No one ever said the life of a missionary would be easy. One week back from annual leave, I find myself facing a legion of trials, pressures and frustrations. A meeting called at short notice by the police to discuss the antisocial behaviour of a small number of clients, building repairs, fragile relationships, difficulties with insurance and security alarms, an assault on a team member, and an excluded client who seems intent on making a nuisance of himself. All this set against the constant pressure of deadlines, long hours and the ongoing burden of Mission finances.
Enough to make a person wish he could have stayed on holiday!
There’s nothing new about any of this of course. The Apostle Paul had more than his share of pressures in his ministry, and yet he used a strange word to describe his response to these things. Content. Yes thats right, he said he was content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities (2 Cor. 12:10).
In the original language the word translated “content”means to approve of – to think well of a thing! I find that both challenging and empowering.
Challenging, because in and of myself, I am naturally prone to feeling frustrated, short tempered and grumpy when things don’t go the way I want them to go. (I know that this is hard to believe but you can ask my wife and she will confirm it is true.)
Empowering, because there is a key here to flipping obstacles, difficulties and problems, to see how they work for me not against me.
In a nutshell Paul’s argument is that things that produce weakness in his life leave him aware of his need for God’s power in his ministry. Moreover, God desires His strength to be seen in Paul’s life. What seems like a setback, a problem, a disadvantage, becomes God’s opportunity to show His power!
Two things seem to be foundational here. The first is God’s ability to make everything that happens work for our ultimate good (Rom. 8:28). The second is that by the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to see our circumstance through the lens of Romans 8:28!
It doesn’t come natural for us to see opportunities in disasters or possibilities in disappointments. Sometimes the blessings( come so heavily disguised, we find it hard to see how any good at all can come from what we are going through.
And yet, this verse encourages me to believe that by God’s help, I can choose how I perceive my circumstances. I can, by the Spirit’s enabling decide to “think well”of the difficulties and challenges I am passing through.
And I can testify, that kind of contentment is well worth experiencing!
An open day with a difference!
9.30am to 4pm
Please register your plan to come by e mail to email@example.com with your name and a comment on how you know us.
Help Needed for;
- House clearance and skip filling
- Food stock checking and rotating
- Cleaning, windows, floors, shelves. (Please bring bucket and cloths)
Please bring a packed lunch.
-At lunch time we will give an update and overview of MCM’s Narrowgate projects and exciting future plans.
In the first of a new series of regular articles Tony talks about: being a Church Liaison Officer
“Firstly I would like to thank everyone for the very warm welcome I received when I joined”
Getting to know our Projects:
” Before I could tell Church Leaders how we can help them, I had to find out about our Projects. Our Project Leaders have been extremely helpful in getting me up to speed
Martin Crowhurst showed me around the Narrowgate and Nick Stirling, our Chaplain gave me some useful insights into the workings of Windsor Drop Inn and I spent the early part of one evening with the Narrowgate team
Mary Butt invited me to join the Groundbreakers Team at an Assembly at Light Oaks Primary School (Salford), a school linked to Elmwood Church (Church I attend)
Paul Winter of Operation Joy & 4 Site took me with him as he distributed sandwiches to Homeless People in the centre of Manchester
Jenny Lemmon invited me to join the Dawn Project Team as they sang hymns to the elderly residents of Worsley Lodge Retirement Home
Rebekah Brettle of Neighbourhood Prayer Network met with me to tell me about her vision & how the Prayer Network operates
I also found our website very useful in gaining some background information particularly in relation to our history, special thanks to Kevin Birch
Meeting Church Leaders
In my previous roles I had been developing relationships with Church Leaders across Greater Manchester, in particular with Black Majority Church Pastors
It has been really pleasing to see how receptive my previous contacts have been to meeting up to discuss how Manchester City Mission can be of help to their churches
So far I have made presentations to over 20 church leaders & already we are seeing some really positive outcomes, including being invited to speak at Church events
Speaking at Church Events
On the basis of my presentation to Church Leaders I have written a new message “Personal Evangelism- what can I do” which was delivered for the first time at a Sunday Service at Deeper Life Church (New Moston) a Black Majority Church. Amazingly in the congregation that day was a Polish lady called Margaret who only a few months earlier had been a guest at our Narrowgate shelter
Terry Durose has spoken on Evangelism at “The Excellent Minister” a Ministers on Fire Network Conference (Black Majority Church Conference)
Friend of the Pastors
I have also spoken at Solemn Assembly 2014, (Black Majority Church Conference) where I was introduced as Tony, friend to the Pastors in Greater Manchester!
I would like to record what a real privilege it is to work for Manchester City Mission and how much i am enjoying being a Church Liaison Officer