Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Global Issues
Global issues have been on the agenda a bit recently.
My cell group recently had a session on the environment after a Sunday preach from Matt (who's blog is worth a look on these issues) and decided to do more in terms of energy saving and recycling.
On Saturday we had some good input from Tearfund and BMS on poverty and trade etc.
And today I had a good meeting with Ken from Christian Aid looking at youth stuff for London. He suggested the website pressure works. Their lifestyle page features every bloggers favourite - a multiple choice quiz! (I was upset to see my favourite trainer brand missing from the list - not sure how ethical they are!). Made me think some more about this stuff, and how the small choices we make have global impact.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Senior Workers?
If the population is ageing why aren't churches employing more senior workers and less youth workers? Why has no-one founded OAPWAM? or Oldies for Christ?
I know some groups are doing gap years for retired people (
Viz-aViz have a thing called "Years Ahead") which I think is excellent!
But if churches want to continue to go down the road of employing specialist staff shouldn't this be a key area?

There is a thing in the Midlands called "The Leveson Centre for the study of spirituality and ageing" which aside from bearing my family name, looks like its doing some vital research into this area.
Baptist Union website has a statement on the kidnapped aid worker Norman Kember
"Professor Norman Kember has been a consistent campaigner on peace issues all his life, and he travelled to Iraq as a peace activist. He is a long standing member of the Baptist Peace Fellowship".

BBC here

Thoughts & prayer go to Mr Kember and his family.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The LBA youth event went well yesterday. Great input in the afternoon from Tania from Soul in the City, Matt & Rachel from Tearfund, Chris from BMS and Dennis from Viz-a-Viz.
The evening celebration also went well and included the launch of SCENT, a London based gap year programme from the LBA & Viz-a-Viz.
Numbers were OK in the end too!

Got that "day after the big event" tired feeling today, but managed to get up to be in the band at my home church this morning.

I'll worry about the debrief and analysis of the event in a few days!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Its cold
Not meaning to whinge - but it's cold in my office today! Maybe the lounge is warmer...
Still at least no snow yet!
(and at least I haven't just moved to Scotland like Jesse)

Trying to get final things sorted for Re:Action event tomorrow - including a talk to "inspire young people for involvment in mission". Sometimes I wonder where these bright ideas come from!
As part of my thinking read a classic John Piper article "The supremecy of God in Missions through worship". If you know Piper's writing its fairly typical - but I appreciate the God centredness of his approach - maybe its the Calvanist in my background coming out!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Small is beautiful?
Recently read this quote "a very small thing may be an index of something great going on within"(Rober Murray M'Cheyne).

In context he's actually talking about how Jesus words on the cross "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" tell so much about Christ and God and their relationship- which is pretty mind blowing in itself.
But I was reminded of Zecariah 4:10 about not despising the day of "small things".
Its easy to focus on the "next big thing", but big things are often made up of lots of small ones!
I often suggest youth leaders and church leaders celebrate the small things. Instead of constantly looking at numbers or hankering after "revival", we can see God at work in so many ways: that throw-away comment, that conversation, signs of life and movement towards God etc.
And that small thing might be "an index of something great".

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lots of stuff buzzing round my head from the last few days.

We had an "agenda setting" day on Saturday with directors and others from the LBA. We focused a bit on the issue of children and the church which led to some interesting conversations.
In keeping with "Beyond the youthgroup" I vaguely floated the idea that perhaps Sunday school had had its day. In reality I think it can still be valid, but the problem is that many feel locked in to that as the model to use (as with much of our inherited ways of doing church) without thinking about the resources needed to sustain it or imagining other ways of passing on faith to children.

Spoke at youth service in South London last night which was good. It did raise issues about how we engage young people in worship. Several times I've been to events with 20 or less in attendance, but with Soul Survivor style band worship. If that comes from the youth as what they want then who am I to argue, but my feeling is there must be other ways to do stuff, rather than a "service" in that style.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Gearing up for an event next Saturday (26/11) Re:Action - are you ready for your mission?
The aim is to gather young people from across London's Baptist church's to inspire them for mission. There are 2 parts for the event:
Afternoon of worship, seminars covering different aspects of mission and more!
Evening - celebration with worship, 29th Chapter doing thier hip-hop thing and a challenge to get involved.
Bit nervous about how many people will turn up, especially for the afternoon, with 4 seminars to fill!
Anyway more details on the "news" page at if you're a Londoner with a youth group to inspire!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Church as department store?
(Selfridges, London)

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"

Interesting that the "departmentalism" of the church coincided with the growth of the department store and consumerism in the Victorian era.
To what extent do we embrace this specialism and to what extent has it led to some of current problems with the separation and marginalisation of youth and children's work? (See Beyond the Youthgroup below). How can we hold it together without forcing people into a "one size fits all" church that works for no-one? Or should we resist because in Christ the barrier's come down?
I'm reminded of Steve Colins ideas "just because I'm in the kitchen and you're in the hall doesn't mean we're not at the same party".
Maybe we could learn something from the department stores!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Could the French riots happen here?
Interesting article form Young People Now, including comment from Les Isaac (Ascension Trust/Street Pastors), split between 2 who say no, its unlikely and 2 who think we're might not be as far down the line as some would like to say.
No I'm not about to have a pop at the Anglicans!
But typefaces are critical for communication
Check out this cartoon at Reluctant Souls, if you like ComicSans!!
London Rants
The Londonist is looking for people who want to rant about some aspect of life in London.
Could produce some interesting results!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Priest Idol?
Just been watching Channel 4's new series "Priest Idol".
Naff name, but interesting viewing! It follows a South Yorkshire parish, trying to turn things around. They hire a new vicar from the USA, and even an advertising/PR agency.
Interesting that the parishioners and the vicar are keen to attract young people. The priest, James, seems to be a bit naive, but willing to engage in mission.
The PR agency came out with some classic lines about the difficulties of attracting teenagers to church! It'll be interesting to see what they bring to the table.
The local stand up comic described getting teenagers to church as like "plaiting fog"!
Should be a good series.
Youth minstry and the whole church?

