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Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.

So, here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life -your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, and develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

Before Christmas, Jon, Jo, and I spent the day at Launde Abbey making plans and discussing what we thought God might want Rural Ministries to focus on. In 2024, we all felt that the little things would add up to make a big difference. It wasn't about making a splash or launching a new "thing," but rather about embracing the rhythms of the Spirit and following Jesus in the everyday. We sensed that the kingdom metaphors of yeast and mustard seeds would play a significant role not just for us but for many others, too. To us, it seemed like 2024 would be all about following Jesus in the mundane, daily routines of life – discovering the holiness of the ordinary.


The quote about everyone wanting a revolution but no one wanting to wash up is taken from Tish Warren's book, "Liturgy of the Ordinary", which we decided to read and reflect on together in the first quarter of 2024. The content is already impacting me and shaping what I do.


I fear many churches will be tempted this year to return to more resource-intensive staged events and programmes similar to those they ran before the pandemic.  For many, Sunday attendance has not necessarily picked up, and the demographic time bomb within many congregations moves ever closer to detonation.


The answer will not be found in embracing and mimicking our cultural fixation on impact, significance, and attractiveness. Honestly, we do not have the resources to undertake such activities, and even if we do, such efforts can seem to those who are not people of faith as consumer-driven attempts to infuse our otherwise mundane lives with a lively religious experience.


In pursuing the attractional and the instant, I fear we lose the importance of the patient, steady growth in personal holiness and discipleship. We neglect the role of apprentice, as it can seem tedious and sluggish, and instead pursue the short-cut and consumer fix, which we hope will lead to a revolution.


2024 will be a significant election year in the West; there will be plenty of spin and focus on personality. We will be enticed with promises of a better future through lower taxes, less migration, and more freedom, all against a backdrop of global conflict. I sense that the call of the church at such a time is a call of authenticity, to be people who are shaped by being followers of Jesus in the ordinary, everyday rhythms of life. Instead of trying to mimic culture let's be the kind of people who roll up their sleeves in order to do the dishes. We, too, may be revolutionaries—but, following Paul's example, the revolution will spring from our personal lives, not necessarily the church events we organise. Maybe 2024 should be more about letting Jesus be the centre of attention; the most compelling evidence of Jesus, in my opinion, is found in the mundane, daily lives of His disciples. So, pass the dishcloth; the washing up is about to begin.

Simon Mattholie CEO, Rural Ministries


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