Monday, 21 December 2009

New sermon series

In the new year we are starting a new and very important sermon series about what it really means to be a missional church
The clue to which book we will chiefly be focussing on is in the title of the series The Forgotten Ways !
I hope at least a few people will take time to read at least one book on this important subject !

Carols by Candlelight!

The church carol service was excellent and a strong reminder of just how far our new church has travelled in a short time!
The building looked very welcoming and was beautifully decorated.The musicians and singers were excellent ,all their rehearsals paid off well there was plenty of food even for the more than 200 people who came. Best of all their was a powerful sense of Gods presence with us and people stayed to chat.
We have certainly passed a tipping point and 2010 will be a challenging but I expect also a very exciting year
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make our Christmas so good this year

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Radio Shropshire Pause for thought

Do this Radio slot every few weeks and though as it was Christmas I would put my script here

"Christmas always makes me think of my favourite Uncle Dieter
Uncle Dieter was not only very tall but also very large. A German Jew who had fled the Nazis to avoid the holocaust, he had a fine sense of humour ,a determination to say exactly what he thought,a love for good food and wine and a penchant for quoting and invoking the names of Catholic saints
Nearly every Christmas he and Aunt Dorothy and their children would come to our childhood home in Wem to celebrate Christmas with us.
Like most children we would get up very very early on Christmas day ,open our stockings and feast on the chocolate Father Christmas and obligoratory Tangerine Then still dressed in our pyjamas and saying sssh! to each other in loud whispers-we would tip toe down the stairs as quietly as we could and dash over to the heavily decorated Christmas tree and start to prod and poke at all the presents under the tree, discerning perhaps a toy gun from mum and dad here, and the usual socks and postal order from Granny over there
I vividly remember being totally focused on this enthralling enterprise one year -I was what sports people describe as being "in the zone"
When a booming voice came from the top of the stairs in a thick German accent
"Get Back to Bed " No not Father Christmas Uncle Dieter had caught us again!
We didnt want to wait -He ensured we did !
We are moving quickly now through Advent the waiting is almost over,the excitement is rising The shopping days are running out ,the tree is up ,the cards should have been posted,the presents should be wrapped the day is almost here!
But what does Christmas mean to you? For some of us perhaps more than we care to admit Christmas is a sad time. sometimes its simply the season cannot bear the weight of expectation that is placed on it. In a recession there is no extra money to buy presents without getting into serious debt For some of you the pain of bereavement is even sharper at Christmas than at other times; for others relationships are put under enormous strain, and perhaps some of you have sons or daughters,or parents in Afghanistan
For others Christmas is great fun ,a time to eat drink and be merry , a time to party, enjoy family and friends ,food and laughter

And for Christians ,the clue to the meaning of Christmas is found in those simple words, that invite a lifetime's profound reflection, found in Johns gospel 'The Word was made flesh'.
thats the key to the authentic meaning of Christmas -the word became flesh -God became a human being he doesnt come to crush ,or dominate he comes as a vulnerable human being motivated by an awesome love
People often say if there is a God it is impossible to know Him
Christmas means If you want to know what God is like look at Jesus
His very name Jesus means -The Lord saves and that is truly good news for all people
When I am woken up early on Christmas day by children eager to open their presents I will get myself a cup of coffee , think of Uncle Dieter and smile
But I will also take time to reflect on the most profound truth of all ,That the word became flesh and dwelt among us and I invite you this Christmas to do the same

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Missional church

Over the last couple of months we have hosted 3 events which were designed to enable people to ask friends ,neighbours and families to church. To make the easy invite if you like.
Firstly we had a curry evening to which over 100 came ,then an afternoon tea which attracted about 70 ,and finally last Sundays brunch which brought in over 130 people.

We will do more of this in the future but I thought it worthwhile to use this blog to give my impression of how things went and see what we did right and any lessons we could learn.
The Positives
1. People came .I was impressed with the numbers who came to all 3 events .It is true most were from church but there was also a sizeable number who rarely or never come on Sundays and even better many of those people were from our local community.We took a step of faith and it paid off!

2. The food and ambience we created for all 3 occasions was good and this was appreciated and remarked on by those who came

3.People commented on us raising money for others. In this instance water aid and our local hospice

4.There was a great team spirit among those who worked together to make it happen,it was a great bonding exercise!

5.Some great conversations took place which we hope will in time lead to great relationships with others

6.It was fun !Certainly it changed some peoples preconceptions of church. One woman who has been coming to church for years said "that was fantastic Thats what church should be like"!.Everybody seemed to join in Liz Cowburns rendition of the 12 days of Christmas

7 It got us looking outwards to others needs which is vital for our future instead of being obsessed with our own needs

So there certainly is alot to be happy about but as I looked around at all 3 events I also realised we had a lot to learn too

1.While many of our people do ask people some obviously find it very tough to do that.
Somehow we need to train people to make the invites! Is it because so many of us don't know people we could ask? If so how do we change that?

2. People obviously find it difficult to meet new people .Looking round the room it was obvious that some very committed Christians found it a struggle to speak to people they dont know, even people in the church they dont know well! How can we encourage them not to huddle together but to share with others? A big task

3.Prayer I wonder how many of us are intentionally praying for people to come to faith and then inviting them along

All in all though ,really enjoyable ocasions that if anything exceeded my expectations

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The brunch

Went really well with a lot of people there(OVER 130) from the local community as well as the church. I will blog about the lessons learned in a future post but for now here is aphoto or two

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

permission granted!

I have just returned from a planning meeting at Shropshire Council
I feel incredibly excited that we (Shrewsbury Baptist Church) have been granted planning permission for a new town centre building with atrium!!!
This is a huge answer to prayer and the guys in the photo plus others have put so much work into this! We will continue with the vision God has given of being a missional church and operating from 2 specific sites ; around Monkmoor and in the town centre

The future looks wonderfully exciting and the possibilities endless-Thanks be to God!!!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas texting!

Starting to write my christmas talks
I enjoy doing it!!
I love Christmas and Easter but I struggle with Harvest festival!
Anyway here is something from the Fresh Expressions which caught my eye

"Leeds University chaplain, the Revd Matt Ward, knows it's important to meet up with his Emmanuel Café Church regulars on campus. Usually a chat over a latte or a cappuccino does the trick, but Matt has to find other ways to keep in touch when term comes to an end in December.

After students have headed away from uni, and their fresh expression of church, for the Christmas break, Matt prepares for the festive challenge - to capture the Nativity in a standard 160-character text and send it to Café Church supporters on Christmas Day.

