It’s just after midnight and the rain is starting to fall hard on my tent, in the middle of a field in Feilding. It’s been an interesting day – working on usual work stuff and Fairfax deadlines whilst in the middle of a festival.

Personal highlights so far have included a couple of special chats with people in regards to the camp, ideas and structure. It’s also been great to have the chance to share what I hope and pray have been significant words with people I care about.

Today Rich Johnson and Matty Bruns from St Pauls turned up – Rich knows lots of people I know, so hopefully we’ll continue to have the opportunity to connect, especially because we are so closely proximated during the week. In a former life, I worked at the same radio station as Matty, and ocassionally churched together and generally have swung in some of the same circles. He’s just been employed as the youth and student worker at St Pauls, after a long time working for Attitude – a youth work organisation with a difference, working with inschool presentations on health and lifeskills.

Sam took us to lunch and we had the opportunity to talk long and hard about all sorts. It was really great to connect with Matty and have the opportunity to have mini-rants. I’m really hopeful of the opportunity to continue to connect, share ideas and sharpen one another. It’s all good.

Soul Survivor – More Thoughts.

1. Talking with Matty illuminated something I had been trying to put my finger on. There is an enormous sense of old school Summer Harvests from the mid-late 80’s and mid 90’s about Soul Survivor – in regards to the simplicity of the main programme. It’s all singing and speaking, then followed by waiting on God, more singing, more prayer. There’s nothing wrong with it at all but it doesn’t feel all complete either – so that’s something interesting to consider.

2. There is so much waiting on God and expectation of the Holy Spirit to move that one could almost feel drained of spontaneity. Even tonight when we engaged in a time of prayer and “waiting on the Holy Spirit” at the end of the first worship bracket – to the extent that Sam didn’t speak tonight and probably will tomorrow… but balance that with the beauty and gentleness of how God was speaking and moving tonight in that time. It was great to pray for people in this environment, even if it does feel like a timewarp to another time and space.

Is it a movement sideways, forward or back? Have we moved on with or without reason? There was a time when all the Baptist events I went to had this same flavour – and similarly amongst the Pentecostal church. Now there is a tangible absence – so what has changed? Us, the Spirit, the expectation, the preparedness?

3. With such a strong emphasis on prayer ministry, more specifically ministry of the Holy Spirit, where ‘prayers’ are referred to as ‘enablers’ and asked not to pray specifically other than to ‘bless’ and ‘pray with’ the work of the Holy Spirit; it seems really really out of place to not have a follow up process for kids/adults who are responding and experiencing significant things with the Spirit. There’s no response room or followup, rather the prayers pray without verification, qualification etc, and there are no names transferred. The work that is “God’s to do, not ours” .. also then stands alone from ongoing supportive community work and accountability.

4. Casual observation allows one to see a lot of personality types, leadership structures, leadership styles and habits when you have the freedom to simply watch and see how people operate with one another. It’s a lonely environment to a certain extent because the core of the whole ministry/mission project is built on relationships within a core group, that then radiate into other corresponding and intersecting relationships. Unless you are structurally integral to the core of those relationships – it’s easy to feel divorced from understanding the cultural emphasis and momentum of what’s goine on here. So – I have to learn to undo the eyes that see with what I commonly experience, and begin to see with new eyes that can learn from being in this place too.