Sunday, 22 May 2011
At Leadership Trainining I did manage to catch the group time with Steve Tibbert. Steve leads the Catford Church and has quickly become a man who inspires me like few other.
Steve leads Catford which is a church of I think around 1000 members. Catford hosts New Frontiers Leadership Training Advanced.
Attention to detail
Steve took our group of trainees round the three sites which are now owned by kings Church. One of the things that struck me is that Steve has very impressive attention to detail. He has a thought through philosphy of ministry and he applies it rigorously. It appears that he has his goals in mind and will stop and nothing to do all he can to implement them. I have had the privilege of learning a little bit about Jonny Wilkinson's attitiude to detail through my Dad over the years. Steve is the first Christian leader who I have come across who reminds me of stories that my Dad has shared over the years.
Attitude to learning
To me Steve's attitude to learning was another element of his leadership which I found very impressive. He is a student first. He is currently seeking to find people who are a few steps ahead of him. He wants to learn, he pursues wisdom and you can see the fruit in his ministry. Steve takes the initiative to go get what he needs for the next step in his journey. I can't imagine him procrastinating for one moment!
A bit of banter
I also like the way Steve is quite funny. He is honest and speaks openly about his experiences. He makes his teaching time light by throwing in banter and making big statements. I like this in a leader. I do not believe him when he says he is a 'natural athlete' but the way he views his life to be organised as an athelete resonates with me.
Steve is a leader and he is very strategic. He thinks logically and his approach to ministry is one which I find closest to my own aspirations than any other Christian leader. I'm glad God has blessed him with his gift. I am glad that his Church is going well and I'm glad I've been able to learn some stuff from a distance.
I won't be putting any posters up or making any T-shirts but I will look forward to three days of training with Steve Tibbert next year as part of my final year of training. I might even buy his book.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Back to it
It was great to de-brief with the staff team this morning. I have been able to clear most of my emails and plan something of a shape for the next couple of weeks to include upcoming preaching engagements. It will be good to touch base with the other elders this evening. We have some significant decisions being worked through at the moment.
Away this week
I travel to Leadership Training tomorrow. I'm very much looking forward to being with the others for our last time this year. Steve Tibbert is doing some stuff as well. I always find him stimulating and motivating. :-)
Tired & Fresh
Personally I feel strangely stretched and kind of fresh at the same time. I am lacking sleep a bit but I also feel like I have a blank sheet of paper in front of me in many areas of Church life. I feel like I am coming to old situations with fresh eyes and fresh enthusiasm to re-engage with ministry areas. I am grateful for a renewed appreciation of my wife and a greater need for help!
My respect and admiration for my wife is currently sky high. She works very very hard as do many in raising kids. It's her first day week with me at work this week. She is amazing. I've realised from my time at home that those who are homeward in orientation receive very little praise or 'well dones' from the little ones who they care for so well. Encouragement is few and far between when compared to working in other contexts. It's down to me to thank her and point out grace in her life so we can celebrate what God is doing together.
Renewed sense of dependence
I have been humbled by having our second child. If I am to even in part live up to that which God is asking me for in terms of how I speak to people, experience of joy etc I really need help. His standards are quite frankly beyond me. I am experiencing a new level of need. I am glad that he forgives me and glad that He empowers me. I am asking God more for His help and power. If I go a day without deeply requesting His help my wife will notice by my mood! I guess this is a good place to be in terms of learning about walking with God but it is not an easy place to be.
Monday, 9 May 2011
Last night we had our first Baptism at our Central site. It was a lot of fun to hear these guys speak of their journey to Christ. I spoke briefly and then Andy led us through the Baptism. Here is a video which I took randomly on my phone.
Baptism is the way to start following Christ
If you want to follow Jesus, he says we are to believe and trust him. The first step that we are asked to take is to be baptised. (Matt 28v19 Acts 2v38)
It's awesome that in being baptised we get to live out something that Christ asked us to do and also do what he himself did. We read of 'coming up out of the water...' (Matt 3v16) It's awesome that his teaching and example flowed out from Jerusalem across the Roman Empire, through Europe, across the world and down the generations all the way down to Exeter, Devon 2011.
Baptism is powerful
Baptism is for believers. It's a powerful portrayal of dramatic inward change in the person being baptised. It speaks of union with Christ in his death as we are plunged under water, and union with Christ as he is raised to new life, as we come out of the water. We are declaring our old lives buried and the beginning of our new lives in Christ.
Our culture is confusing
Baptism is married with the decision to follow Christ in the New Testament. Sadly there is much confusion over baptism in our nation and historically. Strangely sometimes we 'baptise' those who have no faith. 'Christenings' are still common for those in and outside of the Church. I personally find this very odd. Some people who don't want to follow Jesus think they are baptised. Others who do want to follow Christ in this way are later told that there is no need! I think believers are massively short-changed when they are taught not to follow Christ in this simple and beautiful declaration.
Sunday was great :-)
I left Sunday night with a real sense of joy. It's so good to obey Christ. It was great for us as a site. It was great for us as a Church to enjoy this one together. It was great for my good mates who pour themselves out for other people to have the joy of baptising and of course it was great for Dan and John who nailed their colours to the mast.
Thursday, 5 May 2011
The blessing of community
Our friends, family and Church have been amazing. Our Church are providing evening meals for us for two weeks! This means that we have one less thing to think about. We can concentrate on feeding and bathing and getting the kids ready for bed and then a generous person brings round a hot meal in the evening. What a blessing. On a couple of occasions when I have found this season really stretching, the simple good company of close friends have been rejuvenating for me.
We've been listening to Rachel
My wife is not really into the Gina Ford stuff. This time around however we have been drawing a lot from Rachel Waddilove. She spoke to our Church parents a month or so back. She is warm, loving and very affectionate. We bought both her books and have found them very very helpful. We have adopted Rachel's 'flexible routine'. It has been a huge blessing to us as we try and manage two babies. Obviously we are still learning loads and it's very early days butIhave particularly appreciated her practical help. I wish we had done this first time around! Clearly every child is different as is every parenting team however I think she is well worth checking out.
Getting a vision
Over the last couple of days I have also been re-reading 'Shepherding a Child's heart' by Tedd Tripp. It's so refreshing to catch God's heart for families and his call on parents again. It's easy to slip into survival mode with kids I think. I've been spending a lot of time with Rufus over the last week. I don't just want to fill the day and entertain him. I want more for him and God is asking for more from me. I expect to be visiting and re-visiting this book. 10mins reading a day can change everything.