The last blog I wrote was back at the beginning of 2020, in the month of January. Now here we are 6 months later having been through, and continuing to navigate one of the most challenging seasons of our lifetime with Covid-19.

I wrote back then on the topic of ‘2020 Hearing’, playing on the saying ‘2020 Vision’. Essentially discussing the importance of leading from a place of listening. Firstly listening to God and then to those around us, in order to have clear a 2020 vision.

Did we hear or see what was coming with the Coronavirus? No we did not! I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Apart from God.

During our Christmas break, we had two weeks off and I remember Julie, my wife, describing that she felt we were entering a time of pruning within Street Connect. I didn’t like the sound of this one! Who would? I like to hear about growth and expansion! But pruning? No thanks.

Very soon after this, a verse from the Bible kept coming my way. This was the verse from the book of John, in chapter 15:

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes] so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2)

After this verse coming to me on a few occasions, my ears began to prick up – I began to listen. Long behold, what begins to happen? We start to lose some staff members, projects begin to close, partnerships end, finances become extremely tight, and then…the Coronavirus hits. I joked to our team that I didn’t realise the Lord was going to cut us right back to a shrub!

Going through these difficult months was not easy for all involved with the organisation, but we pulled together and God was and is faithful. We began to see our income increase significantly and now have the largest staff team we have ever had! Is the pruning over and are we entering into another growth spurt? No I don’t think so, not yet anyway. As an organisation we have been in a period of consolidation for over 18 months and plan to continue this until the end of the current financial year.

The purpose of consolidation and the purpose of pruning are very similar. You consolidate to strengthen your foundation to prepare for future growth. As we read in John 15:2, the purpose of pruning is so that we will be even more fruitful. As painful as this can be, God cuts off the branches that are no longer bearing fruit and prunes the one that are, so that the vine can produce a greater harvest. This is what we want to see at Street Connect. This is what we want to see in the lives of all involved with the organisation. Particularly our service participants. Our recently revised Vision statements says:

Empowered churches. Transformed lives. Revitalised Communities.

Releasing God given potential in disadvantaged lives through the mobilised local church.

This is our ‘2020 Vision’, and will be thereafter. To serve and support many more local churches to bring transformation to disadvantaged individuals in their local communities.

This vision comes from a place of hearing. I thank God I listened to my wife (this is always a helpful thing to do!) and that she heard from God. I thank God that He then spoke through His word, giving us insight into what was coming. He may not have showed us exactly what was coming, but He let us know what to expect – a season of pruning.

I will finish with these words from scripture, again in the book of John. On the topic of 2020 hearing and leading from a place of listening, let us be a people who first of all hear and then listen, before moving to action:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

This blog post was written by Ricky McAddock, Director and Co-founder of Street Connect.

Jul 30, 2000


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