Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Spent most of the day stuffing envelopes - something of an annual event, when I do a mail out of youthwork stuff to the LBA churches. Not the most exciting thing to do or blog about I know!
This mailout includes Beyond the Youthgroup a paper just finished exploring the relationship between youth ministry and the church as a whole. More on that soon - plus it'll be available for download from the LBA youthwork site (which I started re-designing and then gave up!).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

So England win the 4th Ashes Test (cricket if you were unsure!). Once again it got a bit tight at the end but we got there. So its all set for the final test back in London, at the Oval. Bring it on!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

He's got the whole world...
"All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit" wrote Paul, a couple of thousand years ago.
Yesterday a colleague and I met with a pastor from Sierra Leone. He was in the UK for the BWA congress, and is hanging around looking to build partnerships. He has a great vision for church planting in the villages, complete with starting primary schools. He told of the impact of the war, the preference for the cities for many Christian groups and pastors, and of what God is doing.
On reflection it was all quite inspiring, and yet I'm not sure what we can offer in many ways (the Association has financial pressures of its own).
Still always good to hear about on the ground mission, whatever the context, and be reminded that "the church is bigger than you think".

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Greenbelt festival seems to be back in fashion! Appears every blogger and their dog is going.
Me - no I prefer to be at home in the warm and dry, hoping for another great Ashes Test match!
Although a day ticket might be tempting...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Soul Survivor
I haven't ventured to Somerset for Soul Survivor festival for a few years - its certainly not something to take holiday leave to go to (it would be like work), and without a specific reason to go I've felt no urge. But I know what its about etc.
This year its been interesting to read Mark Oestreicher's reports. Coming from the USA he's made some interesting observations (see his posts here and here and here), about stuff that those of us who have been around that style of UK youth work have probably come to take for granted, especially around "prayer ministry" and the involvement of young people themselves. I know that style of stuff isn't for everyone, and its easy to be cynical about Soul Survivor, so its been good to hear some positives.

Meanwhile Rob has posted some interesting thoughts and questions on this subject!
He asks:
"Why don't things and events like this have a bigger impact on our country?...It is because of things like Soul Survivor that we should be very worried. There are 11000 young people with desires, dreams, visions, time and energy - and yet we are still in decline!!!"
Read more here.
Interesting article at Theooze called The tri-generational model.

In it Jeff Hughes suggests:
" I believe that a true postmodern church is a multigenerational community composed of people of all ages who desire to worship God in authentic ways."

The article explores what can be done altogether, and what can be done in generationaly or culturally specific spaces, yet with a desire to stay as part of an inherited church rather than go off and do something totally seperate.
Worth considering!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Church Growth
I'm not a fan of numbers and church growth techniques.
But today I received the latest London Baptist Association directory, and reading through it prompted the question:
Why do some churches never seem to grow?

I guess part of my job is to help churches to grow, at least in terms of young people. And I know the answer is complex, but it leapt out at me today!

Lots of stuff around some blogs about interaction and using mobile phones!
Jonny mentions some stuff happening at Greenbelt.
Planet Telex has this excellent post
including this idea:
" Send people out from your community with the task of sending you via email or via picture messaging 3 images that speak to them of God during the week. Upload each image to the website as the week progresses, use the images during worship on Sunday, swap the images as free wallpapers for people’s phones. The next week ask them to do the same thing, but with a different theme, what makes them happy, images that make them sad, images of friends, images of meals eaten…

If people don’t have a digital camera or a camera phone hand them out disposable cameras, get them to take three then to pass the camera to someone else until the roll is taken up, then you can have the photos processed before the next gathering…"

Andrew Jones is making a text feed of his blog available for mobiles!

We're just reviewing our mobile set up - I have 2, one for work and one or personal!
But the variety of deals is bewildering!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Still in the process of reading Mark Driscoll's Radical Reformission, which is a times spot on and in other places a bit annoying - but maybe that's a crossing the Atlantic thing. Which may be the reason behind my reaction to this story he tells:
"It was the middle of the night and my family and I were sleeping soundly in our beds when I was awakened by a distraught person banging on our front door and yelling...I grabbed my handgun and took position at the bottom of the stairs, between the front door and my family, praying I would not need to kill this person and then have to preach at the funeral" (p159).