"Café Church runs in 10-week bursts during uni terms so we always miss the major festivals," says Matt. "That's a bit of a challenge for a church community but there are still ways to celebrate 'together', even when we're not in the same place at the same time.

"I thought a Christmas Day message would be one way of doing it, but what you can say about the Incarnation of Jesus within those sort of text limits?! I haven't attempted it yet in Twitter's 140 characters. That really would be a challenge."

The 2009 message is:

Christmas A time of being with family, gr8 or not Even in a manger Jesus is born in the heart of family. Whatever 2day brings Remember Emmanuel, God IS with us"

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Trellis and The Vine - changing our mindset

The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, Ministry mind-shifts,how the book suggests churches need to change ;some good stuff here!

1. From running programs to building people

2. From running events to training people

3. From using people to growing people

4. From filling gaps to training new workers

5. From solving problems to helping people make progress

6. From clinging to ordained ministry to developing team leadership

7. From focusing on church polity to forging ministry partnerships

8. From relying on training institutions to establishing local training

9. From focusing on immediate pressures to aiming for long-term expansion

10. From engaging in management to engaging in ministry

11. From seeking church growth to desiring gospel growth

Monday, 30 November 2009

Advent conspiracy

Our Christmas brunch for the community is coming soon! It is a wonderful opportunity to ask people to a non churchy thing in a church building, to make what is called "the easy invitation" I hope lots of people will do just that!
Inspired by the video above we are sharing gifts between the local hospice and Water Aid!
Sunday 13th Decemeber at 1030am is the time for the brunch- Book now to avoid missing out!


Advent ,a time of preparation and waiting
Here is a link to my favourite Advent hymn!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Strong words but true!

Strong but in my view justified comment on the shame of the recent child abuse case in Ireland
Almost unbeleivable and certainly painful to read

Monday, 23 November 2009

Christmas publicity is now out and we have 5000 leaflets to deliver!

Community Tea

Had a very enjoyable community tea yesterday, 60-70 came . It was really good to have a number of people from the community present and have a chance to get to know them better

The tea was the second in a series of 3 social events ;The Curry evening,the tea, and a Christmas brunch on 13th December instead(or as part of?) the morning service .

At the brunch we will sing carols round the tree,have a short message talking about the real meaning of Christmas as well as serve bacon baps,good coffee and tasty croissants !!!

We are also giving any donations to water aid,and the local hospice which does a fantastic work

This is all part of a huge desire to be part of the local community and serve people in the Name of Jesus Christ!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Nostalgia isnt what it used to be!

exceelnt stuff from Simon Jones blog

"Nostalgia isn't the source of missional thinking
I'm preparing a sermon for Sunday on living in the now which is the final shout in our What's God got to do with it series. I want to reflect on a couple of things - our anniversary-besotted culture (so prevalent that Radio 4 aired a documentary on the subject a couple of weeks ago) and the church's tendency to indulge in nostalgia, the desire that things return to how they once were, which tends to stifle mission.Even this morning , the Today programme is lauding the fact that Yes Minister will be thirty years old during next year's election and is about to be remade for Ukranian TV, an excuse to play vintage moments and interview Tony Jay, the writer. It is still seen as seminal political TV in a way that The Thick of It isn't (but give Iannucci's show thirty years and we'll come over all nostalgic about it).Nostalgia prevents us from living in the present and facing its challenges. This is not to say that we can't learn from the past. The past has a huge amount to teach us and we need to study it to learn those lessons. But nostalgia is about wishing we were still in the past, thinking that the present is not as good as the past and refusing to take it as seriously as our history.Nostalgia prevents genuinely new thinking being heard and adopted. I got a whiff of this in the debate about the future of Christian book selling over on the UK Christian booksellers blog (here). It's not that there aren't good ideas being expressed, but that one or two posters are saying there's nothing to be done because we're not in the situation we used to be in when people read books and had money to spend on them in Christian bookshops.One comment talks about the church being strapped for cash, unable to meet its pensions and buildings maintenance bills because of falling numbers. Well, let's shut up shop now, then. Surely falling numbers is a spur to our thinking about what we're doing and why it's not attracting people in the way it used to.The trouble is that we wistfully look back to the days when people came to our churches; nostalgia tells us the attractional model of mission works. But it doesn't. We are not attractive, very few people come out of the blue or because a friend invites them. So we have to find other ways of engaging people with the gospel.Given that large numbers of our neighbours spend a lot of their leisure in the High Street, is there not a case for thinking how we might be present on the High Street, engaging them in conversation and creative ways of sharing the good news about Jesus?If we don't get creative, we'll find it harder and harder to meet the pensions and maintenance bills. But much more important (cause, after all, the church can live without high-cost buildings) if we don't get creative lots of people will not have the opportunity to hear and engage with the good news about Jesus - and none of us want that, do we?"

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Encouraging news!

Its wonderful to live in a time when people are not scared to try new things or if they are they try them anyway!

Monday, 16 November 2009

INFG football

Was invited in a loose kind of way to play for a church team tonight Sadly I cant make it but thought you guys would like to see what you are missing!;)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Christ above all!

we showed this from youtube at our Sunday morning service Its very powerful

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Monday, 9 November 2009

"More tea vicar?"

We had a wonderful curry evening recently which attracted loads of people from the local community. On 22nd Nov we are having an afternoon tea !
Its been said "its all about relationships" and we are very keen to build strong relationships with our community so we can serve them better
If you can; Come and bring your friends!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Jesus for president

As an election approaches next year I thought this was worth watching from an American perspective

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Fresh expressions of church

A few of us from church hoping to go on this course Heres a preview!

Monday, 2 November 2009

How great is our God

The Louie Giglio dvd went really well at church last night so heres a bit more for all you

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A changing world the church had better take notice!

