A couple of weeks ago we posted an article by Hanna-Maria Jacob telling about a surprise visit Risen Light, Helsinki received from Maurice Nightingale and friends. Hanna-Maria told us how encouraging it had been to the church. Today, David Rawlings tells us what it was like to be one of the encouragers:
1 Cruise Ship.
2 RM Churches to visit and encourage.
That was the hectic but highly enjoyable mission a bunch of us embarked on a few weeks ago.
To 'encourage the churches in Stockholm and Helsinki’. Or so I was told.
Who’d have thought such a noble sounding thing could be so fun?
Not me, that’s for sure.
I confess, up to now I haven’t really engaged with the wider mandate of Relational Mission. I love the church I’m part of (The Gateway, Kings Lynn) and I’ve been happily sowing there for four years or so. On top of that I’ve spent time with two other Newfrontiers churches.
During that time I’ve seen numerous videos and heard many messages about church planting. You can’t really be a part of this movement and not. All the same, if I’m honest, I haven’t really been stirred.
That all changed during the course of this weekend.
Was it fun? Yes.
Did we eat well? Yes.
Did we laugh together? Yes.
Jaw dropping, mind bogglingly amazing scenery? Yes.
Did the Holy Spirit move? Yes.
Every ingredient for a fantastic time.
But what was the best and most memorable thing?
In a word - relationship.
During that short time I met so many amazing people, all with an incredible passion for Jesus. Most inspiring to me were the leaders that have sold up, packed their bags and relocated their entire families to a country they’re not familiar with and a language they don’t speak.
Personally I have always hungered to be part of a community with that kind of radical obedience to the gospel. A community of believers where the idea of church as a spectator sport simply does not exist. A community of authenticity and interdependence. All with their hand to the plough on a mission that is larger than self.
This is what I glimpsed during our visit, and it was most beautifully illustrated when we joined the Helsinki church family as they celebrated their ID student Charis before she returned home after 9 months with the church.
As members of the church took turns to honour Charis, I was moved to tears by the depth of the relationship that had so obviously developed between them all in such a short time.
It made me wonder if the authentic Christian love we read about in Paul’s letters takes root most deeply between those that have determined to lay their lives down for the sake of the gospel - together.
If so, the Newfrontiers tagline ‘Together on a global mission’ is suddenly much more than just a tagline. And 'Relational Mission' makes a lot more sense.
Now, sitting in the comfort of my lounge, I am more sure than ever of two things.
Relational Mission is the right church family for me. For now at least.
It’s only a matter of time before it’s my family’s bags getting packed.
Bring it on Jesus!
Want to taste this kind of relationship for yourself? Well now you can! This autumn we have teams going to Sweden, Latvia and Spain to support our pioneers there during some of their key events. Booking for the Stockholm trip is open now, and Smiltene and Malaga open for booking in August. One weekend of your time will be a small investment for you and a huge blessing to them - but be warned, it just might change your life...