(*please skip if you have not been following this story). In 1982, twin timetables were set in motion. The slowest concerned the building project. Talking was easy but what would it all coast? A couple of professionals on the committee reckoned that it would cost at least of £300,000 (this is in 1982 when a pound was a pound!) We realized no further progress could be made without appointing an architect and getting serious. Really serious.
It had taken twenty-four Use of Premises Committee meetings before we brought the name forward of Saunders Boston as our architects in July 1982! So many meetings but at last the timetable was set to go. Any reader who has been through a building project will know how high excitement at the beginning begins to dribble away as practical implications ram home. Vitally, everyone in the church fellowship needed to share with free imagination about what might be - what spaces we might need for what mission purposes - in order to draft a basic working brief for the architects. Actually it took sixteen months before the architects could next report.
The timetable for an assistant minister was faster. Again a brief was needed. What would we expect this person to focus on? Where were the weakest areas of church life? And, of course, there were many practical details such as how would we best find another minister? Early we agreed to seek to call a leaving student from one of our theological colleges. And the church saw a prime need to focus on people in their twenties and thirties. The continuing rapid growth in the size of the fellowship and its commitments needed a gifted all-round pastor too. I was concerned also for someone to complement me in preaching at one morning and two evening services each month as well as leading worship. Actually, I wanted them to take a key part in leadership - baptizing, marrying, burying, teaching, and above all loving. Right in the thick of it.
Commonly churches seeking a new minister have an ambitious wish-list! I realize we did too...and the outcome as we kept praying surpassed expectations.