Monday, June 30, 2008

Moving again!

If you follow this blog, or if you’ve read it through from the start, you’ll know that when my family and I moved to London it was in order for us to take on a newly-created role in a suburban Baptist Church. My hope had been that it would be a place where we’d be able to spend a significant amount of time exploring the emerging church agenda, as well as helping the church identify and resolve some weaknesses in its ministry amongst 13-30 year olds.

Towards the end of last year (following on from the anniversary of my arrival here) I’ve been reflecting with colleagues and other wise friends about the way the role has actually panned out, and have become convinced that what we hoped for here just hasn’t been possible. So since the start of this year, my name has been available to churches that have been seeking a new minister, and this process has culminated in my accepting a call to be the new Senior Minister at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Wolverhampton (The Tab).

My wife and I are thrilled at the way we’ve perceived God’s leadership and direction in this decision-making time, for us as a family, and for the folks at The Tab. It will, of course, be very difficult and sad for us to leave the folks here. We’ve made a few good friends, and there will undoubtedly be some questioning and soul-searching about what the last few years have been about. We don’t feel we got it wrong, but rather that there was a God-possibility here that for a variety of reasons wasn’t able to be realised. Like the Murphy’s, I’m not bitter, and I hope the folks here aren’t either. It was an interesting experiment, and like all good experiments we learnt a lot doing it, as well as from the results we got so far.

We’ve shared the news with the church here, and the leadership took the wise decision to write to each member immediately to explain the situation. This meant that everyone knew quickly precisely what was happening. There have been those who expressed disappointment and shock, and plenty of others who could see that I was in the wrong post here, and that it was likely I was about to move on.

I realise it’s been a while since I last blogged. My colleague’s sabbatical and my own holidays have meant I’ve had little time. I’ll blog more later about holidays and the process of moving from one church to another. Let me just say that the last afternoon of my holiday was spent with my family and the Cheeky Girls (for real…), which was rather nice.

2 comments:

graham old said...

I'm really surprised to hear this, Jonathan. It doesn't sound like it was too painful for you, but it's never an easy decision to make.

I hope you've got people to talk to when you need them. If not, you know where I am.

Btw, M&S said they bumped into you recently. Small world!

Jonathan said...

thanks for the offer Graham, be good to catch up over coffee sometime anyway.

It was a tough decision, because I wasn't sure if things would change here in a way that would mean I'd be able to do what I felt called here to do. A visit and conversation with a wise old friend at the end of the year made me realise that it was better to move earlier than we'd expected. There were some good churches that we spoke to in the process, and I'm very positive about the future of the Union, given the number of churches that did seem up for some experimental expression of church.

It is indeed a small world, we were at a junction on the Isle of Wight when they drove past, we weren't sure it was them, so we called their mobile to check and it was! we had a lovely afternoon on the beach together, followed by a delicious chinese meal.

How's Erin?