Monday, 31 October 2011

Getting closer to being finished !

Had a lunchtime meeting with a colleague and friend in town today
The west end of town seeems to have scaffolding everywhere including the market hall and its clock tower and St Chads church both of which can be seen, (or at least the scaffolding can !) in this photo

After the meeting I noticed that some  scaffolding had come down  That on on the new building-! It is amazing how fast things are moving now
I went across to the market hall cafe (closed on a monday) and got a picture of the church from there
......and then took one from ground level

It is fair to say that both expectaion levels and excitement levels are rising among church people but there is still a lot of work to be done and we constantly remind ourselves that this is not a vision about buildings but a vision about God blessing people as we as a church organise ourselves around mission

I will be inside the building tomorrow and will post some more photos after that

Friday, 28 October 2011

It's the spirituality stupid!

A very interesting article from the Huff post here
I am sure the authour is right; personal and community spirituality is vital
In the UK people are looking for that -but it is also true that  growing churches also engage strongly with their local communitites ,at least the ones I know do

Any thoughts?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Annie Johnson Flint

I spoke yesterday on 2  Corinthians chapter 1 v 3 and 4 stressing that we are not called to live the Christian
life in isolation  but in community,and that we are comforted by God so we can comfort others.

I quoted this poem from Annie Johnson Flint

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,

He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;

To added affliction, He addeth His mercy,

To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

When our strength has failed e’re the day is half done,

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving has only begun.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure,

His power has no boundary known unto men,

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

By all accounts she was a remarkable woman and you can read something of her life story here

Saturday, 22 October 2011

South American evening

In the past we have done curry nights and Italian evenings and even a, very English, afternoon tea but this was the first  time we had done a South American evening!

The food was great ,we had a South American quiz (which served to show me how little I know about that part of the world) ,and following a demonstration by the expert Richard and Adriana ,I even danced a little salsa -something they didn't teach me in theological college.- I was no good but it was fun!

There is something about these events that works in our area, and loads of people from the local community came -we reckoned we served about 140 meals and about 50 -60 % of those who came did not belong to the congregation.

Many of those people had been at previous evenings of this type,so there is an opportunity for good conversations, & real relationshiops to be built, and they will all be invited to our Christmas brunch where there will be an opportunity to hear the Christmas message

If I was to summarise the plus points of these evenings ,they would be;

  • They demonstrate to the local community the church is open,cares about them  and is  not a private club
  • They give people in the church an opportunity to make an easy invitation to their friends ,families and neighbours and those who come to  toddler groups etc  (which can often lead to further discussion and deeper relationship)-one person told me last night they were going to start coming to church
  • They give people in the church an opportunity to use their gifts- it has been fascinating to discover the various talents people have from cooking to salsa dancing, to poster making
  • They are great fun !

The light was poor and  I only had my camera phon-e but a photo to give you the idea

Friday, 21 October 2011

Progress-latest photos town centre building

Posts with photos of our new town centre building are consistently among those most viewed on this blog.
I guess people in the church or who were once in the church like to see what is going on and enjoy seeing  the progress
I couldnt go on site yesterday but Howard took these photos (which are much better than mine anyway!)

Photos Howard Robinson

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Testimony by Brad Thorn -All Black

I have watched a bit of the Rugby Wordl Cup and of course been dissapointed with England's performance (
However thought this was a great testimony by All Black-  Brad Thorn.

HT David Coffey

Monday, 17 October 2011

Alpha 2 The Cross

We had the second night proper of the Alpha Course last night.
We began with chat ,tea and the most superb carrot cake (meant to take a photo but I ate it too quickly!)then on to the course . This time the subject was the cross.
Once again Nicky Gumbel's video was a clear and simple exposition of the cross and once again the technology worked well, and everyone seemed to be listening hard.
The groups are just beginning to know each other and certainly in the group I led there was a great deal of conversation, and some pretty profound questions as well; ranging from "what about other religions? " to "the nature of the unforgivable sin" and the whole question of original sin.
It was a good if (for me) rather challenging conversation.

I do think the format of talk,followed by open discussion where you can ask any question works well in our culture in the UK anyway
The course now breaks for half term and then onto session 3

 Looking forward to it!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Christ in you the hope of Glory

I spoke on Luke 18  v  .
9-18 this morning.
It is a powerful parable and reading it reminded me that God is great ,Christ is everything. He must increase and that any hope we have is down to Jesus Christ alone.
I finished with this youtube clip that Jude sent me ,(apologies to those who have seen it before) but it is a powerful reminder ikts not our good deeds or our church attendance but Christ in us that is our Hope of Glory!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

A very brave man

I will email and I wil pray!

