoaks through strengthening our existing work and also providing us with more impetus for further growth.
Clearly it is only the Lord that gives the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 shows that though the word can be planted and watered, it is only God who makes things grow. No appointment by itself can guarantee how things will proceed. Nevertheless as we prepare to welcome John and his family, we trust that, in prayerful dependence on the Lord, He will enable His work to flourish.
Finally, a word on funding. At the turn of the year the PCC felt that the best way forward was not to include the appointment in the budget, but that if we were in a position to appoint we should make a specific appeal for funding across all our congregations. That is exactly how things have developed, resulting in the announcement and the appeal. To date it appears that we are well on the way to raising funds for the first few years of this new post and I want to encourage people to consider prayerfully how they might give in order to support John as a continuing investment in gospel ministry in Sevenoaks.
(Rector, St. Nicholas Sevenoaks)