Last Thursday morning I was getting into my car when a man cycled past my house. Nothing unusual about that. As I pulled out of my drive, though, and drove along behind him I suddenly noticed what was written on the back of his coat. In large, white, bold print letters on the back of his coat were the words, ‘It’s a Matter of Life and Death’.
At the time, I was on my way to do an errand before going to Burnham train station to meet Pete Cornford who had arranged to come across to Slough to spend some time with me. Pete is a church planter who serves a church in Ealing called Redeemer. Thursday morning was the first time I have had the privilege of spending some time with Pete and getting to know him a little.
Pete and I spent the big part of 4 hours together. We are very different. Pete is an external processor. I am an internal processor. Pete laughs a lot. I need to laugh a lot more. By the end of our time together Pete was still buzzing. I felt exhausted!
Since then I have been reflecting on the time we spent together. It has been among one of the most uncomfortable few days I have experienced for a while. But this has been good for me because I can honestly say that the time I spent with Pete were 4 of the most helpful hours I have spent with anyone since I embarked upon this journey that finds us as a family here in Slough.
I think the reason for this is in part because Pete clearly lives a life that encapsulates the above statement, ‘It’s a Matter of Life and Death’. In other words, he is someone who is determined to make the most of his life for Jesus because he understands that the place of the church in the purposes of God and the plight of the lost is too important to do anything else. Quite simply, for the 300,000 or so people who live around him in Ealing … it’s a matter of life and death.
So, all in all, I found the sense of urgency with which Pete lives very challenging. I think he probably came away from our time together shortchanged in terms of the insights into all things church planting that were exchanged between us. And I have come away wondering why God would call me to be involved in planting a church here in Slough. But I know that God has called me and by his grace I will live with a greater sense of urgency than I have lived with before. Why? Because what we’re involved in is a matter of life and death.
(By the way, if you are reading this and live in London – or are thinking of moving there – you should go along and check out Redeemer London. They meet every Sunday morning (10am) at Ealing Town Hall – you won’t regret it!)