Our Youth Work

This week I have witnessed nothing short of miraculous…a wonder. It was something I’d been told about, but never quite believed it.

Our corps have an incredible children and youth ministry to kids at Primary school age and the beginning of secondary school. Not only are we, as officers, actively invoved in chaplaincy at all four of the primary schools, but we run childrens activities two evenings a week.

On Friday, we have JAM Club. From 6.pm-7.30pm we have children in P1 -3 (ages 4-7). On Friday we had over 70 children. From 7.30pm – 9pm on the same evening, we have children in P4 & 5 (ages 8-9) and we had just over 60 of those.

On Saturday night, from 7 – 8:30pm, we had P6 & 7 children (ages 10+) and there were just under 70 of those.

My terrible math skills tell me that we regularly have around 200 children coming along to our Army youth clubs, which all include a section where all the children sit down in rows, in silence, and listen attentively to the gospel. It is so big that we have to hire specialised premises as our halls are too small.

Can you believe this? I didn’t until I saw it with my own eyes.

However, we’re not seeing cross-over into the corps. We lack the progression from the ‘God-slot’ into worship, teaching, reaping and discipling. Enter Andrew & Tracy Clark! We’re over the moon to have been entrusted with such a great privelege and responsiblity.

I would like to ask you to give heaven no rest until we can see these children move on in their faith, into a real living relationship with Jesus, plugged into the local corps, in love with the Lord and fighting the fight.

The Lord gave me a word this evening as I prayed in the hall:

“…and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).

The general context of that verse is a revival of God’s people, specifically in the person of Jesus and by all those who follow him, but I sense that God was saying he was going to use these children.

In 11:12: “He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel”

…in 11:15-16 “The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Eyptian sea(the nile)… (a sign of opression, sin and worldly influence on the people of God..it was a source of life for this nation who were anti-God an opressed God’s people)…with a scorching wing he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates river, breaking it up in to seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals.” (The Lord is making a way for people to come back to him from exile before the gospel breaks out…God is saying he will do with the Euphrates as he did with the Nile, the sinful system keeping people away from God will be dispersed.)

For those of you who’ve followed the ‘river’ words the Lord has been giving, this will make sense I hope..if not, scroll down!

The Wick Salvation Army/Baptist Revival 1921

Finally got sorted out with broadband at home and good to be feeling connected with the world again! Been having to take trips to the library to check emails etc, so glad thats all over.

Did I mention that the last mainland revival in Britain took place at Wick Corps? Between the corps and the baptist church, in November 1921, over a thousand souls sought salvation. In my filing cabinet in my office, I have what is called a ‘Seekers Register’ from that time. That is basically a record of people who have come forward in a Salvation Army meeting to seek salvation, to rededicate themselves and to seek after holiness. The book is split up into people who appear on Salvation Army rolls and those who dont.

Now, from the middle of November 1921 to the beginning February 1922, there are just over 400 names of people seeking salvation who have no formal connection with the Army. In the space of two or three months, 400 people seeking salvation. In addition, you can add around 40 – 50 backslidden soldiers who came back to the Lord. Add to that those who knelt in rededication and who were gloriously renewed.

First hand stories I’ve heard so far include recollections of people lining the Mercy Seat 10 rows deep and people having to come back later when it was empty.

And all that is just at the Salvation Army.

Today, Wick Corps is comprised of a dedicated band of holy, godly people who are desperate for the Lord to move again. Many of them are senior in years, but we have a vital evangelistic youth and children’s work which has been planting the seed of the gospel into nearly 180 every week for the last 15 years.

The time has come for the harvest, the north wind is blowing. Oh Lord help us! Join your prayer to mine for the Harvest in Wick. The Lord can do it again!

Farewell Sunday!

It is hard to believe, sitting here right now, that the Pill chapter is almost over (still 4 days in command!). We had a good meeting this morning, and it wasn’t as difficult as I though. I think I moved into that mode that you go into when you’re doing things like funerals…you know, the ‘I will not lose the plot’ mode! My eyes were moist a couple of times, just simply because you become thankful that you’ve lifted up Jesus enoughto impact someone’s life for the better.

Of course, people said some kind things, which we appreciate. And it is obvious that those good things are things that were heart felt by so many who just happened not to be the ones speaking. The small few who have strongly opposed our ministry were not present, and that was a pity because you never imagine that trying to please the Lord and do what he asks of you could provoke such reaction, but Jesus tells us to expect it I suppose.

I can’t help but feel that it is not necessarily God’s plan A that we are leaving at this juncture. That is not to say that our move is wrong, because God has confirmed that it is right. So what do I mean? Simply that we all have a habit of getting in the way of what God is trying to do and so we end up on plan F much of the time. Regardless of that, his permissive will is as right, proper and true as his perfect will. God knows, and what he wills is right.

But now, to Wick, a return to Scotland, which really is an answer to my heart’s cry. I’ve already said that there are things that the Lord is planting in my heart for the war on that front, and even the possibility of that gives me a lot of joy and excitement.