Friday, 14 October 2011

care quality commission

Following on from the Care Quality Commission's damning report on NHS elderly care   Joan Bakewellasks the key question where do we learn to care? and then says that she learned it in church
you can hear the whole interview here
press here

Thursday, 13 October 2011

latest pictures - town centre building

We had a meeting with the developers of the town centre site this afternoon.
Afterwards we took the chance to go round the building. There are a lot of people on site now and the work is moving rapidly forward
Rob took loads of pictures to show to the church but I took a few to put on this blog Here they are!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Who remembers flannelgraphs?

Ah flannelgraphs I remember them well!
I was worse than hopeless at using them despite once going on a child evangelism course!
What interested me about this post was that it seems both the medium and part of the message have changed ,in the UK at least!
Press here

Alpha week 1


On Sunday night we held the first session proper of our new Alpha Course.
This year we are running it with our friends and neighbours at The Abbey and St Peter's which has been fun as it is always good to meet other Christians.

The unusual start time of 6pm on a Sunday meant we are starting with pudding or cake rather than a full blown meal and this obviously suited enough people for us to break into 2 very viable small groups following Nicky Gumbel's talk.

I have run Alpha courses where I (or someone else) have delivered Nicky's talks live, but showing them on dvd is equally effective as long as the technology works fine which, thanks to Paul ,ours did last night.

I have heard these talks probably 20 times or so over the years and have therefore heard the jokes and illustrations that Nicky uses to hold peoples attention many times. After a while they do stop being funny BUT what cannot be denied is that he is a great communicator who gets across the essential facts in a memorable and easy to understand way , that last night provoked plenty of discussion.

However having used Alpha and other courses, in different churches over many years,I am convinced it really is all about relationships and providing a safe space for people to explore the Christian faith for themselves

We finished in good time and I was delighted it was a very promising first session

Thursday, 6 October 2011

lessons for church leadership from Steve Jobs

The BBC news today led with the death of Steve Jobs, who was a remarkable man by any standards.

Saw this on The Gospel Coalition site which I thought was worth sharing press here

There is also some good stuff here that much of which could usefully be applied to church life  press here

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mission Shrewsbury

Over the years I have come to appreciate the advice and fellowship Mission Shrewsbury provides
At difficult times in past years the friendship,advice and above all the prayers of other church leaders has enabled perseverance and provided great encouragement.
It has also been really good that as church leaders who have a passion for the Kingdom to be built in our local community we can meet to plan evangelism and pray together
This morning was our monthly meeting and Nick from Hope Church led us as we prayed for each other and shared together.It is good to be with people who have a vision, not just for their own church but every church and indeed the whole community.
I am very thankful for this bunch of people !

Sunday, 2 October 2011

A morning with our church leaders

We had a great session with our church leaders yesterday !
We gathered on a beautiful October morning to think and to pray about about our priorities in the next 1-3 years.

These are a great bunch of people, who have stuck with the church through good times and the bad, and we have travelled an exiting but not always easy journey together

In the process we have grown and built strong relationships with a high level of mutual trust.
Given all that it was no surprise that we were agreed as to what those priorities should be.

I won't post them on here yet because we need to share them with the church first(though reading this blog would allow anyone to make an educated guess as to what they are !)

The task now is to make sure that we focus our prayers and energy on those priorities and make sure we have the people and the structures in place to fulfil God's purposes for us

We enjoyed lunch in the garden together before heading for home!

As a postsript in the morning we asked ourselves these questions to both give us context and guide our prayers.I found them online (but have forgotten where Sorry!)
and adapted them slightly for our situation

1. When was the last time I heard from God? Am I doing what he called me to do?

2. What should our church be known for in this community?

3. Are we really focusing our time, money, leadership, prayer behind the things that will produce life change and community impact?

4. Is our church growing both spiritually and in numbers?

5. Is there a clear path to help people take steps in their faith with the ultimate goal of them becoming fully-devoted followers of Christ? (ie disciples)

6. What does a disciple of Christ looks like?

7. Are we empowering the people of God to do God’s work?

8. Are we developing leaders?

9. Do believers see their ministry happening only at the church or have they become missionaries to their families, their neighborhoods, their workplaces, their schools, etc

10 Do I have the right leaders around me to accomplish the vision?