Powerful words from Tim Chester's Total Church

"Someone asked me how things were going recently. It’s not really a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (‘good’ or ‘bad’) question. Life in our congregation is messy. People have a wide variety of problems and many of those problems are out on the table. Are things going well when one of your members has been hauled out of a pub in drunken state? When people admit problems in their marriage? When several people are struggling with depression? And I could go on. Actually I think the answer can be ‘Yes, things are going well’. A key verse for me in recent years has been the first beautitude which I paraphrase as: ‘Blessed are the broken people for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ To working with broken people is to be where God’s blessing is found. I do not rejoice in people’s problems, but I do rejoice that I am working among people with problems. Indeed I sometimes describe our church as a group of messy people led by messy people. It has proved a context in which I have been able to address my own struggles. What is the alternative. One alternative is to be a church in which there is a lot of pretending; in which people have problems, but in which the culture does not allow people to be open about them. Churches like this are very neat and respectable. But I know I would rather be in a messy church! Mess reflects, I think, a culture of grace. We pretend because either we do not trust God’s grace for ourselves or we do not trust other people to show us grace.
The question I have been pondering for a while is whether there is a third option in addition to messy and pretending. Are there churches in which most people are ’sorted’ – not sinless, but have got their lives together? I think I would call this category of church ‘excluding’ because I think they create a culture in which messy people don’t feel welcome. But it may be that if you looked closely you would find that such churches are really pretending churches that are just very good at the pretending! " Tim Chester

Monday, 26 October 2009

Hope when Life hurts most

I have known Louie since 1988 and watcehd this on Saturday morning .It is a very powerful and biblical answer to the questions often asked about where is God in our suffering ?We are going to show it at church in evening of Nov 1st as part of our First Sunday series .Come if you can!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

curry evening!

We had an awesome time ,it was wonderful to see so many people from the local community come! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves For next event ;Watch this space!

Monday, 19 October 2009

The death of big media

From the States but equally applicable here if we want to understand the signs of the times!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

curry night -coming soon!

our curry night is happening soon an opportunity to invite our neighbours to sepnd time with us

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Thoughtful post from Bishop Alans Blog
Among other things it highlights the importance of using social networking sites

I am younger than I think I am!

Wonderful article here from Christainity Today Please have a read and take the quiz! What age are you?
Thanks to Steve for pointing it out


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Saturday, 10 October 2009

How about this for an idea?!

The Journey in San Jose shuts down church 2-3 times per year and takes everyone out into the community to tackle 15 or so specific community projects. Things like home make overs for families in need, teacher care kits, roadside clean up, painting & landcaping at public schools, hosting a carnival at a children's shelter, etc.
Projects are always different because volunteers find the need and then lead them with a team.
Number of visitors [especially those who are not Christians] actually increases on these Community Impact Days - everyone sees the value in helping right in our neighborhood.
10% of The Journey's budget goes toward these days and other specific community needs.

might be well worth a try!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Monday, 5 October 2009

Robbie Williams and Jesus!

Thanks to my good friend and colleague Steve for pointing this one out
Its a fascinating article from an interesting site

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Some good thoughts from Simon Jones blog

"Recovering the incarnation
The section of Hirch's searching book that I've been reading this week feeds directly into conversations we've begun having at church. We know the attractional model no longer works - our falling Sunday attendance and lack of people at special evangelistic events proves that. The question is 'what do we replace it with'?

Hirsch's answer is that we need to recapture the core Christian doctrines of the incarnation and the mission of God. He argues that the attractional model tends to negate these two insights because it 'demands that in order to hear the gospel, people come to us, on our turf, and in our cultural zone. In effect, they must become one of us if they want to follow Christ.'

This is, of course, the opposite of incarnation: God comes to us - the word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood (as the Message memorably puts it). It means that we, who have been sent as Jesus was sent, must go to where people are rather than expect them to come to us.

This is the method Jesus modelled in his ministry and called his first disciples to follow when he sent them out - Matthew 10:5-16. They were to accept hospitality rather than offer it. It was Paul's practice too - finding people he could establish a workshop with, accepting invitations to be based in people's homes (see Acts 14-18).

Hirsch stresses that church grows out of mission and not vice versa. And mission grows out of a proper grasp of who Jesus is (ie our Christology). So he produces a simple diagram that says Christology determines missiology which in turn determines ecclesiology. It's a good simple principle that ought to underpin everything we do as gatherings of Jesus followers.

It follows, therefore, that mission needs to take place in third places, those spaces that are not our homes or workplaces, but rather where we socialise and have fun. This would mean more gatherings in pubs, cafes, clubs, arts centres, community halls, etc.

So, we'll see how St Arbucks goes this Sunday. But we'll also be exploring how our allotment group can become a missional community with shovels and coffee. And what else...? The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations."

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Going to church in the pub!

As a church we are exploring lots of different possibilities for reaching people with the gospel and building Christian community. This video highlights what one church in Canada is doing .Interesting!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Conflict and reconciliation!

I hesitate to post on this having experienced my fair share of conflict in the churches I have led over the past 25 years; though the church I lead is now coming into a good place with a powerful and growing sense of unity and harmony.
However I preached on Christian Conflict resolution on Sunday night. I talked about the need for authentic relationships, where we learn to have the honest conversations that lead to a real relationship, and still love each other and move forward together.
I repeated the quote that I first heard David Coffey use" Dont fear conflict fear only unresolved conflict"
As human beings we will disagree at times Its how we deal with those disagreements that is
I saw this on a blog and thought that if even Billy Grahams grandson(pictured above) is not exempt ,the rest of us church leaders are unlikely to be either!,0,6104431.story

Monday, 21 September 2009

Death is not dying- Well worth watching!

Wonderful,inspiring and powerful testimony from a very fine Christian lady;Rachel Barkey who went to be with Jesus in July this year. As she tells her story in March 2009 and gives her testimony she knows she has only a few months to live
Its 55 minutes long -but 55 minutes very well spent indeed! Dont miss it!

Friday, 18 September 2009

A great evening out

We had a wonderful time last Saturday at the Prostar stadium with Tony Vino and Andy Kind.
The best bit though was the opportunity to build relationships with the people who came along!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Leadership for the long term

This is an excellent artcle by Jim Collins ripped from his website

Almost by definition, an enduring great company has to be built not to depend on an individual leader, because individuals die or retire or move on. What's more, when a company's identity can't be separated from the identity of its leader, it can't be known for what it stand for. Which means it sacrifices the potency of being guided by its core purpose.

So the charismatic-leader model has to die. What do you replace it with? The task that the CEO is uniquely positioned to do: designing the mechanisms that reinforce and give life to the company's core purpose and stimulate the company to change.

Building mechanisms is one of the CEO's most powerful but least understood and most rarely employed tools. Along with figuring out what the company stands for and pushing it to understand what it's really good at, building mechanisms is the CEO's role—the leader as architect.

The old role is still seductive, though. Past models have glorified the individual leader, especially when he or she was an entrepreneur. And charismatic-style CEOs understandably find it hard to let go of the buzz that comes from having an intense, direct personal influence. But a charismatic leader is not an asset; it's a liability companies have to recover from. A company's long-term health requires a leader who can infuse the company with its own sense of purpose, instead of his or hers, and who can translate that purpose into action through mechanisms, not force of personality.

However hard the transition to architect might be, there are three issues, affecting every CEO, that encourage it—and eventually may even force it. One: time for creativity. Two: time span. And three: scale.

