Sunday, November 28, 2004

It Sunday evening - just watched Hillsongs London on Songs of Praise. Anyone else catch it?

I'm also thinking about youth worship having led an event last night and recently posted about being realistic about where young people are at (here).

And still working out where to go with jobs and stuff .

More on all these as the week goes on!

Friday, November 26, 2004

Fascinating post from Jason Clark in the midst of his blog on all things emergent about the Hokey Cokey!
Suzie had engaged in a bit of informal research about regional and national variations (such as should you sing "OOOH the hokey cokey" or "Oh the hockey cokey cokey"?).
Fascinating to discover its about mimicking priests in the Catholic Church! (
this is the source of Jason's post).

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A new survey of young Londoners shows that over 50% say the best thing about London is the shops!
"Mixture of people" came second, but at a much lower percentage.
Need to look at the thing in more detail to see what else can be gleaned!
Young People Now picked up on this survey and highlighted that 46% of London young people use buses daily. I remeber those days well!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

As mentioned a few posts ago there has been some uncertainty about the future of my job role. Basically it was a part-time role which became full time for a fixed period. That period expires at the end of the year and looks like the job will go back to part-time untill some funding applications come good.
Thanks to everyone who was praying about this stuff and last nights meeting -appreciated lots of love and support - helps me see what Christian community is about!
Where that leaves me I'm not sure! Do I hang in there or look elsewhere? What is God's calling?

I've written several posts about Christians and money - not sure where the line is between "faith" and "safety".

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Random ramblings
Met a pastor from a "Free Lutheran" Church in Iceland yesterday! He popped into Bloomsbury Baptist and ended up having a coffee with the LBA team. Like many Northern European countries Iceland has a state church (Lutheran). Seemed this guy worked for a breakaway denomination.

Lectio Divina blog is worth a look if you fancy trying that approach to Scripture (it includes and explanation).

Read this yesterday:
"Churches that embrace traditions over their children will die slow and painful deaths...Churches that embrace cultural relevance over biblical faithfulness will become heretics" Mark Driscoll in The Relevant Church.
The first part especially struck me - I think its true for the big picture, but I still maintain that its viable to have a healthy church without youth and children's work as we know it.

Something I've never posted on before is my love of Gola trainers.

For the past 7 years they have been my footware of choice. Retro yet contemporary! I even passed my driving test in what my instructor called my "lucky Golas". But at the weekend disaster struck when I found a hole in my pair of choice! Fortunately I found a suitably bargain priced replacement yesterday. Phew!
Maybe I love them because as a kid I read Roy of the Rovers and he was a Gola man

Monday, November 22, 2004

If in doubt go back to Scooby!
Posted about Scooby before, I once failed in an ambtion to get him into every talk I did!
But last night he was back in the action as an example of faithfulness!
And all for those pesky kids...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Hits the spot
Sometimes its great when you go back to a book and it really hits the spot.
I'm having that with this:

Mark Senter's (Ed) Four Views of Youth Ministry and the Church- I'd forgotten how helpful it was!
Anyway enough of the advertising!

I'm also (again) preparing for weekend meetings - only one this time. I'm due to be speaking on God's faithfulness on Sunday evening at a youth service thing. Quite appropriate subject for me at the moment as there is (again) some uncertainty about the future of my job role (too complicated to go into here - but expect a post next week when some decisions are made, in fact if you remember prayer on Tuesday evening appreciated!)

Meanwhile I'm off to Argos to buy a blow up bed as we've got some friends coming over. In fact yesterday I was in our local branch when a phone call came. I was noting down the messaage and ended up walking out the shop with one of those little pens that you get to fill in your order. I felt so guilty I had to go back and return it!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Young people's growth
Another helpful article from Youth Specialties Avoiding Life-Stage confusion.
How do we "target" our work with young people at the right level? And do we sometimes expect to much/little?
In the article he mentions worship leading for youth:
"I actually had a worship leader turn down a ministry opportunity with a group of junior high and high school students because he only leads 'level 3' worship and he thought that group couldn't handle it. "
I have no idea what "level 3" worship is - if anyone knows post a comment - but leading young people in worship can be the most awesome/frustrating/wonderful/annoying thing! Getting the right level and yet pushing on is a hard balance. Having been involved in youthworship at Back to Reality in Ealing and elsewhere for years I can honestly say I have little idea what the key is - but it can be strange to watch a group of teens go from giggly gossip (and that's just the boys) into passionate worship and back again in 3 or 4 songs!(yes I know its about more than songs).

