“But the true idea [of Genesis 1:26,28] is that you’re to invest your abilities to create value on the earth, to plant and to build and write and organise and heal and invent ways that bless people and cause God’s kingdom on earth to flourish.” UCB Word for Today 28.12.15
“I remain confident of this, I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart, and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13-14
- It’s only when you stop and look back that you realise another year has gone by and wonder did you make it count? I could list all the time I’ve wasted, all the things I wished I’d done but didn’t and all the times and chances I missed to do something less selfish. I’ve been spending time in the Psalms this year and all my faults, worries, regrets and concerns are there… and that is so comforting. The best thing about the Psalms is that each one can be summed up as this… “Life is often really rubbish; But GOD IS GOOD.”
- The Good News Group has continued to be a great joy in my life, but this year we have had some difficult times and challenges. Towards the end of the year we seemed to be struggling and as leaders, we felt under attack. We did, what we always know we need to do and that was to come back to prayer. We realised that in our haste to get everything set up each week, our prayer time had been pushed aside and some weeks didn’t even happen. So, with repentance we got back to praying and also hosted a whole church prayer meeting in the week of prayer. Things have been getting better since… we shouldn’t be surprised at that!
- Two of our GNG members went to be with the Lord this year and we do miss them. It is so different when you know someone responded to the gospel and knew Jesus as their saviour. Praise God that these two men did.
- We’ve had three meetings of the disability network (now called Lancashire Roofbreakers) and we are very grateful for the network and support from Tim Wood at Through the Roof. It is wonderful to see people from different churches coming together to see how we can promote and support more inclusion of people with disabilities. One church has now started a children’s ministry which is very inclusive of children with additional needs and another has a regular autism friendly children’s event. I am sure there is a lot more to come from within this group. God willing.
- I had a BRILLIANT time as part of the Keswick Convention Team with Prospects in the summer.
- Over the past 6 years I have been collating the teaching materials we have written for adults with learning disabilities, on different books of the Bible. I am beginning to explore how we can share these with others and sent them out to a couple of people we might be able to partner with to make them available more widely. We are blessed with a great Bible teaching church and have some new team members willing to write a session each term.
Resolutions 2016 (Our prayer list!)
- To pray more…learning the lesson from this year, we cannot exist without making the Lord the focus of all we do. He wants us to go forward in his will and bless us, so we cannot afford to lose our way by doing anything without God. We have loved teaching our members to pray at the Good News Group and we can make sure that we include them in praying for the things we teach, the relationships we have with each other and for those who are struggling.
- To make disciples… to help those who have been coming to GNG for a long time to grow in their faith and to make new disciples from the many people with learning disabilities and their carers whom we have not yet reached. This is going to challenge us to get out and reach out to new people in our community. The challenges include time to do so (many of our team work) and to pray for opportunities. I think God wants to open doors for us and we want to be able to take those opportunities.
- To make our teaching materials available to others. I’m in discussion about this, as I said, but whether it is put in printed form or online will be a decision to make. I’m leaning towards an online version that people can subscribe to – what would you prefer? Would you use Bible study materials for adults with learning disabilities?
- To do all we can to reach out to other churches and support them in including children and adults with additional needs. Personally this will mean praying about how I can use my own experience to support churches, but also by putting on some courses such as Makaton training from Prospects, some courses from Through the Roof and the All Inclusive training from Urban Saints. This will take some organising and marketing, so prayers for this will be appreciated. I have an idea about putting on a conference later in 2016 or even the year after. I’ve no idea how to do that, but if it is God’s will, I’m sure he can make it happen.
There, I am stopping before I get carried away. If you could remember us in your prayers, that would be wonderful, and if you are involved in ministry with people with additional needs, tell us your prayer needs below and we will pray for you. Our Good News Group love to pray and we will make a symbol for your prayers and add them to our sessions.