First, let's discuss creativity. As personally energizing as it is to have an effect on an employee and to touch his or her life, it's so energy absorbing that you're never left with enough time or spirit for real creative reflection or real creative work. Which is what mechanism building should be. The absence of that time is one great source of burnout.

The second concern is time span. Clearly, building a mechanism will have a much longer-lasting effect than leading by virtue of your presence. A mechanism doesn't depend upon you. If a truck hits you tomorrow, the mechanism will still be there.

The last concern, scale, is the most crucial. You can't build something really big just on charisma alone. At some point the scale is too great; you can't reach that many people. If you want something to really grow over time, you've got to build mechanisms that can touch everybody every day. What you get in the end is more reach, more power, the ability to affect more people. It's a leverage game

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Damaris reaction to the new creation film

Nick Pollard says: If atheists think Darwin killed God they are not thinking widely enough.
"You've killed God, sir," says Huxley to Charles Darwin in the forthcoming film Creation (UK release date 25th Sept). "Darwin has delivered a fatal blow to religion," says Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society in a Daily Telegraph article related to the film.

They are quite wrong. Those who think that Darwin's theory can be used to establish the non-existence of God are missing the point. Well, at least three points out of four, actually.

We are conscious human beings, living in a world full of life, within a universe of matter and energy. If someone wishes to argue that there is no God then they have to answer at least four questions about our existence (only one of which is tackled by Darwin's theory). What is the origin of the universe? What is the origin of life? What is the origin of biological diversity? What is the origin of consciousness?

Put in this wider context we see how Darwin's theory only tackles the third of this big series of important questions. Whether or not Darwin's theory is a true explanation of how biological diversity might have evolved from a common ancestor, all this could tell us is something about the process by which the variety of life developed. It cannot, in itself, tell us anything about the existence or non-existence of God.

So let me lay down a challenge to such atheists and ask them to stop making unfounded assertions about God's existence just from one particular view of one quarter of the big questions, and to consider the bigger picture, including the other three questions.

First, the origin of the universe. When we look at the universe around us we have to ask ourselves, "Why is it here at all?" Why does anything exist rather than nothing? Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which parts of this universe may have formed - such as stars, sandstone and even species - that doesn't tell us why those processes happened. Even if we can establish how the laws of nature could lead to such developments within the universe, that doesn't tell us why those laws exist. Why not another set of physical laws? Why any physical laws at all? Why does anything exist rather than nothing existing?

Second, the origin of life. When we look at the various forms of living beings that exist in this world we have to ask ourselves, "How did life begin?" Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which complex life may have evolved from simple life through the natural selection of mutations in reproductions, that doesn't tell us how reproductive processes began in the first place. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection can only work on a self-replicating system where variations in the product of the replication might be more or less fitted for survival. But how did the first self-replicating, naturally selectable organism arise? How did we get from non-replicating matter to self-replicating, naturally selectable life?

Third, the origin of consciousness. When we look at the people who live around us (and, indeed, at ourselves) we have to ask, "Where does consciousness, and all that flows from it, come from?" Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which the complexities of the human body may have developed, that doesn't tell us why we have a conscious awareness, why we have such a strong sense of morality, or why we have the capacity to reason. It is interesting that Darwin himself, in the last decade of his life, began to doubt the reliability of the human brain. If, according to his theory, the brain has evolved because of survival rather than for truth, would it have the capacity to address metaphysical questions with any level of reliability? Why should we trust anything it says about the big questions of morality and meaning? And (here is a real problem for anyone who wants to argue for atheism) what is our basis for trusting the brain's capacity for any high level reasoning at all - such as the level of reasoning required to consider the existence or non-existence of God? Perhaps, for the atheist, this question is logically unanswerable?

Nick Pollard, co-founder of The Damaris Trust. For more resources related to the film Creation (UK release date September 25th) see

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Another great idea for church in 21st century !

I do not often quote Baptist Union websites but perhaps I should do so more often! There are some great stories of missional churches here:

Do have a look at this video in particular

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Teaching programmes worth their weight in gold?

Time to get a teaching programme on the go for the autumn -or is it?
Some provocative thoughts from Simon Jones on "a sideways glance" who has been reading some of the same books that I have!

Shaking up the faithful
"One of the points Hirsch makes early on is that the urge for community can lead us to seek safety above discipleship. 'Too much concern with safety and security, combined with comfort and convenience, has lulled us out of our true calling and purpose.' (p25)

As my anonymous friend points out 'perhaps discipleship is about being selfless' - absolutely right. Discipleship is the polar opposite of consumerism because it is always seeking the welfare and benefit of others rather than ourselves.

Such a calling requires people who are constantly asking questions. If Hirsch is right that 'the most vigorous forms of community are those that come together in the context of a shared ordeal or those that define themselves as a group with a mission that lies beyond themselves - thus initiating a risky journey' (p25), then our gatherings should be awash with questions about what we're doing, why and how we'll do it.

The church's mantra should focus less on answers (the usual focus of teaching programmes that fill our people's heads with information) and more on questions (what is the shape of discipleship in the context we actually live in? How do we live for others in that context?)

So I agree with anonymous that 'Christian teaching might not be all it's cracked up to be' in this sense: if a teaching programme is just about filling people's heads with information that has precious little effect on how we live when we're not in church, then it's not going to make disciples and is really a complete waste of evryone's time.

And it's not what Jesus did. As Hirsch points out: Jesus 'spoke in confusing riddles (parables) that evoked spiritual search in the hearers. Nowhere does he give three-point devotional sermons that cover all the bases. His audience had to do the hard work of filling in the blanks. In other words, they were not left passive but were activated in their spirits.' (p44)

Now that would shake things up a bit.

Monday, 7 September 2009

The power of generosity!

Its been almost two weeks since a woman came into the Steamin’ Bean, 1875 N.W. Missouri 7, and wanted to pay for the order behind her.

She told the cashier “she just wanted to do her good deed for the day.”

And that “good deed,” that small random act of kindness has spurred a phenomenon of sorts in the small Blue Springs coffee shop.

As of Wednesday morning when the Steamin’ Bean opened for business, manager Michelle Wilkinson said there have been 1,079 customers who have paid for the person behind them — and it was still going strong.

“That was just when we opened today,” she told the Journal Wednesday evening. "I'm sure we have much more now.”

Steamin’ Bean customers were so enthused about paying it forward that some even donated more than just a cup of coffee.

The shop had a fund of more than $100 as of Wednesday evening. So even if a customer does not choose to participate — the fund still keeps the campaign going.

