By God's grace I've had a busy but exciting month. Students from both of the universities are back now, and we've been blessed to have several join us, which has meant that the student work has grown quite a lot. Students are still looking around at different churches at this stage of the year, so please pray that they'd soon settle somewhere, and that God would send us the right number of students for us to be able to look after them properly and include them in the church family.
I'm going to be doing one or two one-to-ones with students – they'll get going over the next couple of weeks, so please pray that they'd prove to be really useful for them and me, and that we'd quickly develop good relationships. I also run a student gathering each Sunday evening, which is getting going now but I think that people aren't really fully comfortable with each other yet, so please pray than an atmosphere of trust would develop, that that time would be a really useful time of fellowship and encouragement and that we'd get right the balance of being welcoming to newcomers but also being close as a group.
The weekly ministry training course that I go to is going well (the south central ministry training course, SCMTC). I'm learning a lot there, and enjoying spending time with some other people who are in the same position as me. One of the weekly sessions that we do is a workshop group. The 60 or so people on the course are split into groups of around 10, and each week one of us prepares a talk which we present to the rest of our smallgroup, and get feedback. My first one is next week (Tue 2nd) on Mark 2:1-12, so please pray for that!
Thanks to those of you who prayed for my first sermon at the church, on Amos 8-9. It seemed to go ok in the end, so praise God for that. I'm not preaching this month, but will be preaching on part of Ephesians in December.
I think I've mentioned previously that my life is a lot busier these days, with all the different stuff I have going on. Over time I only really get busier, so please pray that I would be able to balance my time and prioritise the right stuff. In that, I guess it's easy to get caught up with all of the stuff going on around me, so please pray that I would prioritise my relationship with Cathy, and also be good at keeping in touch with friends and family – people who are really important to me but can so easily get pushed out when the day-to-day things of ministry get busy.
Finally, please continue to pray for the Monday evening philosophy class that I attend. There are 9 of us in the group plus the lecturer, and I'm the only Christian there. To be honest, I feel very much out of my depth – the rest of the group are a lot more intelligent than me. I really want to show that Christian faith is not only reasonable, but provides real answers to life's questions, unlike other things. I also want to continue to learn things, and understand more about why I believe things, rather than simply just believing them because that's what I've always done. I've had some great conversations with some of the people in the group, and I feel that i'm getting to know them fairly well now, which is nice. We go to the pub after the class each week, which is a really good time to get to know people and chat through further some of the issues that we've discussed.
So, let me summarise what I'm asking for prayer for:
- Students – thank God for those who have joined as well as those who've come back, pray for the group to bond well and for me as I seek to be helpful to them, particularly through one-to-ones.
- Pray for SCMTC – that I'd continue to learn lots, and that my talk next week would go well.
- Thank God for helping me with the talk on Amos.
- Pray that I would manage my time well, and prioritise properly.
- Continue to pray for me at the Monday night philosophy class, 'Can we do without God?'.