I CONSIDER myself to be part of the church; universal, global, national and local.

That is the church that has existed throughout the last 2000 years, the church that covers the world today, the church IN England and the local bunch of Christians that I share life and experience with.

To me the most important element is the local one, because this is where faith has to be real today.

This is where we live amongst many people who are in desperate need and are increasingly hungry for ‘spiritual’ help and will no longer be fobbed off with religious jargon.

Many have turned their back on nominal Christianity and are unimpressed with our words.

Through the local church they need to experience the compassion and power of Jesus working through us.

The Christians that I know and regularly meet from the Five Valleys locality are an interesting and varied bunch of people and truly don’t fit the traditional stereotype.

There are young professionals, retired professionals, software writers, app developers, legal experts, students, sports champions, refuse collectors, farm workers, clerical staff, housewives, cooks and bakers, Oxford and Cambridge graduates, teachers, former and current addicts, social workers, gardeners, craftsmen and women, youth workers, skilled technicians, financial experts, cleaners, former staunch atheists, musicians, tree surgeons etc etc...

The list is extensive.

The thing we all have in common is our identity as disciples of Jesus.

Our identity is not defined by what we have been trained as or what we are currently suffering or what exams we have passed.

Our identity has been determined by our response to Jesus and He has some great things to say about that (check that out in the Bible).

Our locality needs secure Christians who are growing in faith.

Armed with our diverse skills and experience and the additional gifts that God gives we can impact the area, the nation, the globe and ultimately history - yes, we really can be those people.