By Ruth Matthews, on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Well, here we go again! 19 quality young people make up this year’s group, including 3 Germans, 1 Latvian, and 2 English girls who will be based in the church in Stockholm, flying to and fro for training! It always fascinates me on day one when I can see everyone is a little hesitant and unsure and then by the time they leave us eight days later they are already friends, having laughed, prayed and cried together. And, of course, played rounders, a game to which, I’m pretty sure, no one knows the proper rules…
Our days were filled with inspiring and quality teaching, thought-provoking Q & A, authentic worship, fun, testimony times, and great chats over indoor picnics! We covered topics like worship (with David Fellingham), personal development, the Holy Spirit, Old Testament overview, children’s work and setting the culture.
Many thanks to everyone who hosted students, helped by coming and praying, for Sunu who hosted the Bring and Share lunch on the Sunday, for Jon Le Marquand and the amazing Impact Team. Probably the biggest highlight was having Martin Tibbert there on day one. Thank you God for your kindness!
The next training block is November 3rd to 7th, when we will all be back in Bedford for Part 2.
By Jon Le Marquand, on Wednesday, September 10, 2014
This Sunday we’ve got Matt Partridge from Emmanuel Church, Oxford with us. He’ll be speaking at both the 9AM and 11AM Meetings. We thought we’d catch up with him before then to find out what makes Matt tick…
Hi Matt, tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 45 year old, married father of two daughters. I was raised in a Christian home, met Wendy my wife when I was 16, got married aged 23. Our daughters are called Esme (17, final year of A Levels) and Martha (8, mad on ponies).
So you’re in Oxford now. How did that come about?
To be honest neither Wendy nor I wanted to move initially. We felt pretty settled in Haywards Heath and were enjoying our work there. But after Terry Virgo and David Stroud spoke to us about the possibility we began to pray and ask God what he wanted. Within a short space of time Keith Hazel prophesied over me that ‘the going time had come’ – that God was asking us to move! The decision to move was almost immediately settled for us, but we still did not know where we were supposed to move to. Various options came along, which we considered, but only when we thought about an invitation we had previously received to move to Oxford did we feel faith and excitement. We then received two further independent confirming prophetic words and moved in July 2008.
What’s on your heart for the church in the UK at the moment?
It is fascinating to see many churches in the UK beginning to ask questions again. Questions relating to which spaces in society the church should try and occupy, how to ensure the gospel is contextualised for the cities and subcultures we hope to reach and how to connect with those who are not yet Christians outside of our reliance on formal programmes and meetings. It seems like the UK church has spent the past two or three decades implementing the answers to such questions asked by previous generations and now is a time of finding courage to ask whether new answers should be implemented. The challenge, of course, is to ask questions without losing our robust commitment to our reformed doctrine as well as our charismatic and apostolic theology. I believe there is a way to courageously ask questions without risking a slide into liberalism or powerlessness.
What do you do in your spare time?
I am keen golfer, and that takes up some of my spare time. Wendy and I also enjoy occasional meals out in Jericho, Oxford. I also love to spend time with my kids.
And finally… What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
What’s an iPod?
There are so many! I am your classic 45 year old British male: Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight’, TOTO ‘Rosanna”, can I stop now please…..