February was a quieter month than January, but there were plenty of good things in it nonetheless.
First the overview:
- I co-convened a day, with Springdale College, on “What is the Holy Spirit saying about Church Planting”.
The days was hosted by Andrew Watson, the Bishop of Aston
. 40+ leaders of churches, streams and missions organisations met together, and a surprisingly consistent picture emerged that demonstrated that the Holy Spirit really doing something fresh. But I’ll leave that to the detailed report later in this letter.
The time included a number of unplanned but significant re-connections. And I did get some personal direction from the Lord and a prophetic word for Ashburnham which I have since passed on to the Chair of the Trustees.
- Straight after Ashburnham I was at another retreat centre, Sizewell Hall in East Anglia. I was inputting into the Dawn Chorus, an emerging network.
Luke and Jo Dobson hosted a fantastic mix of people old and young, formal to horizontally laid back. The group hangs loosely around Luke and Jo, an extremely anointed young couple who have become part of the fellowship of ministries that I am seeing emerge.
- Then, perhaps the hightlight of the month was the week I hosted Georgian Banov.
I feel such a heart resonance with this love-filled man and his wife Winnie. I’m looking forward to the future connections and opportunities. While Georgian spoke at several churches over several days, the key for me was the launch session for the London School of Supranatural Ministry
entitled “The Glory of Christ in you”
, which will be the sub-title of my second book, “The Supranatural Hope”, if I ever get time to finish writing it.
- The month ended with my first two days of paid “tent making” work, IT Consulting!
Those where the headlines, so now for the detail:
The Church Planting symposium went very well although we fell a few short of the breakeven point. I had expected my input to have been a different more radical voice among the ordered strategies of the professionals, yet I discovered that my feel/observation in the Holy Spirit was shared by pretty much every one who came.
In the 1990’s I was very involved in the Saturation Church planting agenda: back then healthy churches had been taking the initiative to church plant and we worked to get the support and resourcing of denominations to endorse and facilitate what these churches where doing. But more recently, my observation has been that it is individuals responding to the call of the Spirit on their lives that are taking the initiative for church planting (and many other evangelistic initiatives like Street Pastors and Healing on the Streets). These inspired individuals are getting on and doing stuff before the "professionals" (I guess I'm in that category) know anything about it!
This observation was shared by almost every organisation and stream present.
In my own experience, I have been meeting a number of emerging and new church plant leaders over the last year. These leaders are not looking for a heavy oversight or ownership, often they are not even sure if their church will be around in a few years time. But they are looking for encouragement, mentoring and fathering for the moment as new converts or returning prodigals gather around them. I expect to have various stories to report on these things over the coming months.
During my time at Ashburnham I had the opportunity to re-connect with two old friends and meet up with two newer ones too. It was great to be able to get time with Chris Gidney, theatre promoter, founder of Christians in Entertainment, evangelist and now Christian Cruise organiser. Chris got me my first job as a 17 year old on the West End production of “Bugsy Malone”. I’m always interested when Jesus re-connects people… my experience is that often leads to something new and fruitful. Check out their website, Chris is a wonderful man.
I also got time with Danny Pritchard, who now works for Ashburnham. Danny was my first coach/mentor in terms of evangelism and youth work... This was back in the days when it was considered good to be reckless, before the flood of health and safety. It would be indulgent to revisit some of what we got up to back when I was 20!
Just before I had left for my prayer time out, my friend Francis Agbana had emailed a 21 page prophetic word to me to me, about the importance for the next phase of life of those that have opened doors in the past.. And here I was: meeting up with Chris who got me my first job; staying with Danny who led the first missions I went on as a teenager; I also made contact with an Ashburnham Trustee, Roger, to give the Trust a prophetic word. Roger had given me two very significant directional words when I was in my twenties.
Back when I was a child we used to holiday in a little cottage attached to Sizewell Hall, a Christian Conference venue half a mile down the coast from the nuclear power station… the sea is warm the whole year through! It was a real trip down memory lane to join a loose mix of people, church leaders and ministries for time away together. It was so encouraging being with such a diverse but hungry group. One lad Hadleigh and his young family really struck a chord, they have deliberately moved into a very Islamised neighbourhood to be a light for Jesus. This may be the UK, but what they do has real risk to it. I had the opportunity to encourage and prophecy over adults and children alike.
At the end of the month it was wonderful to host Georgian Banov. There is so much joy everywhere Georgian goes, but he is far from lightweight. Both he and and his wife Winnie traveled with a separate case each for their multiple translations of the Bible, They can't travel without them. Georgian was particularly buoyant as he had just come from the launch of a brand new scholarly version of the New Testament direct into Bulgarian along with a Greek Dictionary/Lexicon. This is the first fruits of what has so far been a twelve year labour overseen by Georgian, the next phases start to produce modern and easy to read versions based on the literal –interlinear version they have just produced.
I had great fun arranging and sharing in the ministry at a number of events, Georgian has a focus on the basic but powerful fulness of the work of Christ on the cross. On the Saturday, Georgian bought the message into the first of my London School of Supranatural Ministry
days, you can see pictures and listen to the teaching on-line.
The last two days of February where days of paid IT consulting work. Really useful as I still have less income than basic expenditure. Please pray I get a few days each month and that I see a step up in the support and gifts I get from other sources.
Thanks for your interest. Jesus is very good! (Author: Christen Forster
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