On Saturday 8 Oct over 150 people from different places around the country, from different walks of life, and from different professions and sectors gathered together at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham for a day spent uniting around Jesus and celebrating the diversity of areas we’re working into.
The day started with an opportunity to connect with others over drinks and pastries, before we kicked the first session off with a powerful time of worship and prophetic encouragement. God spoke so clearly through the invitation to pause, centre on God, and then continue with renewed vision, focus and perspective, and through the verse “well done, good and faithful servant”; bringing a fresh reminder that He sees the work His children are doing, even in the secret place, the mundane, day-to-day, and delights in it.
Things continued with a couple of interviews, illustrating perfectly the breadth of attendees, as we heard from Raj (head of a big IT company) and Claire (Slimming World consultant and stay-at-home Mum) about what it looks like to reveal Jesus through the way they approach their work. The main part of the first session then featured Jerry Turner giving an inspirational, honest keynote address about his experiences as an executive principle of two Hertfordshire Schools. Particularly striking were his examples of how it’s the small changes, the little things he does, that really encourage people and slowly help transform a community.
We then split into different “Tailored Workplace Streams” for lunch and practical workshops focussing on how we reveal Jesus and build His kingdom culture wherever we’ve each been uniquely placed. With streams for Education, Healthcare, Professional Services, Arts, the Service Industry and Church Leaders, each led by practitioners with a wealth of experience and knowledge, this provided an opportunity to really consider the nuts and bolts of following Jesus in each area.
The day finished with another moment of gathering together in worship, and an encouragement that we go out “standing on the shoulders of giants” like George Cadbury, a Birmingham entrepreneur and philanthropist who simply took what he had – chocolate – and used it to transform the lives of those around him.
Reflecting on the day, it’s exciting to think that as superb as the event was, it represents only a fraction of the sectors, workplaces and contexts that individuals within our family of churches are working into. Catalyst4theworkplace felt like a stake in the ground; a moment when lots of what God has been speaking to Catalyst about over the past few years came together in a day that was inspirational, authentic, practical and prophetic both for who we are now and increasingly for who we can be in the future.