Friday, July 30, 2004

I quit!
After nearly 5 years in her current post Suzie is finising her job today!
Still waiting for responses to applications for what next.
Prayer appreciated.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Urban Vibe
Just back from a hot and sweaty Urban Vibe event at Ealing Christian Centre.
It was part of Soul in the City  and featured UK Christian urban acts such as AFG Nexus
and 29th Chapter (pictured)  .
Also the excellent beat-box maniac Bemused.
Highlight was ECC's own choir - nice work Sam!


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Mission and the Mayor!
Having spent the last 2 afternoons visiting a couple of local Soul in the City  projects (and being accused of watching people do the hard work by a friend from my church), today I went to help at a project in Northolt. It was good stuff.
What was amusing was the visit of the Mayor of Ealing, in robes and everything! Not so amusing was the evident frustration of the local residents at the
council and their contractors. Alongside this there was a genuine appreciation for the work of the churches and mission delegates.

No doubt SITC will be continue to be a blogging theme here as I visit (and maybe work?!?) on projects over the next ten days.

After that is over Suzie & I have been persuaded to go to Newquay to be part of a mission being run by
24-7 prayer

Team Leader
Michael is a friend from Ealing area. Should be fun!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Very amusingly I did 2 interviews for the London Baptist slot "Capital Vision" on Premier Radio this morning. The slot goes out about 7:55am on a Sunday morning (which I shouldn't imagine is prime time!) and I'm due to be on August 8th and 22nd apparently! The question is - am I sad enough to get up early to listen to myself?
On a different scale altogether, the piece on Soul in the City on BBC London TV news last night featured a project in West Ealing - and it was actually quite positive.

Monday, July 26, 2004

"There is much talk today about an emergent church, one that is more authentic, relational, liquid, culturally relevant, organic and missional. This is a church that works for nonbelievers, where unnecessary barriers of traditional church are removed, via alternative worship gatherings, while at the same time integrating the spiritual in the warp and woof of everyday existence, by practicing the Divine Hours, for example. This is encouraging. But in too many cases, these postmodern alternatives confuse the symptom for the cause"
So says Charles Moore from the Bruderhof Communities in his article
- Why I Stopped Going to Church. Its worth a look if you get a moment.

Youth Minsitry?
Just spotted this:
"I'm wondering if we can ever be free of Youth Groups? How can we really combine youth with adults without adults being bigoted toward youth and the youth really wanting to learn from adults? "
at Reimagining Youth Ministry . The writer is looking for responses - I shall think about mine and post there later!
I'm doing some thinking about "youth ministry and the whole church" for a resource I'm looking to produce for the LBA - so I hope they get some juicey comments!

Meanwhile - first day of Soul in the City  projects - lets hope the sun comes out!

Sunday, July 25, 2004

We've been asked to feed some neighbour's cats. Tonight we were greeted with a not so lovely sight of a decapitated mouse on the dinning room carpet! Lovely creatures cats...

Meanwhile I'm suffering runny nose and another summer cold - very annoying! But the Mrs has been good and did a great roast dinner today (nice one as she's not normally the family chef).


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Emerging Urban Church (again)
I've blogged previously about emerging church, and the need to incorporate global and urban perspectives too.
In the excellent volume Urban Church Stuart Murray Williams writes this, focusing on the city context:
"The inherited Church and the emerging Church need each other; partnership and mutual respect will enable both to learn from each other...the cities need churches that are humble, open, secure enough to listen and not to cling desperately to fixed old patterns or inflexible models, aware that ethos is more significant than structure and attitudes more important than attributes"

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Youthwork Training
Just posted details of the next round of LBA youthwork training events over at (click "News"). Quite excited about these. Primarily aimed at people from London's Baptist churches but if you're nice to me I might let others in!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Soul in the City is looming large on the horizon!(its 2 weeks of mission stuff in London).
I know many youthworkers, church leaders and volunteers working very hard to make projects happen, as well as the SITC staff pulling it together.
I admit that over the last couple of years since it was announced I have had questions, personally and professionally.
But now its days away!
The prayer time at one meeting I was at today was powerful. Seems God is at work - maybe not in ways we expect, but then as my mother-in-law says "you'll never understand God".
Anyway its not too late to get involved or to get praying!

Monday, July 19, 2004

ITV News spotlight on binge drinking
ITV are running a series of special reports on "binge drinking" - apparently they were out on Saturday filming at 30 town centres around the UK.
Could be an interesting insight - although the danger is it'll just be filled with moral panic.
In a similar vein the Sunday Times yesterday ran a report on Newquay in Cornwall Welcome to Sin-on-sea. Seems its easier for "underage" clubbers to persuade parents to let them go to Cornwall post  GCSE's than to Ibiza!(personally I only made it to Hastings, and that was after A Levels).
24-7 Prayer are running an outreach team to Newquay this summer (and back in Ibiza as featured in the TV documentary a while back). Which has got to be a good thing.

Meanwhile I'm blogging as escape from admin. (again). 

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Interesting article in The Times today on a message by the Bishop of London. Basically the Bishop suggests churches could learn a thing or two from clubs and club culture. Nice one Bishop Chatres!

It also included this advice from Ministry of Sound:
Sunday mornings I can’t imagine are very good for the youth market. Churches also need to be less formal and more music-led. There is a lot of religious music being produced that is very up-to-date and it would be good to hear more of it. Come on churches — make some noise’
— Kelly Hughes, Ministry of Sound, in London

Meanwhile its flying ant day pt II: the return!
Yes its their 2nd outing - lets hope thier last!
It must be a major event as a friend even phone me up to tell me about it - (thanks if you read this) and Suzie was not happy walking to the shops as they flew into her hair.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Interesting new "progressive" priest character in Neighbours (Aussie soap, big in UK!). Not sure where they're going with this one though - is he helpfully questioning or just losing his faith (to fall in love with Susan?).
"Christian" soap characters are a strange breed - rarely doing us any favours!

Small things!
Funny how the small things make you happy!
After months of complaints from the Mrs and me saying"its fine really" I've finally relented and got a new mouse. She was right! This (cheap but quality) new one is so smooth...
And I've just logged in to find bloggers new posting interface - much better! Things might get interesting now!!
Meanwhile I should be preparing for Sunday- a service around David and Jonathan that I'm struggling to be creative with!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I was at a gathering of Baptist ministers today for one of our "districts" (a subset of the regional association!).
And I was struck that for all our longings for new ways of being church and new expresions - its not easy being a church leader!
Especially in a setting where you inherit traditions and structures that weren't designed for mission today.
I for one feel more resolved to pray for pastors and vicars even in "dying" churches - maybe resurections not far away?
Yesterday I attended a training day on how to raise money for youth organisations at the DSC.
It was helpful and there were a couple of other Christian groups represented which was interesting.
Yet somehow it ties in with previous posts about Christians and money - or maybe that's just my hang up? I just have this feeling that there should be enough money to fund ministry without the issues that outside funding brings or am I being naive (may be we should be "plundering the wealth of the nations" or something?).

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Anti-virus annoyance!
I realised today my anti-virus software has been trying to download the same update patch for 2 weeks. Upon investigation I discovered my software became obsolete on 30th June - and no-one told me!
The upshot was that I was offered a "new improved" programme at a reduced rate for being a registered user. I'm sure the new programme's better but the phrase "rip off" springs to mind.

Plus the car needed a couple of tyres - what's wrong with baldness anyway?
I'm amazed I've managed to keep this blog thing up so long!
My first attempt in January lasted about 2 days.
Its actually strangely addictive - both posting and reading other peoples.

I'm off to get my car MOT'd - lets hope all is well!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Channel 4's
WHO KILLED SATURDAY NIGHT TV? last night was an excellent piece of media nostalgia!
But more than that - it had implications for church.
The programme charted the changes in Saturday evening viewing and "family entertainment" over recent decades.
Amazing how things and tastes change.
The programme concluded that now we can't expect all the family to watch the same thing. Coupled with the change in life patterns, greater entertainment options, economic factors etc., the "golden age" of Saturday TV (peak viewing figures in millions, whole families round the box) is probably gone forever. I would say that has impact on church -the same factors impact the notion of an all in Sunday morning "service". Fragmentation and cultural change surely raise huge issues for our church "meetings".
I have had a range of opinions on "niche" church the last few years - from against to for to the middle.
Last nights show highlighted again that "things aint what they used to be"! Sure God never changes but our life patterns and culture continues to move apace.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Youthwork ~ Adult Ministry?
A few friends are leaving youthwork soon to move into "adult" ministry. This raises several issues for me:
- Is that an inevitable movement in the UK scene (different in USA I know)?
- Will they lose their radical edge?
- Why are there so few "younger" pastors/ministers - seems like young people wanting to go into ministry become youthworkers?
- Will we see them shifting the established church as previous "grown up" youth leaders have?

I know in some ways I can't talk - I have moved away from "face to face" type youthwork to a denominational role where most of my time is with adults. But I would like to see both more lifetime youthworkers and more church leaders willing to engage with youthwork and emerging generations issues. Maybe that is what this is about - something positive for the wider "body". Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Came accross this book: 10 things I wish I had known when I started in youth ministry by Reullyn Peltcher yesterday, when I was doing that Wesley Owen Christian consumer thing.
Its about 10 years too late for me - but I'm hoping it might be helpful when training others. Watch this space to see if its any good!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Several bloggers (e.g. Jonny , and Andy) have mentioned Doug Paggit's Reimagining Spiritual Formation.
I'm due to be speaking on "Authentic Christian Discipleship" on Sunday evening, so thought it would be a good time to look at that for myself. And so far I have found it to be very helpful. Its very honest, and yet raises key issues about whole life discipleship and real community life - issues that many churches seem not to hit effectively. The difference is that rather than talk about such issues in theory, they are grounded in experience and comments from "real" church members (even negative ones which is cool).

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Went for a walk this afternoon to take a break and go to local shops. Nothing unusual there. Except it is a day which is a summer tradition (at least in London): it's flying ant day!
Every year there's 1 or 2 days when these beasties come out to play. And round here it's today. Not sure if its to do with humdity or what, but I was properly attacked today!

Monday, July 05, 2004

Youth ministry in the real world
Thought provoking and moving post over at Reimagining Youth Ministry. The kind of real life scenario you can never plan for, raising questions all the strategies and "how to" books don't equip you to answer.
Something to pray about though.
Blog Weirdness
Something strange happened with yesterdays post - I noticed a few errors on publishing which I duly corrected and re-published - but it appeared to still publish the old version. Strange. Fixed now but quite annoying.
Does using the ATOM/RSS feed mean getting info. on everythings that's published (and therefore the last post at least 3 times?)? I shall investigate further!

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Nice one!
Theme from the day: God working even though are efforts to follow and serve are often faltering!
This has been re-enforced to me several times over the last week - and its good to be reminded of. Aware of my own weekness yet God at work in people's lives (and mine).

Om a different theme - had a good trip to Ham House - making the most of that National Trust membership. Its worth a visit if your down that way. Apart from all the art and history stuff, it was a wheel chair that struck me (not physically)! It was probably 1920's-30's and was made by Leveson who seemed to have several London branches as well as Manchester and elsewhere. I shall have to investigate this further (maybe its my chance to discover I'm really owed part of a Leveson fortune - well you can dream!).

Friday, July 02, 2004

So many things buzzing round today (the graphic means nothing - its just for fun!), not sure where to start!
Themes for the day - youthwork, church, unity, Kingdom, our own struggles.
Been some discussion today about youthwork across churches in the Ealing area (- reminded by Tall Skinny Kiwi that "everything is pretty much public online")- won't say much for now - apart from could be interesting over the next months to see what develops.

Had a good chat after with some folks from a local Anglican about a whole range of related and unrelated issues church - great perspectives!
Reminded of a quote from Andy Hickford "The church doesn't have a problem with young people. The church has a problem with the gospel" (from Essential Youth)
It sounds harsh but think about it...

Elsewhere interesting stuff at Tall Skinny about house churches (sorry to keep referring to his blog - but he has interesting things to say!!). As my home church is doing cell church I find the House Church stuff quite insightful. Something appealing about the down to earth, organic nature of it. Yet I think I would miss something if that's all there was.
Oh well happy weekend!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

My neighbor's new stereo is definitely an adequate replacement for the old one - if not even louder! The joys of doing prep. and admin at home! Anyone got any earplugs?
Two evenings with different people ended up with discussion on the complexities of corporate (church) worship - especially "contemporary" band led style. When its good it can be helpful but when its poor...
Didn't come to any conclusions other than that its a hard balance between an unhelpful emphasis on being technically and musically good and getting people involved! And still the old danger of "singing & music = worship" remains.
One of the best articles on this subject is from Brain Mclaren in Adventures in Missing the Point where he helpfuly undermines that sense that worship peaks with an ecstatic "feeling":
"If you never felt The Feeling again, would you keep worshipping me anyway - for me and not just for the feeling?"

I'm off to chant and light candles anyone coming?