A Sabbatical Perspective
Dear Fellow believers in Christ, & especially within the London District of the Methodist Church;
I write first to give thanks to God for the gift of a sabbatical. It has been an amazing time reflecting on God’s call and my ministry journey thus far. As I reflected on aspects of ‘Hybrid Church’ particularly as it pertains to how as a church we may/are discipling people through technological means in and of worship. In this I was interested in exploring how those churches who do hybrid models of worship, where others are gathered in church whilst others are connecting/zooming in from home (externally to the church building where the fellowship of believers is gathered), are being encouraged in acts of discipleship and service. How hybrid church might offer access to means of grace (e.g. fellowship, participation in sacraments, accountability to consistent prayer life etc).
Reflective groups’ sample and individuals spanning three continents (Africa, Europe & US) were engaged in conversation, prayer and fellowship meals (not to mention wonderful wines in some areas). It was exciting to see how ‘doing church’ can be vibrant, different, encouraging and affirming in our times and I was blessed with meeting some extraordinary individuals and gifted people across the board who hold high the banner of Christ in what they do. The sad state of affairs though when considering how we use technology in worship, the majority is more internally focussed and little outward facing. Most are also sadly looking at this from an non-interactive perspective which simply casts us then as just doing a form of tele-evangelism. For those who are doing it well, some exciting principles and ways of being in hybrid church mode will warm our hearts and encourage all believers in faith, for an enhanced life-affirming service to the church of Christ.
Along doing these reflections with churches and colleagues, I also had the privilege of tracing my ministry journey for the last almost thirty two years; visiting churches along the way where my formation and ministry development had been fashioned and moulded. It has been a great privilege to have a sabbatical and a great gift from God’s church through the Methodist people for which I am truly feeling blessed and grateful for.
A fuller script of my sabbatical reflections will be put on our website in due course once the sabbaticals committee has confirmed its report.
May God continue to bless and guide us as a district as we take forward the work of ministry and fulfil the mission of Christ entrusted to us.
I give thanks to God for you all and appreciate all my superintendent and chair colleagues who held things together whilst I was out galivanting in rest and refreshment through this sabbatical;