Holding and demonstrating Kingdom values is so important in the process of building and maintaining relationships, and one of those pre-eminent values is that of giving honour. So, it would be wrong not to start our reflection on the recent Barnabas England retreat without expressing our grateful thanks to Gareth and Rachel for their steady leadership in bringing the Barnabas retreat to fruition. Without them patiently working away, planning and organising it wouldn’t have happened. So to them a huge vote of thanks.
But what was the purpose of the retreat? Simply it was for Barnabas leaders to come together to dream, to pray, to discuss the way ahead for Barnabas England. As our party arrived we were immediately conscious that we were gathering with old friends as we greeted Billy, Ely City Churches pastor and his family in the car park. Janet directed us to our rooms where we were met by carefully put together welcome bags, the Lord was already speaking, hope, faith and future!
As we gathered for the first meeting we entered into worship and Father God began to speak through the body. Jill and I were amazed to find that scriptures being shared were the exact words we had been receiving lately in Leicester.
‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.’ Isaiah 43:18.
‘Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lordstrong and mighty, the Lordmighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty—he is the King of glory.’ Psalm 24
‘Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.’ Isaiah 62: 10
Gareth shared his personal story of his and Rachel’s engagement with Barnabas and of his burning passion that in 20 years hence, new leaders will have emerged from the next generation, even 200 new churches in 20 years. He challenged us with, ‘What do we want to see?’ He encouraged us to recognise who we are and that through us, God wants to do great things. ‘There are amazing leaders in this room. Anything is possible!’ There was strong emphasis on coming together to work together to see this come to pass. As Barnabas was prophetic, a risk taker and generous, so should we Barnabas Fellowship of churches be also.
The decision this year to have a fallow year for the annual camp has been a purposeful decision to allow a pause to reflect and consider where we are going. Conferences are of course wonderful opportunities, but it’s only when we come together and commit and prioritise specific actions that anything becomes possible. So in coming together for this retreat it has been recognised that we come from different places, some are tired, others have been around the mountain a few times, but as we come together in unity there is help alongside, and those carrying things that will help us to break through into new ground that He undoubtedly has for us all.
Our second day opened with worship and the recognition that the believers came together in unity and it was hugely powerful, Acts 2: 41-47. Moreover, the Lord revealed that we are all carriers of purpose, rich with talent, but the question was posed are we using our talents to the full? There followed a prayer of release. A further challenge came to let the Father take away the old thoughts and ideas, so that we could then be filled with new ones.
Yinka shared powerfullyabout the early days after he and Fiona had left Cornwall and found great support and welcome at Rockwell Green. Lately he has been processing what has happened along the way, what God has done, how He’s been purifying, often with the uncomfortable experience of making us stable, not soulish, moving in the Spirit. He has taken a ‘David’, a small group to challenge the status quo. The Turning continues apace with ‘the App’ to be launched on 17thAugust. Yet in the midst of this, who are we devoted to? It must be Christ! He must come first, and all else follows on. The conclusion of this processing, that the Turning is a sign, raising our awareness there are more waves to come. We must drink, Luke 13: 10 first drink from Him, then there’s a laying down of what we want to do for what he has for us. Do we know what we carry? There is stuff inside that needs to come out. What’s inside is more powerful than what’s outside. Do you believe the dream that God put in your heart. The need is to change our perspective, to look and behave like Jesus. Our destiny is determined by our vision, what we keep looking at we become!
The Friday evening campfire was a treat, we worshipped and shared and enjoyed toasting marshmallows.
On Saturday the first part of the morning was looking outward, and we were thrilled to hear Wiktor and Bob share in detail about what is happening in Barnabas International. Bob shared of the opportunities to be involved in the Africa work, and he will be very glad to hear of anyone interested. It looks like a new team is emerging, even as we pay tribute to those who have served faithfully up to this point, some of whom now need to pass on their baton. We were also grateful to hear first-hand from Lu Ainstein about what is happening among the work with the Bedouin Tribes and also in the local church, Kehilat Hasdey Yeshua in Arad itself. The purchase of the computer to support the work there has been a step of faith that needs to be matched with our giving. Please be generous with the International offering taking place at this time, as there is need not just in Israel but also in Zambia and Zimbabwe too.
In our second session Yinka shared from theaccount of Joseph’s story Genesis 37:3 concerning his destiny. Barnabas likewise has a destiny to provide leadership in the nation, the Turning is now a national move. Apostolic anointing enables and the ability to do this comes first through recognising the call, this enables transformation. Joseph’s character grew to enable him to carry the calling. When difficulties come, how does character respond? We mustn’t allow our soul to dictate the response. In order to reign must know what called to do. In the calling the journey is about developing the character to do it. Lack of ability is no disqualification. Kingdom implies power to rule and the geography too. Speaking changes the climate in the area to foster breakthrough. It’s not enough to know, we have to speak and do. Need to commit to reign and rule. It is easy to breakthrough if we: 1) Align to call of God. Authority links with righteousness. Authority dissipates without it; 2) Our character, our moral fibre is important; 3) Intimate despite accusations. God is watching to see how much we embrace at a given moment. No matter what the challenges, God has a solution. We are called to the more, raising up more apostolic figures. We must refuse to live out of the old.
As we left on Saturday afternoon we were encouraged that we had not just renewed friendships but had built new ones. We were encouraged to hold on to what we talked about at the retreat and to continue in ongoing dialogue.