Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009

It's been an interesting year, I guess. Ignoring my current state of limbo for the moment, I still sometimes pinch myself that I get to do what I do. I am extremely privileged to work for a great gospel-centred, mission-minded church, firm in its convictions yet generous in its partnership. I can obviously tell you of its failings as well - I'm part of it aren't I? - but of the 3 churches I've been a part of in the UK, it's still this one which I truly regard as my home church away from home. They just need to overhaul their website. :-p And working for them has only deepened my appreciation. When I was wrestling with the decision to pursue an apprenticeship, I said to God, (for a variety of reasons) this is really more or less the only place I'll consider doing it. And to my disbelief, God opened the door and said, here you go!

What are some of the things I've learnt and struggled with? I think one of the hardest things is the blurring of lines between what constitutes work and non-work. In one sense, that's a good thing, because it encourages a more integrated, "holistic" if you will, approach to life as opposed to compartmentalising it, a feature of modernity. That's one of the central thrusts of the missional movement, to consider the rhythms of our day-to-day life through the lens of mission. But it's hard too because sometimes you need to switch off but you can't. For the layperson, it would never cross their minds to consider church as "work". For me, it is and isn't, if that makes sense. It does mean learning to rest is very, very important. I now have an inkling what burnout might look like, having veered dangerously close to it in February. And like it or not, being a "full-time" worker also changes the dynamic of your relationship with others as well.

I find one-to-one work rewarding. There's nothing like being able to teach and read and listen and wrestle with God's word together, encouraging someone to grow in grace, to see how God's word and their world might intersect, to pray, and to talk about life together. Of course it can be frustrating. Often I think you don't actually get to see the results of your work. But it's great nonetheless.

Some of my other highlights: the conference I went on right at the beginning of the year, one of the best. The student conference where I was a leader. 2 hours in an ice-cream parlour where it seemed right to follow an important conversation about grace rather than take out my pre-planned Bible study. Money not being a problem this year because of generous friends. A mission trip which I was apprehensive about beforehand but which turned out to be absolutely worth it. Giving talks for the first time. 4 Person of Christ lectures which stretched my mind. Going to watch All-England Championships: Lee Chong Wei! A new Christian going great guns.

Lowlights: Cultural stress. Loneliness, for ministry inevitably carries some of that. A wish for more parental support (although relatively speaking, I think my problem is probably quite mild). Friends who don't want Christ. Orlando Magic losing to LA Lakers: well not really, since I didn't expect them to make the Finals in the first place! :) Of course, visa woes. If the UK Border Agency was a person, I really want to strangle it now. Strangle it! MUAHAHAHA....*looks around sheepishly*

I've got far to go when it comes to depending on God, but hopefully 2009 is yet another small step forward.

'Cause this is a healing song, oh and I've got a heart that fails
But love is pushing me along, I'm lifting up above this veil
This is a healing song, oh and I don't know if you can tell
But love is pushing me along
I'm pressing up against the rail, pressing up against the rail

...You and I, we've come so far
We've come so far, we cannot look back

- Healing Song, Bebo Norman

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Anonymous פסיכיאטר said...

thanks for the new fresh view of point

11:31 pm  

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