Friday, 5 August 2011

Where are the tent makers at #nwcsw11?

This was the first title I wrote in my journal as a potential blog post when I arrived at New Wine this year.

I suppose I've always been impressed at how Paul was a tentmaker, working hard by his own hands (1 Corinthians 4). The assumption I've always made is that he (at least) paid part of his way through his own trade. It's encouraging for those of us not in full-time ministry to see how effective Paul was.

I looked through the list of speakers and, not knowing much about them, I had written down the above title, presuming that all of the speakers would be full time ministers of some kind. Now I've since learned that I'm wrong in that - Caroline Cox, the speaker on Tuesday is clearly not in full time ministry, and there's been quite a few seminars addressing Christianity in business.

But what was interesting was when I met an old-friend who's recently left a secure full-time vicar position to plant a church in deprived part of Cardiff. It's been a calling on his and his wife's life for a few years and they've finally got the right timing from God to do it. A brave move.

What I found especially encouraging was that he will be training as a science teacher next year to support the mission financially. He even used the phrase 'tent-making'.

And as I reflected on this and other things - like words that have been spoken over me this week, and the way the New Wine leadership are always encouraging us to step out o the boat - I realised that I had answered my own question. The tent makers are all around me. We are the tent makers. I am a tent maker.

Many of use are much better at our tent-making than our following Jesus. We out our time and effort into our careers, sometimes at the detriment of everything else. It is only at events like New Wine where we realise what the balance could look like. But as Bishop Zac said last night, we need to get out of the 'garage service' and get used to being 'in Jesus' 24/7.

There are only 2 verses in the Bible which refer to Paul's trade - his tentmaking. There are many more that detail his wisdom, his exposition, his reasoning and his deeds that furthers the Kingdom. Maybe I need to think on that when I'm looking at the choices I make about how I spend my time.

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