13 November 2020
Learning to trust our hunches
At the end of a traumatic year, have you been stirred to follow your faith in new ways? If so, the Revd Matt Finch, Pioneering and Church Planting Officer, would like to hear from you.
I wonder how many of us had a global pandemic in our thoughts at the start of this year? Even if we had heard of coronavirus, very few of us will have had any concept of the devastation it could cause. And I suspect we don’t know yet what the after-effects will be in the years ahead. It has been an incredibly tough year for so many people. Yet there is reason to be hopeful. Around the Connexion stories are springing up of the Church, being the Church, in new ways. Many faithful followers of Jesus are creatively engaging with their communities, taking this time to sense what God is calling them to do now and beyond the pandemic. Even in lockdown, visions for new places for new people are emerging, and many have started in appropriately restricted ways; digital gatherings, café church takeaway services in a bag, food deliveries, carpark labyrinths and daily online prayers to name just a few.
When I think about pioneering something new, I often reflect on the way Jesus went about things. Take the story of the feeding of the 5000, a moment when Jesus gives time to understand the context and respond to its physical and spiritual needs. Mark’s account begins, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd”. The word “saw” could be understood as ‘perceived’, a deeper seeing of what the crowds hoped for. The Greek word for the “compassion” Jesus felt has roots in the word for guts or inward parts. I like to think Jesus had a gut feeling, his tummy turned, or had a hunch of how to reach the crowds with love.
The events of recent times have forced us to disengage from our normal busyness and discover different rhythms. Perhaps, you have looked out of your window at passers-by or contemplated your community wandering its streets for daily exercise? In those moments,
- What things have you perceived in a new or deeper way about the world around you?
- What are the long-felt hunches or gut feelings of what new place could begin where you live?
- Since March, who are the new people that your tummy turns with compassion for?
If you have begun to sense a desire to start something new, you are not alone. Others too, are taking steps towards pioneering a new community. We are encouraging every circuit across the Connexion to begin a new place for new people and we are excited about supporting this already growing movement. There will be webinars, downloads and an increasing number of pioneers joining the Methodist Pioneering Pathways. And yet, as important as these things are, authentic new places for new people emerge when faithful people trust God-given hunches about the communities around them for which they care so deeply.
We would love you to share with us your stories of where God is leading you and what is beginning. If you sense a calling to be a pioneer and want to explore joining the Methodist Pioneering Pathways take a look at the team’s web page and please get in touch to talk through your hunches with us!
Find out more about Matt Finch's work in Cambridgeshire where he with his local community founded mental health charity, CALMtown.