Friday, September 30, 2005

Great Expectations?
Fantastic post from Jason Clark on "Over-promising".
Always a tension in trying to provoke and inspire young people to make a difference - without giving false hope, or making them feel guilty! Notions of a "revival generation" may be inspiring but might lead to disappointment. And Old Testament warnings for false prophets are quite harsh!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Great article on worship at Relevant.
It faces the questions/excuses we give for not giving of ourselves in worship (e.g. "If I dance, I might tread into the realm of weird or flakey.").
Jessica Lenington (the author!) goes on to suggest our culture "
puts us on a perpetual stage; it entices us with fantasies of having others watch us do great things, or having headlines written about us, or having movies made about our lives—we end up living to what we want our legacy to be"

I appreciated the challenge to get real!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Young people...are great!
I was on a bus in central London today when there was a thud. It was obviously the sound of someone falling down the stairs. Turns out to be a very drunk older guy.
But who were the first people to rush to help? A teenage couple canoodling on the backseat downstairs! Other people did offer help - which was good to see (and left me relieved that I didn't need to show my lack of first-aid skills - I real must book on a course!). But the teenagers (I'm guessing 16/17ish) were great - the girl was talking about a first aid course she'd done, she helped the bloke and sorted him out, liased with the driver with no fear or sense of self-preservation.
So there you are - young people are great!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Youthwork & Ministry?
Another re-hash of the youthwork and youth ministry discussion has been happening at Sarah's.
Tim Sudworth also has a post with all but the most recent comments.
Good stuff, which needs to be seen in the wider discussion of church and mission, the employing of staff by churches and the desire to need to move away from Christendom models. I admit its a debate I shift position in slightly at regular intervals.
For what its worth I think mission flows out of church and ends with church. Perhaps "mission among young people" is a term to chuck into the debate?

Friday, September 23, 2005

London Youth Work

Some may accuse me of being "London-centric" - but it's great to see a feature on youthwork in London in Young People Now (YPN) this week.
The introduction says something those of us working here know:
"youth work in London undoubtedly has a different character to other parts of the country"
The same could be said about church and mission in London.
There are unique issues and struggles - but at the same time so much good stuff going on.
And its constantly changing - you could never map the church scene in London, because it would be out of date straight away!

The guide to London Youth services (Local Authorities) in YPN is also useful, as it tells us how many youthworkers Boroughs employ (mine has 25 full time and 65 part time!!, but still way ahead of the churches), and youth crime rates (the worst appears to be Harringey at 48 per thousand).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Breed?
I've been thinking a bit about the so-called "new breed", "relevant" churches, in the Hillsongesque style. They seem to be popping up all over the place (such as here, which has one meeting near me, and here.). A common feature of the websites seem to be vision statements about "the church I see" (see also Abundant Life, Bradford).
Stuart Murray writes about "worship oriented" emerging chuches in Church After Christendom.
Many of these churches are growing and doing good stuff.
Obviously you can't lump everyone together, but most seem to have a strong emphasis on music and worship (bands, choirs), slick presentations, small groups, positive teaching (sometimes bordering on or dipping into prosperity or "Word-faith"), social action projects, charismatic gifts (in some settings), tithing/finances and being "trendy".

I like some of this stuff, but I have my concerns. Some is about theology, some about style, some about mission.
Do they really grow through new people or just attract frustrated Christians/church people?
How much are they still influenced by Christendom?
And are they willing to join others and see the bigger picture?

One thing I do know that now is not the time for "one size fits all" solutions. But I worry that in our quest for "success" inherited churches may be tempted to do some of the cosmetic changes to become like these churches without thinking through the implications and doing the missional stuff.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Its been great to have some fantastic musicians around. Most were part of the original Back to Reality band (a worship event I used to run in Ealing), 10 years ago.
Each has done various bands and projects.
I like to play with them as they make me sound good!

Anyway, Jesse has some MP3's on his blog of some acoustic guitar stuff he's done. Think that might be your bag? Why not check it out!

Meanwhile watch this space for some details of a little chill out project I've been involved in...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

As you'd exepct there are lots of prayer initiavies for/across London (see or
24-7 Prayer reports on an up coming event: "The turn of the tide":
The Turn of the Tide is a vision to see churches and prayer groups on the north and south banks of the River Thames pray in tandem for 24 hours each, relaying the baton of prayer from the Estuary, through London and on to the Source, sending a tidal wave of God’s life-giving freshwater through the heart of Britain. "
Details here.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The temporary nature of youth ministry
Ok so the title is obvious - youth ministry is about a particular developmental stage.
But my feeling is that youth ministry as a separate "thing" is temporary.
Mark Riddle writes:
"Almost every week I hear of another youth pastor declaring the need to kill life-stage ministries in our churches. (I don't have time or space to dive into this, but our systematic separation of teens from the rest of the church is creating enormous problems involving perspective and warped theology in our teens as they grow.) This change is coming. It's a fact, and its implications for ministry with teens and families are legion" (full article here)

It seems to me that youth ministry as we know it began at a particular time for a particular culture. At the moment I believe in it - it will/must help the shape the church especially in the West in the transitions that are happening, and creatively engage those outside.
But what about 100 or 200 years time? Perhaps when whatever is emerging has emerged, church and culture will be in a different place. I think the ideal would be to not have paid youth pastors, but that it once again becomes an integrated part of the whole Body of Christ. Perhaps the only Christian youth workers will be doing cutting edge outreach, with their churches, or planting churches.
Or am I missing something?
Browser wierdness

A strange thing - evertime I try and log in to blogger from Firefox over the last couple of days, it crashes. Must be time for a re-install. Or I just go back to IE!
Should get some new equipment soon...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Last night the London Baptist Association Western District had a celebration at my home church with the Baptist Union president Roy Searle. Roy is one of the founders of the Northumbria Community, (you can read some of Roys thoughts here).
Anyway it was a great evening (even if the organisation was somewhat chaotic!), I was privileged to lead some worship, and Roy spoke.
His message was timely: Take care - of your relationship with God, of ourselves, of family life and of community.
Key to what I picked up was a call to resist "driveness" and follow the Spirit. He quoted M'Cheyene: "Much activity in the service of the King and not in the presence of the King".
He also encouraged us to value the ordinary time, and find a rhythm for everyday life.
To strive to be human in a world that de-humanizes.
To slow down, especially in London - both individually and as churches - are we doing too much (programmes etc.)?

I look forward to Roy being part of the LBA's annual pastors conference in February.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Ok so I'm going rant about something (and not to do with youth, ministry etc.)

Its the media fuelled (no pun intended) panic buying of petrol happening in various parts of the UK.
Just like 2000, but at the moment even more so, its not the protestors that cause any shortages or "panic at the pumps" as the tabloids like to say, but the media itself. If they didn't hype it (like the Daily Mail's headline a couple of days ago), we wouldn't have a problem.

"We have had six days of fuel bought in just two - it is crazy." says one garage.
I know no-one wants to get caught short and like the rest of the nation I'm a regular car user, but please stop the hype and lets get on with it. No-one wants high prices, there probably is too much tax on it, but panic buying won't help. It didn't help 5 years ago, or at the turn of the millenium. But the media just loves it.

See this Guardian article for a more articulate version!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Growing faith
This is a quote I found at
"Here’s a problem that drives youth workers crazy. Parents are so busy that they essentially delegate the discipling of their children to the church. Raising kids is hard work. Raising Christian teenagers to a radical faith in our modern times is very nearly impossible..."

Its from the US, but holds true here in the UK too.
I've blogged about this before (here, here and elsewhere). But its part of a bigger problem that youthwork is often segregated from wide church life.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Over the summer I managed to get some reading done!
I won't bother linking to Amazon or wherever for all the titles, but I enjoyed:
Kate Fox Watching the English - saw myself in her descriptions and it was quite fun!
Stuart Murray Church after Christendom - fantastic from my old Spurgeons college tutor
Michael Volland God on the beach
Nick Barham Disconnected: why our kids are turning thier backs on everything we thought we knew
Conrad Gempf Mealtime Habbits of the Messiah

Not so sure about:
Mark Driscoll's Radical Reformation- but have blogged about that before

Wolfgang Simpson Houses that change the world

Probably more youth ministry stuff dipped into too!
Not that reading lots gets you spritual brownie points...

Not too many sports where you hope for and celebrate a draw! But England win the Ashes - beating the Aussies 2-1, definately something to smile about.
Guess who's back?
Always good to be back in London! Sometimes its only when you go away that you realise how unique this place is.
Anyway we had a good week or so holidaying in Devon with friends, in a cottage up a very narrow lane (somehow squeezing between parked cars feels more natural to me than driving between hedges!).

Lots of blog posts to read, work to do, and of course another dramatic test match to see finished,so no long posts for now!

Friday, September 02, 2005

On a break!
Time for a blog break - or a late summer holiday actually!
Back in about 10 days - unless I'm bored and in an internet cafe!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Roy has posted about Emerge Academy:
a global online Training academy for Youth Workers"!
Looks interesting!
Seems to be focused on the youth ministry side of youthwork - if you can make a distinction! I was talking with a youthworker today who has come up with a "double helix" approach of seeing "outside in" and "inside out" flowing together. An interesting proposal.

Thoughts and prayer to all those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
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