Nurses on the Paediatric Assessment Unit where I work love it when I'm in a decisive mood. Are we admitting or discharging? Discharge! Do we stretch the inhalers or not? Stretch to four hours! Two sugars or one? (No... I'm joking. I'm the one who makes tea for the team most shifts, I promise!)
We all like to know where we stand and what we're doing. At CMF, we want it to be the same. Our mission is to unite and equip Christian doctors and nurses to live and speak for Jesus Christ. What does that look like? What would it look like if nurses and midwives like you and thousands of others across the UK were fully united and equipped to live and speak for Jesus?
It would mean none of you feeling alone on the wards; all of you feeling equipped to speak about faith to colleagues and patients; every nursing student having the opportunity to respond to the gospel; every NHS workplace with a vibrant, prayerful and outward-focussed Christian group with a desire to see the NHS transformed for Christ. We could go on.
Whilst the climate can feel (and sometimes is) hostile, we have unique opportunities to be Jesus to the marginalised and vulnerable in our society and to a demoralised NHS workforce. What if we rose up with a renewed confidence in the gospel? What might God do with a movement of united and equipped Christian nurses and midwives who wholeheartedly live and speak for him in the places they spend much of their time? We balance this by recognising that for many of us work and home pressures mean it's hard to even draw breath. We need supporting and equipping and encouraging more than ever.
All these reasons and more are why CMF is here. It is why I am excited about our Catalyst Teams initiative.
Catalyst Teams are CMF in the regions. If you like the prefix 'multi-' you will like this. We want Catalyst Teams to be multi-disciplinary, multi-generational, multi-ethnic and multi-denominational expressions of what CMF is doing locally. Teams that are identifiable wherever you work in the UK but which hold their own distinct, local flavour. Teams that are there to encourage one another and to ask what it means to be united and equipped to live and speak for Jesus in your workplace and local area. Teams where we get going and grasp opportunities to make a difference and see God's kingdom extended, catalysing a movement across our nation.
But this still sounds a bit nebulous. I can hear my ward manager's voice in my ears again - 'Come on John. What's actually happening here?' So, let's get practical.
We currently have nine Catalyst Teams in place from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland down to West Kent. We are aiming for around 40 to cover most of the UK. Each team has a team leader who gathers a team of 'enablers' in areas they are committed to and have vision for. Most roles are interdisciplinary, for example: prayer, global mission, students and evangelism roles. Some examples of current roles are listed below. Each role receives opportunities for connection and training with like-minded folk around the country, with an annual conference and webinars on offer.
Steve is based in the North of England. He has developed and launched a mentorship scheme for the area with at least ten students linked to graduates. He also wants to reach out to a large number of nurses who have recently arrived from India, many of whom are Christians and are finding their feet in the UK.
Small Groups Catalyst
Sophie is based in London. She has encouraged the formation of workplace groups in local hospitals and GP practices and shares resources around leaders by WhatsApp. She is praying for more contact with nurses in her local hospital where staffing shortages are causing real problems.
James is based in the Midlands. He connects with the Head of CMF Global and facilitates courses like Who Is My Neighbour? to run locally. He has recommended two recently-qualified nurses to the CMF Global Track and is involved in planning a Nurses Christian Fellowship International Conference.
Angie is based in SW Scotland. She is encouraging Christians to pray together in every workplace in her area. Along with Prayer Catalysts from other regions she is organising a day of prayer and fasting for those in healthcare. She recently sent out information on Healthcare Sunday to 30 churches in her area to pray for NHS staff in their congregations.
My prayer is that Catalyst Teams will increasingly be a vehicle that enables us to be CMF together, united and equipped more effectively to live and speak for Jesus. Let's be praying for God to move in each of us, in our NHS and in our nation.
Would you like to be involved in this initiative? Check out cmf.org.uk/catalyst-teams.
If you'd like to find out more about Catalyst Teams in your area, email John at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Greenall is CMF's Associate Chief Executive and works as a paediatric registrar