19 years on...
It was 1st November 1998, a cold yet sunny Sunday morning. We stood in the Watford Girls' Grammar School hall in the presence of God, starting the adventure of leading Watford Community Church. We were young, apprehensive, naive and full of faith. We stood with hands laid on us, holding each others' hand tightly, and in prayer taking hold of the hand of Jesus who promised to lead us every step of the way.
As we step into our twentieth year, a few thoughts...
Firstly, a million words of gratitude would not be enough to thank Jesus for keeping true to his ongoing promise - to lead us by the hand. All praise to His name! He has never let go and He never will. Through cancer and barrenness, grief and failure, countless disappointments and a few major successes, He has held us tightly in the past, and as we step forward He urges us to extend our stride and trust Him even more.
Secondly, over the last 10,585 days we have had to offer a fair number of apologies for our weaknesses and failings, misjudgements and mistakes. In our frailty, humanity and brokenness we have missed opportunities, said or done the wrong thing and inevitably hurt people. Leadership intrinsically involves disappointing people, and living with disappointment. Thank God for his grace and faithfulness in spite of all this, and for urging us to learn from mistakes and move on (however winding and challenging the path ahead).
Thirdly, a thousand thanks to the hundreds who have shared the journey with us. Some we thought would be with us for the long haul have gone to be with the Lord, others have moved away and still others have left for other (often painful) reasons. Whilst there has been a bunch of pain mixed in along the way, ultimately joy overrides it. The joy of shared journeys and 'doing life together' is one of heaven's treasures. If you have been one of those who have let us serve you by leading, and have given your love, time, money and effort to see our vision take shape, thank you, thank you, thank you!.
As step in to this new day the eyes of our hearts are as full as ever with a burgeoning vision - to 2020 and beyond - joining the Holy Spirit in His loving work to see communities transformed, one person at a time. We have children and adults to reach, broken people to serve, stories of grace to share, powerful prayers to pray, vibrant churches to plant, and ministries to grow at home and beyond. For the glory of God, we embrace the massive challenges ahead of us.
It's the first of November, 2017 and still this ancient truth leads us on:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
May our faithful God bless you richly in this new mercy-filled day.
And, as He leads us into the future, let's hold on to Him and each other with a firm grip and wide eyes. Greater days still await us.
With love and thanks,
Tim and Helen Roberts