Saturday, April 14, 2007

Passing on the baton

As you may have worked out, over the past year Clare and myself have been organising College Fellowship. College Fellowship (along with the Dearmer Society and the Marsh Society) are student-run bodies in the college. For the past couple of years, only the Fellowship has been meeting regularly. But anyway, we're coming to the end of our year in charge.

With a gap in the meetings with visiting speakers (with one more to come later in the month), we decided to have a prayer and praise night last Tuesday. One of the things we did was to pray for the new organisers - Robert and Alison. It was a special night - all immersed in prayer, as those who are remaining behind prayed for our colleagues about to get ordained and move to their new parishes; and as the leavers prayed for those left behind.

It has been thinking about the meeting since that something has struck me. As we prayed for one another, we were able to identify positive things in the people to thank God for, and to pray that they would continue in the way. As people prayed for me, it was really encouraging to hear how my colleagues viewed me... things which may not be said to your face seem to be easier said with eyes closed to God (in your hearing).

I know this is probably the case - it's our way of not wanting to give our colleagues a big head or to promote pride in them. Yet are we somehow preventing growth because we don't encourage as often as we could or should? When was the last time I thanked someone for a service led in chapel, or gave them a word of encouragement as we met in the corridors?

Derick Bingham wrote a book on Encouragement, and the original title was 'Don't leave it til he's dead.' He's getting at the notion that the only time we say good things about people are when they're lying in a box and unable to hear them.

A reading I did during the meeting also seems to build on this idea - or rather, was probably the ground of my thinking. 'And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.' (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The baton has been passed. The new leadership take over as they plan for the new year of meetings. Can I ensure that I'll be encouraging for the new leaders, and also for the new members in the coming year?

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