Sunday, October 31, 2004

Been a hectic weekend - probably say more in a later post!
Still I did remember to change the clock - so the extra hour came in handy.

Not had time to look at one of the things found in the London Baptist Association store: "Encounter in London: The story of the LBA 1865-1965" - but the pictures are amusing enough!

Not managed to change the blog layout yet - seems to be all or nothing with these templates.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Spent a couple of hours yesterday helping to clear out a store room for the London Baptist Association. It was dusty! But a lot of the stuff we were shifting was fascinating - like an "annual report" and directory of churches which showed my home church having a membership in 1919 of (if I remember) about 563! How things have changed- I'm not longing for the past or am I in to the numbers game, but I found that a challenge.

Did a couple of sessions in the Pray Ealing prayer room which was cool (or am I supposed to keep that secret?).

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Being October half terms means its Pray Ealing's annual 24-7 Prayer week. Quite nice not to be in the middle of the action this year - due to my job change. Also at a new venue - in the basement of St Johns, West Ealing (if you're local pop in!). I looked in yesterday and the room looks and feels good.

Next week is National Youthwork week. Now you know!
Self Assessment for youth work
Just getting to grips with Evalu8 .
This is a self assessment tool for youthwork - developed by various youth organisations. It looks great - this is seriously helpful! Works a bit like an online form - you input details of a group or the whole of your youthwork and it helps you assess strengths and weaknesses etc.
The Baptist Union was involved in development so Baptist churches should have a copy -if it manages to get into the hands of the right people it could be very useful.

Posted by Hello
Youthblog has made one of the most profound statements I have ever read in the world of blogging: Scooby Doo matters deeply (he actually says for youthworkers - but I think it stands alone).
Never a truer word blogged. Never mind these new fangled cartoons. The dog rocks!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Youth ministry ~ Family ministry?
The training day Grow up! that I was running on Saturday provoked some interesting discussions. One was around the weakness of some churches in discipleship - for adults, yet alone teens.
Another strand was the role of parents in passing on faith, and even where the young person finds faith ahead of the parents. Should youth ministry become more "family centred"? Has it been to our detriment that we have separated the ages for everything?
This is very much a key issue coming from US youth ministries - people like Jim Burns and Mark DeVries (who's updated book on Family Based Youth Ministry has recently come out - must add it to my Amazon wish list!).
I've heard the perspective that the youthworkers focus on the young person - too much family stuff may muddy the waters. Maybe there's a middle way?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Posted by Hello
Interesting discussions going on on some blogs - reflecting on "shaping of things to come" and stuff.
Had some good conversations over the last week or so too.
But I do wonder sometimes if we maybe try too hard or think too much? Maybe we can all just be a bit too negative or critical in the name of being "relevant" or "emerging".
Don't get me wrong - some things need deconstructing and helpfullly assesing. Its just a reminder to myself for balance!
As I said below - God is at work - and fortunately we will not be the saviours of the church!

Friday, October 22, 2004

I think I've posted around this before - but its a strange thing when so many people can't wait for the weekend, yet that's my busiest time!

Linked to this is the fact that I can be a bit "disconnected" in this role - I see people at meetings (evenings and weekends often) and spend many day times preparing and doing the boring bits. Add in to the mix all the stuff about missional church (proximity to non Christians I think I heard...) and while I feel called to do what I do maybe I need a better balance? Just not sure how to get there!

Some interetsing posts on other people's blogs (just been having a look) but see that this background is getting a bit common- maybe its time for some layout tweeks?

Training day Grow up! tomorrow - lets hope people come!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Future youthministry?
There's an interesting article at Youth Specialties "the next 20 years of youthministry". Some of the comment is very USA focused but some stuff applies. Interesting how some are critiquing the whole "youthwork as seperate from church" thing.

More resources: received a CD Rom promo of some Church of Scotland computer based youtwork training which looks like it could be good. I'll have to take a more detailed look.
Interesting that there seems to be a load of stuff appearing at the moment. Lets hope it filters down and impacts "on the ground". (oh I guess that's my job then...)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Spent yesterday morning doing something I've not done for a long time - working on some music stuff with a mate. He's got some serious software tools - it must be at least 10 years since I did anything like that and the stuff we were using made what I used to use seem pre-historic! (and the fact he was using the emerging church scenes computer of choice almost made me a convert!).

Just trying to get some stuff together for a training day running on Saturday: Grow up! looking at helping young people become mature in Christ. Should be fun! (details at and click "news").

Monday, October 18, 2004

Jonny's blog is pointing people to which looks like a useful resource for youth ministry training - with e-mail delivered training sessions from just £1.99 !!

Youthblog mentions Spectrum and Energize, the later of which seems to have some meeting plans and stuff - which I'll shall investigate further!

I'll add all links to the links page at when I do the next update!

Meanwhile I was speaking at my "home" church on Sunday - trying to grapple with being mission focused from Acts 3. On the train to day I found some notes I wish I had discovered before then from
Andrew Jones suggesting a model for mission which is:
Pray - Herald - Apostle - Disciple which fits well with some of what I was trying to say. I would maybe want to add "demonstrate" before "herald". Seems to me the mission flowed out of the disciples life together - filled with the Spirit and praying.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Sometimes its good to be reminded that the future of the church and the church of the future doesn't depend on me!
God is at work!
Obvious - but sometimes I think its easy to overlook. Not that we stop thinking/praying/working it out.

Tomorrow there's a prayer day for the Baptist Union in East London - planning on going along for a bit and see what's happening and what God might be saying.

And I think we made it with the funding thing - lets hope so - my job may depend on it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Current thoughts:
What is the relationship between youth and children's work in the church? Can you employ someone to do it all? Or are they seperate disciplines?

Is there a solution to getting young people who come to youth clubs/socials/football/brigades into church or Sunday youth group? Or should we just not try? (maybe the answer is tied up to the question from a couple of posts back re. youth clubs?).

Back on funding applications!
Only this time its serious! Just discovered should have filed this one a week or so ago. Oops - better get on with it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Some interesting stuff at the anabaptist network site.
Reports on last weeks Lost Message debate here, including text of Stuart Murray's speech.
Also an article by Bob Allaway about children and church. He is doing some interesting stuff based in North London about children being part of church now, including all age stuff every Sunday.

I, meanwhile am just taking a break from attempting to fill in a funding application - what fun!

Monday, October 11, 2004

The blogroll keeps growing!
Recent additions include Stepping into the unknown which is Beef's new blog. He's taking the brave step of leaving a "church job" to get a "real job" and do ministry in the real world. Wow!
Others include Larraine who I shared a house in Ealing with many years ago, and youthblog -someone doing a similar job to me but with Anglicans in Oxford!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Random Thoughts
Still pondering mission, church and youth ministry post-Christendom since Monday's conference and other readings (including Stuart Murray's book on the subject). At the moment still on church as institution and all that that implies.

Meanwhile had a conversation today with someone who had been at the EA's discussion on Steve Chalke's Lost Message of Jesus atonemnet stuff. Not seen any blog comment on that yet - looking forward to it! Si Johnston paints the background here and Andrew Jones has stuff too.

Apart from all that I've been thinking is there any role for "open" youth clubs in church youth work today? Feel free to comment!

Maybe I should just get out more...

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Just an update to the post on what we did re. our neighbours.
Inspired by our freinds (thanks Hazel!), Mike Frost at Blah and of course the Bible(!) we decided that rather than moan and complain we needed to bless our neighbours. So we left cards and choclates for all the other flats in our house/block (3 others).
2 out of 3 have taken so far (including the noisy ones). I just felt we needed to help build neighbourly-ness rather than tension. No response yet - not sure if we want one anyway!
Had that feeling of things, thoughts, ideas coming together and beginning to "click" yesterday. Been pondering on the day Blah plus other stuff been reading and happening and trying to piece it together a bit. No great revelations to share - I haven't found "5 keys to a missional church" but its all good!
(which makes this a post which actually says nothing!)

