How are we making God known? Is this a matter of information or is this the kind of knowing that is all about experience and passing on what has become real and vital to us? It is, of course, the latter. It’s making known a person, not a religion. And that takes all of you, all of me.
They say “Once a YWAMer, always a YWAMer.” Well, Rachael Howson’s experience of YWAM started when she was really young. Her parents were part of the mission during which the whole family got involved in Kings Kids, YWAM’s best known family ministry. She graduated university with a BA Hons, taught history in Secondary School and then went to New Zealand (2007) to do the 6 month DTS. She then went back home to teach again. But in 2011, YWAM came knocking again! Her friend Jude was to run a School of Evangelism and so Rachael went to support that at YWAM Liverpool.
I asked her, “What made you come back?” She told me, “I really do want to know God and make Him known. I want to be boldly open and real about Jesus; to inspire and be inspired to further God’s Kingdom, which you can’t always do as a teacher in a classroom.”
Rachael is a networker, so when the need to support YWAM England, (as a network of ministries and locations) came on Rachael’s radar, she moved to YWAM Harpenden to take a lead in that, becoming PA to the then national leader, Carl Tinnion. She started big – her first project was to stage manage our Global Leadership Gathering here in 2012! In her varied remit, Rachael assists the National Leadership Team, encourages small teams across England and Wales, oversees the website and organises various meetings through the year. She says,“It’s so important for us to see that all our teams are key pieces of something much bigger. We can share each other’s stories, knowing that we come from the same ‘family’.”
I’m impressed with Rachael’s capacity to link big picture with developing an individual. This is evident in her desire to encourage each person to know God and express His love from that place. After all, that is what inspired YWAM’s strap-line: To Know God and Make Him Known.
So, what does it mean to know God? This is where Rachael’s passion for worship and intercession comes in. For the past two years she’s been at the forefront of encouraging YWAM Harpenden’s corporate worship and intercession, which has meant stepping out of her comfort zone at times, to lead from the keyboard. She is one of the many people at YWAM Harpenden who seek to create an environment of habitual worship and prayer. Due to this, as a community we have a monthly evening of worship called Unveiled Worship, three weekly morning sessions of worship and intercession, and a weekly community meeting comprised of worship and teaching.
About this she says, “being in His presence as a community will overflow in our outward focussed activities. We set aside this time in order to draw close to God and tune in to His heart for us and our world.”
To the same end, this summer Rachael is attending the School of the Word and the Spirit, a 6 week course at YWAM Seamill, Scotland. “I want to be more in tune with God. Knowing him and making Him known is so counter cultural. I want to see the miraculous in every day life…. I love fascinating conversations that inspire us all to seek God…It riles me when I hear of people seeking spiritual help from [other] sources like mediums or reiki healers. This is where we Christians should be…. showing Jesus’ love. But we have to know Him deeply.”
Rachael leaves us with Colossians 1:9-10: “We pray that you will also have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things so that you will live the kind of life that honours and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God.”
“Often when you think of missions certain images come to mind. I know for myself, images of building wells and orphanages under the African sun pop up immediately. Also skirts, very long, heavy skirts. As it turns out this is missions, but the interesting thing is that it’s only one form of missions. If missions truly is “to go out into all the world and preach the gospel,” then we have to actually go out into all the world; all the world: such as orphanages, but also hospitals, cafés, businesses, media, the list could go on forever. Yet, very rarely do we hear stories of people taking the love of Jesus into their everyday lives as “missions.” And that’s what this blog series is about, bringing a new perspective to this idea of missions, and what it truly means to live missionally focused lives.
Photos: Lauren Malpass