Here at ChurchSuite our aim is to build software that "supports your church, extends God's kingdom". For us, that mission drives not only the day-to-day work we do as a business, but also how we deploy our greatest resource - our amazing staff - beyond the confines of the office! ChurchSuite employees are entitled to one week's paid leave every year to serve the Church in whichever way they choose. We wanted to recognise and celebrate the exciting things that our staff got up to this year.
Alys, Junior Developer
I served as a co-ministry leader on a Richmond Christian holiday. Practically, this meant I was responsible for delivering some of the talks in the evening meetings, leading the morning prayer meetings, and providing a friendly face for people to talk to. I loved getting to know people and hearing their stories.
Ant, Senior Developer
I spent a week serving on the Harriers Cruise, a Scripture Union camp for 15-18 year olds. We spent the week sailing around the Norfolk Broads on traditional wooden cabin yachts, eating and sleeping on the boats, and having morning and evening Bible studies and discussions about faith. We also had a visit to the beach for games and a "grill a Christian" Q&A session, and a little rowing dinghy adventure along the way!
I was really encouraged by how much answered prayer we saw this year. In particular, the weather forecast was very wet and thundery almost every day, but every day we prayed for good weather and saw it come to pass. We prayed for safety, logistics, for the crew to bond well and have good discussions, for our Q&A session, and all week we saw all of these answered - God is very kind! It was also really great to see new crew-members learning to sail for the first time, and quickly learning how to tack a 30ft yacht up a narrow river while avoiding a stream of motor cruisers!
In our morning quiet times we worked through part of the gospel of Mark, and our evening "Cabin Club" discussions were around the theme of trees - how the seed of the Gospel is planted, grows, flowers and bears fruit. Our prayer is that the young people will continue to grow as they go home and settle back into normal life!
Jack, Senior Developer
I spent a week serving on the media and production team at the Vineyard Leaders' Gathering, held at Trent Vineyard. Being in a position to use missional leave was great because the long days meant it was hard enough finding church staff to run the event, let alone volunteers.
I served in various capacities including manning a camera, using ProPresenter, and vision mixing (or at times a combination of all three). I was also able to demonstrate to leaders from other Vineyard churches how media and production at Trent Vineyard operate, and even had the opportunity to train them and get them having a go for themselves.
Joe, Customer Support
My Missional Leave was spent helping out on a young persons' (11-18 years) holiday camp (called Total Adventure aka TAs) at a Christian outdoor activity centre called Adventure Plus (A+). We've been involved with TAs at A+ for six years now. My wife Sophie and I run the evening worship services (The Roadshow) during the camp.
Whilst most of the time TA focuses on having fun in God's creation, the Roadshow is the part of the day where the young people gather to experience God in the context of "church". For many of these young people, this is their first experience of church, so we're keen for them to get an experience of church that is fun but also completely centred around the gospel and encountering the Holy Spirit.
My role in the Roadshow has two parts: hosting the service with Sophie, and leading worship. Having led worship for around ten years now in many different contexts, it's easy to become complacent and go through the motions of worship. Leading worship at TA though always reminds me that worship is different for everyone, and God will touch everyone's heart differently, but in a way that is beautiful and unique to them. Just as every person is unique, the way they encounter Jesus is completely unique.
The highlight of this week for me would have to be getting to spend time with one of our goddaughters, Evie. After the first night, Evie came up to Sophie in tears and she simply said, "These are happy tears. I've never realised how powerful it is". For the rest of the week, we were blessed with seeing Evie continue to encounter Jesus and get to know him more and more.
Luke, Customer Support
I spent a week serving our youth group. We took 205 young people to Dreaming the Impossible, a youth festival, and it was an incredible week of seeing young people meeting Jesus and having their lives flipped upside down by Him. We saw dozens of young people give their lives to Jesus for the first time.
One story that stands out is really simple but really powerful. This was the last DTI for our year 13 group before they go off to whatever's next, and I was having a conversation with one of them who said that if it wasn't for the youth leaders who have invested in him and loved him over his time in Trent Youth, he probably wouldn't know Jesus today. That really highlighted to me the impact youth workers can have on a young person's life, reflecting the love of Jesus to them and pastoring them through their most formative years. It's such an honour and a privilege!
Paul, Customer Care Manager
I spent a week serving refreshments with a friendly smile and waiting on tables at New Wine in Maidstone. No miracles were performed, but I did have lots of great conversations!
We know that we are blessed to be a blessing. At ChurchSuite we have been blessed with a fantastic team and it brings us great joy to see them serving and being a blessing to others as they invest their missional leave in these different ways.