We did it – we managed to get away for a whole day together at the beginning of half term - it was wonderful that families were willing and able to postpone their escape from Southampton in order to be there. Getting together with a substantial proportion (over a 100 adults plus 30-40 children) of the Church family was really good. As always the opportunity not just to learn but also to pray and spend some time together was priceless.

Dave Gooderidge, the speaker from LICC ( helpfully took us back to the basics of what we’re really here for as people who follow Jesus. Using the excellent ‘Fruitfulness on the frontline’ material ( ) we realised that the place where we’re to be making a difference is where we are when we’re not being church gathered together. We’re still Church but we’re somewhere else; those places where we spend most of our time - at work, in our neighbourhoods, where we study and with our families. We learnt to see these as our frontlines, those places where we shine and grow as followers of Jesus.

We’re continuing to follow this through in the Sunday teaching series through the Autumn up until Christmas as well as in house groups as we all get stuck into the frontline course. On the day we tried to identify where each of us saw our main frontline to be. The options were time spent with friends and those with shared interests and leisure, time at work, time with neighbours, time with our extended families, and time in the in the local community, including projects connected to the church.

I’m someone who sees the local community as my main frontline so it was revealing and perhaps a bit discouraging to discover just a handful of other people shared that with me. But that’s how it is, how it has been and how it probably will be. We need to work with that and that’s okay. What’s much more encouraging is that there are also hundreds if not thousands of people around our city who know followers of Jesus from Portswood Church. And these Christ-followers are coming alive to the exciting truth that we can make a difference where we are.

The big challenge is to bring what we do together alongside this renewing vision of what we can be where we are. I’m praying that the teaching on Sundays and the learning in house groups will be part of this and that what we do at Christmas in Church will be helpful for those travelling with us towards Jesus.

John Ayrton