Mission 18 continued...
Friday evening saw around 55 teenage members of HT and their friends come to an explosive evening of Curry and Fireworks. Curry provided by Ruchitas (as good as ever); fireworks ignited by Tim Hart; good news about Jesus delivered by Rob Tearle (a member of the Mission Team). The evening was typically chaotic up until Rob delivered his talk, and we heard abut how Jesus is both real and relevant - not just a historic figure, but the one who shines his light into our hearts to reveal the darkness and who is light to reveal God's gift of life to us.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,
Whilst this was going on, in the room next door were a bunch of men eating fish and chips and listening to Lee McMunn talk about finding 'rest' with God through Jesus - which doesn't mean inactivity!
On Saturday morning around 80 women gathered in the hall for breakfast and a testimony from Christine Hartley (Mission Team member) about how Jesus had drawn her to himself and changed her life. I wasn't there, but her story made a deep impression on those who were, and it won't be forgotten quickly.
Throughout Saturday the team joined the HT regulars on the Market Bookstall in the centre of Redhill, offering free coffee & tea to passers by, and the chance to talk about some of life's big issues. Numerous conversations took place, literature was given away and invitations were given to Christianity Explored and to our services the next day.
The church hall was turned into a Comedy Club for Saturday evening, as Mark Palmer came and did a very (very) funny stand-up set. Mark is a comedian who's style of observational comedy is face-achingly funny. Around 120 people (including HT members and lots of guests) bought tickets. We followed that with a talk from Lee: 'Does God laugh?' - following a comedian with a straight talk was always going to be a 'big ask', but Lee was engaging and challenging in inviting people to know real joy through a relationship with the God who made us and knows us.
In our Sunday services we were joined by a few people we had encountered in the Market Place and on the street. Our preachers were Lee McMunn and Rob Tearle, and we heard testimonies from other members of the mission team. On Sunday evening we prayed for Trinity Church Scarborough as Lee told us about his hopes and priorities for coming months.
I am aware that I haven't covered all the events that happened during the Mission - the Oasis meeting on Friday morning, the two Home Groups who organised evangelistic events, the (superb) Timperley Cookery Club event...and others.
Behind all the events has been a Mission Planning Team: Sarah, Rachel, Steve, Verity and Sonya - all of whom threw themselves wholeheartedly into the organising of events, catering, hospitality etc. (You did a tremendous job - thank you!)
Thank you to you if you had the courage to invite a guest to a Mission event - keep praying and taking opportunities to share the good news of Jesus!
So, a whole load of planning, time, effort, adrenaline, prayer and faith has gone into a few days of Mission! How do we evaluate it?
On one level there is a simple question to ask ourselves: Did we hold out the good news about Jesus faithfully, so that God, by His Spirit can take that and use it to change lives?
I'm grateful that those who spoke in formal settings and informal conversations were working to that end, and that we can have confidence that God will continue to be at work in the hearts and lives of those who listened.
There is another spin-off of doing a Mission - and that is the maturing and reshaping of those who get involved in sharing the gospel. I know that for some of the 'home' team, this week has been an unforgettable and potentially life-changing one - as they stepped out in faith they have discovered gifts that they never knew they had!
And finally... Maybe you were at one or two of the events and services and would like to talk / think more about what you heard. Here is a link to a course that we are running in coming weeks: Take a look at the video, and call the church office or sign up in the foyer this Sunday if you're interested.