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Stephen spoke tonight on the question of effectiveness. God’s intention is for each one of us to be effective – an intention which goes back to the beginning of time (Gen 2:15). He gave Adam the task of caring for the world, but sin distorted that purpose (rather like an SLR lens which has to be manually adjusted to work properly not being adjusted correctly – resulting in an out-of-focus photograph which lacks clarity), and as a result, God has had to remind mankind repeatedly of His plans and purposes (for example, starting afresh with Noah or promising to bless Abram).

In the New Testament, Jesus taught us how to be effective for God through the Beatitudes (see Matt 5:1-16). This topsy-turvy way of living shows us the values God wants us to display and reminds us that we are salt and light in the world. Later, Jesus taught us that the key to effectiveness lies in our prayer life, learning to ask, seek and knock (Matt 7:7).

Effectiveness does not simply apply to us as individuals but also applies to us as a church (the team leader in ‘Oblivion’ used to act the team each morning ‘are you an effective team?‘) Each individual ‘cog’ is needed for an engine to work effectively and in the same way, each individual member of the church is needed to make an effective team. Js 5:16 gives us a clue as to how God defines effectiveness: the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. We need to be effective in prayer so that we can receive the reward promised to faithfulness: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ (Matt 25:23)