I’ve recently begun volunteering at a local nightshelter for the homeless and so far I’ve really enjoyed it for all sorts of reasons. It’s been a long time since I regularly worked with those without a fixed abode but I’ve always found the experience hugely beneficial.
I’m an activist by personality, I like doing as well as thinking, getting involved as well as reading and writing. However I often found that I got the balance wrong in the past, being forced into more activities that drained me and left me with little energy for what motivated me. Church planting gives me an opportunity of a fresh slate in terms of putting faith into action.
I’ve always been convinced ever since I can remember that God has a passionate concern for the least, the last and the lost. I remember watching a Tearfund film about Haiti in the early 80s as the first clear conviction that their poverty required my action. As I rediscovered my faith as a university student it was a heady mix of the Bible, soup runs & liberation theology that stirred me to pursue God wholeheartedly. Spells as an aid worker in Burundi & Kosovo, mixed with reading The Call to Conversion and Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity that deepened my discipleship.
As a church planter my work on the now defunct social justice magazine Release ( later changed to Enough) and then partnership in Breathe that kept things alive. However, somehow even though our church was being planted in a council estate and the many brilliant initiatives that came out of that, my involvement shifted from engagement to management. I became one step removed and that mostly through my own unintentional doing.
Right now as I volunteer I get to practice my Swedish, I get to live out my conviction that God cares for the destitute and that the gospel is good news to the poor and I get to learn about my adopted country not from the place of power but from the strangers, the immigrants, the broken. It’s doing me good.