Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Stephen Dailly, Dove Church Newsletter

Happy New Year, brothers and sisters.

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a great privilege to be able to serve the Dove Church in the capacity of an Elder.  It isn’t an office that I have sought, but nevertheless, as we face together certain challenges going into 2020, it is a role that I will fulfil to the best of my ability.

Most of you have known me for many years – some for a very long time indeed – so, I hope, there are no big surprises in store.

My heart is for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Good News of salvation and deliverance that lifts all of us from sin and hopelessness and gives us the hope of salvation.  This is not a vague ‘hope-for-the-best’ but a solid hope founded in the faithfulness of Christ and the promises of God.  The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Romans 1: 16).

The first time I encountered the absolute truth of this was as a chaplaincy volunteer at HMP Foston Hall in the late 90s and early 2000s.  The Chaplain, Jo Honour, ran a series of Alpha courses.  It was an incredible honour to be part of that and to see many – tens – of women coming to salvation.  Finding hope and healing.

Then, a little later, and also through the ministry of visionary prison chaplains (Peter Douglas, Sandie Hicks and the late Richard Bailey), we saw God moving powerfully at HMP Dovegate.  Between 2006 and 2012, to our knowledge 800 men came to Christ – some of whom are no strangers to us at the Dove.  The number may be higher than that.

This work has continued in the form of Walk Ministries where the goal is to disciple men to Jesus.
I have no doubt that God can and will speak light, life and order into darkness and chaos.  And he is very able to fan what seems to be our little glimmer into a mighty blaze for his glory.

My desire for 2020 is that the Lord will add another ten people to our worshipping congregation – and I also want to see some baptisms,  This is not a ‘target’ or some sort of ‘performance indicator’, it’s what I am believing God for right now. Feel free to set the bar higher if your faith is bigger than mine – the actual number is of little significance.  One of the things I’ve learned over the last couple of decades of following Jesus is that we can’t overestimate what God will do if we are prepared to step out in faith.

Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to venture with me into the Year of Our Lord 2020.  Let us rediscover our love for him and our passion in worship and witness.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
(Psalm 34: 8)