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“They didn’t show up…”

by on April 4, 2011

After all the kind interest in our street party, I thought I’d describe another aspect of mission in Canterbury: disappointment.

For those of you still reading, sometimes a neighbour seems to want to be friends, a young bloke wants to come to our gathering, a family wants to have a play date with our kids. We make arrangements. They don’t come! Ando finds the same: someone is going to hang with him, he waits at home, they don’t show.  One neighbour has told me at least 5 times now that he’s going to come our Thursday dinner. I don’t invite: he invites himself. He never comes.

Yesterday we followed up some contacts from our street party. We chatted with one family for a while, did some gardening with them, and invited them back for lunch. Yeah, sure we’d love to. See you in half an hour. Two hours later we packed away the BBQ! No show. It’s an epidemic!

By now we take all such promises with a very large grain of salt. We’re learning to have a plan B. We’re learning to be disappointed. To not take it personally. We’re learning patience.

Now we know a little of how our loving God feels about us humans. He calls us back to him – we don’t come. He’s waited patiently for thousands of years. We’d better learn to wait a few weeks if we’re on his team.

Some other local ladies are coming for dinner tomorrow – we think…

At our team meeting yesterday we were few in number, 5 away. Karen taught us how to storyboard as part of learning to tell bible stories. We started gearing up for an Easter Friday dramatic passion storytelling. Come along if you’re free:

Good Friday, 9.30-10.30am, St Pauls Canterbury.

We finished the day with worship, it was lovely to have a couple of visitors to praise God with us. Christian finished his series on Jonah, in which he’s been challenging us with the breadth and depth of God’s commitment to bring life to his creation. Jonah was like the elder brother in the prodigal son, sitting outside and refusing to join in the joy. Like Israel amongst the nations in the time of Jesus – waiting for them all to burn. And us – are our hearts in tune with God’s when he longs for the outcasts? Or are there people in our city that we’d rather not have in our church?


  • for a potential team member as she considers her decision about whether to join us
  • for effective follow-up of connections from the neighbour day street BBQ.
  • for two team members whose involvement is hindered by chronic health trouble.

From → General

  1. Ben Hudson permalink

    Thanks for sharing this Jono.
    Just prayed that your ladies might come to dinner.

    • Bless you brother.

  2. Pete permalink

    This is so true. I think this is an Australia-wide epidemic though… not just Canterbury (facing similar problems here). Hang in there brother! Keep on keeping on. I always remember a definition of ‘successful’ evangelism I heard once:
    “Taking the initiative to share about Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit –
    and leaving the results to God.”
    It always encourages me. As you said, it’s not you they’re rejecting. We but make the invitation, God is the one who does the work.

    Praying for you guys. Pete.

    • Thanks for your encouragement and support, Pete. It’s very reassuring what you say – results are from God not us! It’s a comforting thought that we’re the junior partner in this mission!

  3. Charles Ellis permalink

    ‘for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again’ – Prov 24:16

    • sweet, sweet words for a church planter. Thankyou brother.

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