Taunton Deanery has gathered a small group of pioneers in this last year and I was hearing them talking about their first steps in their ministry recently. I think we have much to learn from this way of being.
They go out into their community, they look and listen and wait. They look at the ways that people interact with each other, look at what’s broken, what’s working, look for signs that God is present already. They listen as they take opportunities to chat with neighbours, at the school gate, in the pub or the shop, at work. They wonder about what might be in the future.
We sometimes call this ‘double listening’ – or perhaps ‘double looking’. We observe and listen to what is around us and at the same time we look for God’s lead, listen to His whispers and promptings, those inner convictions and “coincidences” that happen.
We can all pray these everyday prayers – it’s a way of praying that helps us align ourselves with God’s will. It helps us look for the things God is already doing and to join in. When we pray and step out into God’s plans, things that might seem very small, become deeply significant and effective. Things that appear far too big for us become possible and an outworking of Jesus’ promise: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
I pray that we, whether pioneer or not, can learn the art of double listening and double looking this month.
Assistant Area Dean, Taunton