Wednesday, 30 May 2012

New Wine Leadership 2012 -some thoughts

I am just back from a new wine leadership conference in Harrogate. I was keen to sign up as soon as I heard Alan Hirsch was speaking .He did not disappoint, and I will write more about what he said in a future blog post.Suffice it to say I believe its a message we need to pay attention to

I found the whole conference stimulating and challenging & it was great to be with Steve and Jude and also great to  meet up with with friends again

 For those who aren't familiar with New Wine ( and this was my first experience of a New Wine conference) a  few  very personal observations.
The conference was very Anglican
One speaker kept referring to us all as Anglicans and though that wasn't true ,Anglicans were by far the largest group there. It felt like the charismatic wing of the Anglican church,maybe that is how they see themselves or maybe it is simply an oversight.Perhaps they do need to think about this issue and decide whether they are a conference for Anglicans that welcomes some others or a conference  for everyone. I hope it is the latter as they have a huge amount to offer other Christians.

It was not a very ethnically diverse group . There were people from other backgrounds and some from other countries, including people from Norway and Holland and Romania , but not that many of them

The worship was beautifully led with a very particular style with some very personal songs and plenty of opportunity to respond to what God was saying. I really enjoyed these times!

It was very charismatic (compared to what I am used to )with many manifestations of the Spirit. I found that refreshing and indeed challenging and inspiring.

New Wine is no longer simply a Network it is on the way to becoming a movement. That is quite an intentional development and in my view a good one.

I do think that there are important things the traditional denominations ,including my own,could learn from them and incidentally if they are as brave as New Wine leaders they should ask Alan Hirsch to speak at Baptist Assembly.They may not agree with everything he said but they sure would be challenged to think, as I was
.He would challenge much of the current thinking and  speak & prophetically into our situation

New Wine also took a strong position in favour of women in leadership of churches which I  applaud and they were not afraid to name prominent preachers they disagreed with on this issue.

All in all a very good few days

It was my first time,it did me a whole lot of good . I will probably come again & would love to bring others.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Gram Seed visit to Shrewsbury

Two local churches have invited Gram Seed to Shrewsbury next month. I have never heard him speak before so I am looking forward to it, and have asked a number of people along ,some of whom have said they will come,so it should be a good evening. Gram's story is a testimony to the grace of God.
You can hear a bit of it here
Gram Seed testmony

There are 2 evening evangelistic event using Grange Sec School hall on Friday 15th from 730-930pm.
and same times at Sundorne School on Sat 16th.

Monday, 14 May 2012

A persistent call

I drove the 70 odd miles from Shrewsbury to Coalville to take a small part in the induction of Denise to the ministry team. of a church there.
I went because I wanted to be a blessing but in fact( as is so often the case) ,I got much more from the occasion, than I was able to give to the occasion.

Denise first came to Ross in 1994 when her daughter was  2 years old.
She joined quickly and helpfully in the life and witness of the church, was baptised there and served for a number of years in a variety of ways using her very considerable gifts in God's service.
Early on she felt God calling her into ministry , a call that would not go away despite many heartaches and rejections along the way. Through it all, Denise kept focused on Jesus and demonstrated that often neglected,but vital, Christian quality of perseverance, until at just the right time this opportunity of ministry and service came up.
.Being present yesterday I felt a huge sense of relief  and indeed joy that God had worked this out-  and guess what she is in the right place at the right time!
It is easy as a visitor to spot the good things in a church and miss some of the internal politics that are present everywhere, but Greenhill seemed a warm ,welcoming place ,underpinned by prayer with good worship and.that connects with its local community.
I am sure it is not perfect but it sure felt authentic !
The worship was led by the pastor Jill Willett who preached a model ,short, but relevant message, with humour and real understanding of the people she leads.
Denise will make a great addition to the team but will also gain a lot from the team in terms of advice support love and encouragement.
What was a great joy too was to hear Denise's daughter Rhiannon singing with a friend during the service.
As i get older there are plenty of disadvantages, but it is good to trace the grace of God working in a family over  many years!
A great evening!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Big Society Shrewsbury

We were  surprised  and delighted to receive a Mayors award for  Shrewsbury Baptist Churches outstanding contribution to the community.The citation  read out when the award was made was clear that the award was for the work with the community that we do in both Crowmoor and Central.
In truth I guess  a great many other churches in the area, are doing similar or better stuff  and could have recieved an award ,but all the same,it was nice to be recognised, because we are passionate about our community.

It was a great joy that the top prize in the community category went to Shrewsbury Street Pastors,they have made a great start and so many congratulations to them,it was richly deserved.

The other award winners ranged from the people at the Parks department who look after the wonderful flower displays ,to the Horticultural Soceity who put on the Flower Show.
In between were people who run dance classes for the community (including our own Pauline ,pictured below) and

a pub landlord who distributes free food to senior citizens , a lady who runs a stroke club and a guy who has created an amazing wildlife garden near a sewage works (if I understood correctly!).Young people and their organisations were also well represented- An amazing bunch of people who were the Big Soceity long  before the term was even invented

We often hear the bad stuff but in truth there will be people like this in nearly every community and in austere times they offer huge hope for the future ,they also demonstrate the importance of building community and I feel the church has a critical role to play here

The awards were a certificate in a frame The whole thing was of minimal monetary value but would be a great boost and encouragement to everyone who recieved them. Saying thank you is powerful- so well done to The Mayor!

 On the way home we did wonder aloud about doing a church awards ceremony ,we concluded it would be great but not without its hazards!Anyone have any experience of doing this? Did it work?


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Baptist Assembly 2012

It is a while since I have been to a Baptist Assembly and though I was very  mildly tempted this year,in the end I didn't go
I have not read a great deal on the blogosphere about it but 2 blogs do mention it and at least one of those blogs make me think I didn't miss a great deal. You can read Andy's thoughts here  The other one focuses mostly on the Baptist Futures process . I have commented before that this process makes me feel quite frustrated, and reading Jon's blog did nothing to ease that sense of frustration! Read it here

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Mentoring Matters!

One of our leaders Helen went on a course that introduced these materials from
They look to be great and hopefully we will begin using them soon in a small way before widening it out to more people