Have you ever had a work colleague who made going into work ‘that’ much better? Someone you worked well with, someone who made you laugh? Someone who ‘got you’? Someone who when you worked together, made the working feel less like work and more like joy?
I have had the privilege of working alongside many brilliant people, but one of my favourites was named Lynda – we were church children’s workers together for several years. We had the same sense of humour – often ending up in floods of tears whilst praying (!), if one of us had a bad day, we could always pull it back for each other and, best of all, when we put our heads together to deliver a children’s activity – it was so much better than when we did something independently.
One of the best things about working in Lisvane has been working alongside St Denys and Rev Chris Burr. As churches not more than 100yds apart, we believe passionately that working together is how churches can have the greatest effect on a community. When Jesus prayed for all believers he asked “I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you have sent me and have loved me before the creation of the world.”John 17:23. In fact, verses 20-26 in this chapter of John make it very clear, that the world can only know God loves it if the believers work together. It makes sense really.
Well in an attempt to serve and show God’s love in Lisvane, St Denys and Lisvane Baptist are hoping to work together twice this year as two churches together, showing God’s love in the community.
During the Lisvane festival, alongside the exciting things so brilliantly run by the community, we hope to plan an afternoon tea and cakes in the Old School Car Park; a youth BBQ; a curry night (this time for men and women) with an after curry speaker; and a special community Sunday service to which all are welcome.
Secondly, many of you may well remember the huge tent we had on the field by Treetops in October last year, where we also had a team from America helping. The tent won’t be returning this year, but our American friends will be and, once again we will have a week serving Lisvane as ‘Churches Together in Community.’You can expect to see family events; events for the older people in our community; we will be praying for Lisvane together and much more.
Why is it so important to work together? The Bible and the world of management agree wholeheartedly that this is vital, whether we are churches working together, colleagues, volunteers, business people or anything in between. A Church in Wales school that I regularly used to visit had the logo ‘TEAM – Together We Achieve More’.This was certainly true in the days when I was managing week-long children’s holiday clubs – I would need a team of 40 people to ensure everything was safe, fun and the best we could make it. Without those 39 other people, many children would have had the worst time. Instead, many of those children, now adults themselves, remember the craziness we had with water slides and mini pantomimes to explore the Bible. Again, in the last two years, the Bible Society have asked me to write the All Age Service resources for their annual Bible Sunday, As the Bible Society try to embrace all church types and styles, my material must be as accessible as possible to as many churches as possible. As a result, I always ask our very own Chris Burr and my sister-in-law, who is a vicar in Gloucester, to look at my material and think about how it might work in their own churches – could it work in their churches? Without them, I could not provide the best possible material for the Bible Society – I couldn’t do it alone.
The Bible clearly tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:14 “And so the body is not made up ofone part but of many.” A great way to think of this is something that the mother tells her daughter in the film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002): “My child, your father may be the head of this house, but I am the neck and I can move him any which way I like.”
Each of us is different and together our abilities and characters make the whole. The world of management talks time and time again of how working in a team, working together encourages unity and motivates, offers different perspectives and feedback, it encourages efficiency and synergy. Significantly, the late Steve Jobs the co-founder of the multi-million dollar company, Apple, says “Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
The business of churches working together is vital – why? The Bible tells us because it’s one of the key ways we can show the love God has for all of us.
So, in coming weeks, when the timetable for the festival is available, watch out for what St Denys and Lisvane Baptist are doing together – come and join us and experience a little of that synergy, sometimes craziness, but always love, that comes from Jesus, for all of us.
Rev Chris and Ali Jensen