Wilkinson said the Steamin' Bean plans to attempt to end the program this weekend and then donate the money left in the fund to charity.

She wasn’t sure which charity the fund would go to, but said the coffee shop would most likely go through the Community Services League.

The Steamin’ Bean co-owner Garin Bledsoe even took some of the fund to other Blue Springs businesses last week including the Big Biscuit, Zarda’s and Clancy’s in hopes of getting the ball rolling all over Blue Springs.

And while Wilkinson said those pay it forward chains only lasted throughout the day, she still hears people talk about them.

“They are bigger orders and a different process so it didn't last as long as ours have, but I still hear people that were at The Big Biscuit that day talk about it.”

The length of the chain came as a shock to many at the Steamin' Bean.

Bledsoe said last week that while these types of things have happened before, they haven’t ever lasted this long — and were usually spurred by the holidays.

But probably the most surprised was the woman who started it all.

“The girl that started it is still in shock about it all," Wilkinson said. "She comes in every morning and still can't believe its going on.”

“People have good hopes and spirits even though times are tough and they just want to do something to keep their spirits high,” Bledsoe said.

This came to my attention via an e mail from stewardship

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Church something we go to? No something we are!

Shift Our Thinking from Beyond relevance website
I believe that until we get our thinking to change from church being something we go to as opposed to something that we are, we will never understand the call to community and communion. Rob Bell has a good message on the Eucharist ('eu' meaning 'well' and 'kharis' meaning 'favor/grace', together meaning a 'good gift') and what it means to be a "good gift" to others just as Jesus was a good gift to us through his body. We are not meant to just receive the good gift of Jesus. We're meant to be the good gift of Jesus!

This thinking of going versus being has permeated our culture in more than just church. Gone are the days when work was something we did. We now go to work. Education used to be something that we did by learning at all times. Now we go to school. We've removed the responsibility of being the church, doing work, and learning by making it something other than a part of us. Perhaps this is why it's easier to complain about church, work and school because they are places instead of postures.

Our thinking must change. Our actions must change. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying." He was also convinced that action by a few wasn't enough, it would take all of us. "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Some great quotes!

I am really enjoying The Forgotten ways handbook Why not have a read?
It says some important things to the modern church and I think to our church in particular
I will try and summarise those things at some point in the future but for now some great quotes from the book:

"without any real engagement with the outside world ,churches become sheltered ,artificial environments ....they become missionally unresponsive.They become closed systems with their own peculiar cultures that have little ...association to the outside world"

"no groups that ever came together around a non missional purpose ever ended up becoming missional"

"Build church around people not people around church"

A great deal more failure is the the result of an excess of caution than of bold experimentation with new ideas .The frontiers of the Kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution!"At the heart of pioneering mission is a willingness to take risks!"

"Talk about growth ,expect growth"

Sunday, 30 August 2009

the importance of passionate leaders!

If we are going to make a difference we will need to be tough
If we are going to make a differnce we will need a passion that supports the vision!

particularly liked this quote!

"You are nothing unless it comes from your heart. Passion, caring, really looking to create excellence. If you perform functions only and go to work only to do processes, then you are effectively retired. And it scares me__most people I see, by age 28 are retired..." --Horst Schultze

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I have done a lot of thinking about the future of our new church recently but I am not a great planner (though I am pleased to say I know some people who are and they are worth their weight in gold!)
This article from the wise John Maxwell on the subject of planning for the future struck me as very instructive as we plan the path ahead.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Summer break

Will be back very soon!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Change is here to stay!

Well worth looking at !The question it leaves me is Is my church doing enough on this media not simply to connect with each other but with people not connected with any church?" It will never catch on "is not an adequate response!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The forgotten ways part 2

More quotes on Tim Chesters site from The Forgotten ways

I have now ordered the book and will read it with a view to using in small groups
The quotes are thought provoking!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Get involved in a small group!

Small groups are really important in the life of any church
We have had some encouragement in this area of church life recently, but how we would like more people to join a small group!
There are loads of good reasons to do so but here is another;

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Mark Sayers on generation Y

I don't find Mark an easy listen but persevere because what he says is important in understanding the young generation; their views of their parents and their views of God

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

church membership

Are we a club for members or do we exist to build The Kingdom ? Can we do both?
This post caught my eye fom the Off the agenda website written by Eric Bryant
I believe that connecting to a local church remains an important part of the life of a follower of Jesus. According to Paul, whether we like it or not, when we choose to follow Christ we become part of the "body of Christ." I agree .. that Paul could not imagine a follower of Jesus who was not connecting with other followers of Jesus in homes or gatherings in the city in which they lived. Rather than thinking we should get rid of church membership, then, I do not believe that church membership is enough.
Too many churches have more members than attenders. In other churches, members may attend, but they are not engaged whatsoever. Unfortunately, membership in a local church sometimes feels like joining a gym. You start going for a few weeks and then stop when you get too busy.
In other cases, churches have allowed the mantra from American Express—"membership has its privileges"—to infiltrate their culture. Church members become more consumeristic or concerned with power than the apostle Paul ever intended.
Finally, the word "member" ends up emphasizing who belongs and who doesn't. As a result, too many of our churches have become a fortress from the world rather than "salt and light" in the world.
We have a different approach at
Mosaic. Anyone can be a part of our community no matter where they are in their spiritual journey. People are allowed to belong before they believe. It has been a beautiful experience to see people from diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, and spiritual backgrounds come together to discover that God loves us and that His name is Jesus.
While we have a wide open front door, the path to join our volunteer staff—the team that oversees the lives of others—is very narrow. The women and men serving as part of our volunteer staff have been mentored through "Life in Christ," participated in a seminar about our particular calling as a community, and commissioned to be missionaries, pastors, and mentors in our city. We anoint them with oil and commission them in the same gatherings where we commission our overseas workers.
Since our volunteer staff share our convictions and values, they are encouraged to start new efforts in reaching others and raising up leaders. They commit to live in a God-honoring way, serve faithfully, reach out to the disconnected, and give 10 percent of their income towards our efforts as a community. Not every person who follows Jesus in our community chooses to join our volunteer staff. We will love, serve, and care for anyone in our community. The only reason to join our staff is if you want to be one of those loving, serving, and caring for our community.
Allowing people to belong before they believe and mobilizing volunteers to serve with such a high level of authority and responsibility comes with great risks and great rewards. We joke that we have the same characteristics as the early church—immorality, heresy, and conflict. At the same time, we have discovered the beauty of seeing people choose to follow Jesus and come alive serving in the areas where they are gifted and passionate.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The forgotten ways

Most of the purpose of this blog is to capture and hopefully make slightly better known some of the stuff other people are writing
Tim Chester writes a great blog which has inspired me as I try to set out the kind of things we as a new church will be doing in the future.
He himself quotes this from Alan Hirchs book "The Forgotten ways" which I must now read!

