Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Baptists and change- again!

Apologies for posting about Baptists and change again but once again the post below resonated with me
If you scroll down you will see John Dranes excellent comment too on  change Press Here

John Dranes comment is below

As a Scottish person, I've been observing this conversation from afar and resisting the temptation to comment, as I know I'm an outsider. But this post has really hit the nail on the head for me. I hear all the things being said about resisting change and so on, but the reality is that every church in the land is already changing - that's why this conversation started in the first place, because things have changed and continue to do so in a rapid and unpredictable way that doesn't necessarily emerge from anything we've seen before (discontinuous change, to use the jargon). In a world where nobody knows what's going to happen next week, let alone in 20 years time, planning for a long term future becomes meaningless. From what I can see, most church people already know that in their personal lives, and live accordingly - it's only when they're in church that they seem to want to keep things as they are. Doing nothing is not an option: if we do that, change will certainly happen but it will be random and quite probably destructive. The key question for us, then, is not to resist change but to acknowledge that it's happening anyway, and to face the challenge and opportunity of being the intentional agents of change, inspired by the values of the kingdom. That sort of change will be as revolutionary as Ivan suggests in his original post here, and will require a long hard look at the whole shape of what we now understand by church life - though even as I've written that, I'm wondering if 'church life' is even the right place to start. Should we instead be starting with a more basic question about discipleship (something like 'what does it mean to follow Jesus in this time and place?') and be prepared to just hang out and see what happens organically as like-minded people and groups network in the emerging culture? There are actually lots of signs of this already happening through things like Urban Expression, Fresh Expressions, mission shaped ministry, all of which have an ecumenical dimension. Is that also telling us something? That the networks that can engage with the future may be less narrowly denominational, while learning from all strands of church life?

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The ongoing debate among baptists

Beyond 400 - Baptist Voices. Join the conversation now.

I have been linking to some of the posts on the Beyond 400 debate
Of course the debate is happening in many other places as well. I thought this post from Jon Stannard's  blog  and indeed the many comments below it, give a flavour of the ongoing discussion- and are generating both heat and  some light!
See Here

Friday, 24 February 2012

Giving up social media for Lent?

I guess if you have chosen to do this then you wont read this post for a while, but for those who havent and wonder if you should have doneVicky Beechings post is well worth reading here/

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The work continues at Central

I havent blogged about the new Central building recently
Of course a lot has been happening as we and indeed others in the local community have begun using the building.
This has meant that we have got ot get all kinds of policies and proceedures in place and think abot fire drills kitchen equipemnt and a hundred other things . Much of this work has fallen to Jude, though she has had a great deal of support from others including other local churches who have been kind enough to give us lots of good practical advice
. We are also looking forward enormously to the opening events planned for next month with Roger and Lesley Sutton.

The comments about Central  have been universally positive and the truth is we have an excellent new building ,the answere to the prayers of generations and a great facility to help us in our work and witness.

Yesterday we had our first communion service in Central at the start of Lent.
 A good number came and we used Lesley Sutton's meditation as well as some stuff from Eternal Echoes -Sally Colemans blog Sally's blog
It was a joy to celebrate communion together. So much has happened since we last did that in the town centre, and though the road to this day was not easy ,we have indeed been blessed.

Afterwards I had the pleasure of meeting Matt ,the gifted young man from the local 6th form college who designed our logo- He is a talented guy and is coming to our opening.

Monday, 20 February 2012

40 Baptist Voices -Kwame Adzam

Beyond 400 - Baptist Voices. Join the conversation now.

I promised to keep you updated with some of the more important posts in the Baptist 400 debate (in my flawed opinion)

The debate has been frustrating to read at times, as it's meandered all over the place without settling in any particular direction.
However,I have kept in touch with it and it has provided a platform for a diverse range of views to be shared -so that is very worthwhile !
 This morning though I looked at the site for the latest contribution and I think this guy has hit the nail  firmly on the head  Press here
Kwame doesnt say all that needs to be said but he does say something very  important. I especially like the points he finishes with

"1.Our ministers must begin to demonstrate this confidence in the pulpit after spending hours of prayer with God in secret.

2.Our Baptist denomination must shift from an over emphasis of our confidence in a Baptist identity to a Gospel identity. They are Baptist people who know the processes of a Baptist meeting and their rights but do not know the content of the gospel and the joys of being blessed and highly favoured by their heavenly Father. There is an urgent need to redress this skewed perspective.

