This past week or so we have ministered as a combination in The West Midlands, The East Midlands and Essex, Marian went solo in the East Midlands and Paul in Scotland and London. We were welcomed to a Church of England, a Church Mission, Revival FM, the French-speaking Esperance de la Gloire, two clubs and an Elim Pentecostal Church. All this on top of our jobs this has been… fun actually!
I type now upon my return from the Braintree Elim Pentecostal Church where the most excellent pastor is Alison Atkinson. Being from the West Coast of Scotland I’ve always known people from Edinburgh become Christians because the Gospel is free, but moving swiftly on, Alison is a well respected minister and someone we were honoured to be invited by. Before attending the service I made a point of logging on to the church website and listened to the various speakers she had invited previously. True to form Alison had made sure each were people who have a heart for God and a desire to bless his people. Pastors can easily fall into the trap of inviting the type of folk who will help them get on in their career, with little or no regard for the congregation, but with Alison there is no such nonsense, she wants to see the people built up, encouraged and gaining something of God. With such an approach to the Braintree people you cannot help but burn the midnight oil on your notes in order to do your very best.
I reckon a good congregation creates a good preacher as much as a good preacher helps to build a good congregation. When folk are hungry for God, love The Lord and take you as they find you rather than sit there picking away they seem to pull the best out of you. No matter how hard you work at your notes and seek God in preparation, when the people of God are like this they seem to draw out even more. What a thrill! As you can see from the background in the photo above we also told the story of our participation in the upcoming independent movie The Adventures of Paul and Marian. I don’t think I’ll do this again though, standing in front of the actor Paul Herbig makes me look fat!
St. John’s Church of England in Walmley is an impressive set up, I’d go as far as to say a role model church as they have class without snobbery and heart without mush. These folk run a fabulous facility that they make full use of both for the gospel and pastoral care. Marian and I took the men’s dinner for the ladies. All the blokes were cooking, serving and waiting while wearing their tuxedos. Respect! Going to bed at 1am and dashing off to Scotland at 4am for a 9.30am interview at Revival FM I discovered, upon arrival, that the interview was at 9.30pm. Deep sigh! Thanks to Revival FM you get to hear the Gospel presented in West Coast of Scotland accents, just what could be closer to heaven than that?
Of Pastor Ti and Esperance de la Gloire I will speak more in December, suffice to say for now that these are people you cannot help but love. Having stood with them all a full twenty years ago at the launch of Pastor Ti’s ministry I could of course only have one title to this French-speaking African congregation, Deja Vous!