One of the parts of mission that’s often the most interesting is seeing how the church works. The thoughts and reasons behind how things are and what people do give us an insight into what’s ahead for us, and though some of us are itching to get out, it’s helpful to stay in for an hour and see what’s happening behind the scenes. Coast E.C runs off of the four M’s – mission, membership, maturity and ministry. Each have goals and tasks underneath them, but the idea is that within the staff team, people are focused and engaged in areas that they’re passionate about and there’s less doubling up of who does what.
This means that a lot of what we do, unsurprisingly, fits under the mission category. Mission is one week in the life of a church, and when we leave, church keeps happening and the life of the church continues and thrives. It’s important to remember that our visit is just a snapshot in their life.
Monday has been made up of learning about how the church works and then diving into some action. We’ve sent students out to get some vox pops, asking Forster* locals about life and God and all manner of things, so that the church has a resource for their next sermon series, we’ve planned an SRE assembly for Friday that’ll teach the kids all about the God who cares for them – always – and we’ve spent time encouraging one another after Sunday’s busyness. So often at college we spend our time studying together, but this week we get to serve together and see each other’s gifts in action! What a privilege.
It’s largely unspectacular, to be honest. Mission is full of moments that mean very little by themselves but there’s a big picture that’s being painted. These words that the kid’s team worked hard at today, with their laughter and the silly songs, will be presented to about 350 children on Friday and God’s Word never returns empty. Never. We can be sure that He’s going to be faithful to our preparation and we’d love you to pray that we trust Him and proclaim Him faithfully. We love our God and we so desperately want these kids to know how much He loves them!
The unspectacular business of filming vox pops fell on a couple of the boys. Tom and Jordan went and talked to some locals, but not many wanted to talk. One in five people or so wanted to talk and the boys came back discouraged. More importantly, they came back more aware of the need for people in the town to know Jesus. One boy, about seventeen, was sitting on the jetty and they spoke with him about his one visit to youth group. He never went back because he wanted to believe in whatever he wanted, not in something someone told him. This holiday destination has a real need. Would you pray for those Tom and Jordan chat to, that as they answer questions, they’d start to seek answers in God for themselves?
Another of our tasks this week is to equip the crew at Coast EC in their own Christian walks, and to do that, we’re giving them the tools to answer any question ever. Sort of. The thing with tough questions is that they often come from people who’ve come from tough circumstances, so we got to spend a night with the saints, talking them through how to listen well, understand questions well, and then… answer those questions. There’s more to questions than what appears, and tonight we heard some ways to do it, and attempted to model it well ourselves. Would you pray for the saints of Coast EC, that they would listen and answer well?
Tomorrow is the team day off, and so we’ll be relishing the day of holidays in Forster. We don’t know what’s in store but it’s bound to be beautiful in a place like this! Would you pray for the team’s rest tomorrow, that we’d be refreshed and ready to go all out for the gospel in the coming days?
This really isn’t a holiday… this is mission. And that’s brilliant.
*Much to the anguish of a certain chaplain, Forster is pronounced with a silent R in the middle. Foster, not FoRster. Locals will not be impressed if you make this mistake. I should know. I made it many times.