‘…encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’

Dear friends,

Last Saturday, we had the privilege of supporting Isaac and Sarah on their wedding day, and we’re sure that those of us who watched the service, either in person or online, would agree that it was a wonderfully joyful occasion! We also spent some time at the Baptist church in which they were married, getting to know some of the leadership team there, and enjoying worshipping with them on Sunday morning. It is a large church with a vibrant youth work, and we happened to visit on a day when they had an all-age service, followed by lunch, so the worship area was humming with life the whole time we were there.

We confess that we felt a little in awe of the very gifted team leading the service, and their youthful energy made us rather envious. In fact, we felt (as not-so-young members of a small church) rather insignificant in comparison with the many talents displayed through their hospitality, technical know-how, music and pastoral care. As a result, we had expected to say our goodbyes and leave straight after the service, but instead God surprised us with conversations which were both humbling and uplifting.

We shared stories and very soon made connections; we were prayed for, and in our turn we prayed for them, accepting that the challenges we each faced were not so far removed from each other, regardless of the size of the church or the average age of its members. We were all in the business of taking the gospel to our communities, feeding the hungry, caring for the vulnerable, rejoicing and mourning, insecure and seeking God’s guidance, and we left them feeling affirmed and strengthened and aware that they felt the same. We realised again that God places us where He wants us, and that sometimes He allows us to be instrumental in the lives of others in ways we had never anticipated, but which bless us just as much as our words and actions bless them.

We were hugely encouraged by these conversations, which grew out of being part of God’s wider church, and pray that all of us will be drawn into God-given connections which demonstrate just how necessary we are to each other in the work He needs us to do.

With our love and prayers

Matthew and Pauline