"You have to be brave to do something extraordinary for God", says Simon Martin as he speaks to the 77, listening in the Crieff church during the annual leadership training day for Scotland on Sunday 26 January. Simon went on to explain how he found himself as a young minister in a position where he was shadowing another minister who had no fear of speaking to anyone. For some of us it is easy to speak to anyone and therefore we tend to think that ministry should be easy.
Others find speaking to strangers quite a challenge, and for such, ministry could be a challenge. Learning some principles of empathy and leadership could make a big difference in the way we each approach the situation of helping a stranger. Finding something in common is always a sure way of starting a conversation. One thing all humans need is food. Eating with someone can always be a way of doing ministry. Food has played a role in some the ministries that Simon participated in, and has always proved to be a good antedote for fear.
During the annual leadership training day every year, the participants divide into smaller groups after the plenary session in the morning. Training this year, was provided for elders, deacons and deaconesses, clerks, treasurers, children's ministries leaders, youth and pathfinder leaders, communications and sabbath school. Visiting from the Trans European Division was pastors Patrick Johnson and Simon Martin. From the British Union Conference, Jacques Venter and Aftab Barki.
All these visiting leaders complimented the local leaders, who also provided direction for local church leaders, some who may have started in their roles for the first time this year. The training day is usually a whole day event, and participants get to have a chat over a good meal for lunch. As usual, the food was delicious and the cooks catered to everyone's preference. Stanborough Press was also attending, and provided a good selection of books, bibles and food for the participants to buy.
"The leadership training that happens on an annual basis like this, serves to set up local churches to continue improving the skills of their local leaders throughout the year", adds Pastor Paul Tompkins, president of the Scottish Mission. "The presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who lead, is essential for this work to be completed", is the message from Pastor Patrick Johnson, during his devotional. The message is clear, if the church is going to achieve much, we have to ask the Holy Spirit to lead us, work hard in our local churches to involve everyone, and be brave in our thinking and approach to new challenges. The Scottish Mission has shown constant growth over the last decade and more, now we have the responsibility to continue this trend and bring the message of the gospel to the rest of Scotland.
An image Gallery of this event can be seen here.