I’ve been worrying too much and praying not enough over the past few weeks about what I’m going to do next year. Feeling a call to the ministry is one thing but seeing clearly what door God is opening to you is another matter! A good friend of mine, Derek Rees, is heading up a Welsh language church plant in Swansea this coming autumn and I’ve been praying for God to open a door if he want’s me to be part of that work. This week it has become clear that God is opening a different door so I won’t be joining Derek down in Swansea. It’s a hard decision, I have mixed feelings. Being part of the new work in Swansea would have been very exiting and pulling out now makes me feel as if I have let Derek down slightly. But the door just didn’t open for me to move down there, Derek understands this and both of us will still support each other in whatever way we can.
The door that God has opened to me this week was an offer from the Baptist Association of Arfon to a pastor in training post. They have offered me generous financial support so I can finish off my PhD then move on to do some courses in the Baptist College in Bangor and whilst I do my training I’ll be based working part of the week in my local church in Bangor and perhaps other shorter placements with other churches within the Association. I suspect it will be very much a different set-up to that if I were to have gone to Swansea – but I look forward to seeing the vision God will give me to work in the Arfon area.
I guess that the main worry I have about the calling to stay and work in the Arfon area is that I will be sucked in to keeping things going as they are. Please pray that the brothers and sisters I will be working with will be willing to listen to God’s guidance with me and not just use me as a “young man” who will keep the show going as it is for another 10 years! But most important of all please pray that Christ and his Gospel rather than tradition and chapel culture will be central to my ministry.