On the 19th September I was in my first session at Mattersey with the Vice Principal and the Placement Co-ordinator. It wasn’t just me, I was with the rest of my fellow classmates and there we were told where to go on placement. For some bizarre reason, I was put under as returning to my home church, and as much as I love my home church I wanted more variety and to see how different churches opperate. So the co-ordinator did some working out and I was within minutes heading to a brand new church on the weekend.
Now some people were heading to their placement on the Friday and coming back Sunday evening, places included Nottingham, Rotherham, Lincoln. But I was heading to a church in the Maltby area just on the Sunday. There I met the leadership of the church and from then till Christmas it was very much trying to get to know people there. Which in all honesty, was rather difficult as it was just on a Sunday from about 9 AM – 5 PM so not much time to really get to know people. Now at the time I was coming to placement with someone else and we wasn’t really sure whether we’d carry on in the new year. There was other factors that went into also, but I ultimately decided to stick with the church whereas my associate went to another church and from what I hear, is doing alright there.
The reason why I decided to stay was that, granted there weren’t many opportunities for myself, and I figured that’d be because I was only there once a week for a couple of hours so how could I be of any use? So when both the Senior and Associate Pastor offered me the chance to come help in the Kid’s Ministry, I jumped at the opportunity. Then whilst I helped out there, I could then go to one of the church’s cell groups (called Frontline) and there it was much easier to get to know people. I also offered to stay over the weekend and help out with little bits here and there from the Thursday till the Sunday, so I was also at the Youth group as well which has been really good.
The decision to do this was in mid-Decemeber and I started doing this every week (given the opportunity, some weeks were busy with events or essays relating to Mattersey) in January. So my regular week looked like this:
Monday – Mattersey
Tuesday – Mattersey (AM)/Church (PM)
Wednesday – Mattersey
Thursday – Mattersey (AM)/Church (PM)
Friday – Church
Saturday – Church
Sunday – Church (AM/PM)/Mattersey (Late PM)
Which is literally 50/50 of my time, it’s either at Mattersey or here at church. Which is quite funny because there will be some times I won’t see certain people at Mattersey for weeks and then out of nowhere (like an RKO) someone will notice me and just say “I thought you left! Where have you been?” which I’ll explain at placement, and often they’ll ask whether I enjoy going there, to which I normally answer “It’d be really awkward if I didn’t!” because genuinely, I do.
Since coming to church full time in January, it has really been better and better with each given week. I have gotten to know and work with so many amazing people here, one of the highlights for me was in December I went to Frontline for the first time and I when everyone was leaving, one of the guys there just gave me a hug and said “Welcome to the family”, which may of been a cheesy thing to say to anyone else but I really took that to heart and that was pretty much a deciding factor on where I’ll be now for the next two years, studying at Mattersey.
My duties intially was helping out on a Sunday morning in the Sunday school (called Life Kids), now it hasn’t increased to me preaching on Sunday mornings, and it hasn’t increased to me getting any platform time. But something a lot better, I’m now seen as a valued member of the team.
On the last Sunday I was given a few minutes to just share a few words and I shared with a small smidget of what I’ve already talked about, but one thing that I wished I said was what is found in the first chapter of Philippians:
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” – Phil. 1:3
Because whenever I have spoken to people about my church it has always been in a positive light and even if I tried there’s nothing I can say that isn’t that bad. It is a church that its vision as well as its values and is willing on being obedient to God and following what the calling of that church is to be in their small community.
To the people at Full Life Church I just want to thank you for letting me be a part of your congregation and for letting me a part of the team. I would repeatedly say to Pastor Paul “Thanks for not kicking me out yet” to which he always has a good chuckle. But thank you for all of the oppurtunites given as well as being so open for me to come in and hang out with the cool kids. To the people that I have gotten more close to, like the Life Kids team and the people at Frontline, you guys are all phenomenal and I give nothing but love and compassion!
Love you guys and I’ll be back sooner than later!