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Diary of a planter, part 2

1 May, 2014 Will Dobbie

Diary of a planter, part 2

When I last wrote, a couple of months ago, we’d held some Vision Evenings and were waiting and praying for people to join us.

I’m thrilled to report that, since then, the Lord has assembled a very special team. We span seven decades in age, 13 or more different nationalities, a wide range of social backgrounds, and some extraordinary personal testimonies to God’s grace.

Our ‘To Do’ list between now and the launch (September) is to find a venue, some musicians, some more funds, and to be growing steadily closer to each other and the Lord.

Some personal thoughts from our journey so far:

1) Language matters. Not always a lot perhaps, but it’s never without connotations. So choosing it is significant in setting the culture we’re after. Here’s just one example: between now and the launch, we’re not a ‘Core Group’ but rather a ‘Launch Team’. Two reasons:

a) ‘Core’ could imply some (non-existent) seniority in comparison to people who join us post-launch. It could foster an ‘inner-circle’ mindset, leading to a clique. On the other hand, ‘Launch’ defines us by our function. We’re here not so we can be proud of ourselves but for a reason: to get this thing off the ground. And once it’s up and running, we’re of the same standing as brothers and sisters who join us in the months and years to come.

b) ‘Group’, to my mind at least, is a mundane, static word, merely describing people who have something in common. ‘Team’ on the other hand is more dynamic, referring to people with a common purpose, working with and for each other, as they pull in the same direction. Which is what we’re aiming for at least.

2) We’re in a fight. I’ve no doubt that what we’re doing enrages Satan and gets the notice of demons. And, while they’re on our heavenly Father’s leash, they’re not without power. I’m not one for over-spiritualizing every tiny incident, but we have had our share of pastoral sadnesses, physical accidents, and other notable (sometimes strange) incidents. All of which might indicate that we’re being considered worthy of some attention. This doesn’t surprise me in the least. In fact, its absence would have surprised me more. And it spurs me on all the more – in battles worth fighting, people get hurt. So we press defiantly on, conscious of God’s loving sovereignty and perfect (though sometimes painful and puzzling) purposes.

3) My motives affect me. I’ve found that when I’m doing what I’m doing for God’s glory, it’s so much more joyful and less stressful. But when I’m doing it for other reasons (here’s a recent selection: my glory; my self-justification; the approval of others; God’s acceptance), then the joy quickly bleeds out of my work. Of course there should be an appropriate urgency (and I’m as driven as the next guy). But I’ve found that the end to which the urgency is directed makes a massive, day-to-day difference to my mindset. Doing things in the light of the truth – such as the truth that everything is for God’s glory – isn’t only right; it ‘works’! (Surprise!)

Will Dobbie Will is lead pastor of Redeemer Croydon. Privously he served in the British Army, before going into full-time Christian work in 2006.

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