‘As a faith community, evaluate everything you do – all your programmes, gathering, ministries, and so on. Ask whether you think this is what Jesus would be doing if he were in your context, Is this how Jesus would go about incarnating the kingdom in your area?’

Do we dare do this?

Failure doesnt need to be final!

Do we give people freedom to fail?

Another excellent article from John Maxwell. We will all fail at some point. The question is will we learn from those failures?
This brought to mind a sermon I once heard the late ,great, Gordon Heath preach at Hamilton BC on "The value of perseverance "

Have a read!

Monday, 10 August 2009

The church of Jesus Christ

Very inspiring blogpost by Rick Warren on the church of Jesus Christ!
Reminds me why I do what I do
Have a read!

Friday, 7 August 2009

1 church 2 locations

There is too much interesting stuff out there! This from an American site; which is worth bearing in mind, as I think about the pieces impications for our new church ,which is 1 church in 2 locations .Not very common in the UK ,but increasingly so in the USA .
Below is the advice of a practitioner of a large multi campus site
Are there lessons for us?

Have a church name that's not geographically-tied. The name of the overall church is The Well Community Church. No geographical reference there. And The Well intentionally names their campuses geographically, and avoids calling one the “main campus” or “home campus.” In so doing, every campus is valued and perceived as an equal.
Keep the processes clear and simple. The Well keeps its multi-site process simple, so they can be responsive to new opportunities (facilities and core groups), able to change directions quickly like a school of fishes. They’ve ve been able to launch a new site as quickly as 3 months (If I remember correctly.) The leadership team is also implementing video technologies that will allow the teaching pastor to broadcast from any of its campuses.
Cultural relevancy is required to connect with people. Every church community embodies a culture. Every neighborhood community has its own culture (or sub-culture). In so far as a church can connect with that authentically culture, the better the Gospel can be incarnated and lived out for the good of the church and the good of the community.

Small groups

A short but (for me anyway) thought provoking piece on the difference between house groups and missional communities.
There is no doubt it is costly,in all kinds of ways , to build a truly missional church but it is ,I am convinced , right and consequently rewarding

Thursday, 6 August 2009


Rick Warren on vision. In The Purpose Driven Church he writes:
In Nehemiah’s story of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, we learn that halfway through the project the people got discouraged and wanted to give up. Like many churches, they lost their sense of purpose and, as a result, became overwhelmed with fatigue, frustration, and fear. Nehemiah rallied the people back to work by reorganising the project and recasting the vision. He reminded them of the importance of their work and reassured them that God would help them fulfil his purpose (Neh 4:6-15). The wall was completed in fifty-two days.Although the wall took only fifty-two days to complete, the people became discouraged at the halfway point: just twenty-six days into the project! Nehemiah had to renew their vision. From this story we get what I call the ‘Nehemiah Principle’: In other words, make sure you communicate your purpose at least monthly. It is amazing how quickly human beings – and churches – lose their sense of purpose.’
...........So its not enough to have a vision we need to continually restate the vision!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


A really good article I spotted on another blog on the subject of momentum
Some very wise words indeed- originally by John Maxwell who can teach us a thing or two about leadership and very important for our new church as we seek to take the next steps forward

Sunday, 2 August 2009


I am continuing this week with my paper on future direction and ministries for our new church,(see previous post.)
I have been encouraged by the fact that a number of people have come upto me with pretty specific suggestions . I am sure God is in this which is exciting!
Hope to get quite a bit of this task completed this week-We shall see!

Friday, 31 July 2009


Over the last few days I have begun to write my short paper on the future culture and direction of our church and the kind of ministries we might engage in around our two locations.

I have lots of my own ideas, and a lot of other peoples ideas floating around in my head, and by prayer and discernment and by Gods grace I need to pick the right ones to present before the leaders and then the church as a whole in the autumn
Quite a challenge!

Thursday, 30 July 2009


Mark Sayers is fast becoming one of my favourite bloggers
He has an enormous amount to say about youth culture ,(vital for an old codger like me to read!) but also some profound things to say about life if in general, and church life in particular
The final paragraph of his post is so true!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Everything old is new again!

I knew it!- just as I catch up with the technology they move on.!!!!... Seriously, I think relationships are vital in any church,and not just among young people. I was particularly struck by this line "They want technology to assist rather than dominate the way they communicate."

Not a bad aim at all I would have thought.,,25778628-2702,00.html

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

God and science

The news that Richard Dawkins starts his atheist summer camps for children today inspired me to include this snippet from The God choice by Barbara Hagerty USA Today
Armed with new technology, scientists are peering into the brain to better understand human spirituality. What if, they say, God isn’t some figment of our imagination? Instead, perhaps brain chemistry simply reflects an encounter with the divine.

A few years ago, I witnessed two great British scientists in a showdown. Nine other journalists and I were on a Templeton fellowship at Cambridge University, and on this particular morning, the guest speaker was John Barrow. Almost as an aside to his talk, the Cambridge mathematician asserted that the astonishing precision of the universe was evidence for "divine action." At that, Richard Dawkins, the Oxford biologist and famous atheist, nearly leapt from his seat.

"But why would you want to look for evidence of divine action?" demanded Dawkins.
"For the same reason someone might not want to," Barrow responded with a little smile.
In that instant, I thought, there it is. God is a choice. You can look at the evidence and see life unfolding as a wholly material process, or you can see the hand of God.
For the past century, science has largely discarded "God" as a delusion and proclaimed that all our "spiritual" moments, events, thoughts, even free will, can be explained through material means.
But a revolution is occurring in science. It is called
neurotheology, and it is sparked by researchers from universities such as Pennsylvania, Virginia and UCLA. Armed with technology Freud never dreamed of, these scientists are peering into the brain to understand spiritual experience. Perhaps, they say," God is not a figment of our brain chemistry; perhaps the brain chemistry reflects an encounter with the divine."

Monday, 27 July 2009


Most of my friends have expressed amazement that I have started a blog as they know me to be technologically inept! (it really was not that difficult!)

