At the time of writing I am about to celebrate nine years on the Aston community by, um, doing exactly the same things I do every week.
But it’s an opportunity to look back and wonder what happened over the space of nine years. What did I get out of it? Was the ministry improved by me being there? These are the two important questions for me, especially now as I get ready to move on in April.
The first question should be easy to answer over the next month or two. I will soon find out whether community life has prepared me for my first ‘proper’ career, for the challenges of whatever ministry is happening in the area and for forming new relationships with lovely and hard-to-love people.
The second question is much more difficult to answer. We never really see all of the outcomes of what we do. Did I show a good example as a disciple? I don’t know, although I spent time with plenty of people who did. In his 1 Corinthians letter, Paul says that on the last day our work will be shown for what it is. I think we all have a surprise coming on that day ― our own definition of what is success and what is failure will never be as good as God’s perfect wisdom.
Today I got my first card from a local church member saying ‘thank you’ for my time in Aston, and it’s encouraging but it also makes me sad that we have to choose between moving on and staying where everything is familiar. Anyway, I will miss the family I have here in the Aston household and in the wider Lee Abbey Movement, and I want to say thank you for your prayer support as I move up north and get settled in.