Sligo18: Anticipation

Monday 9 July

Registration 12.jpg

WAITING HERE FOR YOU - A Team Perspective on Sligo 2018

By Miryam Lightbody, New Wine Media Team

Monday was the first full day of New Wine’s Sligo 2018 conference and, whether you were on team or attending the conference, the atmosphere was palpable – we were waiting for something big and beautiful and gentle and powerful to happen here because God is here.

The worship song that keeps running through my head on a loop is “waiting here for You.” As the journalism intern with the New Wine Media Team for #Sligo18,  I am so blessed to share some of my experiences with you this week. But I am also blessed to see the ‘behind the scenes’ - the teams and the excellent leadership that make this all happen.

 “Waiting here for You” sums up the feeling in my heart during the time before the guests arrived - and it was shared by so many of the volunteers in various teams.  There was such anticipation. In the waiting here the guests, we have also been waiting for God.

Many are coming from busy lives and have made the brave and faithful stand of booking time off to come to Sligo and be filled up to go back out again and to be a light and a blessing in a difficult world. Simon, one of the photographers on the Media Team, shared what he saw in the faces at registration. “Everyone looked very happy to be here, like they’d been looking forward to it for a long time.”

I talked with many team members about this sense of anticipation. Angie is part of the team at “Our Place”, the ministry for children and adults with additional needs. She described the spiritual preparation for the guests arriving, “We were already praying for the people that we were going to meet beforehand.”  Joyfully summarising her feelings about her guests at “Our Place,” she said, “I am so looking forward to getting to spend more time with them.” There is such pride in how she speaks about her team the importance of guests feeling, “confident that they loved, respected, honoured and well cared for.”

Sarah has been a member of the Under 5’s team for years and is serving at this year’s conference in the baby room. She describes arriving as a team member at New Wine, “It’s a bit of a whirlwind trying to figure out where you’re staying, where your room is and getting to know all the people on your team, and then it settles and it’s really lovely how quickly everyone becomes close.” She expresses how much she enjoys being at registration when the guests arrive. “It’s so lovely because you get to chat to the parents face to face.” 

It is clear that there is a beautiful faith-driven culture within the children’s ministry at New Wine.  This is not just a crèche, it is time for an outpouring of God into the lives of our littlest ones.   “You know even from the teeny tiny babies not to underestimate what God can be doing in their lives, from one month old up to four and beyond.”

 “I was here last year and there was such good a sense of calmness and peace. You could sense God’s love everywhere.”

Judith is leading the welcome team. She describes the feeling in her team before the guests arrived as a  “kind of nervous anticipation … You feel like you’re building up to something and you’re keen to get going. I think when everybody starts to work that’s when the team really bonds and comes together.”

She discusses her hopes for the week for her team, “I hope we provide a really good service for people and we help people to have that opportunity to engage with what’s going on and engage with God, to hear from Him, and that our practical role can enable people to do that even better.”

I feel like these testimonies sum up the experience of being on team at New Wine - the spiritual significance of this practical role helping people draw closer to God. When the teams do little things with great love, we bring Jesus into the details.

I hope you all enjoy this week and are so blessed, and that you know that there are people on team praying for you to encounter God, striving to ensure nothing gets in the way of that, who have been so looking forward to meeting you!