Not all of us are called to uproot our lives and live in pioneering situations. For some, our part to play may be in serving, supporting and praying for those who have been called to 'go'. Jude Hankinson recently had the opportunity to do just that:
A step of faith
I was invited by Maurice Nightingale to serve at the Swedish church plant leaders conference in Malmo last weekend. This group of churches included the leaders of Exodus Church in Gothenburg, Grace Church in Stockholm, and Malmo Community Church.
I stepped out in faith into God’s rhythms of grace. I had no idea if my physical, mental or spiritual self was up to the task. I didn’t even know if I had enough money for the trip.
But I prayed that God’s grace would provide all things, I prayed continuously for God’s love and blessing that I may love and bless others. I prayed that God would go before me and that he would fight for me. I prayed that his will and kingdom would come in my actions. I prayed gratitude and thankfulness for every blessing and prayed over any areas of unbelief in my heart and prayed that every thought would be captured and made obedient to Christ. I was granted grace upon grace and every sacrifice in service I gave was repaid in abundance. It was a truly God blessed trip.
What did I actually do?
Before the trip I prayed for every person who was advancing the kingdom. I prayed into God’s faithfulness and abundance, pretty much continually: had I not I would surely have been paralysed by the sin of fear in my heart and in the world. I felt I should pay for my flight out of my own money: it was only £25 but it was £25 I didn’t think I had to spare, I was offered assistance from Maurice, but I declined opting to pray and give what I had for service of the kingdom, and trust God’s provision. Within a day of booking the flight, I got a letter from the benefits agency saying that I would receive a £25 cold weather payment, I didn’t even know such a payment existed.
When I got there I basically did all I could to serve the church elders so that they could be released to soak in their conference and advance the kingdom, what this really looked like was loving and playing with their kids, learning the ‘floss’ (a very funny dance) and chopping a lot of vegetables for all the shared meals. We joked that I was chopping for the kingdom!
And as I chopped and loved and served and released, I was being blessed, just by being in the spheres of influence of some fantastically faithful people. They blessed me with their testimonies, they bore witness in all their ways as they lived godly lives – the church they are building feels so authentic to the early church described in Acts. I was blessed by spending time under Maurice and Rachel Nightingale’s wings, they graciously discipled me and all who came near them. I was encouraged as I spent time watching people from Hope Church Ipswich, and Redeemer Church in Colchester as they served in their ministries of worship and general service. I watched as families grew in fellowship and community as they prayed and walked with Jesus together and shared this with all who came near.
I arrived home at 4am on Sunday morning, having served all day on Saturday, and thought I would sleep and sleep and sleep and not go to church that morning, but I woke at 8am, reasonably refreshed. God’s grace was still abounding and I just felt so grateful and full of love for the kingdom. I loved LCC even more than before because I was so thankful that we have an established church, with a building, tea, coffee, an army of servers, strong, established elders, and generations of faithful Christians in our church. I just felt Jesus’ pull on my heart as he drew me home to worship our heavenly Father in free and joyous abundance. As we sang that ‘all things are made possible with Him’ I thought, “My goodness, yes they are, I could never have even imagined doing this on my own!”
Since the trip I have been able to bear witness to lots of non-Christian friends, neighbours and family, about the miracles of God’s loving healing grace and on my heart releasing me from my chains to go and serve global church and advance the kingdom through servitude from a loving heart. I’ve talked lots about the Bible, especially the book of Acts. It’s been a delight to share my awe and wonder at what a good God we love. And it’s been pure luxury to draw closer and deeper still to my loving heavenly Father as I stepped out in faith and found He loved, honoured and blessed each step with abundant grace.
If you've been inspired by Jude's testimony, there is an opportunity for you to serve our pioneers through prayer on Saturday, 21 April.
We will be praying for four key areas of focus in Europe:
- Post-communist Europe
- West Europe
Find out more, and book your place, on our events page. We'd love for you to join us.