I had the privilege of doing some more training on Saturday, this time for the Rochester Cluster of churches which held a quiet day with a fresh expressions flavour in Bishopscourt. This was an amazing place to hold a quiet day and I remember thinking what a privilege it is to be in a diocese where the bishop opens up his home for parishes to use.
The day started in the ancient crypt of Bishopscourt where I had set up the journey (shown in the pic) to help people consider where they were, at that point of time, with God. As with every other time of doing ‘the journey’ with people we saw that as Christians, and even as Anglican Christians in one small cluster, we were literally all over the map and experiencing different things in our faith. I used this to illustrate that those we meet, and hope to reach, are also in very different places although it is easy to assume we are all in the same place in our Christian place and understanding.
The day was full of discussion and challenge as we looked at the difference between church planting and church birthing. If there was one particular emphasis in each session it was about knowing our community and the value of waiting and watching and learning how the community works.
I really believe that quite a lot of churches and mission initiatives skip this important stage of waiting, or do it for too little a time because the Protestant work ethic demands we work and that we should be busy. It is a lot easier to do things and set things up than it is to seriously ground to a halt and watch and wait. But on Saturday I challenged people to wait, to observe, to learn, to notice gaps, to look for connections and then …. and only then … to think about developing something that is relevant to what’s been observed.
This promoted a good discussion and I want to thank everyone for the way they engaged with what I’d planned and for the challenge they gave to me when we disagreed …. and I would have been disappointed if we didn’t disagree! It’s through discussion and challenging each other that we are able to move forward.