Tuesday, 4 December 2012

'On with the Mish'

Have you ever thought to yourself 'how do I know what my calling is'?

I think that all the time...

I always wondered what it would look like to hear God's voice and follow his will.
Then he showed me that it happens every day on a small scale.  Because I'm always looking for something big and extravagant like a 10 year life plan laid out before me, I miss the small things that God does through my life every day.  And here is a little fragment of my calling this year:

If you have read my previous blog post 'In with the Bish', you will be familiar with the inspiration behind this next chapter of the story that I am about to share with you.  If you didn’t, in summary: I attended a conference with John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, who spoke on the revival of a broken Generation Y.  I was truly moved by his stories and inspired by his wisdom, and returned with an eagerness to reach out to young adults as they walk through the difficulties of life.  Because Jesus first loved me, how could I then go on to love others?  And so my mission began...

In the weeks following the conference I thought hard, felt much, and met with various people to talk about what I’d brought home with me.  I got together with Joshua the student leader at my church St.Nic’s and we discussed the best ways to accommodate this care and support for young adults.

Then ‘Reel’ was born:  

a group based on film and friends with a few meals thrown in for good measure.  We found a way to bring community back into a generation dominated by virtual social worlds and distracting technology.  Sure enough students love watching movies and love free food and are enthused to hang out with one another to share these mutual loves. You may have heard the phrase ‘the Church is the only group that exists for its non-members’, and holding steadfast to that truth, we wanted to create a community that is open to everyone of the student age, from all subcultures and backgrounds.  

So what do we actually do? 
Reel works on a 3 week cycle to give a bit of variety to the group.  We started off with a giant pot of homemade tomato soup to feed over 30 university students crammed into my flat, initiating some ice-breaker games to help people get to know one another.  On the second week we gathered to watch a film, followed by a discussion about the themes of the movie and how we can relate it to our lives and culture.  For the third week we broke down into small groups of 6-8 to have a time of openness and vulnerability with one another.  During this time we share our difficulties and successes, our pains and joys, and offer guidance and support to build genuine friendships to encourage one another through the individual journeys we walk.  And then we loop and do the whole thing again... food, film, friends!

The idea is to rely on the students to volunteer their homes as a hosting venue, working together to cook for the group or provide snacks for movie night.  Giving them this opportunity has had a fantastic impact, and I have been delighted to see young people grow in responsibility and compassion for others.  Students have brought some fascinating topics to the table in our small-groups, ranging from ‘how do I know where my life is going?’ to ‘how do I help my friend with psychological illness?’ and ‘why is Bruce Willis like Jesus?’ (don’t ask).  There have been deep questions ignited, real pains revealed, and strong relationships planted.  Reel is working.

I have learnt that if you are inspired by something, you must not just let it fade.  Reel so far has been proof to me that great things can grow from tiny seeds.  And this is just the beginning...  

You may have heard the news about the rejection of women bishops that has been bombarding the news as of late, and the talk of the church that is all criticism of dysfunction.  But behind this curtain of dispute the real work is happening.  People are united in a shared sense of compassion for the lost, and real lives are being changed, I know, I see it every week!  It doesn’t matter what the ‘system’ is doing.  It matters what the people are doing.  It matters that people are following their calling.  And the mission continues...

1 comment:

  1. I thank God for the leadership you give to this. God has been faithful and blessed your efforts.