Yes, we’re on the move again, back up north to Newcastle upon Tyne. The reasons are ones that I can’t go into in detail, just family stuff that we’ve had to act on, little to do with the current church we’ve been at at all. Yet, we’ve tried to be philosophical about it…in fact, we’ve been trying to be missiological about it. Although the circumstances are nothing that we’d have welcomed warmly, they have now opened up for us the question ‘what is really central?’ and ‘What opportunities does this give us now?’ and even ‘what is our life about, actually?’ Good has come from ‘challenging.’
Many of you will know that before St Albans came on the scene, I was working on a range of new missional ideas to work through up in Newcastle. In the end, we didn’t go for them. This was partly because I didn’t know how much my own health would recover, and partly maybe just a tiny bit of risk-aversion. But you know what? It is now time to go back and pursue those dreams. Although I wouldn’t have chosen the circumstances for this change, they’ve been enough to just help us say ‘ok, we know what we must do.’
The ‘call of God’ is a curious thing. In spite of the fact that, what I believe to be, God’s vision for my life has been clear for a long time, it’s just taken a long time for me to finally get to the place where I’ve realised that, a) life is short, b) God can really help us do it c) God is fairly persistent! d) nothing is wasted in God’s economy…this year has still been filled with good stuff inspite of other stuff.
Over the next few months, I’ll be working out what fulfilling that vision means. It is likely to include church planting, some community based ministry, and a whole load more time to be with my family.
It certainly puts into context for me the challenge at the heart of St Brendan’s prayer that I’ve been looking at over these weeks of Lent: