Jayne Elliott, NJC volunteer coordinator and team leader writes this week for the NJC blog
This year is our Church’s slogan is ‘Courageous faith and action’. As part of this the Jesus Centre has set targets to double our volunteer base from 160-320 active volunteers and to increase the number of under 35 year olds volunteering from 9% to 30% of our volunteers.
The other day I scribbled a list of ways volunteering could be a way of putting courageous faith into action, by believing that:
- We do have time to volunteer even if our commitments on paper say we don’t
- God can use us to touch people with His love, however inadequate we feel for the task
- Our actions will proclaim the gospel and men will be saved.
- Through volunteering God will train our character by stretching us and getting us to do things outside of our comfort zones
- The Holy Spirit’s challenge is to discover where we go next with the Jesus Centre vision and that we could be part of the answer.
However, something I read the other day reminded me that if our activity is to be effective it must be rooted in God. The biggest challenge to me is to not lose sight of that truth in the midst of all of our activity. We must never simply work for God without making sure we know Him.
So, I’m believing that we will have met our volunteer increase targets by the end of the year; not just because of what we at the Jesus Centre will do to recruit, train, inspire, look after and keep existing volunteers, but because the Holy Spirit will work in each of our hearts and challenge us to do what we can & let Him do the rest.
One final prayer,
Lord Grant me the Serenity to accept the people I cannot change,
The Courage to change the one I can,
And the wisdom to know that person is me.
An occasional special post from Steve Jones, the Northampton Jesus Centre manager.
I found this piece in a charity magazine recently:
If you think 2011 was a bad year, brace yourself for worse. 2012 will probably go down as the first year the UK felt the full force of long-term austerity. .. In the next decade the UK will become a poorer, less equal, and potentially less harmonious place.
The article went on to say that charities are going to have to serve this increasingly needy nation with fewer resources to work with.
Unduly pessimistic? Maybe, but it made me very grateful for our team of willing volunteers at the Jesus Centre who work without pay. It also stirred me to ask myself how responsible is my stewardship of our resources, whether financial, material, or human!
Economic turmoil and social upheaval can either make us complain or shake us into gratitude for what we do have. Let’s choose the latter.
Personally I am looking forward to seeing more and more people visiting us here at the Jesus Centre and finding something of the power of Christ which changes lives at every level.
This is part three of a series of posts on the range of English speaking and writing classes and groups that meet regularly at the Jesus Centre.
For this post I spoke to Judith Hunt who runs a weekly group known as Bible Study With English. This interview explores how the group benefits non-Christians and investigates it’s complimentary niche in the Jesus Centre’s range of English teaching classes.
NJCB: Hi, thanks for your time. Where did the idea for the Bible Study with English group come from?
JH: Seeing how high demand was for our ESOL classes inspired me to start a group for Christians to learn English with us, and I actually had the idea for a few years before finally deciding to make it happen. Having a former teacher on the team helped us know how to start a constructive group.
NJCB: If I was visiting Bible Study With English for the first time, describe to me what I’d find.
JH: A friendly little community. We’re a small, informal friendship group who enjoy meeting together in the Jesus Centre to learn and help one another.
NJCB: Isn’t it just for Christians? Do non-Christians really get on with using the bible as a study tool?
JH: Originally we thought it would just be for Christians, but we’ve been surprised by how many non-Christians appreciate learning English through reading the bible and are keen to participate and interested in discussing what we read while learning.
NJCB: What do you enjoy most about the group, what’s been most fulfilling?
JH: The group is a relaxed, open and informal forum. As we teach and learn members are free to discuss spiritual stuff without any worries about putting each other off by being pushy!
NJCB: Can you give us any examples of ways in which the group has helped people, things they can now do in everyday life through being part of the group?
JH: Quite a few people in our group also attend ESOL too, so we’re part of the bigger picture of teaching English. However, because of our small size and flexible format we can work at a pace suitable for people who aren’t able to keep up with the formal ESOL course. As well as members of the group gaining confidence in their English language one of the ways I’ve seen the group work is by supporting one another through prayer- whether that’s for housing, transport, personal struggles or a job. In fact, members of the group often ask for prayer even if they’re not ‘formally’ Christian themselves. One Chinese couple went back to China inspired by the group and keen to bring what they’d seen among us back to Churches in China.
An evening for non-english speakers who want to improve their English and find friendship in an informal setting, whilst studying the bible.
The group of eight meets every Wednesday evening from 7:30pm – 9:00pm, led by Judith & team.
Open to (and popular with) non-Christians.