Monday, 6 April 2009

spring harvest (1)

The Apprentice is the theme of this year’s Spring Harvest. I’ve been detecting a gradual change in this annual Christian holiday/festival/conference and this year is no exception. The usual suspects are on parade in the speaking line up, the Jeff Lucas groupies will not be disappointed, but there are more Anglicans, not least from the house of bishops. Pete Broadbent (Wilsden) has been a regular for many years, though he is up at Skegness and I am in Minehead, and this year Nick Baines (Croydon) and Mike Hill (Bristol) are also on the team.

Another significant change is that the adult programme has been redesigned around the classic Honey and Mumford adult learning styles. In the past people selected groups on the basis of which radio station they listened to or type of newspaper they read (they never did offer the Daily Sport), however, this year people are encouraged to attend groups based on their preferred learning style. A learning style questionnaire was handed out on the first evening to help people determine which group they might feel most comfortable in. I use these questionnaires all the time in my work and know I am an activist/pragmatist. Rather than focus on my preferences, I try to go for things which take me outside my comfort zone and this has often proved the most fruitful area of growth. I will be interested to see how this plays out over the next few days, but I suspect that many people will select their learning zone according to the speaker rather than their learning style. So I’ll be heading off to the Theorist zone and practice sitting on my hands and keeping my gob shut.

The event kicked off on the first night with the Big Top celebration and the speaker was the aforementioned Jeff Lucas. Jeff is always entertaining and tells a good story, though I felt that his talk was a bit light on content. Focussing on the calling of Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13) he picked up on the theme of The Apprentice and his main point was ‘You’re hired’ reflecting on our call to discipleship. I welcomed his comment that being a disciple is not about inviting Jesus into your life but answering his call to ‘follow me’. This is a valuable corrective to the occasional self-centred feel of some of the worship where there can be a danger of singing ‘It’s all about me, Jesus’ rather than ‘It’s all about you, Jesus’.

The kids have their own activities programme (though I'm not sure calling it Firestarters was a good idea) and now they are a bit older they can go to the evening sessions which creates a bit more space for Kate and I to attend other evening events. I have to confess that my participation in evening sessions is determined by the football calendar so Sunday night and Tuesday night are already sorted.

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