April has been a hectic month, kicking off with Palm Sunday/Easter services and closing out with our 5pm congregation’s annual Weekend Away, followed by my first opportunities to service lead, and our 2nd quarterly training for ministry team leaders.
The 5pm congregation’s Weekend Away was a great highlight of the past month: along with the other interns, I helped co-lead 2 of 4 elective seminars relating to the topic of “Our Humanity in Christ”. The two workshops were titled “Dignity and Identity”, and “Created to Work, for God”. These were a great training opportunity for me, as I had never prepared workshops like this before. Both were surprisingly challenging, requiring much time spent with my co-leaders (Carmen and Helen, respectively) in reading and synthesising various Bible passages. We used a theological framework tracing each topic through the timeline from Creation (in Genesis) to New Creation (in Isaiah, Romans, Revelation etc.) to understand what the Bible has to say to us as Christians, and also to teach attendees how they might work through other theological topics for themselves. We also ran Q&A after each workshop which put us on our toes, especially when challenging questions were asked of us! It was also a great encouragement that my school friend who attended Explore/Belong courses decided to attend the camp and continue to explore Christianity with us. Thank God that I had the opportunity to prepare and co-lead these workshops with the other interns; pray also that the attendees left the workshops better equipped in knowledge on the topics as they seek to live for God. Thank God for a refreshing and joyful weekend with congregation members, and pray that all attendees (including my school friend!) would reflect on and apply what they learned.
Updates on a few smaller things: I service led for the first time last Sunday, at both our traditional 8am and contemporary 11am services. Both are quite different styles, but it was encouraging to lead both congregations as we met together to hear from and apply God’s word. I also began teaching SRE, as I am now fully trained! I attended Preeti’s Year K-2 class at Parramatta Public School; it was encouraging to see the kids remember their learnings from Term 1, but I can also see that our work will be cut out for us as the kids are rather chaotic haha. Thank God for the continued opportunities I have to be trained in gospel ministry at St John’s, and pray that God will be working in the hearts of the kids at Parramatta Public School as we teach the mixed-year group class.
It was a joy to serve with the music and audio-visual teams across Easter services as we led our congregations in praise to God. The Easter weekend also heralded a move back to having 3 songs at our 9:30/11am services, which has involved extra effort from our teams in preparation and rehearsal, but they’ve stepped up to the plate. Music & AV is also one of my ministry areas which has involved the most direct opportunities for pastoral care, as I grow and develop my skills in relational care and training. Dropping the ball in my initiative means that members can easily burn out, be overburdened, or feel unsupported. Thank God for our Easter services and music during the past month, including the opportunity to include 3 songs in services! Pray that the music teams will continue to serve faithfully and joyfully, and that our congregations will participate in strong, heartfelt singing of praises to God. Pray also that I will be grown in caring for, and training, our music team members and leaders to effectively glorify God in love and service with their musical talents.
At the time of writing this, I am on leave in Melbourne for a short 5-day holiday. I have realised how challenging it is to book in time for leave and hand over ministry responsibilities: there are always things to be doing! Thank God for my time off to spend on rest and recreation, and pray that I will be refreshed on my return to sustainably serve in ministries. Pray that I will grow in entrusting God with my limited time and energies, and know that he will continue his work through others during this time.