Preparing to Plant : Changes

 

We thought it would be good to share with you on this blog post some of the  changes we have had to journey as we took the step to move to Inverness to set up a new Vineyard Church. So we are both going to share a little what has been happening, what God has been doing in us personally and what we are celebrating! We hope it gives a little insight into the last year for us.

Don’t do it alone

It has without a doubt been the quickest year of my life! I said in one of the last blogs about the early days of starting to work on the church, coming from a large staff team to just me. those first few months were tough, and lonely at points. So I have to be intentional in my week in meeting with folk at church for coffees, having 1 or 2 coffee shops you visit regularly to work, meeting with folk outwith church, having friends to play snooker with or hit afew golf balls. Having connections is vital church planting and they don’t fall on your lap. The Vineyard movement and other churches in the city have been terrific. I can honestly say you can contact any Vineyard church and they are so open handed and supportive, its super special. What has been so important for me also has been that one or two people you can say how you are really feeling, what is going on in your spiritual walk and what Jesus is saying to you personally, not the church. That has been so important for me.

Embrace the crazyness

Alongside Mhairi working 2 long days a week as a nurse, and looking after our two boys 2 days a week (3 and 1) and prepping for Sundays some weeks are a blur, and our teams now understand why we serve such strong coffee on Sundays! ha. But we are OK with that and have learned to go easy on ourselves, but also whilst setting faith filled goals. That’s got to still happen otherwise we rely on ourselves and we just tick along. We want to do our best , but God understands and will move through our best offerings, inspite of the weeks we have had. He is gracious. Nearly everyday since we have moved we have said to each other : We are crazy aren’t we?! And we both agree we are! You need that little recognition of the crazy, sacrificial cost church planting carries, and that there is no earthly reason that makes sense for such an adventure. We actually find it comforting to remind ourselves of that – its not in our strength. The amount of times I have whispered under my breath before speaking on Sundays, before conversations or when looking at the finances: “Its over to you God.” helps us keep the main thing the main thing in these early days. He knows the stresses and struggles and insecurities…And he still uses little old us ! And that’s what makes it worth it, time and time again, he isn’t looking for polished and perfect, he just looks for our obedience.

New season with Jesus

This last year, I have found a new and exciting season in my walk with God. Its like I am rediscovering afresh who he is and who I am in him. And I feel this is benefiting me in my walk as a follower of Jesus, and pastor, husband and father. Still get it wrong, still get the balancing everything wrong but have around me some great mentors, coaches who speak life encouragement and gold into my life. Worship has been the most precious thing for me, and being in the highlands Spotify and an hour roadtrip into the hills is good for the soul and I find so much refreshment in that. So that is exciting and the church…I am biased but its the best , I love it , I love the people, I love seeing people come alive, I love meeting new folk, I love looking out and seeing God so what only he can do. I love seeing our boys toddle off to Vineyard Tots and sing songs of hope the rest of the week, I love hosting and dreaming and scheming with folk that we would never have had the opportunity to meet had we not moved, I love receiving email after email of little God moments, and stories and encounters and encouragements. That’s the biggest joy. And even though we have had some tough stuff I say…..imagine if we didn’t do this?! Even 10 months in, the amount God has orchestrated has been remarkable and we just know it is the beginning!

Here’s to the immeasurably more!

With love,

Thomas