Monday, July 31, 2006

Yes Minister?
Various conversations over the last couple of weeks have taken me back to thinking about ministry and paid staff in churches. I posted about this here a few months back and interacted with Len and others (see also Jason's thoughts and the comments here).

While some churches seem to be employing more and more people (here is an extreme example for the UK), other are struggling to pay their existing staff even if the church is growing. Sometimes this is linked to old buildings sucking money out of congregations, other times it seems to be about a lack of ownership and giving to the church in the traditional ways.
Where does that leave the notion of paid ministers?

Some voices (see previous discussions) are keen to abolish it, and maybe the emerging church has much to teach us here. Maybe it is a throwback to Christendom, and the reaction to do away with the clergy is valid. But for inherited forms of church there is still great expectation on vicars/pastors/ministers without necessarily the will or resources to support them serious issues are raised. Are "tent making" or other models really an option without a serious shift in the church's expectations of its leaders?
And what about paid youthworkers? Surely its time to get rid of those? (except for at a denominational/adviserary level, in which case we are very much essential!!)


Cars, Cathedrals and Jazz
Good to have a weekend off!Friday we went to the British Motor Show in Docklands. I've not been to a motor show since I was a kid, and it was great day out! Ford had the best stand (apart from the cars!), and made an effort with DJ's and a "mini show". They also had an ice bar, free juice, massages, shaves and more!

Toyota had converted on of thier mini Aygo's into a DJ booth, which was cool. Apart from that there were lots of nice motors to sit in and look at (and dream?) including this Saab Concept.

On Saturday we headed to Canterbury for the day and overnight. Always a nice city, we chilled and ate and the weather was wonderful.

Sunday we popped in to the Ealing Jazz festival, it was the last night and we live a stone's throw away so it made sense to take a look. Seems to be going strong as ever.

I'm in the holdiay mood now - but its back to work!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sin City
Last night I got stuck in a traffic jam by Centre Point (roadworks at the junction of Oxford Street & Tottenham Court Road). I was on my way back from a meeting of the directors of the London Baptist Association when I saw this sign lit up (its a club) and it amused me - and being stuck I could take a snap.
Maybe London is the original Sin City! Or maybe it should come as no surprise that sin looks so appealing...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Church Going
The Times yesterday ran an article on a new Church of England report "Churchgoing Today". The article suggests:
"Traditional Sunday mornings and evenings in church are in danger of extinction because most people are now just too busy to go to church"
Not sure too busy is strong enough - maybe disinterested is better?

The article finishes with a quote from the Bishop of Reading:

Are we stubbornly going to fight a corner for a certain way of being church, or go with the flow of the Spirit and develop ways of worshipping that chime with our culture, and times and locations for services that fit better with the demands of contemporary living?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Been to a few appointmnets over the last few days in the car - nothing new there, other than its been hot and sweaty (no air-con for me!).
But I've taken the opportunity to listen to a few things downloaded from Catalyst.
2 Podcast interviews with Rob Bell (here), a dialogue with Len Sweet and Donald Miller, and a talk from Erwin McManus (see Free Downloads here).
All good stuff.
Donald Miller was strong on Jesus not being a consumer product - not the answer to be "sold".
Erwin lays down the foundations of faith, hope and love.
And Rob Bell does his stuff as good as always.
Its free stuff and worth checking, even if you don't agree with everthing you hear, or need to make the journey with the material to this side of the Atlantic.

Still pondering stuff from Blah in the mix too, especially the phrase "a church should look like its zip code"!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Catch up
Its the hottest day this summer and I've got a cold! Been a couple of days now so hopefully its passing.

Apart from that on Saturday we went to Blah tour with Ryan Bolger, Karen Ward and others.
Was good to hear the stories and about Ryan's research on Emerging Churches.
Nothing really "new" but good to think further. Our table was people from "inherited" churches, which raises the question of how these existing churches engage missionally and transition (or not).

Sunday I was out speaking in South West London.

Today was an LBA youthworkers "away day". Good time I think, I spluttered through leading the day, which was a mix of worship, reflection, space and sharing. Always good to hear what's happening "on the ground" across London.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Flying Ants 2006
Not spotted the annual "flying ant day" here yet, but had reports from elsewhere!
It's the right time of year (looking back at the blog archives) for this summer event.
Must be a big issue, its got a feature on BBC Breakfast today!

Update - 17/7
Ok so they're here! Today is fying ant day here in this part of West London!

Update(2) - 23/7
Yesterday evening was "flying ant Part 2"!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Any Wisdom in the Blogosphere?
I recently recieved this e-mail from a church not in London, but its is a situation I know many are facing here. Just wondering if the bloggers and readers had any thoughts?

"I am doing a short project for ... a city centre church with a predominantly elderly congregation who are looking at the long term ways/implications of seeking to connect again with the under 30's, young adults families youth & children. I finish with the church in 2 weeks time and am trying to give them links/people places to start their deliberations from.
Do you know of churches in a similar profile, i.e. city centre, elderly, traditional worship culture who have begun such a journey that we might be in contact with to see how they started/how things are developing??
Would you have any advice for such a church?? Or resources to turn to?"

Feel free to comment or give me an e-mail (if you have my address!!)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Turned out to be a pretty quiet weekend - not planned as a weekend off but ended up as one!
So it was good to catch up with friends (including Luke & Andrea who were over from the USA), chill, watch the football etc. It was "Super Sunday" at church, showing the various sports games and with other stuff, we made it for the barbie and the footy.

It was also nice to get space to discover some old vinyl including enjoying:
People Tree by Mother Earth, and some other Acid Jazz delights.

Friday, July 07, 2006

7th July
Is pretty much exactly one year on since the bombings of London 's public transport system.
Lots of media coverage and stuff will be said today.
Silence will be kept in many place across the city later today.

Londonist here (with a powerful pic)
BBC here

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Articles & Resources
Lots of good stuff at the New Zealand "Churches Youth Ministry Association" site.
The Methodists also have some policies and monitoring forms under the Resources section at
1 to 1
Using "one to one" in youth work is something I get asked about from time to time. How can it be done safely, within Child Protection policy etc.
So I was very pleased to receive the latest Grove Youth booklet "Can we have a chat? Working safely with young people one to one". (not yet made it to their website). It's written by Jon Langford, who works in Salisbury (and I met at a conference a couple of months back). As usual its excellent, quick to read and packed with helpful advice.
Now next time anyone asks me about this I shall just recommend they spend the bargain £2.95 and get the booklet!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Youth Ministry is a church problem
I've probably said it before, but I still find it amazing that most times I go to a church to help them think about youth ministry the issues end up being with the wider church in some way.

For example:
Problem with youth discipleship? Usually means lack of intentional or thought out spiritual formation with adults.
Problem getting youth to integrate to "adult church"? Usually something more than just a problem with the youth!
Problem getting volunteers? Often about sense of ownership and vision in wider church.

I realise its never as simple as my examples.

But time and again I'm struck by a comment from Mark DeVries:
"When leaders in churches began to see teenager's growing disinterest with the church they responded like a good mechanic: isolate and fix...but the Christian community is not a machine. In fact the "solution" of isolation created a much worse problem. Because teenagers are an integral part of the body of Christ, perhaps we would be better off to approach this problem less as a mechanic would and more as a physician would" (Family Based Youth Ministry, p43).