[photopress:bethel_clydach_1.jpg,thumb,right]Regular readers of this blog will be quite used to long periods going by without seeing any new content. But it’s time I explained my current silence.
For the last several weeks it’s become increasingly clear that the Lord is calling me to a new work. He has been very gracious, and led me step-by-step. Yet it is also true that the pace at which God has caused things to happen has been remarkable indeed.
Through a variety of means, during the month of April it began to be clear that the Lord was bringing my ministry in St Mellons to an end. This came as a great surprise, as I have always been (and still am) very happy in the church. But the Lord was clearly moving me on. It seemed as though He was leading me to a particular church, and as I began to push a few doors, that sense increased.
But just before I opened the very last door on that route, on the 6th May this year, I fulfilled an ordinary preaching engagement at Bethel Evangelical Church in Clydach, near Swansea. I enjoyed my day there, and the congregation were encouraged by my preaching. They invited me back, this time with a clearer sense of purpose on both sides. Now I was in a quandary. Would the Lord lead me along a clear path to one church, only to draw me to another at the final door?
I began to pray earnestly. The interest from Bethel continued. Within a three week period, I preached twice on two more Sundays and again on two Wednesdays. I met twice with the elders, and once with the church. I met with my own elders, and twice with my pastor. That’s why this blog’s been so quiet!
Then on 14th June, just 5½ weeks after my first preaching engagement at Clydach, the church issued me with a call to serve them as a part-time pastor. Five days later, I accepted that call.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride. But the great thing about roller-coasters is that there’s never any debate about where the car is going to go. It just follows the track. Even though you are sometimes afraid because it seems as though you are out of control, we know really that our course is absolutely certain. That has been my experience in these last few weeks. Some may say it’s foolhardy to do things so quickly. But when the Lord leads clearly, it’s not always virtuous to wait or delay. The track was only going in one direction, and frankly I had no idea where the brakes were anyway. We were in the Lord’s hands.
So we will begin a new chapter in our lives shortly, joining with the church in Clydach to teach, pastor, lead and to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. We would very much value your prayers. This will be a part-time ministry, but I’ll be reducing my time at the Evangelical Movement of Wales from 3½ days a week to 2, and my time doing further study from 2 days a week to 1.
Let me leave you with an extract of the letter that I wrote to the church accepting their call:
This is an exciting and humbling time for Shâron and myself, and we find it remarkable to see just how God has worked in recent weeks. It certainly seems to us that, through series of remarkable providences, God has made His way very clear. Shâron and I have been greatly impressed by the warmth of your fellowship, your eagerness to search the Scriptures, your willingness to search your own hearts and your prayerful spirit. This is a source of great encouragement as – together with you – we look to see how God would use Bethel Church in His glorious service.