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Just discovered a fellow Ealing blogger - Ali Campbell. Welcome to blog world!
New Look
Finally published a new look - after trying lots of stuff -went for somethings plain and boring!
The logic being if you start with something plain you can always attempt to spice it up later.
Those dots were just getting too common - and this is clearer to read.
But maybe this will only be temporary...
(just as well I'm having a quiet week work wise!!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Blog Off!
Spent a bit of time (maybe too much) trying to do a re-design - but as yet still not happy!
The dots will just have to stay for now!!

Read another Grove Book(let) yesterday: Liquid worship. Interesting, but I don't feel it says much beyond what the "alternative worship" and generally other creative people have been saying for ages. I was challenged to maybe try something less "linear" more often. Its amazing how quickly we get into a "safe" routine.
In my home church we usually do the service in 3 halves (yes we know you can't have 3 halves): Word (teaching in age groups), Fellowship (coffee and stuff for adults, juice and games for children), Worship (all in), which compared to some places is quite different. Yet within that we can get into a rut. This week we changed the order so that we were all in for 11am and rememberance.
We also did a "fluid" start - no words just began - and a few people seemed confused by that!
One of the fun parts of my job is visiting churches and experiencing different approaches (or more frighteningly just variations on the same approach!).

Monday, November 15, 2004

All age?
One of the issues churches or rather youth leaders often raise is that of the connection between youth ministry and the "main" church. (I've mentioned this in various ways before).
Can we create an intergenerational community yet be missional and relevant (emerging)?
I did once joke that certain jazz may hold the key as it seems to be having a wide appeal (witnessed in the huge numbers at Ealing Jazz festival in my home town - or maybe they just go to sit and drink in the park?). A colleague more seriously said that food and stories may be the answer.
Body Beautiful by Philip Mounstephen and Kelly Martin is a helpful place to start with this issue.
It raises some interesting areas and being a Grove book is a short, quick read.
A brief quote:
"At best church life seems like that of dysfunctional family...the call of the church is to model reconciled community not as a displacement activity to avoid the real task of mission but because reconciliation lies at the very heart of mission".

Some of the advocates of "home church" also say interesting things -like during the sermon on the mount did Jesus send the children off to junior church because it was a long talk?
Can all age church be a reality without the dreadful spectre of naff family services?

Friday, November 12, 2004

Self Referential?
I remember the phrase self referential being used at wonderful lectures on Postmodernity and consumer culture at uni - the idea that media ends up just referring to itself. Seems blogging is like that too.
But I'm not worried - so here's another post about the blogosphere!
Youthblog is again resonating with some stuff I've been thinking about - youth group size. Check out the post if you're interested.
I'm currently wondering about getting some thoughts together under the title Beyond the youth group - watch this space to see if it happens!

Yesterday I was back doing some tunes with my mate Matt. Fun! Again watch this space to see if it becomes anything worthwhile! Nice to have something to do on days off!

And Friday again means getting ready for weekend stuff - 2 lots of youthleader training and a service to finalise for this weekend.
Youthwork the Conference is on this weekend, and various people I know have gone - but I decided it was too far (and grim up north - only joking!), and too many other conferences to chose from!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Provocative post from Tony Jones. Also being discussed at Jonny's.
If you get time the comments are quite fun too!
For what its worth I'm with the "both and" people - new birth and resurrection please!

(and not just because an institution pays my wages!)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Remembered how great the Wombles are tonight by being treated to an impromptu screening at a friends place! Thanks Carl & Sara!!
I was in Kent at the weekend at my brother's church leading worship.
Always fun to catch up! Especially with my 2 nephews and niece! I think Toby may be this blogs youngest reader!

Easy life?
Sometimes I think it would be easier to forget the changing/emerging situation that we're trying to do church in (here in London & worldwide!).
I mean wouldn't it be simpler just to carry on with the old ways - just work at getting them better? Certainly it would bring short term "success" in many places (or at least appear to!).
Isn't a better Sunday programme much less hassle than really trying to be missional?