One of the things I was pondering was the relationship between missional/incarnational church and established church - Mike Frost implied the need for distance, yet I work for a demonimantional body and am sure God wants to move on existing churches as well as kick start new stuff. I think this should be a both/and rather than an either/or.

Yet sometimes there seems to be suspicion - particularly from "successful" established churches - a fear of allowing grass-roots missional church to happen, maybe even a fear of anything beyond the boundaries of "control" (often called "spiritual authority" or "accountability").
I have seen and felt this tension from several angles!

For youth ministry - we need people to do "outside-in" incarnational work and start new expressions of church, and yet we need to nurture church young people to reach out to their peers, without getting hang up on bringing the 2 together?
Yet we maintain there is "one holy apostolic church".
But are we willing to set youthworkers (missionaries) free?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Harry Hill and the missional church...

Harry Hill was on BBC's Room 101 asking to consign God the room. His argument was there weren't enough miracles these days. He also did an amusing version of the childrens hand game "here's the church, heres the steeple" but when he opened the door "church wasn't so popular as it used to be". Interesting!

Spent the day at Blah with Frost and Hirsch from Oz speaking about missional church and stuff.
My initial reaction was it was fantastic stuff. I was inspired anyway! Read more on Si Johnston's or Jonny Bakers blogs etc. or at
Plenty to think about. He touched on some stuff I need to work through for myself - such as actually getting time with people outside church as well as one of my favorite subjects: Apostolic leadership. Anyway it was good day - and good to have Carl from my church along and catch up with a few other people. (Youthblog - sorry I didn't connect with you - I'm guessing its because I don't look as much like my picture as some would say!!). I'm sure stuff will come out from the day as I process it.

Meanwhile been inspired as to what to do re. neighbours - but won't say anything in case we chicken out!!!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Not again?
Having lived with noisy neighbours for nearly 4 years at our old flat it was disheartening to be disturbed last night in the new place - with loud music 7-11:30pm then loud radio below bedroom 2:30 - 9:30am!! Need wisdom for best way to approach the people who live below us (who presumably also upset the ones who live below them!).
To top it off I got out my car this morning to notice someone had a little parking accident and done what could be some expensive damage -while the thing was parked in our street!

Despite all that God is good and the stuff I was working on for this morning seemed to work.
Off to blah conference on The Shaping of things to come tomorrow which could be interesting.
Lets hope for a quieter night tonight!!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Is the Church of England boring?
This is the question posed for debate by the
Times. It is in response to comments by the Bishop of London who suggests
"We want a radical look at whether in this 21st century, the expensive way we govern the Church, the plethora of bodies, the particular activities that are conducted at national level are really worthwhile".

As a non-conformist, Baptist, I'm probably not best placed to comment of answer this!
But the relationship of structure to the organic life of the Spirit is always a difficult balance.

Just last night I was having a conversation about local church government and leadership. Being Baptist I'm used to and a fan of congregational government, but my friend is an ex-brethren pentecostal(ish) and wanted stronger leadership - more presbyterian in approach!

Friday, October 01, 2004

What am I talking about- God's love and grace?
Well yes -but really I'm referring to my internet connection!
Moving meant the hassle of getting a phone line, moving from BT meant my last account wouldn't transfer. Finally NTL have provided not only a bargain phone service but a cheaper unlimited internet package. I hope its as good as that!
Unfortunatelty not yet broadband, but it does "feel" quicker than Wanadoo...

Meanwhile things a bit mixed. Recovering from another cold (sympathy please). Got some good stuff together for A beginners guide to church youthwork - but had only 2 late participants!
And now should be sorting stuff for Sunday.