The vision of The Belfrey is that we play our part in serving God’s transformation of the North. People sometimes ask me what that looks like and how they can get involved. This weekend, in the space of just a few hours, I saw 4 signs of transformation that are all important.
1. Practical Care
I was asked to jump-start someone’s car as their battery had run flat. It wasn’t a difficult job to do but I know it made a difference to them. Don’t underestimate the importance of simple, practical things like that. At work. With your neighbours. In the home. But be aware that these kind of opportunities rarely come at a convenient time! I wonder how many I’ve missed in the past. I must seize more if I’m going to play my part in transformation.
2. Restored Relationships
Next I met a couple who told me how their marriage had been falling apart. Mistakes had been made and pain experienced. But instead of separation and divorce, they’d taken the harder route of working through their issues and really communicating, so much so that their relationship is stronger than ever and they were inviting me to lead a service of renewing their marriage vows! A transformed North will see much more of that kind of thing. In every context we can help broken relationships be restored.
3. New Believers
I then caught the end of the Alpha away day and met a young man who, just a few minutes before, had become a new believer by surrendering his life to Christ. He briefly told me his story and I prayed with him. It reminded me that a transformed North will involve ordinary people choosing to become disciples. We can all play our part in encouraging people to follow Jesus. It’s the best decision anyone can make.
4. Persistent Prayer
Finally I went on to St Cuthbert’s House of Prayer where 100 Hours of Prayer was coming to and end, and I joined in the final session. It was great to see people calling out to God for their city and region – people who realise that nothing of lasting significance happens without prayer. Praying for change is something we can all do. Any time. Any place. Any where. Because prayer is powerful. So don’t give up. Prayer changes things.
So I saw all this in the space of just a few hours – and I began to imagine these kind of things happening through many people, in hundreds and thousands of places, over many days across the North of England. And I thought, that would be amazing! And then I wondered, perhaps it’s already happening…
The main way we play our part regionally is by getting stuck in locally. So don’t underestimate the difference you can make. The bigger mosaic of God’s kingdom is formed by lots of tiny fragments that are all important.