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