June 2016 - By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.


It seems amazing to me that it is nearly a year since I was ordained priest, a year which seems to have flown by, and in which I have experienced so many new things.  Some of them terrifying, some of them exhilarating, some of them sad and humbling, but all of them have never left me for a moment regretting answering God’s call on me.


And more amazing still, around a year from now it is likely that I will be going through the final processes of my formal curacy, and providing I can tick all the boxes, I will be freed from the training process, although I am sure Carol, Philip, Kim and Dorothy would all agree that you never stop learning in ministry.


But with the first year behind me, and the end in sight, this year has been one in which I have started to look more deeply at how my OLM focus will actually be lived out in our churches.  I was put forward for training on the basis that I would minister to the working age population of the church, and I think that was necessarily vague, as who knew back then what I may be suited to, or what the church would need 5 years later.


Carol and I have devoted much thought to this, and the outcome is that the primary way that my OLM focus is to be expressed is through the development and provision of resources to support discipleship within the team.


But what is discipleship?  We all know what Jesus’ disciples did, they sat at his feet and listened.   Before you start getting worried I am not expecting anyone to sit at my feet! 


It is a lot more like how Jesus’ disciples behaved after he ascended.  How did they find a way to develop from the dependency of one to one contact with a living teacher, to a self-supporting relationship with a God living within them, and working through them?


So how do we?  Well to start with, it is not simple, being a disciple of Jesus is hard, it needs some effort; it is much easier to put God in a box at 12.00 on Sunday, and not get him back out again until 10.00 the next week.  But that is not what Jesus calls us to do.  He doesn’t want us to be his people for two hours on a Sunday morning, he wants every part of our lives to be filled with his love.


As your OLM, I can’t make everyone a competent disciple, I am not sure I can even make me a competent disciple!  But I can try to offer events where you can find the space to build your relationship with God.  Everyone is different, what will work for one person, will be off-putting to someone else, but hopefully, by organising a range of activities, most people will find something they think may be for them.


So please look out for things, there is the regular study group, which everyone is welcome to, there is a Team retreat planned, and hopefully some quiet days and trips.  And if nothing that comes up appeals to you, please tell me what you would like, and we will see if it is feasible.  They key thing is doing something which resources you to become closer to God every day of the week.

Malcolm Wearing