It's been a good week. There are fifty-two weeks each year, and I find good things in most of those weeks. But this week was definitely a good week.I have enjoyed lots of conversations and a few good meals with people who are new in town and keen to join us in mission and ministry among students and the local community in North Launceston. This is great, because I love a good chat, and a good meal. And I don't really like doing stuff by myself. It's great that God is bringing people alongside us for the next bit of the story.
In one of these conversations, I found myself describing what we are about at Barney's, as 'a missionary organisation disguised as a local church.' I kind of liked this turn of phrase, even though I only really realised I thought it once I had heard it coming out of my mouth. (aka extraversion).
But it is very definitely true. Actually, I don't really believe there should be any kind of local church other than one which views itself as a missionary organisation. But there are plenty - which is sad, and a massive waste. However, I am really encouraged that I can see signs of this not just being a crazy idea in my mind, but also something which is actually just beginning to become visible in the lives of the people we're writing this chapter of the story with.
One cool example of this is how we have a group of people at Barney's who all have a vision / passion for building community and relationships with overseas migrants who are now living in our neighbourhood. They have got together, and started a language café, which opens up a couple of times each week, where people can just come and hang out and practice talking English with people. This is a really obvious need of our local area, and particularly of the university community. It's also a really obvious sign that God cares way more than we do, about showing local people in our area that he loves them, and that he is very able to bring his people together to build community and show his love to the world.
Another real encouragement this week was our imagine network welcome BBQ for new and returning uni students. This time last year, we had a few people round our house for some food, trying to build relationship with people and create a sense of community among students and young adults that we had come into contact with in the preceding few months. A few weeks after that, we got together with a few students in the unfinished Barney's building just to pray and begin getting a feel for what God might be up to with us. This week we had over fifty people join us in the Barney's building! (which is also no longer a building site either!).
Everything still feel's new. We're definitely just at the beginning. But I can actually see, with my own eyes, some signs of fruit, of growth, of new life emerging out of the ashes of the past.
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 (Moravian Daily Text for today).