The last few months since my ordination with AMiE in early December 2017 have flown by, with Christmas seemingly followed very quickly by Easter. It has been a time that’s been busy, joyful and encouraging. Over the last year at Christ Church Walkley we’ve been developing a good relationship with a local primary school and I’ve been involved with their ‘Jesus And Me’ (JAM) club. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to teach the gospel to children who otherwise might not hear about Jesus. Off the back of JAM club, we ran our first ever school holiday Bible club where we had great fun exploring the reason we celebrate Easter with the children. Watching several of the children grapple with who Jesus was for the first time was a real encouragement. I’m hoping that this will be a springboard for us being able to reach many of the local families with the gospel, especially as many of children from within church are reaching primary school age.
Alongside this I’ve been working with our new small group leaders to help them grow in their teaching and pastoral ministry. God has given Christ Church Walkley many gifted and mature members who I pray will be a blessing to the wider church on the years to come. Small group ministry is an opportunity to nurture, develop and train them. On that front, three members have recently become trainee leaders and I’ve been working at helping them begin to serve in a Bible teaching capacity, as well as growing in some of the wider aspects of leading a group and pastoral care. Whilst this takes a significant amount of time I pray that we’ll see the fruit of it in the years to come, whether here at Christ Church Walkley or elsewhere in the church.
In a similar vein, the last three weeks I’ve been teaching a short course on discipleship for the whole church family based on Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-11. We’ve had the opportunity to think about what the Bible teaches about growing in Christ in order to bring God glory and praise. The course has followed from some training I’ve been doing with Biblical Counselling UK in Liverpool over the last few months, and it’s been great to share some of what I’ve been learning with the rest of the church. I’m excited to see how God will use it over the coming months, not only in helping us to apply the gospel to our everyday lives but also with our neighbours, friends and colleagues who might see what difference Jesus can make. Combined with the opportunities with JAM club it feels like several opportunities for evangelism and growth are developing – always an exciting proposition.
Throughout this time, it has been a wonderful encouragement to continue to be able to hear about and pray for things going on across the AMiE network. To read regularly of how God has been working in churches up and down the country, to share in their joy, has been wonderful when sometimes the work here feels slow. It’s also been healthy to be able to pray for those who are struggling elsewhere and to be involved in their ministry in a very significant way. The ease at which we, as AMiE pastors, have been able to communicate has helped develop positive relationships that can often be difficult to build and sustain with other church partners. Similarly, phone calls with Bishop Andy Lines, to chat and pray, have been an encouragement to know that he is actively seeking to support me personally and is praying for our ministry here.