Monday, October 31, 2005

Wife Swap
Wife Swap (USA) was amusing tonight. Swapping an urban gay couple with a small town Christian couple made amusing (if at times predictable) viewing.
Raised the question for me – who demonstrated the most Christ-like attitude? At times not sure it was the ones wearing the label Christians – who were even unwilling to allow the gay man to stay in their house.

Not wanting to get into a debate on the whole gay issue, it was a thought provoking episode, and the wife’s transformation to realising “you’re just people” was heart warming!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hopefully the last post didn’t sound too Daily Mail
Meanwhile it’s Saturday morning and I’m trying to sort out my office – it easily becomes a huge mess. But once again I realise I can’t do admin – having nice files brings me no joy – and even though the concept of a tidy room and clear workspace sounds good, making it happen seems to take me forever.
Not sure what the New Testament spiritual gift of administration is about - but guessing its not one of my strong points!
(and yes I am blogging to distract myself!)

Friday, October 28, 2005

London Travel

Having the whole of London as my “patch” means there are times when you spend longer travelling to a place than you do there – whatever mode of transport is opted for. Often driving seems a good option for getting around the suburbs, but you can end up driving for 2 hours to go 20 miles, having an hour meeting and then 2 hours back! (of course ideally you would arrange more than one thing at the other end to be efficient).
Anyway I get plenty of time to see my top 5 road safety peeves:
1) People still clutching phones at the wheel – don’t they know hands free kits cost so little these days? If they did they might avoid that lane swerving you see so often!
2) Smoking – especially when its cigarette in one hand and phone in the other!
3) Not wearing seatbelts – did they never hear Jimmy Saville say “Clunk-click even on the shortest trip”?
4) Not using child seats- this is frighteningly common. Children on laps or standing up. You might be a good driver- but what about the person behind?
5) Cyclists thinking traffic lights don’t apply to them

I know it’s a rant – anybody got any more?
I’ve avoided specific driving things (lack of indication etc.) lest I be a hypocrite!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Youth work questions
Had a lunch today for LBA youthworkers. Some good discussions.
Questions included:
- Youth clubs – can a “God slot” still work?
- Linked to that the balance between relationship, demonstration and proclamation.
- Integration in terms of class, churched/unchurched, racial etc.

Plus my recurring theme of the relationship between youth ministry and the church.


Went to the Chihuly illuminated exhibition at Kew Gardens last night.
Fabulous glass sculpture, mingled in with the plants.
Unfortunately that was then end of that event, although the scupltures are there untill January.
Worth checking out!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is revival needed or desirable?
And what should it look like?

I know Stuart Murray always used to say provocative things about it when I was at Spurgeons.
Revival implies there was life in the first place- is this true in post Christendom?
Steve Collins post here brings these thoughts back.
Me - I'm praying for God to work, call it what you like!
This is not the place for details, but a few things have happened over the last couple of weeks that have been reminders of God’s goodness, faithfulness and provision.
I guess we all need those things from time to time!

Monday, October 24, 2005

I survived!
The weekend away was good, although at times it did feel bit like we were gate crashing somebody else’s conference! Pilgrim Hall was the venue, surprisingly not one I remember going to before.
We did 4 sessions with the young people, which seemed to go well. There were only 5 of them, between 11 and 15, and
Suzie and I as leaders. We followed roughly the adult’s theme of Ambassadors for Christ. They were quite an easy group to deal with so it wasn’t too stressful, and the materials prepared seemed to work.
Always interesting watching how churches do things, their unique church culture and approaches. This weekend re-affirmed that the place of young people in the church and their role often needs to be re-evaluated. The tension between space and belonging, separate and together is a delicate balance.

Meanwhile here at home my neighbours seem to having a daytime party – or just trying out their speakers!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Work it!
Been a busy few days.
Had a great conversation on a tube ride today with my team leader about Baptist churches and contemporary culture, and engaging younger generations.
We agreed it had to more than a band and a powerpoint projector - the trouble is getting that message that more than stylistic change is needed to the wider body!
Had the 3rd session of "Introduction to youthwork in the local church" which was fun. Interesting to see how different groups interact with the same basic material.
Off to do the youthwork for a church weekend away this weekend - time to see if I can still practice what I preach about youth ministry. Scared? Me? you bet!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Picked up a copy of "Unlocking the door: evangelism in the real world" yesterday.
I liked it - nice design, good content, lots of ideas about doing the dreaded "e" word in our changing culture.
Definite thumbs up from here!
Sits well alongside Mclarens's "More ready than you realize" or Matthew Turners "The Coffeehouse gospel", but with more down to earth ideas and from a UK perspective.
The writers are from Activate which is not an organisation I'd heard of, but seems to be a good thing, run by mainly women!

Monday, October 17, 2005

My mobile number finally transferred to a new contract/handset today- nice, but leaving wsn't straight forward!
I also took possession of my first laptop - courtesy of my lovely employers!

Only trouble is if I quit the job I have to give it back!

I finally get to explore the world of WIFI!
Next week the phone line changes to BT and I can sort broadband.
We're getting there! Will it make me more efficient? Have to wait and see!
Liking the come-backs of old characters in Ozzie soap
I've been watching the show since my school days, and manage to catch one episode at least ever other day (the joys of working from home!!!).
Gearing up for
20th anniversary. Have I been watching that long?

