At the beginning of 2008 who would have thought that this year would have panned out as it has? When we woke up on Jan 1st, BT was a prayer that B and I were praying constantly and the events that were to unfold in church life were not even spoken into being.
The roller coaster since then has been exhilarating, terrifying and faith filled, leaving no room for ego or the faint hearted. Sean being asked to go to Amsterdam, working that through as elders to a place of Sean and Liz saying yes, then the conversations around who would then lead RFC culminating in the decision that I would lead the team here. In the midst of all this turmoil we find out we are going to have a baby.
Leading the church over the Summer was fun but challenging, leaving me realising that the undertaking ahead of me was not as straight forward as just filling Sean's boots. On Sean's return from sabbatical, he had some great insights into what needed to happen in the church and also around the areas that I needed to develop. As time went on I became acutely aware of the areas where I had been totally oblivious to the fact that I couldn't actually do certain things because I had never had to. We discussed and devised plans to aid me in leadership growth which have been invaluable, but as time went on it seemed like a steeper slope up which to push the water.
During that time my focus was very much on being the leader of the church here and it had drifted from Jesus, the one who deserves my attention before anyone or anything else. This was brought home at a Willow Creek conference that Sean and I attended. I realised that I had been chasing a badge of leadership and forfeiting the joy of living for Jesus in the process. After recalibrating my outlook I started to doubt that Amsterdam was indeed the right thing.
I could see that Sean had a fresh vision for the church here that he was trying to help me see and I felt faith rising for him to stay here in Reading.
That came to a head at the Bill Hybels day last Wednesday. During that day I felt strongly that Sean was still the guy to lead RFC which obviously meant that Amsterdam would not be planted by the Green's and that I was doing myself out of a job of leading the team in Reading.
This was both disappointing and exciting. Disappointing in the respect that I had looked forward to leading a great church of wonderful people who are up for mission and seeing lost people saved, but excited because I felt like we had hit the centre of God's will.
B and I admire Sean and Liz greatly for the fact that they were willing to uproot their family to go to Amsterdam. We admire them all the more for the big call of staying. We are looking forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with them in the coming months and years knowing that God has not finished with us here as a team in the town of Reading.
We love the fact that we are part of a team that want God to be more central to our lives than our own agendas, ambitions and comfort. We love the fact that we are on a team that puts Jesus first and makes hard calls, a team that God is shaping and wants to continue to shape as we lay our lives down for him.
Our lives are not our own, let us remember this and live lives that are sold out for Jesus and him alone.