I praise and thank God for the opportunity to work on this front…battles won, battles lost….yet Jesus still reigns victorius and his Kingdom advances continually. The gates of hell never prevail against the church…they are gates, they don’t attack, the defend, and the power of Word and its Author are far superior. We simply need to fight in their strength and the walls will come down…praise God. He is worthy.

Grace and love like mighty rivers…..

I really don’t know where to start with last week. I was up in Scotland marrying my sister! (to someone else!)

The wedding went really well. My wee sister looked gorgeous and she seemed really happy with her big day. Everyone was appreciative of the ceremony and there were plenty of good conversations afterwards about the gospel…everything from explaining the symbolism of the crest to discussions about broken marriages. I mentioned in the message that marriage was ‘always’ – which provoked a lot of reaction in a community and culture where marriage is only for a season.

I managed to get all my family into their taxis at the end of the evening reception without killing each other, so that was an achievement although I did have to find out where they all lived first because they’ve all got themselves divorced and live ‘in sin’ with new partners….including partners of the same sex! To see them all in the same room was, um, interesting! But I managed to keep the peace and make my sisters day special!

Anyway, a couple of days before the wedding, we went to visit a good friend, my son’s godmother, Kirsten. I had asked her in an email to fill me in on the spiritual temperature of Scotland in view of our impending return. What she told me was pretty amazing.

Firstly, she told me that there were several prophecies around about revival/renewal spreading from the north. Much of the prophetic voices are hearing this and praying it in. So, you can imagine how amazed I was to hear this when last November after our visit to Lewis, God gave me the exact same word! To find that this is the same word that is going round Scotland was amazing because I’d never heard of such a thing! Should we be amazed that God is saying the same thing?!? No, of course not. More especially, my appointment to one of the most northerly corps in the territory is not coincidental!

I recently discovered that the Army in Wick was heavily involved in the 1921 revival in North Scotland and that one of the converts of the Army in Wick went on to stablish one of the most sucessful evangelistic mission in Glasgow during the 20th century, the Tent Mission Hall.

Secondly, even more amazingly, there seems to be many prophecies floating around about….rivers. Revival is prophesied to flow like a river from the north to the south.

As Kirsten is telling me this, I’m sitting amazed and shocked at the similarities between what she is saying and all that God has been planting in my heart in these days. I’m amazed when I remember my new corps building, symbolically placed on a very northern river! Lord, let your River flow!

Again, I was reminded of how much Scotland needs the gospel. I was reminded how much the church in Scotland (and the Army) needs renewal and I was reminded again of the privilege of being called ‘For such a time as this.’

Bring it on Lord! Meanwhile, the battle continues on the Pill front…as well as the packing!!

New pastures…

So, we’re moving into a new phase of ministry again. Thats probably the best way to sum up thoughts about our impending move. Its a very different appointment to Pill and to Dennistoun…praise God that he is a God of variety! It will be a pioneering appointment, with a heavy emphasis on evangelism. We will be spending the vast majority of our time with those who are not yet saved. We will be involved in chaplaincy at four primary schools and one secondary school, as well as overseers of a a 180 strong childrens ministry in the corps. We have a mandate to develop youth work and work with the families of the children connected with the schools ministry and our childrens ministry

As far as the corps goes, we have a strong and godly collection of faithful men and women, long standing salvataltionists, getting on in years, but still working hard for the kingdom. I see our role with them is encouragement in their faith and life and in reaching their own generation.

Now that I know all that, I can get back to the task in hand! The work at Pill here continues to be one of equipping local leadership, faciliting deeper spiritual growth, inspiring for the work of evangelism and developing a fighting corps! (though, hopefully more against the enemy than against themselves!…thats every Corps Officers dream!)

So, looks like I’ll get to know whether I’m better at pioneering or mountaineering. (Mountaineering is my personal term for mobilising a corps for evangelism…its rocky, perilous and a tough climb with the constant threat of avalanche!!)

Finally, just a note to say that Armyrenewal Blog has finally made it…it was mentioned (and quoted from!) in the DC’s weekly circular this week. You would think that knowing the DC was a regular reader would encourage me to behave myself….

Up North

So we are off to Scotland tomorrow on holiday. Staying a few days with my mum in Irvine (about 400 from here)then taking the extra 350 miles up to Wick! :o) It will be interesting to get a feel for the place, sort our some practical stuff, and get some video footage to settle the mind until its time to go!

Turns out that you get extra allowance for being in the Highlands. The simple logistics of getting lorries up there with food, petrol etc add to the cost of living. Fair enough. But as Tracy was saying on her blog, there isn’t a huge deal of things to spend money on! That can only be a good thing.

People keep asking me what I think about the move. To be honest, I’m really happy with it. The distance is obviously quite astonishing, but again, I’ve got a peace about the appointment and I can see why we are going there.

When we get to Wick in July, I’ll be starting a new blog to keep up to date with all thats happening up there in Wick. Details to follow. Army Renewal will continue as my ‘general comments’ blog. There may well be some overlap, but we will see.

Anyway…this will be the last post until we get back from holiday unless there is something really exciting to say when we’re away!