I recently retired from being a head teacher of two church primary schools. My career spanned 36 years with both high and low points. A consistent theme was the privilege of working with young minds and hearts from many different backgrounds and being part of shaping their lives within a Godly context. My professional life was always going to lead me onto working with people and continuing to shape lives under a Fatherly direction.
Spiritual challenges and opportunities
I have found, since retiring and developing into my role as an LML, that the opportunities have far outweighed the challenges. Six months before retiring in February 2015 I received prophetic prayer into my life from the Vineyard Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, which specifically indicated that I would begin to have a ministry to Muslims! It occurred to me at the time that there was no mosque anywhere in West Lancashire!
Within 6 months of that prophetic prayer the first asylum seekers were starting arriving in Skelmersdale, my home town. These predominately young men came from many different countries and were Christians, those of no faith and of course Muslims! Wow! I knew that God had a clear role for me of reaching out to these desperate people. As I write, 18 months after beginning to work alongside these refugees, we now have nearly 120 asylum seekers from 14 different nations, which include some families. There have been challenges in reaching out to the asylum seekers, both beyond and within the church, but I believe firmly that Luke 10 verse 34 should be our guiding principle.
Alongside this ministry to refugees, other mature Christians, my Vicar (Rev Chris Spittle), the Area Dean (Rev Duncan Petty) and other diocesan ministers have played a role in directing me to work with men across the town of Skelmersdale. Gradually a missional role of reaching out to men began to take shape during 2016 and in September I was commissioned into that role.
I am also completing a Masters Degree in Christian Leadership at St Mellitus College. This is an excellent course and will finish in September 2017, with the completion of my dissertation, which has a focus on men and the church.
What might God be saying to me?
I believe God wants me to continue working with asylum seekers, but to also reach out to all men. This is taking shape in the form of bi-monthly breakfasts, where Godly focuses are provided to stir up and encourage faith, alongside excellent food!
In addition I'm systematically visiting and getting alongside men within St Paul's Parish, as my LML role initiates out from my own parish, across the town.
All of this local missional leadership is underpinned by a supporting team of men praying specifically for the ministry we have been called to. One, in particular, has agreed to specifically provide a supporting role, alongside me. This is such an encouragement!
What difference will being an LML make to my role?
My commissioning as a Local Missional Leader has been important. The service was shared alongside my wife Cerys, who was also commissioned into a Deanery role, covering being a lay worker for church and community links. Together we have a missional passion for the town of Skelmersdale and its local context. Our leadership has been given community impetus totally from a prayerful basis.
Please prayer for us as we continue to humbly try and work out theses roles. May God bless you as you reflect on what He is calling you to undertake for Him, in His kingdom.
If you've been inspired by Lawrence's story why come along to our Life Call event on 10th May?