Posted by: lepages | November 5, 2009

24 hours away….

Well…. 26…. if one counts travel time too!

Had a great time away at the RUN (Reaching the Unchurched Network) conference on ‘Prismatic Mission’. It was not what I was expecting, but it was what I needed, touching home in many of the areas I wanted to reflect on during my time on sabbatical! Praise God!

Being hosted at Kings Park Centre, Northampton gave a good excuse for a bike ride too! A mixture of joys and frustrations though! Had to transfer my bike lights from my old knock around town bike to my road bike. Front light wouldn’t fit on central part of handlebars, so fitted it further out – result, quickly realised after riding for a short time that this was a real problem – even with hands on the hoods I was having to stretch around the light – step 1, take light off and add it to the weight already being carried on my back for an overnight stay with change of clothes, shoes etc. Great can go back to my normal comfortable position on the bars…. except after a short distance hand starting to ache as gripping over the bike light clamp… not good! Once past Harrold I decided it was time for action. Stop, backpack off, bike tool out, remove clamp and ended up fitting it in the drops… best of a bad series of places – couldn’t use drops now… didn’t enjoy going down some of the steep, windy hill bits as you get into the villages in Northants with hands just on the break hoods, would have felt a lot safer on the drops – but survived.

Weather was remarkably good considering heavy rain at lunchtime… but there was a strong head wind most of the way there. Hard work, not helped by tension of not being able to easily alternate in comfortable cycling positions. Incredibly slow ride for the 42.5k – average of 22.8kph (25 if you took out the stoppage time) Glad to say ride back was better, no stoppages other than to switch lights on, but fast hills a bit scary on the hoods. Great to have a following breeze too, though actually glad it wasn’t as strong as not sure how I’d have felt at high speeds with limited positioning. Return journey in 1 hour 35 giving an average speed of 26.8kph – still pretty slow… and still felt exhausted by time home… still think I’m paying price of running half marathon when not well. Hope I get my fitness back one day…

Well, that’s getting there and back… now down to the really important stuff. Gerard Kelly was the main speaker, and ‘Prismatic Mission’ is basically his reflections on what we need to be and be about in mission as the church of Jesus Christ – it may one day become a book – if it does, its worth having!!

The approach wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was basically an extensive reflection on Ephesians 3, focusing in as a base particularly on Ephesians 3:10 – New International Version

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,

with repeated imagery taken from Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark side of the moon’ album cover.


The church is to display the manifold wisdom of God – the diversity of who he is, the breadth of his nature. Why does God do this through the church? Well, the point was made that in the same way that we don’t physically see God, so we don’t see light – we don’t see light until it hits something, in the same way we don’t see God until his presence hits something and we see his transforming effect, in the same way that light has a transforming effect on what we see.

We looked at this in, and its implications, in a wide range of ways – its effect on leadership – that our primary calling is to equip and release others to display God’s manifold wisdom in diverse ways, through diverse characters (all created in the image of God displaying the diversity of his creativity) in diverse places – not just in church, but in our homes, in our communities, in our work places, in our schools, when we’re on holiday – wherever we are and whatever we are doing. We looked at themes under the colours of the spectrum, but it probably wouldn’t be right to reproduce them all here – suffice there were several that really struck home with the things that I have been reflecting on in terms of what marks the church out as different from any other social club, in terms of what it means to be not just a multinational people but also a multicultural people, expressing the diversity of God’s creativity (apparently the new word for this area of thinking in large global companies is ‘metanational’ instead of ‘multinational’ expressing a desire to bring the contributions of the many parts to the whole, rather than just bringing a single approach to the many) – as an insert here, I shared in this being displayed delightfully at Bedford Pentecostal Church, Roise St on Sunday where the team who had gone to help build a home for Watoto in Uganda shared of their experiences, beginning and ending with some African drumming and dance which was an absolute delight.

Gerard’s wasn’t the only contribution to the 24 hours! There was also an excellent time of sharing and communion to start the day on Wednesday. Part the way through the day Pieter Van Waarde shared briefly on ‘Building ministry teams that L.A.S.T.’ He started by saying that in the church there are 5 talent leaders… whom we often hear at conferences, feel inspired, envisioned by, but sometimes feel crushed by thinking ‘I could never do that’ or ‘I’ll never measure up’ etc. Then there are the rest of us who are in the main 2 talent leaders who need to do leadership in community because we do not have everything to bring in and of ourselves. He made the point that to do leadership in community needs:-
– vision
– dedication
– the right people
and fourthly, through experience, team (community) building practices.
LAST are his 4 hallmark practices for a leadership team. Briefly, these were expressed as follows:-
1. Losing regularly – the need for mutual submission – following the example of John the Baptist – he must increase that I may decrease – being prepared to submit to others in leadership even in areas where we may have opinions
2. Acknowledging problems early – dealing with problems whilst they are a dot on the horizon rather than a brick in the face – the need to talk about ‘the final 10%’ – the things that we find it hard to talk about
3. Sharing feelings appropriately – so much of what people do, or don’t do is based on what people feel – great teams talk about how they feel about things – they make time to do so and do so appropriately
4. Take both sides – we are all different as people – some are visionary, some are particular – some leap forwards – some hold back – we need all, and to accept all, and welcome all if we are to be effective as teams.

An excellent 24 hours with other little bits thrown in too. The highlight of my sabbatical so far.


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