A ‘Normal’ Week – Day 4

No early morning prayer meeting today. One third of my prayer triplet was away on holiday and anyway we’d met the   previous week. It must have been an elders prayer meeting but we’d clearly dropped the ball. Perhaps we thought ‘it’s the Easter holidays and we deserved a lie-in’! No one mentioned it and we usually get an e-mail.

Wednesday is workshop day. It’s the day on which the Co-Mission Ministry Apprentices gather at the Factory in Wimbledon for a day of ministry training. It’s a full on day for them. The staff tend to cherry pick. Not all of us are involved in all of the things but most of us are involved in some of the things. I try and go whenever I can. We used to have to go all the time but not any more. I still find it hugely stimulating, it keeps me sharp and it’s great to catch up with the other staff.

The apprentices have a busy day. Its’ split up into the following aspects

  1. Understanding the Bible using the Cornhill material on DVD. They cover things like how to understand and interpret different styles of literature, how stories work, how to teach wisdom and so on. Gavin McGrath usually oversees that and it takes place before most of the staff have pitched up.
  2. An eclectic lecture programme covering things like medical ethics, church planting, music ministry, church history, gospel ministry. On the whole it’s the Co-Mission staff plus one or two from London Theological Colleges that deliver the material. There are usually two morning lectures.
  3. Ministry Discussion which is an hour long free for all. The apprentices dictate what gets discussed; they raise the issues for discussion, at least they should. These used to be feisty discussions with lots of interaction but I suspcte that the after lunch slot and the size of the group has squashed that.
  4. Student Expositions take place last of all, with staff and peer group evaluation.

I had to take the car in to have a rear light replaced. I’d backed it into a telegraph pole one dark prayer triplet morning and lost. So I dropped the car off in Wimbledon and headed off to the Factory to hear Matt Fuller’s lectures. Got there before the coffee break and so caught up with Rosie Dunn and finalised a few things for the forthcoming Revive booklet. Rosie and I oversee the annual Co-Mission Conference at Portsmouth University. We need to get the promotional fliers out after Easter. But there’s a fly in the ointment; the Co-Mission Senior Pastor was micro-managing once again and had put his not inconsiderable oar into the seminar programme we’d devised. He’s probably right; he usually is. We didn’t have to go back to the drawing board but there was some definite re-sketching of our initial ideas!

Matt gave two lectures on personal work. After lunch I led the ministry discussion. This gives a flavour of the issues that we dealt with:

  • Should a Christian construction manager be involved in building a casino?
  • How do we follow up on people after A Passion for Life?
  • How do you help your non-Christian brother cope with serious marriage issues?
  • What type of headings, if any, should a talk have?

There were one or two others but I can’t remember what they were. I was greatly helped by having both Matt and Pete Woodcock there. It’s good to have different perspectives; especially where we veer into the realm of wisdom and opinion rather than biblical truth. Lots of minsitry discussion issues are judgment calls and we tend to call those differently depending on who were are, what our experience is and the context in which we’re working.

Got a lift into town to meet up with one of the guys from church who’s out of work at the moment. We grabbed a coffee ansd chatted about  life. But most importantly we looked at Matthew 6:25-34  and prayed together. That’s an amazing passage. Four times Jesus says that we’re not to worry. And the reason is that we have a loving heavenly Father who knows just what we need. Two illustrations strengthen the point that God is able to feed us and clothe us. The birds of the air aren’t farmers and the flowers fo the fields aren’t tailors and yet God takes care of them. We’re far more valuable to God than animals and so what are we worrying about?! If we ruthlessly pursue God’s reign and relationship with him then he’ll take care of the details. Interestingly it comes straight after Jesus’ warning about serviong two masters. Presumably if I think that money is the way to security in this life and not God, i’llserve money and not him. Hence the warning. I’m not sure we got to the bottom of things but we had a good time trying to apply God’s word to our own lives. I jumped on the train back to Streatham.

The garage rang to say that they’d discovered ‘one or two other things that need attention’. They’d need th car overnight and £900 for their troubles. That chafed. Got home late afternoon. Finished off the ‘Dear Friends’ article for the website and for distribution after Easter. Caught up with the kids who had a friend over to play. I made myself scarce. and caught up on some e-mail traffic; it’s a battle I lose frequently.

Rosslyn went out as I put the kids down. She was seeing a friend from church. They had dinner together and a chance to catch up on all that’s happened over the past few weeks. I was left at home with a Thai Green Curry! I felt I had to earn it and so I recorded the Arsenal game and decided to watch it later. Instead I spent the time trying to get the preaching programme together; we’re nearly there. At about 10pm when I was no longer thinking straight I quit and headed down to watch Arsenal against Barcelona, eat a curry and wash it down with a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc.

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