A lot of church life involves a huge input of energy for a very uncertain return. We live in faith, of course, but there are inevitable moments of thinking ‘was that worth it?’.
But sometimes, just sometimes, there is an unexpected return. And so it was with this summer’s project: The Growing Season.
The idea for The Growing Season came out of nowhere, during an hour spent thinking and writing when someone had failed to turn up for a meeting. The idea was simple: offer a set of challenges over the summer — something people could do in short bursts throughout the week, or in one hour long slot. Something that could be done anywhere, at any time, so that people could ‘catch up’ after holidays.
The only bit of careful thought was in choosing challenges that would be diverse, manageable, and — well– challenging. So, there was one on bible, one on prayer, one on life story, one on talking about God, one on asking someone about their beliefs, and one on acts of kindness.
I thought maybe half a dozen people would get involved — and that was an optimistic estimate.
But the response has been amazing. I know that at least 25-30 people chose to take part in most of the challenges, and others who claimed they haven’t have at least dipped into the odd challenge here or there.
Someone discovered that he really could read the bible so long as he used a new translation rather than the King James. A couple of people came to see that God had been present in their lives in ways and at times they had never recognized. Others had conversations about God and faith that they might not have had otherwise.
And then, remarkably, they talked about what they had done. We have just had an evening of very relaxed, wide ranging conversation about God, faith, and discipleship. The sort of conversation priests live for. And all from the tiny effort of offering six A5 sheets of paper with a weekly challenge.
Well done, all. It’s been a delight to listen to your stories.