And so break:out has come to pass. The anticipation is over and we are left to reminisce about what we enjoyed and chew over what we heard. To get you started here’s a quick summary of how it unfolded for me:
It all began as we were greeted by the smiling faces of Ali and Sarah; clipboards in hand and stickers at the ready. Hearing that the second coach was running late Marcus and I eagerly set to work trying to demolish the buffet. Buoyed by the account from Nick Benton that the food was “literally twice as good as last time” we made our way through a portion of fish, one gammon steak and a chicken curry each and thought we were going strong until we were introduced to the desert trolley, where the trays of cheesecake and mountains of cheese proved too much to overcome. Which, long story short, meant it was time for the first teaching session!
Session 1 began with a sweet smell… not of incense but air freshener as Sarah, in the politest of ways, invited us to freshen up our rooms! The only other notices (outlining the early morning sports programme) just left me quietly wondering why we couldn’t swim in the heated pool (instead of the sea, brr) or go for afternoon runs (I like my lie ins!) Still, I’m not one to rock the boat and I’m sure those guys and girls had fun! As for the session itself, it didn’t take long to realise that Sandy was full of wisdom and we hung off his words as he gave us his back story, introduced his wife, Annette, and outlined the theme for the weekend: “All I want is even more of you”. Other highlights included stories of postcard evangelism with bibles and tennis racquets, and a tale of evangelism on the tube – “Do you know Jesus, does it make a difference to your life?”
As the evening rolled round it became apparent that the hotel not only looked like a cruise ship on the outside but it very much felt like one on the inside; particularly in the “ballroom” where a Joseph medley bellowed out loud! This was a vibe that obviously inspired the Hockley brothers who decided to treat a few of us to a full evening of improvised karaoke of the highest calibre.
The second session left us inspired to step out in daring to desire spiritual gifts and it was great to see the whole church singing in the Spirit together. Sadly though, these spiritual gifts didn’t seem overwhelmingly evident during the afternoon sports, where I discovered there are more St Pete’s folk with a competitive spirit than you might think #nomajorinjuriespraisethelord!
Come session 3 we were thinking about the outlets of God in our lives (our behaviour, our words, our service, our money and our prayer). After that we prayed for Patrick and each other (in the inflammable tunnel!) and were all encouraged in a time that really felt like the whole church was connected with the Spirit. This was perhaps why we all did so well in the team games that evening!
On Sunday morning Patrick wrapped things up with a brilliant talk which left us thirsting for more and the impact of the weekend was obvious from the mile long queue for testimonies that followed.
And so all the remains to be said is a BIG thanks to everyone for playing a part and making it happen.
by Matt Shipton