Despite my shortcomings ,I do have an appreciation how useful technology is and would want to use it even more than we do

In itself it is morally neutral but it does enable some good things to happen ;the sharing of ideas,opinions and even facts, thus enabling much better communication

I was therefore interested to see this article in Time Magazine,8599,1895463,00.html

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Total Church

I have been reading a lot of books recently ,as I have been thinking about what it means to be a 21st century church .There is masses of good stuff out there ,which has influenced my thinking and inspired some ideas

One of the best books I have read on church in the last year (and believe me I read a lot on the church!) is Total Church by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester

Here is the publishers blurb

"Total Church pleads for two key principles for church and mission. First, the gospel as content: being word-centred (for the gospel is truth) and being mission-centred (for the gospel is truth to be proclaimed). Secondly, the community as context: sharing our lives as Christians and offering a place of belonging to unbelievers.
Authors Tim Chester and Steve Timmis apply these principles to church planting, evangelism, apologetics, social involvement, leadership, discipleship, pastoral care, world mission and notions of success. They critique current trends within the church, arguing that emerging church movements are strong on community but weak on truth, while conservative evangelicalism is strong on truth but weak on community. Their call is a call for the best of both.
This is a timely and provocative book which deserves to be read and applied"
This is not primarily a devotional book, but (with one or two quibbles) I would say the writers have captured the essence of New Testament church and its pretty inspirational.
Why not put it in your case and read it on your holidays ?
Available from Amazon and loads of other places! (and no I am not on commission!)

Friday, 24 July 2009

Holiday club Final day

The morning went as well as ever; with Elise demonstrating the difficult art of putting the gospel message over very clearly indeed, in exactly the right tone, and without any pressure at all -Superb!
It was decided this year as a finale to put on an evening event /show demonstrating all that we had done at Holiday Club for parents, carers and siblings and grandparents.
I was dubious as to how many would come but went with the club leaders decision. I need not have worried! We were packed out!
It was fantastic to see the building full with people ,most I guess from the local community, who all seemed to be having a wonderful time .The message of the Holiday Club presented by the children and by Mark one of the leaders came across very clearly indeed .
I doubt any child left the club ,or any adult the evening, feeling that church is boring.
This is what missional church is all about. I feel thankful despite recent upheavals to be involved with a church like this

Messy Church

Interesting website on messy church with good video if you follow the link

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Holiday Club day 3

Didnt make much of the Holiday Club today being engaged in other important church business...but did get back in time for the team lunch which was excellent, and which seems to engender a real sense of togetherness which should not surprise us given the emphasis Jesus puts on food

"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them! "

Anyway above is a picture of the wonderful people who make eating together possible at our Holiday Club and below are some wise words from Rick Warren

What do friends do? They like to eat together. "Let's do lunch." "Let's go out for dinner." "Let's meet for breakfast." "Let's have coffee."
Eating together is a natural and effective avenue for building friendships.
For years we've joked about church potlucks, Sunday morning coffee and doughnuts, teen pizza parties, and vacation Bible school snacks. But recently we've discovered there's more power in eating together than we realized. For small groups in the church, breaking bread together not only builds community, but actually leads to deeper faith.
A recent Gallup survey explored the relationship between friendship and faith. The research confirmed our suspicions. It revealed that church attendees who share meals together exhibit deeper faith characteristics. For instance, those who eat together are 20 percent more likely to share their faith with others. When churches maximize this simple tool (small groups eating together), they will see dramatic results in stronger friendships and stronger faith.
By the way, food results in higher church satisfaction too. Those who share meals together are three times more likely to say they're highly satisfied with their church!"
Rick Warren

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Holiday club day 2

Another cracking day today !

When I did my first holiday club in the mid 1970's we were still using flannelgraphs!!! Everything is now so well done and hi tech for an old timer like me, but the secret of leadership is not doing it all yourself ,but knowing somebody who can and here is a picture of the guy who fixes it all for us .We appreciate him enormously!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

If Britain were a village of 100 people

I suppose it is critical that every church understands something of the demographic of the people we are trying to reach.
Here is a national picure from todays Independent

Holiday club day 1

Today was Day 1 of the holiday club; " Showstoppers" held at the church building -It was amazing!
Once again a great team of leaders has been assembled, 37 in all, and a very diverse bunch they are ,people of all ages and abilities doing a whole host of different tasks from music, to cake making, to craft leaders and pupeteers who have come together to teach children of primary age about the bible in general and Jesus in particular.

It was a joy to see this bunch of people using their different gifts in the service of Jesus,it was wonderful to see the preparation that had been put in to making this an exciting and worthwhile week.

When you put as much preparation into this as Melanie and her team have there is always a worry not many children will come, but God answered our prayers and we had almost 70 children in ,many from near the church building.

It really helps us with our aim of being a church at the heart of the community

Roll on tomorrow!

Monday, 20 July 2009

struggling church

Signs of a Struggling Local Church « Church Forward: "Signs of a Struggling Local Church
Published July 3, 2009

I have always been a huge reader of christian books of all sorts
It is so important to see what others are being inspired to do to reach people with the gospel The internet allows so many other voices to be heard and there is so much good stuff out there !See the article above!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Thoughts on Leadership!

Have look at this youtube video YouTube - Evolution Of Dance Party

Mark Sayers comments on it
So much of leadership and innovation involves taking the first step. One of the keys to innovative leadership is having the guts to break from the crowd and risk looking like a nutcase for a while. So many of us fail to do this because we are afriad. Many of us want to be creative and innovative without the cost, we want to lead but only after there is a small crowd already signed up and ready to follow. Sadly this rarely if ever happens.

We want the power and recognition without the risk of looking stupid. To be an innovative leader, you have to get up, and have the nerve to keep dancing alone like an idiot for often what seems an eternity. Sometimes you may be followed by one or two others who’s sanity you may begin to doubt. But only when you have fully made a fool of yourself, when you feel you are getting nowhere, does that magic moment occur and people take notice of your enthusiasm and join your cause, this is that tipping point when movement and momentum begins.

Taking risks is an important part of innovation as the man said "you cannot discover new lands without being willing to travel a long way from a safe shore"

Family service

People often have mixed feelings about Family services, but this morning we enjoyed a really excellent one which pesented the Christian message clearly using a variety of media including puppets, a dvd ,great songs and a talk. It was really well done and had a very positive response from everyone . A great beginning to an important and very busy week; Our annual holiday club which promises to be fantastic this year!
A family service really make you work hard at presenting the faith in relevant ways!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Saturday night worship!

Our church is in a time of great transition
We are thinking about what it means to be a church that proclaims an ancient faith to a modern world
To that end we are reflecting on what changes we need to make to the services and ministries we engage in

Part of that process involves seeing what others are doing, and one of the purposes of this blog is to capture those ideas in one place for future consideration not necessarily future implementation with that proviso I was interested in this on the Sydney diocese website

Saturday night gets ‘sacred’
Emma Orsborn
July 13th, 2009
Jannali Anglican Church is the most recent church to pick up on the Saturday night service trend, and two months on from their first service it is proving to be a success.

