Changes in my own life have paralleled changes in Newfrontiers in many ways, so the two stories somewhat intertwine.
In 2010 I handed over the Senior Pastor role of Winchester Family Church (now Hope Church Winchester) to Steve Chick. I felt God spoke to me about this and one significant part of that was to free me up to serve the wider family of churches we belong to. I was already involved in helping a number of churches so felt this would only grow with the changes going on in Newfrontiers (more about that later).
For the last 6 years, although I have been actively involved in the eldership of Hope Church, I have spent half my time out and about serving the wider church. I am grateful for Hope Church releasing me to do this, Hope Church see this as part of their calling to be an ‘Antioch type’ church, a resource base for other churches.
Over recent years my responsibilities with the Commission family of churches have grown. Now, ‘Commission’ may not be a name familiar to some of you so I need to back up and give you a little bit of Newfrontiers history. Newfrontiers is the name of a movement of churches led by Terry Virgo and his apostolic team. Newfrontiers has been around for many years and, for those of you interested in such things, could be described as a group or family of charismatic and reformed ‘new churches’. For many years I led 2 churches (Hastings and Winchester) that were fully involved at the heart of Newfrontiers. I also had the privilege of serving on some of Terry’s teams which involved me with other churches in the UK and abroad.
It was about 6 years ago that Terry Virgo recognised a number of men with apostolic gifting within the ranks of Newfrontiers and released these men to develop their own apostolic ‘spheres’ of ministry (for use of the term ‘sphere’ look at 2 Corinthians 10 v 13-16 NIV). Rather than hand over to a ‘successor’ Terry considered these men more like ‘sons’ who carried the DNA and core values of Newfrontiers. All the churches of Newfrontiers prayerfully aligned themselves with one of these new spheres, largely making their decision on the basis of existing relationships. Understandably all these changes have taken time to settle but the ‘family values’ of Newfrontiers are reflected by the leaders of all these new groups who regularly meet together. One of these ‘spheres’ is led by Guy Miller and his team, it has become known as ‘Commission’.
I had the privilege of serving on Guy’s team from the start. As Commission has grown so have my responsibilities within it. I help oversee a number of churches; mentor some younger leaders; teach on the leadership training programme; serve on the International and UK leadership teams and work with several churches in India, Portugal and Spain.
But as I look forward, I am determined to take more time to relax, reflect and refresh. I love what I do but it can be quite demanding and sometimes I wonder if my plans to enjoy a more leisurely pace are really achievable!
Marian and I have achieved some qualitative changes in our lifestyle. I am learning to discern what God is calling me to do. One of the great securities for me is the fact that I am first and foremost a servant of Jesus Christ – He is my boss and not any human agenda or organisation. I always remember something I heard one pastor said to his congregation:
” I am your servant but you are not my boss.”
All who serve the church must strike this balance if we are to remain on course with what the Lord calls us to do.