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Inspire in Garstang

Has God ever caught you out? I don’t mean convicting you of sin, although I know he does that and it can feel a bit exposing. I mean you go into a situation thinking you know what God wants you to do and you maybe even have an idea of the outcome of it but when you reflect back something totally different has happened?

That happened to Matt and I recently when we traveled to Garstang Free Methodist Church to deliver an Into to Inspire weekend retreat. We went thinking we would be sharing about Missional Discipleship and how abiding deeper with God and living missionally in the world can be life changing for you and those around you, and we did that!

We shared about Jesus’ way of life and how we can follow in his footsteps, and we encouraged people to ask questions and think things through. We did sample band sessions throughout the weekend so people had an opportunity to put into practice what they were hearing.

At the end of the weekend we gave people the opportunity to share what they felt God was saying to them. It’s safe to say we were blown away by their responses. The things being shared were not just about what we had covered in the teaching slots. For example, 4 bands forming from the weekend with a few more in the pipeline, or one guy sharing about how much he does in the church but also how much he longs to see people ‘out there’ reached for God and he recognised Fellowship Band was the missing link in the middle. Those things are great – don’t get me wrong!

But God had really showed up and was working in a number of people in really powerful ways. One person said ‘God has taken my fear away and has richly blessed me this weekend’, someone else shared about their past experience of church and how damaging it had been but shared that in the sessions she heard God saying ‘If you don’t forgive you can’t move on, bring it to Jesus’. 

It is exciting that people have caught the vision for missional discipleship as a vital part of church life and are looking to move forward in a number of ways to encourage those who weren’t there this weekend to step up. But what I will take away from the weekend are the stories shared with me about God working to restore marriages, rebuild friendships, restore faith that was faltering and renew strength where it was failing. God showed me again that if I am available and willing he will send me into my everyday life to do his work, whether I know what that is or not. I just need to be willing.

Rachel Wright, Garstang Inspire Retreat 23-25 Sept 2022

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