Monday, December 01, 2008

Two Part Catch Up...Part One - Scotland & The Future

I thought it was about time I brought you all up to spead properly on things in the FrogAcademy household.

As you know Paul and I took a weekend in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago, to view a potential pastorate there. This was a small church of under 20 people, who's pastor moved on earlier this year. It was suggested to us as a venture that we could take on, but we went knowing that they were at a crossroads of knowing whether or not it was right to continue the church with such a small number, or whether to call it a day. They had just been moved out of the local Next Generation Gym that they were using, when it was taken over by another company, and were meeting in a local community centre for the first time that weekend. We went with an open mind, but with no real sense of 'calling' to the place, just the knowledge that vision for us often comes when a sense of a place/people moves in our hearts.Not long after we arrived on Friday afternoon we went to view a couple of houses for rent - one was a strong potential. In the evening we went into central Glasgow (on the train) for a wander (city on a Friday night - didn't want to leave our van anywhere!) and a meal. It was suprisingly quiet, although the Italian Restaurant (my choice) was pretty busy. The food was delicious and the service very good. We then went for a wander along the river, to get a feel for the city. I rang home to my friend R to check Nat was OK - which of course he was - and we caught the train back to the Premier Inn where we were staying, in Milngavie. By this time I was not feeling very well at all and gradually got worse over the weekend, but had to muddle through all the same :(

Saturday morning P had his interview (or rather WE did, as for this kind of job I matter too). The leaders were really lovely - a pretty together bunch with a sense of unity that they really wanted to see their church into the future. We chatted about styles of ministry, vision, community, and other such stuff. But for us still no sparks from Heaven.

Saturday afternoon we decided to go for a drive to think, talk and pray (after we had viewed another potential property). Our original plan had be to wander around 'Anniesland' to get more of a feel for the place, but it soon became apparent that Anniesland was a bit of a non-community, too vague a location to have a set place to wander round. This for us was a minus point. We are the sort of people who need to get our hands dirtly in 'community' and one of the things the leaders had said at the interview was that there was very little sense of community where their church currently was. SO, we drove out to Loch Lomond instead and arrived just in time to watch the sun setting (beautiful, but REALLY hard to get good shots of when the battery in your camera is virtually dead - such bad timing!).

Saturday evening we went out for a nice meal with the leadership - again a really great time of being together, chatting and getting to know one another, but for us still no real sense of calling to be there. I think we made our decision that evening.

In essence we felt we could take on this little church, we could shape it and mould it and really make it our own. We could inject some vision and try to begin to build it into the community (which I might say we would have had a better chance of doing in the new community centre they had moved to, or the school opposite that most of the local children went to, than where they had been meeting previous to that) - we could do all those things and they were the pluses, BUT we just didn't get a sense of 'calling' to do it and so in the end we decided that without that essential ingrediant it was too big a risk to take, as it could just as easily fall flat if tried to do it all of ourselves and without God's backing. In reality I am sure God would bless our work even if we did decide for it, but it would not necessarily be His BEST for us - or for THEM, so we said "No". We don't actually know what their decision was in the end because we communicated our decision through the Regional Superintendent (the co-ordinator / overseer of the NorthWest regional Elim Churches) and so did they.

And so, we are staying put for now - again! Still praying over where God wants us to be next. If I am honest I cannot shrug off Windermere very easily. I have tried to, and for a few weeks I thought I had, but it just won't leave me alone. It comes in my dreams, in the early morning thoughts, in my falling asleep thoughts, just all the time really. Paul knows this, but for reasons I cannot talk of on here, this option is not open to us anymore right now. I STILL think it is where God wants us to be - somewhere along that lake (even though if I had my my pick of anywhere in The Lakes, I would be more up towards Borrowdale). I have not felt as spirtually alive in such a long time as I did in the time that we were seeking God over WCC, and I don't want to let that go again, but for now...

Paul is not taking his name off Stationing List, but he has got an action plan to prevent him from stagnating in the waiting. There is house-group that our church oversees in Winsford which P is going to take over for a while. It is actually the remains of a slightly bigger church that had difficulties, but we (our church) are hoping it may develop into a church plant. If P feels it is right and he is growing a vision/passion for the place/people he may stay on to help it grow, but meanwhile we will keep busy while we wait to see what plans God has for us.

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