David and Janet Coffey came round for dinner the other night. They are a really nice couple and were really supportive and encouraging about our adventure here in Devon. They have arranged a prayer support group for us who will meet every month to pray for us and encourage us. We will met at David and Jan's house for lunch and prayer. It's good to have their wisdom.
One of the local PCSO's came round for a coffee and we spoke about the area and what kind of issues there are. She told me about some of the drug problems and ways in which I might be able to help. I've got quite a heart to do some volunteer work for the local needle exchange centre so I think I'm going to submit an application form. She also told me about other schemes the local police run to help the area and said that she would be in touch about other schemes they are running that I can help them out with. She really liked the concept of church that I shared with her, so hopefully I will have a good relationship with the local police.
When I was walking and praying today I was reflecting on how consumer based and result based out culture is and how that is often reflection within our churches. This time I spend everyday praying for the community has been a struggle sometimes because I feel like I should be 'showing' more 'results' for the work we have been called to do here. When people ask 'how's it going?' in regard to the church plant and I tell them that my main calling right now is to listen and pray, I feel like people find it a bit strange. I'm sure I'm being paranoid though.
The thing is, I really felt God speak to me today about how vital this time of prayer is. He reminded me of the dream I had (read here) and how important it is to build this church well. We're called to build how the Master Builder tells us and the materials we use may seem useless to others, but to God they are building something strong. We're building this church with prayer because Jesus, the Master Builder, has called us to. And in such a result based, consumer, 'I want it now' culture this can be a real challenge. Yet if the foundations are laid well, then what is built will last. I am called to be someone who shows a Gospel of grace, so how can I do that, as Eugene Peterson has said, if I am working all the time. I am called to be like Jesus and go to the mountaintop and pray. It is in these times of prayer listening to the Spirit of God that I can discern God's will for this community. It feels a little bit like being in the wilderness, but I know that is a good thing as I'm being prepared to be the Minister God calls me to be in this community.
When you cook a good meal you have to prepare well. The ingredients need to prepared. Sometimes you grow your own veg, which takes time. You have to wash and chop, season and boil, bake and wait. If you don't prepare well then the meal itself will be a real letdown. But prepare well then the meal will be well worth the wait.