3.We must be self-critical in our attitudes and character with the demands of the gospel. Let us stir up one another to know and love God more deeply, to passionately seek to get people to know Jesus the Saviour and to diligently demonstrate God’s love through acts of love."

Now there is a challenge to me and indeed to us all!


Friday, 17 February 2012

National Parenting Initiative

 A few more stats in this post and if anything they are even more challenging, but the initiative that is mentioned in the link is well worthwhile. God and Politics blog
and see here as well

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Church stats !

I am no good at maths but I have always enjoyed looking at church statistics and quoting them when appropriate.
In some ways they make depressing reading ,as they show a dramatic decline in church attendance in the UK, and  record our failures,but they should also shake us out of our complacency and tendency to bury our heads in the sand , and encourage us to be more innovative, as we seek to reconnect with our culture

I was therefore delighted to see Peter Brierleys website see here 
.Peter must know more about church stats than anyone else in the UK. I heard him speak many years ago and found what he said fascinating This bit on the website is certainly worth studying where is the church going?

It does not always make comfortable reading but if we are to get where we want to be ,we need to start by understanding where we are!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

An unhealthy obsession

I enjoy football as much as anyone and even have a season ticket for my local club, and know the ups and downs of supporting a club in the League Division 2.

Sometimes though I think our obsession with football has become more than a little unhealthy.

It is not simply the hours and hours  devoted on radio phone ins and sports programmes to discussing the rights and wrongs of a handshake that never happened, see here, or whether Tevez will return to Manchester City here.
It is the fact that once serious news programmes on the BBC (and other broadcasters) have been leading their bulletins at times, with these stories or the one about Rangers going into Administration .

There is civil war in Syria ,starvation in parts of Africa, a very controversial welfare bill going through parliament and we are fixated with this  trivia

In contrast there are some very serious stories that are getting little or no coverage on the  broadcast news
Included among them are this story see here which reminds us that despite employing some truly world class professionals , many parts of the NHS do not know how to treat people with a learning disability ,and that human beings made in God's image have died as a result . you can read more here Mencap

Bill Shankly the one time Liverpool manager famously  quipped ;

"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.' 

I think he was joking- it seems the BBC thinks he was serious!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Movement over Mega- Mike Breen

A quite long but fascinating post by Mike Breen  that is well worth reading see here

29th February

I thought this was a good idea from Crossing places website

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Fish and Chip supper -Crowmoor building

Last night we had one of our regular community meals this time
.Following curry evenings and Italian evenings and South American evenings we wnet for traditional British fish and chips with the amazing Delyth cooking the fish (with a little help from her friends!) and the great chippy down the roads doing the chips

It was another great evening and it always amazes me how many of the local community of all ages turn out to these evenings and once again we had people present who had never been in our Crowmoor building before There is something powerful about eating together!
We ran past the everyone present the idea of doing something for the Olympics or the Queen.s Jubilee together and there was a positive response -so watch this space!

Thursday, 9 February 2012


I have written  before about the blessing of working closely with other churches see here
Yesterday we had our monthly meeting of Mission Shrewsbury, and it was so good to hear how God is working in other churches and to plan some evangelistic and equipping events , we hope to do together in the future
My attention was drawn to this today Gather

The speaker is Roger Sutton who I am delighted to say is speaking at the opening of our new Central building next month
I cant make the conference Roger is talking about but I am interested in the idea!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Gentleness Henri Nouwen

  I have signed up for these daily thoughts from HenrI Nouwen  Society and was  moved by today's thought enough to want to share it

"Once in a while we meet a gentle person. Gentleness is a virtue hard to find in a society that admires toughness and roughness. We are encouraged to get things done and to get them done fast, even when people get hurt in the process. Success, accomplishment, and productivity count. But the cost is high. There is no place for gentleness in such a milieu.

Gentle is the one who does "not break the crushed reed, or snuff the faltering wick" (Matthew 12:20). Gentle is the one who is attentive to the strengths and weaknesses of the other and enjoys being together more than accomplishing something. A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly, and touches with reverence. A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture, not force. Let's dress ourselves with gentleness. In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us."

 Henry Nouwen   here