This last Monday (5th November) I was back at my desk in the church office after four weeks away on ‘study leave’. If you are a follower of my blog, you may remember that back in October I posted about what I was hoping to do with those four weeks (you can see that post here).
I am really grateful to the team here at ABC who picked up the day to day stuff I usually work on whilst I was away.
The time has been really valuable. I have really benefited from being able to step back from the day to day stuff to spend some time reflecting, praying, listening to God and working on some thoughts and ideas for the future. I pretty much achieved everything I had hoped to do in the ‘study leave’ time including:
Researching possible ideas for reinvigorating the concept of Church Membership and preparing a paper (currently being reviewed by the Elders and Leaders) with various recommendations.
Developing a one session seminar on the basics of being an Elder and planning for a day we have coming up withe the Leadership team to talk about church culture.
Planning the preaching calendar for 2019 which I am really excited about and we have some really great new series in the pipeline for next year.
Writing some material on what it means to be a church that people who don’t normally go to church love to attend.
- Reading some great books including Irresistible by Andy Stanley, No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke and Red Moon Rising by Pete Greig.
I also had the opportunity to visit various churches on Sundays including Hillsong and Emmaus Road churches in Guildford. I had various meetings with other church leaders which were really inspiring and spent some time meeting with the new head of BMS (Baptist Missionary Society). I was able to get away for a 3 day retreat followed by a few days off with the family at Durdle Door on the Dorset coast which was lovely.
There were moments of unexpected God surprises and it was lovely to sense him speaking to me about all sorts of things in my life and in my work at the church. I really enjoyed finding out more about the 24/7 prayer movement and sense God challenging us to look at some focused times of prayer in 2019.
I have arrived back full of enthusiasm and renewed passion and it has been great to see all that God has been doing in the life of the church over the last few weeks. I sneaked into the the back of the 11.15am service last Sunday to see the baptisms and it was fantastic to hear the stories from Bekah and Charlotte of life transformation and to see the main hall packed out with so many people.
I can’t wait to see everyone again on Sunday (I have missed you all!) and to launch a new series called Hope in the Dark.
God bless Chris