Watching the Olympic Games over the last few days has rekindled memories of our involvement as a church in the events of London 2012, when we were asked to provide a safe place for the Team GB rowing team to meet their families away from the gaze of press and public after each day’s competition. It was a privilege to be involved in some small way and to meet some of the athletes who became household names during the course of those Games.
Looking back over our notes from that time, we were reminded that on several occasions during the fortnight, we heard the words “this is just what we needed,” alongside genuine and heartfelt appreciation of the service provided by volunteers in the kitchen. One small child was even heard to say, “But I don’t want to go home!” We took that as a compliment… and a challenge!
While reflecting on the service that we had offered Team GB that year, we noted that: –
Our hospitality has not been high profile. But “This is just what [they] needed.”
It has involved sacrificing our time. But “This is just what [they] needed.”
At times it has been hectic; at times dull and boring. But “This is just what [they] needed.”
We realised that in having the privilege of providing just what our rowers and their families needed by offering Christian hospitality, we showed God’s love. What happened next was up to God – but we could be sure that he is able to do far more than we can even imagine, according to his power at work in us (Eph 3:20).
Reflecting again on that experience as every church faces a new season, we are challenged by the question ‘what is needed today?’ One of the things that the last few weeks has taught us is that our circumstances remain fragile – it is still so easy for any one of us to be taken out of action at very short notice by the requirements of unexpected self-isolation. That means that whatever role we play in the life and ministry of ‘Team DGBC’, we all need to make sure that we have trained someone else up to cover for us… or that we have learned how to cover someone else’s role if required. It’s a vital part of the commitment of being part of a team.
Jesus modelled the principle as he spent three years training up his motley crew of followers to continue his ministry once he had risen and ascended. That’s why he sent his Holy Spirit to equip them with the gifts and character needed to be his representatives in a broken world.
We’ve been reminded in the last fortnight that the Olympics is based on teamwork, as athletes, coaches, administrators and organisers work together to produce elite sporting moments. So, as we realise today that what is needed is teamwork – what gifts and abilities has the Holy Spirit given you to play your part in Team DGBC? And who might God be calling you to train up to take on your role when you are either not available, or move on to a different role?
With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline