Sunday, 19 May 2013

Steve Barnwell's induction at Oakham Baptist

Yesterday I was present at Steve Barnwells induction as Pastor of Oakham Baptist Church
It was the third induction I had attended and taken part in , in the last 12 months, and was as enjoyable and meaningful as the other two, which you can read about here  and here
There is something very moving about a minister committing themselves to a church, and a church committing themselves to a minister as they promise to journey together into Gods future 
Steve had done a very good job in Shrewsbury and is missed but after yesterday and watching him interact easily with the people he is now called to minister to , I am convinced that he and the folk at Oakham have made the right decision and will grow the Kingdom together 

Roger Sutton spoke powerfully basing his thoughts around Luke 5 and speaking to folk from our church this morning ,his message had challenged them to see things things not as they are but as by the grace of God they could be 
I also found the covenant promises that minister and church made to each other deeply meaningful 
After the service we shared food and memories together before leaving for home. 
I am sure that over the next months and years we will hear about good things
happening at Oakham

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Mike Frost story from his book- Exiles

This morning some of us had breakfast together at Central, and reflected together on both Spring Harvest 2013 which a group from church went to; I have blogged about it before here ,and also the Christian Associates conference which I wrote about here.

As part of our reflection I read this story from Mike Frost's excellent book Exiles see here

" I remember meeting Shaun Tunstall, from the city of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia, who, in his mid twenties and living with dyslexia and ADD, finally decided he would stop attending church. He couldn't sit still during church services, and he wasn't wired to take in information from half-hour sermons. He wasn't getting anything out of the meetings, even though he had been attending church weekly since he was born.

Now, flushed with frustration and early adult rebellious energy, he decided to stop going to church. Instead, Shaun decided that he would take his power-boat out on Brisbane's Pine River and go water skiing on Sunday mornings. He gathered a group of friends, some Christian, some not, and headed off to the river for a relaxing day of water skiing. But after reversing the trailer down the boat ramp and edging the craft into the water, he became wracked by guilt. It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and every week of his life he had been in church. Now here he was about to go water skiing. He expected one of God's vengeful lightning bolts to burst from the clear blue sky and sink his boat at any minute. So, in an attempt to salve his conscience, he grabbed a pocket Bible from his car and announced to his friends that he would like to mark the day by reading a short passage of Scripture. You can imagine his friends' surprise. After reading the shortest psalm he could find, he reflected briefly about the beauty of God's grace and then asked the guys if there was anything they'd like him to pray about. Stunned by these proceedings, his friends, especially the non-Christian ones, eventually offered up needs they had that Shaun could pray about. Then they went water skiing all day.

Next week, twice as many people turned up. Shaun read a brief passage, shared a few thoughts about it, and asked for prayer points. He did this for weeks. The numbers kept increasing, and soon he had a community of over fifty people who would meet by the river, share a short devotion, pray together, and enjoy God's creation. Soon, people started becoming Christians. After a while, they started breaking for lunch at some picnic tables by the Pine River, where they would break bread and drink wine and remember Jesus' sacrificial love. 

They shared a meal together and took up a collection each week and gave the money to the poor.

They took it upon themselves to become the "chaplains" to the general river community. Now they are known as the people who tow broken-down boats back to the boat ramp. They provide free parts and repairs for other boats that have given up the ghost. They eat together, they serve the poor, they share Jesus with others, they celebrate the Lord's Supper, they serve their general community. 

And all along, Shaun's parents and church friends are hoping that he'll come to his senses and start attending church again."

I really love this story.It is one of my favourites about accidental church planting, but it also has a great deal to teach us about what church is, and the importance of being culturally relevant to the people we are trying to serve,love  and reach and share Jesus withReading the story certainly encouraged a lively and helpful discussion about what church really is and what it means to be church

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A trip to Ludlow

If you read this blog you will know that we are on a journey to becoming a more missional church.
It can be a tough journey at times as Simon Jones points out in an excellent  blog post here .
The journey does however has its joys, and many of these are to be found, as we engage with our local community, and  as we seek to discover what God is doing and enthusiastically join in.
Since Central opened we have had  wonderful opportunities to do that and we have been blessed and by the grace of God I believe we have been a blessing.
The coming few months look extraordinarily busy and very exciting
One of the things we are doing is playing a small part in the first ever Shrewsbury Food Festival website here which is coming up towards the end of June.
Our small, but exciting (and probably fattening!) role is to have a pudding tasting event at Central

It is not something I trained for at college, so Liz, Jude and I set of for Ludlow today to learn how they do it for The Ludlow Food festival
We had a wonderful time meeting the 2 women who had started  the pudding tasting event at the Methodist Church in Ludlow and they were incredibly helpful.
Their vision and energy ,their desire to serve and to bless their community and help us was awesome and inspiring
We came away with lots of ideas,lots of things we should do and should not do, and other things we need to think carefully about
What inspired us most though was the sheer energy and enthusiasm of these 2 people( who I think it is fair to say are not in the first flush of youth) and the way they want to use their gift to serve and bless people

God grant me their enthusiasm at their age