On the Right Track

On the Right Track

November 5th 2017…. We’ve now been in our Senior Pastor role for a whole year. If we rewound and were asked to write down and imagine what the year might hold for us, we don’t think we would have come anywhere close. It has definitely been a year of highs and lows. The deepest of all lows was the loss of Pastor and Founder of COM Church, Doug Richards, also known by us as “Dad”; but strangely one of the most magnificent things we have ever seen, was the centre of Dunstable at a complete standstill as people walked up the middle of the high street, following the funeral procession, in honour of Pastor Doug.

We have a thirty-plus-years strong foundation on which to build upon, thanks to Doug and Helena. As we were praying about the next year, we felt God show us a picture of train tracks; two strong, steadfast tracks on which everything else would be underpinned. We also knew that it was important that “Our purpose collides with God’s passion”.

So looking forward, what were these two tracks going to be, what is God’s passion for COM Church? Some scripture references that came to mind were Matthew 25:31, the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. As we were reading this parable we could clearly see that helping the hungry and thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing those that are in need, visiting the sick and imprisoned are really, really important to God….. Now this is nothing new, churches have been doing this for centuries, but in a “high tech, Instagram, look at us aren’t we brilliant” age, it can be really easy to forget these simple yet paramount passions of God.

So that’s the first track – “looking after the least of these”, not just the poor, as sickness and being in prison can affect any class or wage packet. The second track, again a well-known scripture reference, is Matthew 28:18 (the only Bible verse our son knows off by heart!!). The Great Commission. Souls, to see people reached with the good news of Jesus and then see them discipled and transformed.

So they are our two tracks: “Souls” and “Those in need”.

A few years ago we heard a message called Dumb Dichotomies. Churches can make their mission all about A and so forgetting B. But we know God is big enough for both. One of our favourite scriptures, Philemon verse 6, shows us that as we share our faith we deepen our understanding. So saying we want to focus on the unsaved doesn’t mean that teaching or deep understanding is forgotten. We can do both.

To continue the Train Track analogy… We then like to think of a train and carriages. So firmly planted on the tracks of souls and those in need, we may “travel” in several different carriages. One carriage is our 10:30am main service, another the 9am ‘Preflections’ service, another COM Church plus, Footy Com, Parents and Tots, Foundations for Life… all these are very different, but the aim and the direction of the groups are all the same. Some of the carriages may only be for a season, some people in the carriages may only be there for a season, but the tracks are steadfast and remain.

So we pray that this gives you a clear perspective on where you’ll be heading if you are with us on this journey. Let’s get excited about the Great Commission and about helping those in need. Let’s make God’s priorities our priorities. We also know it’s really important to keep “our carriages” healthy and maintained, so keep praying for one another, help each other. If you see a carriage falling apart, lend a hand to fix it. If one carriage doesn’t run smoothly, it affects the whole train.

OK we think we’ve used the train analogy to death now!! But hopefully now we all get the picture and we can all… get on board!!! Ok we promise that was the last one. God Bless, S&J.


Sarah and her husband, Julian, are Senior Pastors at COM Church Dunstable.

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