I personally found that disturbing. Maybe its because I live in the UK and we don't have the right to carry arms. But something about the story seems to undermine the whole Christ-centred approach to mission which the book is trying to promote. Or am I being naive?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Its a quite summer in terms of meetings etc., and I've managed to avoid camping (Soul Survivor etc.).
One thing I am doing is writing a couple of resources for the LBA. Over the years I have sent two "LBA guides" out to the churches (Becoming a volunteer youth leader and Strategy and vision for youthwork in the local church, both of which are available on the downloads page at www.lbayouth.org ).
One of this years has been brewing for a while and is about the place of youthwork in the church. The second, which I've been looking at today is about good practice - not something I get fired up about, but vital none the less (especially to justify the funding). More details when they're finished.
There's also a music project in the pipeline (which realistically depends more on my Mac'd up producer friend than me!).

On top of that there's training events for the autumn to promote and plan, and a fantastic event the LBA's putting on in November Re:Action - are you ready for you mission which I'm trying to keep on top of!
Holiday comes early September, by which time Suzie would have left her current job (less than 2 weeks left!).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Fancy being a star?

Just received this e-mail - not quite sure why or where to go with it - so figured here was as good a place as any(it does seem to be genuine as far as I can tell!):




W10 6RA


ANY QUESTIONS? Email beth@castingcollective.co.uk

So maybe this is your big chance!
Wishful thinking?
In the article mentioned below, Michael Volland suggests:
"The question upon the lips of the church is therefore, 'How can we transfrom so that young people are able to make thier spiritual home here?'"
(from BRF Guidlines, Sept-Dec '05)

If only more churches were asking that question - rather than "what can we put on for the youth"!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Seems people think busyness is next to Godliness!
Great post on busyness in the life of a church youthworker from Amanda - Here
Had a fantastic day in Cambridge yesterday catching up with Michael & Rachel (and Hannah and Reuben). It was interesting to visit them at Ridley Hall, the Anglican theological college, not somewhere I'd been to before, but seemed like a good place. (I'll resist denominational jokes - but for the record I did 2 years at Spurgeons).
Michael is the author of the recently published book God on the Beach, which I'm more than happy to give another plug to! He has also written an excellent article Christian youth work? What for? which is published in the magazine section of the latest edition of BRF's Guidlines Bible notes (more on that another time).
Great to "chew the fat" around church, emerging church and mission, and to realise once again the danger of any one group thinking they've "got it".

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Big Brother
So Anthony wins the UK's 6th BB series.
At first I wasn't in to this years reality TV extravaganza at all - the characters seemed shallow, more exhibitionist than ever, and to keen to fight. But the thing did seem to get more interesting as it went along.
Eugene just missed out on winning - he was an interesting character to come 2nd and be "adopted" by the British public - a self confessed geek, who actually had moral values and high view of "decency". I was hoping he would win!
I'm sure he's an interesting youth group discussion starter on values - especially in the light of his taking half the prize money on Wednesday!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Amusing re-telling of the Pharisee and the Publican here.
(Spotted the link at Andrew Jones)
Remember - many a true word spoken in jest!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Church planting?
Yes its another quiz - but not the usual Quizfarm stuff - this one's from a Presbyterian Church!
The quiz is - Should I become a city church planter? (found via Reformissionary).
Anyone get a goood score?
Mark Driscoll suggests we need to be
"living in the tension of being Christians and churches who are culturally liberal yet theologically conservative and who are driven by the gospel of grace to love thier Lord, brothers and neighbours" (The Radical Reformission, p22)

At first reading I liked that. But can we distinguish so easily between being culturally liberal and theologically conservative? Doesn't our culture and background colour how we come to our theology?

