Yesterday was Tom & Caroline Price's wedding. A wonderful day and a priviledge to pray for them during the service. Great to catch up with Adam & Jo, Pod & Becci, Dan & Steph and run into a load of other ex-Reading CU and UCCF people.
In the last week I've had the pleasure and honour of starting to supervise those on my team who fall under my responsibility. I'm supervising Andy on the Relay programme and we'll meet week by week for Bible study, prayer and training to prepare him for service with the mission team at Exeter University. There are also five Staff on my team. So far I've met with Alex, Kenny and Claudia and will be seeing Jim and Su Ann in the next week.
On Wednesday I travelled to London for a CU mission speakers consultation. Around 30 evangelists were able to attend as we shared some best-practice and experience together. I hope to speak at missions in future so it was great to sit and listen. I think we'll do this again in future. I'm acutely aware that we probably need to be able to gather 100 evangelists to match the growing passion for regular evangelistic events. Jim was among the CU staff in attendance.
Ten reflections from the day, nothing particularly new but good to remember:
1. We need to equip students for friendship that goes beyond trivialityOn Thursday I travelled to Cornwall for a gathering of students (like Liz Cowie) and supporters in Truro. It was an opportunity to express our thanks for those who have funded Kenny over the last three years and to share stories and needs for prayer.
2. We need to create contexts that provoke and facilitate questions
3. Missions are great for the friends of CU members
4. Running courses (like Alpha/Christianity Explored) before missions is good.
5. Help students to articulate their testimony clearly
6. Use creative talent within CUs
7. Equip CUs with a range of toosl for mission - like evangelistic Bible study, apologetics, courses etc.
8. Prayer mobilises mission.
9. How they come is how they stay. i.e. Use the Bible as the means of conversion and the new Christian will always read the Bible and will use it to introduce others to Jesus.
10. Take students to visit missions in other locations to share ideas and vision.
On Friday morning I had my first supervision with Kenny. We've known each other since we did Relay together and it was great to spend time together, in the sound of God's voice (from Ecclesiastes) and in view of the river flowing into the sea. Later in the day I broke my train journey back with a stop in Plymouth to meet with Claudia. Looking ahead as partners in the gospel was a real joy. I ♥ the South West Staff.
In case that all sounds far too optimistic (though I make no apologies for present joy), let me end with these words from Bonhoeffer that I'm loving at the moment:
...the very hour of disillusionment with my brother or sister becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds but only by that one word and deed which really binds us together – the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship.