Moving to Kingston – Part 1
Announcements were made last night simultaneously at Church of Christ the King, Brighton and King’s Church, Kingston. Here’s your chance to hear it direct from the horse’s mouth!
“Are you familiar with those ball point pens, which have several different colours? You simply press a button and the pen writes in blue, black, red or green.”
I was being asked an unusual question, but one which has proved to have far reaching impact in my life and Wendy’s. We were in Sydney last December, staying in Steve and Ruth Brading’s home for our final days in Australia before our homeward journey after three months away in the southern hemisphere.
Standing Back from the Picture
Actually I had hoped that God would provide me with a directive word while I was there and had said to one or two friends that while I was several thousands miles away from home, rather like an artist stands back from his painting to get a better view, I hoped I might see more clearly what I felt God had perhaps been saying to me over recent months. An objective perspective might well bring more clarity and maybe God would speak.
For almost a year I have been feeling that maybe God was calling me to leave Brighton and go into a new adventure.
With what seemed like almost predictable regularity, people have been prophesying over me that I should see myself like Caleb in his advanced years, namely with another mountain to claim and inherit for God. Obviously I weigh prophecies and am aware of people’s kindness and affection and the possibility of my friends simply expressing their sympathy for a brother who could no longer be called a spring chicken. The Caleb picture is an encouraging one speaking of future exploits for an older guy. I tried to sift out the sentiment.
Nevertheless the word had come frequently and often with a genuine sense of God’s presence and blessing and I have happily received it with faith.
Hop, Step and Jump
More recently Guy Miller from Bournemouth, whose prophetic gift I greatly value, came into a team meeting and described a vision which he had seen in his waking moments of three tapestries, each containing a picture of warfare. Strangely underneath the pictures were the words ‘hop’, ‘step’ and ‘jump’, which described a track and field discipline sometimes called ‘triple jump’. It was certainly an unusual image, but immediately in my mind I remembered early breakthroughs in Seaford, our first church, where we learned and experienced so many radical, pioneering developments in church life, followed by Church of Christ the King in Brighton where we have now been for about 30 years and where many a battle has been fought and progress has been made on a much wider front, with both local and even international ramifications.
The third ‘battle ground’ picture with the word ‘jump’ under it spoke to me of a future location. It is this third location which has been stirring me in prayer and faith in recent months.
To be honest I have from time to time longed to be involved in some more ‘hands on’ pioneering work. I realise that my main calling at this time in my life is to endorse, encourage and promote the emerging apostolic spheres within Newfrontiers, which are being raised up all around the world. Indeed this was what I had been doing in the last three months in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia, but I also have an itch to be personally involved in some pioneering work while not travelling in the UK at my home base.
Although this could not be my main preoccupation, I certainly want that kind of involvement. I knew that my other duties meant that I could not initiate a fresh church plant, but I was feeling increasingly stirred to join a small church, and throw in my lot to help it become rooted, established and fulfil its potential.
No More Room
Paul said there was ‘no further place for [him] in these regions’ (Romans 15:23). It seems a strange statement since there was undoubtedly plenty of space all around that area for Christian work. Undoubtedly what he meant was that his own apostolic work in that region was complete, churches were established, elderships were in place. The Kingdom would advance. His apostolic ministry was no longer really needed there. That is certainly true in Brighton where at Church of Christ the King we have an outstanding team of elders and ranks of emerging leaders and the work is progressing with God’s evident blessing.
So, was it time to move on, I was asking myself. Before I left for the southern hemisphere I had almost reached my conclusion, that if I were to remain in Brighton I would really need a word to stay, rather than needing a word to go. Surely it was time to move, but it would be so good to have a sense of fresh commissioning.
(To be continued)