Friday, August 05, 2005

It might not be new to many people, but I spotted a T-shirt with this on today:

Don't think I'll ever be able to hear/sing that Delirious track again - but then I'm not sure it even makes sense - isn't Jesus doing the looking?
The picture is from here, a place doing humorous magnets and posters.
Here's another:

The company URL is http://www.exit64.com/posters if you feel the urge to buy!
Yesterday evening I was at St George's chapel, opposite Terminal 2 at Heathrow for a prayer event. Its a fantastic cave-like venue (wish I had taked some pics!), in the heart of the worlds busiest international airport.
The Soul 2 crew were there - which meant lots of enthusiastic Brazilians and Koreans lifting the volume of prayer and worship! We prayed for the airport,the chaplains, thanked God for the miracle of the crash in Toronto early this week, prayed for safety at Terminal 5 , as well as focusing on Soul 2 and the churches in the villages and towns around the airport.
Sometimes just being in a place like that adds so much to what's happening - and if you're flying from/to Heathrow pop into the chapel - its a great place!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

What would you or I do?
Amazing, heart wrenching piece in the Guardian (found via the Londonist) about the stabbing of Richard Wheelan on a bus in London.
It descibes how no-one went to help the man who was stabbed for confronting people throwing chips at him and his girlfriend (strange enough in itself).
The writer says:
I find it astonishing that no one else approached an injured man in this situation. I suppose people might not have thought it was life-threatening. And I suppose some people might have been squeamish. But nevertheless, there was blood, and a guy injured, and you were there. You don't just leave him, and leave someone else to deal with it. Perhaps things wouldn't have happened any differently for him, but every bit of statement and every bit of evidence is going to be vital. After he'd been taken away in the ambulance, I kept saying, "Where did everyone go, why didn't anyone do anything?" I could understand if there had been any danger. It's always my reaction to move away or avoid anyone acting strangely or scarily. But it was clear that the person who had done it had long gone - because we all saw him go. There was no danger at all."

Full article here.

What would I have done? What would you have done?
Luke 10:25-37?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Soul 2 is a Soul in the City event in the areas around Heathrow, especially, West Drayton and Yiewsley.
Its been great to be a part of their morning meetings at
Bell Farm Christian Centre the last couple of days and hear about what's been happening.
Yesterday I was speaking on "Passion for souls" and Jesse came and led worship. Today I was leading worship - and it was a privilege! The delegates have come from Brazil and Korea, as well as locally and its fair to say they are enthusiastic in worship.

It great to see the efforts of last summers mission are not lost, and stuff is continuing.

Tomorrow we meet to pray in the Heathrow airport chapel - should be good!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Back in London!
Had a productive day planning some mission initiatives for the London Baptist Association, stuff to train young people. More when the homework is done!

There was a pastor from Zimbabwe staying in the house we were meeting in, and it was good to get some inside perspectives on the situation there. It was also good to disucss youth culture and globalisation, and the impact that has on ministry in post-colonial Africa. This pastor seemed to be describing a "glo-cal" approach that takes seriously the influence of Western media and pop culture (in the cities at leats) and yet is open to local culture and expressions. He pastors a church in the city which sings Vineyard/Redman etc., but planted a rurual church that is much more indigenous in flavour.
BWA and emerging leaders
Someone commented to me about the visible lack of younger generations both at and upfront at the BWA Congress.
David Coffey mentioned something about raising up leaders at his induction speech which caught my attention.
In Christianity Today he explains:
" I have a great heart for developing the gifts of younger leaders; what I call are emerging leaders. people maybe between the ages of mid-20s to mid-30s, who have the potential to become international ambassadors. They’ve already emerged in leadership in their own countries, not just ordained people like myself, pastors, but business people, journalists like yourself, so that they can be introduced to one another, so that they can be empowered and equipped. A country trains ambassadors to represent that country abroad. The BWA shouldn’t allow these younger leaders, emerging leaders to emerge by accident. They should emerge by design. So one of the things that I am setting up is a ‘Global Emerging Leaders’ Academy’, and it will be once a year and it will be in different parts of the world and like all things it will be relational – very relational, so if you came to it, you would meet other people and be encouraged to be in touch with them in-between the annual meetings with the academy."

Sounds interesting!

More in-depth reports of the BWA Congress, and pics at the Biblical Recorder journal!