Hi everybody, October has been a fruitful and busy month and I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some of what I’ve (Mike) been up to for your encouragement.
- MTS Mission-Minded Conference
As a church, one of our key goals at St Thomas’ is to train up and equip leaders from out of our congregation for the work of the Gospel – some of whom we hope and pray will end up giving up full-time secular work for Christian ministry. For the past year, I’ve had the chance to meet weekly with a group of fine men and women from our 5pm congregation who are prayerfully considering this next step.
Three weekends ago, 7 of us from this group had the opportunity to attend the MTS Mission-Minded Conference in Katoomba. It was a great time of fellowship and teaching from Simon Flinders and Phillip Jensen but the highlight was the chance for our “Donkeys” (named after Balaam’s mount, Num 22:21) to meet and be encouraged by around 500-or-so others also actively considering their ministry futures. As a result of this time together and a number of good discussions, we now have 4 or 5 people thinking seriously about doing an apprenticeship at St Thomas’ within the next two years. God is good. Please:
- pray that He might indeed continue to raise up workers for His harvest who are willing to count the cost and give up their lives in His service;
- pray for our Donkeys; and especially that God might grow and equip these young people with wisdom, courage and everything they need for the next step; and that we as a church might encourage, support and cheer them on in pursuit of in this noble calling (1 Tim 3:1).
- Dads’ Kids’ Weekend Away
The following weekend I had the great joy of being able to get away with a group of about 70 dads and kids from across our congregations to picturesque Kangaroo Valley. The weather was overcast, cold and uninviting; the fellowship was the opposite – sunny, warm and precious. And while Putt-Putt and trampolining were perhaps a little damper than desired, we were able to go ahead with pretty much everything we had planned so that a great time of intra- and intergenerational fun was had by all (i.e. dads hung out with dads, kids with kids, and dads with kids… great stuff)! We heard talks from the life of Hezekiah; spent a lovely Saturday evening together swapping dad jokes, encouragements and prayers; and the dads spent Sunday morning thinking together about what God teaches us about Fatherhood from the Bible.
While hard to verify, it could also be that we feasted on the finest steaks available not just in the land but in the world(!!) thanks to Geoff and Bron’s extraordinary connections. Thanks to all who prayed, served, and came for a wonderful weekend… And yum.
- Oilstone Conference
The next day (Monday), I was off again to a week-long residential leadership conference known as “Oilstone”. Named after the stone used to sharpen the blade of a knife, Oilstone was designed to equip Gospel ministry leaders. While extremely intensive (Monday – Friday, 8am until after 8pm each day), I found the course enormously enlightening, challenging and encouraging. I learned many things about myself and feel as though I have been given a useful tool kit for furthering my ministry to others. The challenge now is to put what I have learned into action in my marriage, my family, my church and life as a whole.
I am extremely grateful to be part of a church which holds training and equipping in such high regard and am grateful to Simon and the wardens who allowed and supported me in attending.
In His grace,