If you’ve followed this blog for a while then you’d know that it started as a way of documenting the journey we have been on as suburban missionaries, exploring different ways to express church and mission.
It was a way of trying to help those from our old church stay in touch. But I don’t think anyone ever read it! Along the way it just became a place for me to reflect, vent and do the occasional brain-dump.
So for those who care, here’s the latest in the Upstream story…
As you may know not much has turned out as we had hoped or intended. I was talking with a friend yesterday about this and we both agreed strongly that in spite of where it has taken us we feel it has been an incredibly rich and valuable time. The talk of success and failure always surrounds our analysis.
I am very conscious that we have not achieved what we set out to achieve – to see lots of people become Christians and formed into a community. I’d say that is failure. We simply weren’t able to do what we thought we could. I’m not particularly happy about that because I value achievement, but along the way I have also learnt that we set some goals over which we had no control whatsover and that was pretty dumb.
As much as we haven’t achieved what we came here for, I’d say God has been able to accomplish a fair bit, sometimes because of us and often in spite of us. We can look back at many fantastic moments and many very significant achievements. They weren’t what we expected, but I do think we had a very narrow perspective in the first few years of being here.
I know the story of the boy who shot the arrow and then drew a bullseye around it, so I’m cautious of sounding like that. But I do sense God has been at work in many ways even though I have struggled with disappointment at not achieving our initial goals. As I sit here tonight I feel quite released from those pressures. I don’t lament this ‘failure’ the way I used to, yet I still long for people to meet Jesus and follow him. I guess I’m just so much aware of how little real influence I have over that.
So after last year being a difficult time as we saw 2 core families move on, we were just settling into a healthy pattern this year when we discovered that Mike & Heidi are going to off in 2 months to Broome with a work transfer. They have been fantastic friends and brilliant team members, but they are tired and in need of a rest so as this opportunity presents itself it feels right that they take it.
Our team is getting smaller… again…Effectively it leaves Gav & Helen & Danelle and I as the ‘team’.
And… you know who’s heading off next year for 9 months of travel?…
So where does that leave us then?…
Yes, we do ask the question ‘is it time to call it quits and re-think how we do life and church and mission?’ Yet in spite of the constantly shrinking team that doesn’t seem to be where God is taking us.
We all love living where we do, amongst the people around here and life feels pretty right.
I am actually quite open to finishing what we are doing and re-forming, or even moving on if need be, but as odd it may seem none of really feels drawn in that direction at this point in time. Maybe we will be in a different place in 12 or 24 months, but right now, its business as usual.
Someone asked me the other day what would make me really happy and enthused and I found myself answering straight back, ‘I’d be a pig in mud if we were able to find another two or three families to join our team.’ As I said it reminded me that my heart is very much in the work God has called us to here, but at times it does get a bit lonely and a few other people to work with would be my dream.
But given that very little else has gone to plan I am not holding my breath!