Without local Creation Groups our ministry will not significantly increase - numerically or influentially. They are our equivalent of the local church - WHATEVER local churches do on behalf of Christianity, and ultimately Christ, so local Creation Groups could do for Creation Science, and ultimately Christ.
No other method of organisation than local groups, turns "hearers" of the word into "doers" - a "recipient" of service into a "giver" of service. Through the networks of contacts of those who join local groups we have a door into a place which would otherwise remain unreached, and an ally to go there with.
There doesn't seem to be such a thing as a "typical" local Creation Group yet, but doubtless some aspects of the Stort Valley Creation Group here mentioned will be familiar and applicable others, too. We consist of six people (four men and two women - including a pastor and biologist. We've had others who were interested initially but didn't stay. The group was really formed out of very little by God as a result of a letter to the local paper about an evolution article. For a couple of months on alternate weeks a debate raged with an evolutionist, often dominating the letters pages, as others joined in. One Christian Creationist correspondent suggested meeting up.
YOU could try using the correspondence columns of the local paper to awaken local interest too - it not only brought the issue before a lot of people outside the church, but also raised the Creationist profile amongst certain Church leaders and members who remembered the correspondence months, even years later!
This correspondence also coincided with meeting another Creationist expressing the desire to pray for Creationism, and another - having read the correspondence in the paper - showed such enthusiasm for the ministry that it seemed God must be at work, so we arranged a first meeting. We haven't looked back since and celebrated our 4th birthday this March.
Stort Valley Creation Group meet monthly in a member's home, for a three-hour session involving discussion, planning, prayer and sometimes worship once a month. Between times we are involved in outreach opportunities and also sometimes meet socially. Social activity is good at keeping relationships healthy, helping us watch over one another in love and better understand one another. We bounce ideas off each other over the phone, share the occasional meal together and even meet to practice our public speaking on one another. We have been stargazing and have visited Kew Gardens - we are friends, rather than just members, if you can appreciate the difference.
The Lord really has also blessed us as a group with pertinent gifting which together makes for good teamwork. We don't have a leader as such (though we have a secretary/treasurer), and we agree action by consensus. It really was God who brought together the right people when the time was right. You can't expect that sort of provision as a RIGHT from God, but you can pray for it! Knowing that we ought to be more widely represented in our area, we have tried enlarging the group, but there doesn't seem much interest. We've therefore tended to be more concerned with quality instead of quantity. From our experience, it might be worth prospective leaders of local groups sounding out just where their potential members are spiritually before meeting up, because we are working on the Lord's behalf
Funding is voluntary and our needs are met. We worked out a common position on our beliefs by producing a statement of faith and a question and answer booklet as a resource for our local work. We have discussed together big issues, and often mention the attempts by the evolutionary establishment to reinforce their credibility. This is the place where the group really does help each other retain our Creationist sanity - reading the papers or scientific literature wears down resolve against evolution, so to meet with other like-minded people who tease out the flaws in the most convincing sounding evolutionary argument is a real tonic to our continued ministry between times.
Right from the outset we started looking for opportunities to present the Creation gospel by writing to local churches and schools, but without much success, even though writing twice and visiting one or two ministers. We have spoken in a few local churches and other venues farther away, and some of us individually elsewhere as well. Amongst them have been a day conference at a Christian Conference Centre, a series just down the road from Darwin's home in Kent, to coincide with its reopening, and another at lunchtimes in a Christian company in North London. All of us are active in our spare time for Creation Science in some way or other and one has even been interviewed on Premier London Christian Radio. Our secretary's list of contacts has borne most fruit for speaking opportunities and brings invitations from time to time, and is an essential part of keeping in touch with those on the fringes of our ministry.
As well as cultivating basic talks, we have reproduced them as audio tapes and in abridged leaflet form. We have also produced a static display which has been to a variety of location including public libraries. Although we come from a spread of church backgrounds, our doctrinal understanding is similar. We keep in contact with other groups from time to time, and are greatly encouraged by the recent spate of new groups in the north.
DO form or get involved in a local group, even you who are already doing
a great work in isolation for the Lord who are NOT members of a local group:
start or join one. We need to motivate and inspire one another, act as checks
and balances on our excesses and advance our ministry in the most productive
way possible - the local group. Just as local churches should reach out to
others and disciple them, so should local Creation groups.
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© Eric Curnow, 1998.
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This page updated 1 March 2000
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