Sunday, 9 November 2008

Amsterdam Day postponed

The last 9 months have been an unforgettable journey. In April of this year, in light of Romans 12v1, Liz and I decided to move our family to Amsterdam to plant an international church. We put our house on the market, accepted an offer, made plans to move this December and transition out of leading Reading Family Church.

Yet through all this I found I had an underlying heaviness of heart. However, my head was clear on the subject (after all it is a very reasonable thing to do) so I resolved to keep moving forward expecting my heart to catch up. Yet the lack of connection between my head & heart troubled me.

In October we were asked to delay our move to allow further time to build the core planting team. This delay was unwelcome but it did further expose how my heart felt. I chatted these feelings through with David Stroud who gave me good advice on how to further explore them.

By then I was interacting with potential church plant team members and was finding it hard to encourage others to come (given my own lack of consistent joy in going). This reached a climax this week with the onset of the Amsterdam Day Sunday 16th.

I have discovered I don’t feel a unique, robust calling that gives joy, that I can lean into. After talking all this through with trusted friends, Liz and I concluded that we should call it a day. I have chatted this through with David and he graciously released us from leading the church plant.

So we will not be moving to Amsterdam. I will continue to be involved in the plant with Tony Thompson, we still plan to go there in 10 days time. Tony will take the lead on the plant, supported by myself. We intend to keep the face book group active and the website running (although it will need editing!).

In it all Liz and I are disappointed but at peace. We met some good people, Gerke and Maxine in particular, and had great fun meeting the Dutch churches. We feel we ran at it with all our might but I can’t manufacture a head & heart connection.

I will contact each person who has registered for the Amsterdam Day to ensure they don’t travel to Reading next Sunday. Tony plans to reschedule the day when things are clearer.


Nitin said...

hi Sean...I thought I'd say I think you were very brave to make your decision about Amsterdam...please don't feel like you're eating 'humble pie'...I really don't think its a case of that...nobody can be right all the the end of the day, I think God will judge based on your good intentions...and you'll be rewarded in Heaven

also, am sure I speak for everyone when I say it'll be absolutely great to continue to see you on Sunday mornings...

Becki said...

First, I want to second what Nitin said! Saying 'no' to Amsterdam must have been even harder than saying 'yes', definitely not merely a case of eating humble pie.

At the local youth event on Friday we sang Chris Tomlin 'God of this City', and I was really reminded of the chorus when you spoke on Sunday:
"For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here"

I just really feel like by your staying in Reading, God hasn't taken away the chance to plant a church abroad, but given us the chance to plough on in building a church for Reading that will be the best it can be.

(Also, am very pleased that the Greens are staying in Reading as it'll be great to have Josh joining us in IMAGE and bringing an extra boy to the mix - Andrew will be relieved!)