Maxine and I are currently in the second week of a ten week trip to the UK.
We have had several surprises thus far:
1. We had a new travel agent suggested to us by a friend involved in missions. Planet Blue Travel ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is owned by a Christian family and could not have been more helpful.
We were struggling with the quoted Qantas fare, Sydney to London, but the agency booked us on Air Nippon ANA, excellent service at a fraction of the price.
2. We began our trip in Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Preaching Convention. One of the seminars was conducted by Tony Brown of Reachout Trust. Tony is a former JW and now leads this ministry which equips Christians to reach out to JWs and Mormons. The cults are very active here now that lockdown is over and this ministry seeks to equip Christians to be on the front foot in response. (reachouttrust.org)
3. A vast untapped resource seems to be being tapped very effectively here.
Figtree Anglican run an annual Grandparents’ Day and the Armidale Anglican Diocese began a Next Phase conference this year, but mobilising retirees for productive Kingdom service has gone to another level here.
Conferences on ‘Faith in the second half’, deal with issues like transition to retirement, from caring to being cared for and from life to death as well how to serve well in the church and to succeeding generations in our older years, seems to be meeting a real need (faithinlaterlife.org).
4.In Edinburgh the Faith Mission runs Tent evangelistic missions in towns in the Scottish Highlands and the Scottish islands. These evening meetings attract good crowds, the marquee is erected in a central location, a visiting team of 6 join with local Christians, the meetings are simple, someone tells their life story, there is a simple gospel message, some singing and then warm food. These missions have been fruitful and especially now people are needing to reconnect with community. Why wouldn’t this be a good initiative in our country towns?
5.Pastors here know the pressure for the Church to be seen as a business and the Pastor as its CEO, management skills may displace the vital place of pastoral skills. But there is also a recognition that Missionaries come under pressure from ‘cross cultural experts’ to adjust the gospel to make it more acceptable to the latest communication theory. These theories may be helpful, but they may also be damaging, misshaping the vital content of God’s momentous news.
Churches here are awake to this danger and have a real concern to encourage and visit missionaries in active service, in order to encourage the Biblical integrity of their ministry.
This may be costly, but the benefit is huge, being greatly encouraging for visited and visitor.
6. I find a refreshing concern for people to be saved. The saved have a story ready to be told and a willingness to tell it, that others might know Christ. Earnest prayer for the lost is a mark of real concern. This has been personally challenging to my own witness and awareness of the needs of my contacts.
Finally, I am very pleased to let you know that the Trust Board has invited Jim Mobbs, the minister at Como Community Church to join us on a casual basis. Jim, who is an excellent preacher, will be joining our Abbotsford Club and be available for mentoring. Jim’s first blog will appear here next month.
Jim joins Janet Riley, Stuart Coulton, David Jones and me as available mentors through the Trust’s ministry.
Please feel free to access our Mentors, most mentoring sessions are weekly and last for 30 minutes, reviewing last Sunday and discussing next Sunday. These sessions are mutually refreshing and represent a valuable investment in the ministry of preaching.
We are all very grateful for your support of this vital work in your prayers.