a big wednesday!

Wednesday’s are not always great days for me; they are days when I find I have to be really disciplined as it is normally a ‘study’ day and to be honest I really want to be back amongst the people I am slowly getting to know.

I realise however that study days are important in that they give me time to reflect and force me to consider in more detail what is happening. I think it also serves as a mini break as spoken of a few days ago. While it is painful to be away, the break allows some form of growth to occur.

Today, however, is a different Wednesday. In a couple of hours I a attending the Bishop’s staff meeting as he wishes to talk about pioneer ministry, hear from me about my first 10 months, and consider the way forward. It is a good opportunity to thank them for the opportunity but also to share the realities of the questions we need to be asking for the future – which for our diocese I think are about strategy and investment. It is also a great opportunity to share the stories of the last few weeks that I have blogged about – stories of interactions that have only happened after 10 months of daily visiting and stories of interactions that I do not think would have occurred with anything less.

I hope this meeting goes well and the people that can make decisions for proper investment in pioneer ministry.

After this I am joining others from YFC in London as we have a planning day for Local Ministries of YFC. I am really looking forward to meeting people I have not seen for a while and engaging with others as we look to see how we can creatively serve YFC as it moves forward in a new way.

Certainly not a normal Wednesday for me – and the first Wednesday I have looked forward to for a long time!

Gav to be new ND

This is fantastic news!
I can’t think of anyone who would be better for this role and lead the incredibly wonderful and exciting movement that YFC is. I guess my one regret is that I am no longer there to see and be part of the exciting things that will happen.

There will be many tears when Roy goes, but being able to hand the ND onto someone of Gav’s caliber will add excitement to that sadness.

Well done Gav!

end of an era

Today has been an emotional day for me as it was my last day of working with Youth for Christ

There is so much that I will miss about YFC, which I am not sure many people who are not part of YFC will understand. YFC thrives on trust and faith. The trust I have been given, the atmosphere of encouragement rather than checking up on me, the constant brushing with creative and evangelistically passionate people, the great honesty between individuals and respect always shown are all things that have moulded me over these last 15 years or so.

I am going to desperately miss working in this environment – so whilst I look forward to what God has for me next through ordination and all that may or may not mean, as the day ends I will indulge myself in a little sadness as I leave the organisation and people that I have a massive heart of love for.

To start writing a new chapter, the page you are happy with has to be turned to reveal the terrifying opportunity of a blank page.

exciting but sad

The rest of my day in London had various highlights:

Meeting up with Richard for my last line management meeting. That was quite a sad experience but an advantage of leaving is that you get bought presents – and I am now a proud owner of Common Worship: Ties and Seasons, which I would not have bought but will be massively useful to me.

Following that I shot over to Flat White to meet up with father Jeremy – looking cool decked out in his priestly gear.

I then ended the day by meeting up with the YFC Leadership Team for a leaving meal near Cheapside. Saying good bye to each one of them at the end of the evening was an odd experience and not a particularly nice one. These people have been friends, encouragers and challengers throughout my time with YFC (some 14/15 years). It is sad knowing this kind of great relationship, in this format, is changing. During the train journey home it hit home that my time with YFC is at an end and while that is exciting it is also sad.

On rational days I can see God’s leading clearly in all of this. On sensitive days I have real concerns over whether, at 43, I have the energy to start something new and ‘from scratch’ all over again. I guess only time will tell!

Anyway – all at YFC … thanks for your massive contribution for forming who I am!

I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I know what I mean!

YFC opportunities

There are 2 new and exciting posts on the Leadership Team of YFC.
I have posted details of Director of Communications and Director of Service centre here.
Please have a look, apply or pass them on to people that you think would be good in either of these roles.

YFC opportunities

We, YFC, still have a few opportunities for next years teams:

We are especially looking for people in our Sports teams
Locdown needs more DJ’s
Inside OUT/Crux Theatre needs some male actors.
ETA has vacancies for young people ready to support the great work our centres are engaged in.
We could do with 2 more to join Crux Media (film) for what is expected to be a great year for them.

If you are interested or think you know someone that this opportunity would be great for please contact Joan Thompson at YFC head office who will send out information and ensure the right person follows up the enquiry … or you can apply here.

Focus … where?

Friday was one of those hectic but wonderful days that I love. It was a day when I was at risk of becoming overawed by the many activities happening or exhausted by the amount of time taken.

The day started with my last tutorial with my personal tutor where we put together my final report to the bishop. That went well.

After a brief stop at home to make a couple of phone calls I met up with a good friend, Terry, and we went to pay a brief 30 minute visit to the head teacher of the school that I am a governor at. We spoke about plans and the role of church youth worker / school chaplain which will work in this school.

Following that Terry and I went to our favourite curry house for lunch. We had a great time catching up with each other. I value such times of honesty where no pretending has to go on. This was a special time.

Following this I popped in the car and drove to Portsmouth to meet Dave, Joe and Roy at 5.00pm to have a meal and chat before the relaunch of Solent YFC and the commissioning of Dave as director. It was a real pleasure to lead the local church of Portsmouth in some commissioning words and Roy preached well and passionately as he always does.

I got home at midnight and needed nearly 2 hours to ‘come down’ from the buzz of the day before I could go to bed.

Today I have been challenged to keep hold of the love of Jesus in my ministry and not lose sight of that. The losing of that focus often results in bitterness or a persecution complex where it is easy to blame everyone else when things do not go to plan. I have thought a lot about this on my car journey back from Portsmouth.

I guess we all know people like that – those who complain in ministry and never seem to be happy. Being with such people can be a drain. I remember when in Bristol as a church youth worker a group of us used to meet regularly in the town for coffee. I remember a certain time when a couple of people were moaning about the presures of their ministry and as we neared the end of our time an old man on a nearby table wandered over and asked a simple question that stumped us all ‘tell me … do you enjoy your calling?’

It’s easy to fall into that. As I say above we all know people like it (maybe we can name a few, but as I do I wonder how many people have me on their list?). I don’t think it is because they have lost faith, nor do I think they have even lost their original passion for their calling.

They have simply lost the sense of privilege that it is to work for God.