Over the years, I’ve grown up going to various Christian events and festivals like Soul Survivor, New Wine and Leader’s Days. Whether it was a day, weekend or week-long they are always something I look forward to because I know the teaching there is going to be solid and the people around me will be so on fire for Jesus.
If you’ve never been to any type of conference they go a bit like this: worship, basic info about the day, worship, a sermon/talk, lunch, more worship and talks. Obviously, it’s a bit more complex with seminars and a range of other things, but they are a great opportunity to connect with God, good teaching and other Christians.
The thing is there is a problem with these events, and that is that we often rely on them to fill us up and then we struggle on until the next conference – and repeat this. At a seminar I attended last year, Bob Wallington (youth pastor at Soul Survivor Watford) called this the “Christian rollercoaster.” We all know life isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but times spent at Spirit filled festivals and days are described as the highs on the rollercoaster. We’re soaring really high, enjoying ourselves and then we find ourselves back in our everyday life stuck in a rut and wishing we were back at the high points. This isn’t a realistic lifestyle, life has its natural lows and there are times the presence of God isn’t so apparent in our lives. These times are when we really have to strive to walk by faith and not by sight, and I wanted to share 3 of the best tactics I’ve been taught over the last year for ensuring our faith is persevering even in the low points.
[Disclaimer : A lot of the time I’m really rubbish at these, so do not think I know anything special – I need all the help I can get]
- Green Armchair
The Green Armchair is a space that you dedicate to spending time with God. Personally, I don’t have a physical green armchair, but sat on top of my bed with everything but my bible and journals tidied away. Devoting a space to God is something I have found really effective in developing my relationship with God. In reality, I want to find somewhere separate from my room that I can really set up as my own space to spend 10-30 minutes a day in prayer and reading the bible, but that probably won’t be realistic until I move out and have my own place. So, number one : find yourself a green armchair and use it
2. No Bible No Breakfast
One of my team pastors when I was working at New Wine last year introduced this idea to me. The concept is simple, do not do anything else with your day until you have spent time in the word and with God. Woah. That’s a pretty intense ask and unrealistic? Yeah, I feel you. But I have seen a difference in my life when I make the conscious decision to read by bible as part of a routine. FYI definitely does not need to be breakfast – whilst I was still in school I was definitley as “no bible, no bed” kind of person because that suits me better. The meal time is totally dependant on what works for you – might even be: “no bible, no lunch” or “no bible, no coffee” etc etc
3. What Game do you want to play?
Thirdly and finally, this is an activity we used at New Wine last year which really helped me and I have continued to use. Basically, as a starting point for prayer and talking to God, you ask: “God, what game do you want to play with me?” Once you have that game in mind (not limited to board games) you ask why and can get into some really deep conversations with God about where you are in life and where he wants you. I do this fairly often when I’m struggling to hear God or want a starting place for prayer. For example, a few week ago I was doing this and God wanted to sit and make daisy chains…
In no way is my prayer life perfect, but these things have really set me on the right path whenever I get a bit lost. I hope you find them helpful in some kind of way.
P.S I have a full set of notes from the “Getting Off The Christian Rollercoaster” seminar by Bob Wallington, obviously I can’t take the credit but I’m happy to share them if anyone is interested.
P.P.S I have recently, as in a few days ago, started a “prayer binder” as something to try out. It’s new to me so I was wondering if anyone may be interested in what is is, how I set it up, and maybe in a months time – how effective I think it is.