the baby and the bathwater

October 4, 2009, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My name is Neil Bennetts and I am a dreamer.

It feel like something I am confessing something in front of a group of other such dreamers, as though it is something that I need to overcome, deal with, get over, and if I confess it long and hard enough and process it fully and openly with others then eventually I will become a fully paid up non-dreamer, more at ease with myself, more capable of facing the world and all that it has for me.

Funny, but I am also an INTJ. And for the uninitiated in personality type tests, the T means that I think through everything in a logical and timely fashion, and the J means that I have a strong sense of internal values by which I make decisions.

Hardly the qualifications of a dreamer.

But a dreamer I am, and happy to declare it. And happy to remain as one.

I am not one of those I-have-ten-dreams-every-minute type of people. You know, the type who seem to have a dream for every life situation, a dream for every day, a dream for every person. I don’t have loads of prophetic words and pictures every time I pray. In fact I probably only have one significant prophetic word every year.  I am also not one of those amazing-angelic-off-your-face-always-something-with-rivers-or-streams sort of dreamers like John with that Patmos thing.

I am more of your Joseph type dreamer. You know, having a-major-dream-for-your-life-and-mission-which-you-keep-coming-back-to-over-many-years type of dreamer.

I remember having a conversation some 25 years ago with a friend Dave Elkington who was the chaplain at the university I was at in Norwich. I told him that I felt God was calling me into full time ministry – which of course in those days meant ordained vicar-hood. He spoke a dream into my life by suggesting it would be full time worship ministry. Of course 25 years ago, that was almost entirely unheard of, so it felt a bit far fetched. Sort of prophetic really. That dream stayed with me for many, many years. Some 10 years later I moved to Cheltenham and became a worship leader. Another 6 years later and I was in full time ministry. Over the years, that dream has been refined, surrendered and re-surrendered, shining brightly at time, and shining dim at other times. But the dream has stayed with me.

And I am living it still.

When we arrived in Cheltenham 15 years ago, the dream grew within many of us, of a large, vibrant, growing church which would significantly impact the town, region, country and beyond with the Kingdom of God. Over the years that dream has sometimes been faint, sometimes been strong. At various times we have had to surrender big parts of it, and it has been moulded and re-shaped by God time and time again. Three years ago we had to surrender the part of the dream that had us in a big warehouse type building, and we are now re-furbishing our original church building. But the dream still survives, probably stronger, with different flavours and different colours than it originally had.

But we are still living it.

I have given my life to this dream. My family has given up many things, many riches along the way. But the dream still burns strong within this dreamer, and I just can’t stop living it.

The language of dreams and dreamers is a big part of the language of the Bible (unlike the language of stewardship…). Along my journey, many times my dreams have felt like they are being suffocated, and at times I have felt like I am holding onto them by a thread. But hang on to the them I will. Invest in them I will. Put my energy into them I will.

Because for me, the dream is for living.

And live it, I intend to do.

Because my name is Neil Bennetts, and I am a dreamer.


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Can i be a dreamer if i am INFJ?


Comment by Ben

Neil you truly are smashing! Thanks for telling your story 🙂
you got skype yet?

Comment by Nae Lippett

“smashing”? what happened to the ‘I’m trying to engage with my culture language….!!”

Comment by Nobby

Exactly .. . ‘smashing’ is british . . .!!! gosh Neil!

Comment by Nae Lippett

yes, about 30 years ago it was…

Comment by neilbennetts

just extracting the precious from the worthless .. .

Comment by Nae Lippett

Took me back a few years but keep on dreaming. There will be a time when it is right to pass the mantle on when the dream is complete and there are others ready to pick it up x

Comment by Hallmum

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