It is the middle of September, and it already feels (and looks!) like autumn in London. The season is changing outside, and in the blue house on All Souls Avenue, we are in a new season, as well. This is a time that we have been anticipating for a year now: the first month of our ministry's first Discipleship Training School (DTS).
We have twelve students in the DTS (four continents, five nations), and in addition to growing to know God more, they are also spending time going deeper in their arts. I am leading the theatre and photography/media tracks, which means that I get to spend my time helping write a play and learning video editing as well as teaching the students about how I do theatre and photography for God, and more importantly, how they can use it to know God more intimately and to make Him known to their sphere of influence.
It's a season of growing and maturing for me. Our staff is fairly small at the moment, and I am having to learn how to lead in new areas, but also how to serve in new areas. I am learning a lot about how God's power rests on me in the areas in which I am weak. For example, I am not very good at home-maintenance. If you ask my father, he'll probably tell you that I'm actually quite rubbish at it. But I am helping lead work duties for the DTS now, which means that I have to figure out home maintenance (with the help of Google and my fellow staff members) quickly. God is helping me a lot, although not with the skills needed. He is increasing my patience, so that when I have had to try to fix the same miniature disaster with the plumbing four times this week, I have actually been able to do it instead of walking away in frustration or tears. Perhaps an increase of patience is better than an increase in my handiness skills, because it requires me to go to Him instead of depending on myself. If I want God's power to rest on me the way it talks about in 2 Corinthians, I have to give it room to work.
Last weekend we had our base-wide retreat in Harpenden, a small village about an hour outside of London. It was a beautiful weekend of worship, teachings and time together as a base. We were so busy up until the retreat that I forgot that it was coming, and the way that God spoke so clearly in that time was almost a surprise to me. While seasons of growth and going deeper with God can be painful, because it means that God points out things to be worked on, it is also beautiful, because it means that I have to reach for His presence so much more often.
It is autumn in London, and the leaves are falling, and the sun is setting earlier, and I am wearing my cardigans every day, and it is such a beautiful season, because the Spirit of God is near and at work. His work will not come back empty.