Looking back over the four years of blog entries in June, it's always the case that June is like: "how can I manage to do all the things in this month that need to be done?"
Yet I always manage it. Although I feel like I might not be able to (I sent a crisis text to a praying friend just this week) I try to take one week at a time. I try to "rest" my way through each one of them. Sometimes I manage it, sometimes I don't.
Our church has superb administrative staff, real high quality, servant hearted, organised and caring folks who go out of their way to help me and they have been a lifeline to me as I had to initially undertake a huge tranche of admin work to get systems and paperwork in place for children and volunteers.
In May, I gained a part-time volunteer children's worker who is also very gifted and organised and a real grafter and I am hoping we can retain her.
So this month:
* I held a residential children's weekend away. Our theme can be best summed up by the Drake's song "God is Here" - He was *so* present. The kids had a total and utter breakthrough when we used this song to worship more freely than they have ever done so before which opened the way to more freedom and response to the Word. I was teaching on preventing sin becoming a stronghold and how the application of the Word of God into our minds affected our will and our emotions - our ability to obey, resist and overcome.
All I can say is that God is just so AWESOME and so faithful to reveal what he is like - I love, love, love it when children who have been part of a church community for 2 minutes (3 months) have a supernatural encounter with God's Holy Spirit without anyone telling them anything about it or manipulating anything to happen. This has happened every single year we have gone away. "I feel all wobbly, like I might fall over and I kept seeing Jesus in front of me, holding his arms out", "it feels like God is hugging me"...what were we doing? Worshipping Jesus. Singing, dancing, praying, offering up our lives to him in spontaneous worship - both leaders and children saying: here we are Father God.......
God wants to tell us AND show us that he loves us!
* I've got a Positive Parenting Course running this month, and its full, 80% folks from the community. I was told today that two of the guests were pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere and how the course ran - they had expected to be lectured in a dusty and cold hall. It's a form of guided self-help, to use the parlance, so I facilitate, not teach, the course.
* I'm also running a daytime Alpha course just now, with one of my previous guests who came to faith helping me run the course. We have seven guests and a couple of Christian "bringer-alongers" - if you read regularly you will know how much I love Alpha and next week is our Holy Spirit morning and a bacon roll breakfast! What's really great about this course is that we have two of our guests are parents from the midweek kids club, so we are seeing two or three members of the same family be immersed in the words of Jesus and in loving wee communities (small groups)at the same time! My kids team see them during the week and I see parent during the week!
Coupled with this, God continues to bring families along who are just waking up one morning and coming to church.I shouldn't compare this with my previous church, but I have been blown away by how often this is happening. It seems like a once or twice monthly occurrence. I'm visiting not one but three families this month to talk about how to have friendship with Jesus and become part of our church (and in particular, part of the missional expressions; our smaller gatherings) is why I am reminded again and again of what I believe the Lord has for us in Scotland in the realm of children and families, oh Jesus, I'm longing for the more.
I've said it before, but I sense there will be an ease in evangelism if we welcome the Spirit's leading and not rely solely on our own good effort. I've just to co-operate as he moves freely in response to the prayers over this nation. I have honestly not come up with any strategies personally except I run Alpha when I sense there are a cluster of people ready to do it, for me this usually takes the form of one teatime course and two daytime courses. I try to ask God about what else I should do in my morning a week retreating to lay the diary out. I try to be myself (this can be hard as my background is so different from the community I am now part of). Oh, and it helps that I am part of an obsessively outward-focussed church. I don't like typing that. Shouldn't every church be outward focussed?
* there are two other really big things on this month. Tomorrow I have holiday club team training day and I am really excited about this club. I knew it was a Dave Godfrey as soon as I read the daily themes - if you are a NE England person, check Dave out. He's great. I think I will post on this another time, I want to offer some theological reflection on why I think starting a holiday club with the Ascension story (Day 1) and then Pentecost (Day 2) is great :-) So I see 25 or 30 lovely people tomorrow.
* finally, before I can go on the holiday we haven't really got organised yet, I have to finalise the summer cover arrangements. Dance, drama, games and Persecuted Church Sundays.
* oh and order the loads of Bibles - see other posts. That's a fun June job. Cept the NCV translations are being reprinted and not available anywhere in the UK. Grrrr. Might have to go backwards to the Good News version for one of the age bands.....
* I've got two preaches to do and two all age services to plan but at least some of them are well underway already.
*I forgot I am leading children and family worship evening/praise event on Friday nightt with a mini-teach and ministry between the age ranges present.
*I'm actually trying to meet with some of the kids' teams (managed two so far) regarding some major changes after the summer, as well as see some pretty vulnerable parents, I'm keen to catch folks before school holidays hit us in 3 weeks. Invariably I am not going to manage all of this before July starts.
We managed to have a babysitter to get to a small group meeting together this week and the Spirit fell very powerfully and very gently. Cue: stuck to the floor in rest and having a download of joy and a vision of heaven. Just want you need to get you through the rest of the month! I just couldn't do it without you, Jesus. It's all for you because I love you so and I understand afresh this week that what I manage to accomplish - or don't - doesn't matter a jot.