This is a bit of a bumper post (not that I’m saying it’ll be twice as long!) because last week I was in Durham on the Talking Jesus mission with Bishop Tony and the team from this diocese from Wednesday until Sunday. I’m writing this on Tuesday so it’s still somewhat fresh on my mind but I’ve (hopefully) got a quieter week as a result of this.

I got home at 7pm on Sunday and felt absolutely wiped out. It was such a good time but really busy. I think that I learned a lot and found it enjoyable as well as challenging. Over the week and weekend we did a range of activities, and I was involved in a few assemblies as well as an all age service, getting involved in parkrun, and speaking at church on Sunday morning.

A highlight for me was the all age service. I had spoken very briefly and hadn’t made any notes, but found that I was just saying the same things over and over and felt that it wasn’t very well presented. I’m my own worst enemy but I thought it was pretty bad personally. I tried to stretch myself by not having notes with me (I was only supposed to talk for 5-10 mins anyway) but found it too much to have nothing at all, it would’ve been better if I’d struck a middle ground and kept something but not detailed notes. I was disappointed by this and that’s not the highlight; I found the best thing actually just to play some football with some of the young boys, aged anywhere between 5 and 10. It was great just to have a laugh with them and it meant that they knew my name, listened to me and one even took a bible because I had said he should. It was easy impact and I think they’ll remember it, and it wasn’t very much effort at all.

Other reflections could be around the importance of light evangelism. As Bishop Tony talks about, it’s all ‘Seed Scattering’. We weren’t doing a lot of groundbreaking stuff but we were encouraging the churches, helping them to be open to outsiders and making links to the community. For some, this will actually have been groundbreaking. Bishop Tony spoke well and always mentioned Jesus, even at the park run, but in such a simple and relevant way that it wasn’t a stumbling block. He struck the balance at each of the events really well.

Another thing was reflecting on preparation. The importance of being ready but not over prepared. I felt at times a bit under prepared if anything, but hadn’t stressed for hours and days beforehand preparing detailed plans. It meant that I was vaguely ready if called on, but not bogged down and over tired.

Finally, something I realised about myself is that when I’m tired I get very negative and pessimistic! Something to keep in mind.

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