Talking of Ellie, yet again time have flown by as we now enter the final stages of preparation before our wedding at the end of August. Ellie has now graduated from London School of Theology (LST), where we met, with a First Class BA (Hons) degree in Theology… that’s a higher grade than I achieved and she won’t let me forget that too quickly!
Sometimes though, I wish I could have the time back. Sometimes life moves so quickly that I don’t really get to absorb everything that’s going on. The constant tension held between committing time to church and towards my Master’s degree and work for college inevitably favours church, which leaves me slightly under pressure to ensure I get all the work I need to have completed done in time for deadlines at the end of September.
In fact, I’ve had to learn a difficult lesson when it comes to my academic work, and I suspect a valuable lesson for my future ministry. Whilst a full-time residential student at LST, I was always striving for perfection in my academic work.
Now I’ve had to learn when ‘good’ is ‘good enough’. I’ve had to learn that my work will not be ‘perfect’, because there aren’t enough hours in the week, but doing what I can in the time I have available is all that can be reasonable expected. I’m not yet sure how that looks in my ministry.
Aside from that, and a handful of other challenges that have cropped up along the way, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bewdley as a minister-in-training, having opportunities to experience a wide variety of ministerial activities, as well as establishing a Messy Church which now has over 35 registered families in 9 months, developing a ministry amongst men, and building a relationship with the local high school at which I assist and occasionally teach in RE lessons.
However, it’s now time to start looking ahead to see what’s next for Ellie and I as a soon-to-be married couple, and that means now more than ever I have to trust that God has the right place for us, and in every church that receives my name, and every church we visit over the coming months, that God will make his will clearly known.
To rely on God in such a way is by no means easy, and I assure you (and I’m sure Andy can testify to this too) it is certainly no easier for a minister. We’re just humans, after all. But as I look back over these two years and see how God has been faithful, how he’s given me opportunities to grow in ministry, how he’s protected my relationship with Ellie despite the distance, and how he’s guided me through this period, I know trusting in him is not in vain.
Relying on God for the future is certainly something we as Christians in the UK need to be focussing on. Whatever your political opinions, and whichever way you voted in the recent referendum, this is a time of change and transition for our country. I’m reminded though of the words from the chorus of Cornerstone (My Hope is Built on Nothing Less), which say; ‘through the storm, he is Lord, Lord of all.’ These words surely point us to our source of hope and comfort, both for me as I enter the settlement process, and for us all as we face the changing times ahead. It’s in Christ alone that we trust, and our hope really shouldn’t be built on anything, or anyone, less.
Thank you for all your support through prayer and giving, and please do continue to pray for Ellie and I as we enter married life, and for me to find the time to complete all of my academic work. It won’t be long before I’m back now, and hopefully being ordained!
I can’t quite believe it’s been almost two years since I moved from Moreton to Bewdley. It seems like only yesterday! In fact, it’s remarkable to me that it’s been 8 months since I was last at MBC, when I preached during Andy’s sabbatical. Time really has gone quickly.
Of course with time moving so quickly, it means that I’m already looking towards my future beyond ministry training. I’ve finished my second year at Regent’s Park College and have just written my ministry profile which will be sent to churches from September onwards as I look for where God is leading Ellie and I.