A Page Turns
I sense a page turning in the life of the Leeds Vineyard. The Vineyard that met at the end of July will re-emerge in September at a different stage of its life. I don’t think our community of faith will ever be the same again – not because something has gone wrong or because anything critical has taken place but because of what I believe is going to happen. In a year’s time we will have seen a lot of change and tons of fruit from previous years’ work and ministry. At the end of this newsmail/blog you will get a sense of this from my report back from our (Newman/Flowers’) retreat.
WEEK OF PRAYER & FASTING
Our next week of prayer and fasting will start with MORE on 1 September. Please start thinking about how you might wish to join in. I will write in a couple of weeks with a plan for the week. In the meantime you can continue to pray using the attached post card (which we distributed at the last weekly worship).
From Saturday 10 August a large group of us are joining others from many other churches for a family holiday at Ashburnham. This has been a special event for many of us for many years and we always expect God to speak to us and change our lives during this week. It is one of those “thin” places. Please pray for us that this may be the case again this year.
It’s quite remarkable really. Whilst we are regularly presented with a portrait of young people as sullen, sex-obsessed, sozzled and slothful, the truth could hardly be more different (maybe that is just what we were like when we were young?).
Here is a report back from Ian and Liz Harden about Soul Survivor (an annual Christian conference for young people),“there were 5,000 people present and the event was at capacity. God is amazing and incredibly faithful and we were hugely privileged to be a part of it and witness the out workings of the Holy Spirit. Over 400 young people gave their lives to Jesus; there were many healings, bondages broken and spiritual gifts released. There was an incredible sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit over the whole campus.
A couple of our young people felt the draw and call of the Holy Spirit to be worship leaders, while another felt pressed to support and rescue orphans. Another felt inspired to find out about social justice issues and enquire how they can support and intervene in behalf of the oppressed. Another found Soul Survivor to be a safe place to explore their questions about God, Jesus and the Christian faith and has come away with more openness and hope.
All were challenged as they learnt that Jesus disciples were mostly likely aged 15-22yrs when they were called to follow. The leaders and Youth came away with an even deeper hunger to know Jesus and his transforming power in them and through them".
Attached is a work of art from Sarah Wallace to give you a way of picturing the event!
A PEAK RETREAT
Ben, Kate, Alison and I “retreated” to a little cottage in the Peak district for a couple of days a fortnight ago. We do this each year to review how the year has gone and to think and pray about the next year. We will tell you more about the results in the coming weeks but here are some of the conclusions we reached:
1. It has been a good year, although difficult. We were delighted to plant out Harrogate and Sheffield but it was hard to see so many friends and leaders move away. It was a financially draining year but we do seem to have begun to turn a corner in that. We had three wonderful baptism services and have reached many people with the gospel and with practical help – not least through the Vine.
2. We are really rather excited about the potential for next year. We are praying for, hoping for, taking risks for and working hard for a big step forward in the life of the Leeds Vineyard – both in numbers and in effectiveness for the Kingdom mission to which we have been called;
3. Our theme for the year will be “Making Headingley Our Home”. Not Home in the sense of a building but in the sense of a place where we are known and which we know. We have already started this over the last year but will invest more in the next few months. The main part will be the shift of Sunday Venue but we will also point additional Reach Out, worship, evangelism, T4:12, and every other activity we can think of, into Headingley. As I have said before several times, this doesn’t reduce our mission to the City as a whole and neither does it reduce our ministry activities in other parts of Leeds (Alison and I will still be doing lunches, no trick our treat and collecting Christmas trees in our neighbourhood). But for a season, we will lean more toward Headingley when there is the option so to do.
4. We will be tweaking our job descriptions - the main changes being that I will be handing the staff team leadership, the running of weekly worship and most of the mid-week ministries of the church over to Ben. I am increasing my time serving the Vineyard but most of that increase will go into reading, research and preparation for teaching and preaching. Alison and I continue to serve the Vineyard nationally too. Kate will be taking over complete oversight of pastoral care – mainly through housegroups.
5. We had been thinking about starting an evening service in September but have decided to defer that for a while. We would love to attract a group of people who could commit to supporting an evening service and then launch it with some oomph (a technical church planting term).
6. We are going to start offering lunch for people new to Leeds (particularly students) after weekly worship. If you would like to join a catering/serving team for this, please let me know.
Please note that the Vineyard Centre office will be sparsely populated over August. Also, Anne Button goes on maternity leave next week and her job is being covered by Colin Mundy.
I pray you have a replenishing summer as we celebrate retaining the Ashes (again).