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 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.....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Duke of Wellington, the British military leader who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was not an easy man to serve under. He was brilliant, demanding, and not one to shower his subordinates with compliments. Yet even Wellington realized that his methods left something to be desired. In his old age a young lady asked him what, if anything, he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. Wellington thought for a moment, then replied. "I'd give more praise," he said.

This has impacted my thoughts hugely today - for those of us who lead, who set high standards and a high bar for ourselves as well as for our teams, praise is so important. See I Thessalonians 3: 6-13

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm BACK!!!!!!

This has been my longest absence ever.
But with good reason.

I moved house.
Phone and internet not connected yet.
I completed my final final final theology degree exams and written assignments.
I'm finished!!! It feels so good as this has been such a long year with a lot more written work to complete.

Since I blogged last, work has been really busy too.
There's been a busy all age service and I am getting ready to preach again. I've taken children away for a residential weekend with lots of outdoor activities and teaching sessions on God's heart.
Also had a Saturday training session with these guys - if you work with children or young people and/or are a church leader and you have never connected with these guys, then I recommend taking a peek at their website.

Last weekend was a house move extraordinaire with about fifteen people helping us and we have been blown away by folks helping us clean, unpack and cooking for us. We are blessed indeed.

We moved into our new home exactly a year to the day from making this announcement to our old church.
It's been a really, really hard year in so many ways but it has grown our faith. I have never prayed so much, cried so much, been as vulnerable, scared and doubting yet have had to trust so much and seen AMAZING provision for everything that I need.

God is faithful and I love him even more than I ever did before.