Friday, October 14, 2005


I'm not as young as I used to be (Ok so maybe I never really looked like this pic!!).
But last night I was at gathering for London Baptists where I think I may have been the youngest. I could be wrong!
There was certainly appeared to be no-one under 30!(sadly I passed that a couple of years ago!).
Another sign of the aging of the denominational church?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Women in youth ministry?

If you're a female involved in youth ministry then check out the new blog "Femin YM"!
Put together by Sarah and Kathryn looks like it could be a vital contribution.
I imagine us males may learn a thing or two from it as well....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Stumbled on an interesting reference to my home church on the net - its for skaters:
"Haven green baptist church has nice set of 3 with really short handrails down them, good for tech sh** but watch out for the crazed bible bashers"

You've been warned!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Don't believe the hype...
Another good article on Youth Specialties - this time on "Managing Manipulation".
It warns of the danger of getting an emotional response, a "one-time decision" from young people rather than making disciples.
This is something that often comes up in some of the training I run, when we look at "Voluntary Participation".
I think it also links into this post below on expectations, and the danger warned of by Jason Clark of "Over promising".
Disciple making is a long term process. Big meetings and events can be part of that - I can see that in my own journey, but we need to be sure we're not setting people up for a fall.
Please Don't Go!
You never know what deals you can get out of companies until you try and leave!
I'm in the process of swapping phone lines from NTL to BT so I can get broadband (ready to be part of a bigger IT upgrade at the LBA). NTL were so desperate to keep me they offered me free unlimited dial up for a year!

My mobile contract also ran out and I realised I could get more for less on a different network.
Vodafone asked me 3 times why I was leaving and could they try and help me with a new deal!

So I reckon the key to getting the best value for money is to tell all your suppliers/utilities/communications companies you're leaving and see what they offer.
Last few days
Was good to be back at Back to Reality on Saturday. This is a youth event in Ealing (I used to help run it), and a few "old boys" were re-called to the band which was kind of fun - I've not played electric guitar for months so it was nice to dust it off, re-string it and crank on the overdrive!
The guy speaking was from the Burn Church at St Albans Vineyard, and seem to hit the spot.

Sunday I was speaking at my home church, and managed to talk a couple of people into playing and helping lead worship, so I didn't have to! It always feels like it could become a one man show if I end up speaking and playing.

And then we came second in our usual pub quiz, by 1 point, and that only due to a marking error spotted by the winning team!

And after all that I'm suffering from sore throat. Bring on the Hall's Soothers!

Friday, October 07, 2005

The problem of youthworkers
The book launch (see below) was fun! It was held at Ridley Hall, the Anglican training college.
While there I spotted some CYM students, which got me thinking about something.
The CYMers were different from the trainee vicars (ordinands I think is the word?). They looked different, dressed different and were younger.
Why is it that they weren't up for becoming church leaders? Why were they going into youthwork?
I see the same in the Baptist setting. There are so few ministers under 35.

Is it safer to graduate from being a youth to being a youthworker in some kind of youth ministry bubble? Or is it better to have older church leaders as people in their 20's are too immature?
I know there was a policy (deliberate or otherwise) of wanting church leaders to have more "real life" experience before training. But are we missing the life and vitality that younger leaders would bring? Are there people wasting time being youth workers?

Spurgeon, the Baptist preacher of the 1800's led his first church at 19!
I don't think its good for youthwork or the church if younger people with a calling feel youth ministry is their only option.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Off to Cambridge this evening for the official launch party of "God on the Beach"
Strange to launch a book that's been out for a couple of months already! But should be fun!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Church planting?
Several friends are embarking/about to embark on various church planting/new church projects (in places such as Hemel Hempstead and St Andrews).
Been something of interest for me since 1994 when I worked at a church in Gateshead, which was moving into being autonomous from its mother church.
Anyway Steve Addison has some advice "10 fatal errors in church planting" which is worth a look.
I especially liked:
"Church planting is not about “engaging culture” or “seeker sensitive” services or clever strategies. It’s about people discovering the love, truth and power of Christ in their lives. Get off the computer and get out amongst people who need Jesus."
(Link found via Si).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

New style Vicars?
The Sunday Times reports on plans for mission orientated "pioneer ministers" in the Church of England.
Makes sense to me, seems Rowan Williams agrees, but not everyone can see beyond the parish system.
Article here.
Been a busy and mixed few days.
Lots happening. Had the first 2 of 5 training events "Introduction to youthwork in the local church", last week in Ilford, and yesterday in Tottenham. Attendance was good yesterday, which led to a real sense of coming together with a common goal. Hopefully the next 3 (Ealing, Crayford, New Malden) will be equally well supported.
Other stuff happening - planning for Re:action an event in November to inspire young people for mission, working towards a gap-year type short term mission project for London Baptists, plus the usual round of speaking, training, networking etc.

One negative thing this weekend was Suzie's car was broken into and the CD/Radio was taken. All a bit of a pain really, as we'll probably have to foot the bill for the window replacement.

Usual Sunday evening pub quiz tonight - must be time we won something again!