A Cardinal rocks The Royal Albert Hall
Something wonderful happened this week at The Royal Albert Hall - The Holy Trinity Brompton Leadership Conference. I was not there but many of my friends were and I enjoyed following them and the conference on twitter and live feed. By all accounts one of the remarkable hallmarks of the gathering was church leaders from all denominations gathered together in agreement with Jesus and his plea "may they be one". One of the highlights was Cardinal Schoenberg. Even if you get the chance just to hear him pray or being interviewed by Nikki Gumbel on the highlights video : http://lc14.alpha.org/ it is worth it. One of my friends said:..."one of the most Christlike men I have ever met". Church leaders from every stream and denomination were there and raved about it. It's happening...
Quick summary of the 3 day elders retreat
It was intense. But we expected that. 3 days away together as elders is pretty intense. We like to make the most of our time together and work hard - so we did - praying together for the church, reviewing where we are in the light of the prophetic leading of the Holy Spirit over the last year, reviewing meetings, Sundays and 10; looking at leadership templates, staffing, resources etc. We had an insightful session with Malcolm Kayes from The Coign church on the challenges of leading a larger church. So lots to think about as a result. We stayed in the home of Nigel's parents in a village in Surrey complete with a lovely garden and view across fields. The garden was large enough to even practise our (wayward) golf pitching shots - a real highlight!
When the Holy Spirit disrupts a meeting
There has been quite a lot of feedback from Sunday morning. Lets call it an Outbreak Morning. We experienced an outbreak of the Holy Spirit. We experienced lots of other things as well. Some thought it was great, others did not like it. Lets recap what happened: the church has had 10 days of prayer and fasting; much worship, prayer, pressing in to God and a heightened sense of both hunger for God and expectation for God to move upon us individually and upon us during meetings. We worshipped God, the children went out and an invitation was given, people went forward to respond to the Holy Spirit. Many were evidently touched by God in various ways. There were also several words given for the encouragement of the body. Some specific words too. Whilst many went forward, many also remained in their seats. Does this make the sitters less spiritual than the standers? No. Neither is the Holy Spirit confined to a particular part of the building, i.e. the front.Was the meeting a bit messy? Yes. Did this happen in The Bible? Sometimes, yes. Are we learning more about the Holy Spirit and His working? Yes. Do we want to be a Word and Spirit church? Yes. Are we open to the Holy Spirit disrupting or changing our plans? I hope so.
elders 3 day retreat this week...
Each year as elders we go away for a few days on retreat. The elders (Andrew, Nigel, Peter and myself) have responsibility for leading the church and feel that responsibility keenly. Most weeks we meet together to catch up, plan, talk about the church and pray. Sometimes however there is a need for longer, unhurried time together to talk longer, linger, listen to each other and to the Holy Spirit. Quite often we have an agenda which is interrupted by the Holy Spirit and rightly so. Last year, before our departure, Sarah Cooper gave us a word from Isaiah 55 "my ways are not your ways, says The Lord...". She was right. There is a great deal to talk about but mostly we want to hear from God. What is He saying to us at this time? So this week, Thursday to Saturday we are going to Woking. Please pray.