But back to reality - its been interesting to have a few conversations and see stuff that illustrates the challenge of leaving behind the "Christendom" mindset. Both in terms of thinking about youth ministry stuff and wider.
Part of the tension is trying to work where we are - in a transitional period.

(I'm not sure this makes any sense - but it makes me feel better!)

Monday, November 08, 2004

A familiar feeling?

Just spotted this rhyme:

Mary had a little lamb,
She also had a sheep.
And then they joined the Baptist Church
And died through lack of sleep

on a blog. Busyness gone mad!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Thoughts and prayers with the Smith family today.
As posted earlier in the week Margaret Smith died last Sunday morning.
Today was the funeral & thanksgiving.
Priveleged to be a part of it (& Suzie sang wonderfully).
Old friends of Suzie's family, John now serves as UK director of Evangelical Alliance.
Grace and peace to all.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Youthblog has a post which echoes some of my ramblings re. youth ministry/church etc.
Worth a read - and some comments too!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.
It should now be easier if you feel the urge to comment! (and for me to delete rubbish!) .
I think I may have lost previous comments though - sorry!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The BBC 2 Documentary The power of nightmares was excellent. I missed the first two programmes but tonights lifted the lid of the notion of "global terror networks". Maybe I liked it because it appealed to the optimist in me - but there's just too much hype and "scare" tactics around for my liking! (don't even get me started on the millenium bug stuff!!).
The main point of the programme was that politics has become about helping us avoid an imagined nightmare rather than offering us a dream.
I'm sure its no accident that this was shown on the day of the US election results!

Posted by Hello Youth!
Just come from one of those meetings where you come out with your head spinning and you're not sure what really happened! (sorry if you were there!)
It was about youthwork (no surprise) across a Borough.

I'm more convinced than ever of the relevance of yesterday's post and the confusion churches have about "why" and "what" they're trying to do in working with young people (which stems from history and tradition). How much is driven by fear or the desire to stop "my church" from dying rather than by mission or the Kingdom of God?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

?How did we get here?
Having posted on Youth ministry and family ministry and whether segregation is a good thing, and on the subject of should we expect youth clubs and midweek "outreach" to feed Sundays (here), its been interesting to learn something of the background to these issues.

At the risk of being boring here are 2 quotes from London Baptist history:
Speaking of the 1870's :
"Organisations specialising in work amongst young people, men and women arose. The segregation of the church had begun, for good or ill"

In 1878 my LBA predecessors were concerned again with youth and childrens work.
They held a conference "The Young People of our Churches and Congregations, our duty towards them. How shall we best discharge it" (snappy title - might borrow that one!).
But as today part of the issue was "bridging" youthwork into the "main" church:
"With a band of 4,714 teachers, instructing 58,270 scholars, may not further enquiry be urged - are the churches augmenting from this source as numerously as might be expected?"

So my question is - to what extent should we be seeking to help churches work with same old models and to what extent is a radical new approach called for? (and my guess is the answer is both!).

I never knew that...
Guys hospital - London:
"Thomas Guy, a Baptist Bible printer...gave his fortune of £200,000, to found the hospital which bears his name". (from Encounter in London)

Monday, November 01, 2004

All Saints
Great to work with 3 different churches over the weekend.
Yesterday morning led a family service around "All Saints day" in Hayes - Baptists don't really do "saints" but I found it useful to be reminded that we stand in a great line of history as God's people. (A great "cloud" of witnesses - Hebrews 12:1)

Saturday evening was fun in Tottenham, speaking at a youth event where the youthgroup showed their gifts in drama, song etc. The programme said "altar call" after my talk -and I'd planned for a response - but I was surprised by how many people came up! Wow!

Saturday day was also fun - another church took the bold step of asking me to speak on "emerging youth trends and developing youth ministry" to their leaders. They also invited some youth along to get first hand feedback. What a great thing to do! I hope this happens more.
I also feel privileged that both Saturday day and evening I was able to work with majority black churches.

On a different note -the weekend also included a reminder of the fragility of life with the news of the death of a close friend of my wife's family. Thoughts prayers go out to John Smith (currently serving as UK director of Evangelical Alliance) and family at this time.