I've finally got round to putting "Beyond the Youth Group: Youth Ministry and the Whole Church" on the web. This is a paper I wrote for London's Baptist Churches (but most of it has relevance beyond that). Its one of a series - all of which you can find at the downloads page at (which needs a makeover when I get some time). Check it out from there or download from here.

Let me know if you read it what you think! It was intended for church leaders as well as youth leaders to get the issues on the agenda.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A weird evening
This evening I should have been running the 4th of 5 "Introduction to youthwork in the local church" training events. I arrived at the destination, having confirmed arrival with the church this afternoon, to find it locked. So I waited - until the start time, when I had no access to the venue and no participants! 15 minutes and a call later the person letting me in and one of the pastors arrives, equally surprised that no-one had come as they had had enquiries, as well as the few I was expecting. All in all I've concluded hanging outside Baptist Churches for half hour is an interesting lesson in patience!
I am partly to blame, however as I had a call today from someone wanting to know if the training was tonight or next week as the date on my website was wrong!

Anyway final session is in the morning - and it's at my parents church so access won't be an issue, and I'm pretty sure for some attendees too!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thirst for Life
received information today on Thirst for Life.
Its a joint project of Share Jesus International and Hope UK (who do fantastic drug & alcohol training). The challenge is being issued to go 40 days without alcohol from March 1st 2006, with packs and information to challenge attitudes to drinking, especially binge drinking in UK culture.
Sounds great!
Recently I've had some wierd allergic reaction after some drinks have been "dry" for a couple of months now. I can recommend a period of abstinence! (not that I had a problem before!!)
Communal Blogging?
Got an invitation to join Reluctant Souls yesterday. Its a group blog - some people I've met in the real world, others I haven't. But its got some good stuff on there! Look forward to seeing what develops.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Reality check up?
Those of us who blog/write/work/imagine about church & ministry can sometimes be guilty of being idealistic and fantastic (in the realm of fantasy).
The reality of dealing with people, making things like community or team or partnership work is less straight forward. Church can be a pain- no matter how emerging/purpose driven or whatever.
This isn't meant to be a moan or a rant.
Just a recognition that on the ground becoming Christ-like sometimes happens through the stuff that's uncomfortable - like when people annoy you, or fail to value your input or nick your ideas. When you have to let things be done another way even when you know your way is better!
Links & blogroll
Minor changes/additions to the links & blogroll!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Last few days
Finally got sorted with broadband in Friday - at last! Great improvement!

Ealing Cricket club's fireworks on Saturday were fantastic. November 5th - a great English tradition (although something anti-Catholic at root.). It was packed with half of West London there - or so it seemed!

Sunday- great time at a church in Battersea.

And today we ended up having a discussion around cultural attitudes to food, and a theology of food, which one of my colleagues hopes to look into further - could be interesting!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Wild boys?
Been lent a copy of "Wild at Heart" by John Eldridge, as others have been talking about it so I thought I'd check it out.

Not really the kind of thing I usually read, and frankly I found it a bit wierd.
Good: tackles a tough issue of masculinity, says some good things in the middle/end about identity, fathers and being who God made us to be
Bad: The emphasis on being a "macho" man, to be a man means outdoor pursuits, teaching you child to hit the bullies back etc. Also reading cultural definitions back into Scripture.
I nearly gave up after the first chapter which I found to be dreadful! But it got better towards the end.
But not something I'd recommend!
Anyone else read it?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A couple of times recently I've been confronted by poor service. Firsly in a local pub where it was suggested that my roast chicken looked pink due to the lighting (which was yellow!!), and I was then forgotten for 30minutes.
Most recently with a well known car glass service
after Suzie's car (which really is a Fiesta like the naff clip art!) was broken into. A month later the window is finally properly fitted and working!
The question for me is how to complain without sound arsey? How does being a Christian come into play in these situations? And why do I end up feeling like I'm turning into my father (which may not be a bad thing - hello if you read this!!)?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Sort of following from the last post, in Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell makes an interesting point about “Christian” being a noun , and a poor adjective (surely you remember those High School English lessons?).
In other words – it’s a name of a person who follows Jesus, rather than a description.
He helpfully suggest that when you begin to use it as a label (description or adjective) you can end up in trouble, such as dualism (some things are described as Christian, some “secular”). You can also miss God at work outside of the world of that “label”, and end up believing everything with the label is superior or “true”.
So God can speak through people, music, places that would not necessarily, or in commercial terms carry the adjective “Christian”.
So what is Christian youthwork?