In the UK, August tends to be the month that many people travel and enjoy downtime before school starts back up in September. So as we finished out the last week of August, the staff wanted to get together to spend some time planning, preparing, and praying specifically for the next twelve months.
As we sit around a table, I’m always blown away that God has brought us together to do the work of ministry as a team at this specific time in history in this specific city. When you can start tracing God’s story throughout the people around you, and see how God begins to weave things together for His purpose, our joy, and His glory there is no other response than worship.
The first day was spent talking through what this next year will look like with our staff, three interns and two church campuses. That night we went to dinner, and then came back crashed in the tree house (yes, an actual tree house) to share our testimonies and spend some time praying for one another. Besides the appearance of some abnormally large spiders, it was a privilege to hear everyone’s heart.
Wednesday was all day planning and working through big events – holidays, conferences, and calendar of events and opportunities for evangelism in the city.
We crammed a lot of dreams and plans into a short amount of time. But each day began with reminding ourselves of why we do what we do. We read and prayed through 1st Peter chapters 1 and 2… That we’ve been born again to a living hope (1:3) to prepare ourselves for action (1:13) and to be holy (1:16) that we have been given a new identity as God’s people (2:9) and to love and serve those around us, even when we are mistreated (2:13-17).
And if we don’t start there, what else matters?
A verse that we’ve used many times as a team has been Psalm 127:1 –
‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…’
Ultimately, all of the dreams and plans we have are meaningless if they are not keeping in step with where God is leading.
And that‘s one of the biggest things I love about this team – a desire to keep the first thing the first thing: Jesus lifted up.