And Breathe

Depositphotos_24150823_original-760x497‘Summer in the city and the air is still’

‘Hot town, summer in the city, Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty’

‘Summer summer summertime time to sit back and unwind’

‘When I look back now that summer seemed to last forever’…..

 I love my summer songs because I love summer, and I hope that this summer, you all have a chance to slow down a little, simplify your routine and enjoy the lovely long balmy evenings.

It’s been a great year for me here at RBC, but I’m glad that over the next few weeks we can have a change of pace as we put our usual weekly programmes on hold so that our hardworking ministry leaders, group coordinators and volunteers are able to take a break. I’d like to express a huge heartfelt thank you to you all for all that you do to serve God through the church community here.

I say we’re taking a break but there’s still a few things going on during the summer: Room 4 will be transformed into a new youth friendly space and a much needed, long overdue clear out of cupboards and crannies is happening on site. The maintenance of the garden still requires a lot of input so If you are available to lend a hand keeping the garden in order or just watering the plants, please let the office know and your help will be greatly appreciated.

Normal service will be resumed in September and we have a great Autumn to look forward to. Our Sunday morning theme will be called ‘Rewired’ as we think about how the book of 1 Peter has much to teach us about living lives of Christian integrity in today’s world. The challenge I want to bring next term is to Think Big, because we serve a big God, who can do big things through us.

We will also be putting plans in place for a new ‘Alpha’ course – thank you to everyone who signed up or showed an interest in our service a few weeks back. More details will follow.

Our Harvest theme for 2018 is ‘light’ based on the tremendously inspiring work of Tearfund.

Kairos will return as a regular feature in our evening worship along with the occasional testimony service to celebrate the great things God is doing in our lives.

Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) will be visiting us later in the year to help us explore how we can continue to develop our heart for community transformation.

So many good things are already planned!

Miranda will start her new role as RBC Community Worker; Mairi will start her training as RBC’s Baptist Minister in Training and Angela will begin her year placement volunteering with the church.

The new Church Leadership Team (CLT) will start meeting in September comprising of Pastors, Elders, Trustees and Staff. Elders elections will happen in November when we are looking forward to new leaders joining the team. Our first Action Teams will get going as we release and commission people into the areas of ministry they are passionate about.

Oh and Christmas is coming…..but more of that later, it is only July after all!

I’m going to take a break from my blog for the next few weeks and look forward to sharing my musings and thoughts with you from September. Thank you, it’s been a wonderful first year in Redhill and I’m looking forward to the next year with you all.

If you are around Redhill please come to our ‘Beaches & BBQs’ and ‘Songs of Summer’ Sunday services.

I’ll sign off now with this delightful Celtic blessing:

‘What will we make of these long days

Before the height of summer fades?

To Jesus we bring our grateful praise

and honour him each summer’s day




Image result for bruce springsteen guitarAs a teenager all I wanted to be was a guitarist in a rock band, I had the look, I had the hair, I had my Brian May replica guitar (by which I mean it looked a little bit like his guitar in a certain light), but what I didn’t have was the talent.  I didn’t realise this as the time, but as the bands and people I practiced with didn’t work out and despite all my efforts it became clear I was never going to be Bruce Springsteen, despite being word perfect on all his songs. For me it was about accepting that my giftings lay in different areas. I could strum a few chords, lead a few songs and oddly was developing into a fairly competent public speaker, as some would say, God had other plans.

Unfulfilled dreams are a hard lesson to learn for many of us, and we see this very strongly in the life of Moses, Deuteronomy 3: 21- 29 captures an incredibly tender moment as Moses stands on Mount Pisgah and looks down on the promised land and realises this is a land he will never enter, someone else will do it, not him.  Listen to the kaleidoscopic range of emotions he expresses, anger, loss of identity, bewilderment, failure even. But Moses didn’t fail, he just reached his limits and his giftings lay elsewhere; yet he displays a remarkable fortitude of grace in his appointment and support of Joshua as the man who would achieve the promised land goal.  What we see in Moses is a good leadership model of succession planning as prepares Joshua and supports him, whilst gradually taking a step back to allow Joshua to flourish.

At the church meeting last night, I spoke of the crucial need to invest in new leaders who will grow and develop into their role and fulfil the vison of RBC to continue to be a church that ‘share’s God’s truth and shows God’s love’. For some this may be painful as we realise we’re not Bruce Springsteen, it’s not going to be about us anymore. But a sign of Christian maturity is to be able to lay down our dreams to allow others room to flourish.  Good leaders prepare new leaders, encouraging not stifling them. Good leaders know when to step back and let others have their turn.

So, for anyone in any leadership position I challenge you, who do you have your eye on?  Who are you encouraging, supporting, training and developing so that eventually you can step back and let them continue the vision? I love this quote, Succession planning isn’t the last great thing you will do as a leader.  Succession planning is the gateway to your greatest season of influence’.

Church Meeting

Image result for PartyIt’s church meeting time again next Thursday yaaayyyy! Seriously though, I’m really looking forward to it and I hope many of you will come along.

This month we are going to be talking about our need for new church leaders and the qualities and character of leader that we are looking for.  For me this is exciting because I really want to hear your suggestions and comments. My dream is that our leadership will positively reflect the wonderful diversity of our Sunday congregations when most of the church are gathered together. This means that our church leadership team will be made up of people of different gender, age and ethnic background. I do hope that this sentence is received in an inclusive manner (this includes me) rather than an exclusive manner (this doesn’t include me). For example, I would love to have someone of the team under the age of 25. This is for us to benefit from the energy, insight, experience and wisdom of our generation ‘Z’, rather than exclude anyone over 25.

On Thursday we’re going to be discussing in groups the qualities, character and role of church leaders and asking you to propose names of potential new leaders to the current Elders.  We’ve already had some names suggested and I’ve been enjoying visiting these people and talking with them about the responsibilities of church leadership.

Some of you may have heard me mention the idea of ‘Action Teams’ @RBC; on Thursday we are going to talk about this in more detail and again in groups I’ll be asking you to give some feedback and response to these ideas.

I’ve also put on the agenda an item I’m calling, ‘glimpses of the future’. As the Ronseal advert used to say, this is exactly what it says on the tin, a preview of some of the plans for RBC projects and initiatives for next term and beyond.

There’s a couple of decisions we need to make as a church but on the whole Thursday will be consultative, opinion seeking, fact finding and prayer pursuing. We’ll be doing work in groups rather than in the usual open meeting forum which I hope will give space for everyone to contribute and have a voice.

Oh, and it’s not just for members. So, if you are committed and interested in RBC life and mission but not yet a member, you are still very welcome.

I am very interested and open to ways in which we can improve our church meeting and encourage more people to come, so if you have any ideas on this front, why not let me know or write a comment after this blog.

I hope to see you Sunday and look forward to seeing you next Thursday