Following in the footsteps of churches like St Paul’s, Menai and Church by the Bridge, Jannali Anglican rector, the Rev Andrew Barry thinks Saturday night suits a lot of people.

“In our area there is a ‘Sunday morning culture’ that’s a long way from church,” he says. “A lot of people are involved in sport and work on Sunday.”

The service began in May and has already attracted a lot of new people, especially families with children.

“We have a very mission-minded set of church leaders,” says Mr Barry. “Saturday night seemed to suit many people not already at church”.

Mr Barry also says a big advantage of Saturday night church is the opportunity to spend time together – “sometimes people stay until midnight, you just can’t do that on Sunday night”.

Christians who have joined the service are excited about inviting their friends, and Mr Barry says one person told him the Saturday night service was like “church in manual, not automatic”.

Next month they plan to send letters to local organisations, such as hospitals and police stations, where employees work on Sundays, to let them know there is a church service that is easier for them to attend.

Meanwhile St Paul’s, Menai began Saturday night church seven years ago and it is now their largest service.

Great video

Thursday, 16 July 2009

what leaders of very large churches think

Leadership Network recently conducted a survey of 232 pastors of churches with an average weekend worship attendance of at least 2,000. Here's what they said:

They think of themselves more as teachers and directional leaders than as pastors.
Preaching tops the list of things they do best.
They haven't always worked in churches.
Being an extrovert isn't mandatory.
Family stays at the top of mind when it comes to prayers.
They usually like the people they work with.
They believe their top gift is leadership.
They are actively involved in sports.
They find worship at their church helpful for personal spiritual growth.
They're not thinking about quitting.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Over committing

Some very wise words from an American pastor Stovall Weems on Over Committing
Momentum is a double edged sword. When you have it, everything seems to be growing and working. Even your mistakes don’t seem so bad. But the dangerous side of momentum can be the tendency to think you can keep endlessly pulling from the energy it lends without suffering real consequences. One huge momentum killer is calendar overload. When the church calendar is overloaded, the soul of the church (staff, leaders, and volunteers) starts to fatigue, killing the spiritual momentum. We learned the hard way that the best strategy for sustaining positive momentum is to simplify the calendar and stick to activities that reinforce our mission. When you say yes to one thing, you are in fact saying no to something else, so keep the main thing, the main thing. Reach people, make disciples, and serve your community. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is how to say “no” and keep from over committing myself or the church.
on over committing

Communities of sinners

some profound words from Eugene H. Peterson:

The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shop-keepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are preoccupied with shop-keepers’ concerns — how to keep the customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money.

Some of them are very good shopkeepers. They attract a lot of customers, pull in great sums of money, develop splendid reputations. Yet it is still shop-keeping; religious shop-keeping, to be sure, but shop-keeping all the same... “A walloping great congregation is fine, and fun,” says Martin Thornton, “but what most communities really need is a couple of saints. The tragedy is that they may well be there in embryo, waiting to be discovered, waiting for sound training, waiting to be emancipated from the cult of the mediocre.”

The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world. The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them. In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given a designated responsibility in the community. The pastor’s responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God.

authentic relationships.

Just back from an excellent meal at a town centre restaurant organised by a guy in the church.
It was fun,and an opportunity to relax ,talk and listen to each other in a neutral but pleasant environment.The fish and chips was good too!
We as a church have invested, and indeed will invest, a lot in buildings but the key thing about Christianity is not buildings but relationships.Strong relationships are very important to human beings and we as Christians should invest a great deal in authentic relationships ,through which, by His grace God's love can flow

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

More on getting old!

The Christian church must seek to engage with these people

"It is paradoxical that, at the same time as we have seen ground- breaking advances in the treatment of serious illness, we see increasingly strident demands for euthanasia. The pressure seems to come from fear of tomorrow rather than from the reality of today. Those who commend euthanasia usually frame their proposals around terminal or chronic illness. But in reality they base their case on personal wish alone and see assisted suicide as another “end of life choice”.

Their demands assume that everyone who is seriously ill can say without difficulty whether they want to be cared for or to end their lives and that no one ever comes under pressure to “do the decent thing”. The real world isn’t like that. Among the thousands of seriously ill patients I have treated, the vast majority are vulnerable to influence. Most people getting old are aware that death is approaching; they want to talk about dying. They often seek reassurance that they are still of value and worth, that they can contribute to society. Very few wanting to talk about dying actually want to die. "

From the Times 15th July

all the lonely (older) people

It seems many older people turn to drink in retirement
My guess is because of loss of status, loss of a community that work can provide ,loss of a purpose in life
Whatever the reason it is very sad and again provides the church with an opportunity to serve people by providing community ,and the greatest purpose a human being can have to serve God and our neighbour

"Ministers are being urged to target older people as well as younger "binge" drinkers when trying to tackle the nation's alcohol problem.

"Economic and Social Research Council Experts warn that many people may not be aware of how much they are drinking as the strength of wine and size of glasses have increased in recent years.

Pensioners accounted for 357,300 alcohol-related hospital admissions in England in 2007-8, a 75 per cent rise in just five years.

The survey found that 13 per cent of over-60s said that they had drunk more since retiring.

Of these, one in five, 19 per cent, said that they used alcohol to ease feelings of depression while one in eight, 13 per cent, said that they drank because of bereavement."
Telegraph 14th July

Nothing changes here- but it should!

I suppose, like many people these days, I do most of my reading of newspapers online ,I was struck by this piece in todaysTelegraph. and particularly by this phrase "We do feel that there is a resistance to change in the hierarchical structures and staffing of the Church of England, and this lack of vision is a barrier to renewal of the church in ministry and mission, and it needs challenging."
It certainly not only the C of E that resists change! I think many people see the church as a buttress against a changing world but while the gospel never changes the way we communicate that gospel to a rapidly changing world is critical .We have to speak to people in ways and language they understand. God give us vision to see things not as they are but as they could be!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Young people and media

a very interesting survey, on how young people consume media what implications does it have for the church?

The reason why!

Thought about writing a blog for some time,mainly to capture my own thoughts
I am interested in Christianity and the church and how to relate and indeed proclaim an ancient faith to a modern world.
I claim no particular expertise in how to do this, but I am convinced it must be done!
I make no promises to post frequently or originally or eloquently but just when something interests me and grabs my attention