Sunday, June 21, 2009
Mission Shaped Communities
Some of the staff and elders of the church where I work spent a few days here courtesy of the European Church Planting Network We were talking and learning about different ways to take the church OUT and planning for future missional expressions that our church would plant out of our church building and in the community.
This was a trip replete with sweet memories. Way back in the early 1990s, Mr HIWWC and I had places and people that hugely influenced us and who, in a way, we kind of worshipped (blush). That sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Almost idolatrous.........so the villages of Chalfont St Peters and Chorleywood were not unknown to us. Jim Graham had led a very significant weekend at my previous church in 1984 when I was honestly just a child and Goldhill Baptist Church was somewhere we longed to visit at that time. Great to see again the sight of men playing cricket on the village green, which also greeted us all those years ago - very quaint and "English" (!)
It was great to be away - to chat and discuss away from phones and without glancing at other people/keeping an eye on how things were going (as some pastors invariably do; one eye on the congregation; one eye on the worship leader; some also with one eye on the watch!!)- we were encouraged to be "fully present" with mobile phones put away and to throw ourselves into this Learning Community, picking up things from the other churches that were present, asking questions about children and families (in my case) in these other churches' missional communities.
Most of all I loved the atmosphere of prayer - the team at Chorleywood wanted to encourage and bless us and when the time to pray for one another came - it was awesome. It felt like home; a safe place, where loving words, scriptural encouragements and prophetic direction was being spoken over us. I wept and wept for this nation and for our hearts to be his. (always the sniffler)
On a lighter note: gorgeous B&B with three of us in a lovely room but with a CURTAIN dividing the ensuite from the rest of the room. Not to be recommended after eating a curry at 10pm.....