Friday, September 29, 2006

Tomorrow we're trying something new:
We're re-inventing the London Baptist Association Autumn Assembly!
I know that doesn't sound exciting - but we're hoping it will be.
We've changed the day, the venue and the format from the way its been for the last few years. We're trying to make an all age, particpatory event exploring what God is doing in the world with BMS World Mission. Let's just hope some people turn up.
If you're a London Baptist I hope you'll be there!
I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blog Traffic
For those concerned with keeping an up to date blog, and who believe "a blog without daily updates dies very fast" fear not!
I've just come accross a new service:
You advertise for a "blog sitter" who posts for you in your absence and you can keep things ticking along!
(Of course you could always just find a friend to do it). Amazing!
Personally I don't believe that a blog without daily posting dies - but then I don't blog to make money!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Catch up
It's been that September busy getting back into things phase.
Last week I was out and about - lots of trips round the North Circular (and thankfully only one round the South).

One of the most exciting things I saw was a church which has just converted part of their "sanctuary" into a cafe. The atmosphere was great and hopefully it'll make a difference to the area they're serving. It struck me that this was exactly the kind of innovation we need - not every church to be a cafe - but thinking beyond the Christendom models.

It was also good to meet some of the youth workers/ministers. Especially to see some who have been in post 5 and 10 years. That kind of longevity and commitment to a place is much needed in London.

And this week the meetings and committees kick in, alongside preparing stuff for the weekend for the LBA Autumn Assembly and preaching on Sunday. And the reading for college which kicks off in a couple of weeks...

(oh and I've updated the "Blogroll" over the last couple of weeks, adding Michael, Fernando and Sarah!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Make Over
I've been giving the LBA Youthwork site a makeover. Not completely happy yet, but have uploaded the new version because the old one was out of date!
Will have to see if time allows me to get it to the state I would really like!

Monday, September 18, 2006

The weekend saw celebration of the 125th anniversary of my home church.
I've been part of things for 15 years, but on Saturday there were people who came in the 1920's!
It was a good weekend (Suzie has more and pics), looking back and looking forward. The church was filled with a timeline and displays from the last 125 years, I put together an hours loop of video and stills which ran on the screen (including some great footage from the 1950's), and loads of people came.
Two of my colleagues spoke at stuff yesterday, and were spot on. One challeneged us to engage the world and not become insular, the other to stay open to the Spirit and not become a monument.



Sunday, September 17, 2006

BBC reports that vinyl sales are up. Single sales over 1 million for the first time in ages.
I find something re-assuring about this.
Yes I enjoy my MP3 player, listening to podcasts in the car and playing a selection of random tracks, but there's still something for me about opening the sleeve and taking out a wonderful slab of black plastic (unless its a dodgy picture disc!) and putting the needle in the groove.
Such a warm sound, and something to look at!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ready to Use?
I know some people hate them but "ready to use" type materials are a lifeline for many volunteer youth leaders.
Just wondering if anyone had come across anything good recently? I'm always scanning the Christian bookstores and Resources Exhibition, but it's a question I get frequently asked!
Any ideas?


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jesus Camp?
Brian has blogged about an American Documentary movie "Jesus Camp".
Check out the promo video and couple of other clips at the official site here.
See also Kids in Ministry who run the camp featured in the movie.
Not sure we'll get to see it over here in the UK (although you never know if Channel 4 might oblige in a while).
But it sure raises huge issues about youth and children's ministry!
I was struck by some children praying recently - it can be a beautiful thing, or it can leave you wondering if its just a "learnt" behaviour rather than a genuine response to God (in itself not necessrily a bad thing).
Perhaps this movie needs to be watched as a double header with Saved to get some balance!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Whatever happened to...
Do you ever get those moments where you look for something that used to be common and easy to find to discover it's no longer around?
We've been hunting for gummed paper - the kind that was everywhere when I was a kid, that you lick and stick. It was for a creative prayer idea for the weekend (Suzie's idea). Anyway you can't get it easily locally - not in Hobbycraft, Woolworths, Smiths, £1 stores, Early Learning -it just doesn't exist!
And then you become grateful for the internet - because of course you can get it online (even if delivery on time costs a fortune!). So if you ever need gummed paper check out or
Now you know!

Makes me wonder what else used to be common but now is hard to track down...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Racial Justice Sunday
Today is designated as Racial Justice Sunday.
This is a hugely important thing, especially here in London. The reality of building a multi-cultural church is a challenge! And it's an issue that gets people a bit "twitchy" and defensive.
I was speaking this morning from Mark 7, about Jesus and the Syro-phenician woman, an interesting passage where Jesus speaks of giving the children's bread to the dogs. It raised for me some interesting thoughts about the language we use to speak of "outsiders" - I started by getting the congregation to brainstorm the first words they thought of for today's youth!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back to School
I've never really got out of the feeling that this time of year is the new year - when I was at school, Uni, and even doing youth ministry stuff, September feels like the start of stuff.
And looking at my diary, it seems like that's the case, as the quiet summer fades into a busy autumn.

This year, however, it does mean going back to school - because I embark on some postgraduate study!
I've been accepted on a course with Cliff College (don't worry I'm not moving up north), to do their postgraduate course in "Leadership, renewal and mission". At the moment I'm due to be doing the diploma, but may be persuaded to do the full MA. I was tempted by their course on emerging church, but this seemed to offer a broader perspective which I think is helpful. I've seen the first module's reading list and there's some good stuff on there.

The prospect of formal study is a bit freaky - reading books and writing stuff doesn't phase me too much, but suddenly there are criteria to meet and standards to hit. Timing wise it'll be one intensive week at Cliff per module, and then study in "spare" time, so I'll need to be disciplined!

Meanwhile Suzie will be studying too for a qualification in personnel and HR linked to her job!
So it really is back to school in our household - and we don't even have any kids!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I mentioned back in May about Essential, a new initiative from the Evangelical Alliance.
The main website is now up, and they're starting to get some useful stuff up there.
The project aims to equip young people to think theologically and get to grips with apologetics and why they believe.

See the website: more.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Visiting the past
A few months ago youtblog ran a series of posts on youthworkers and their offices (e.g here).
Well today my office got its annual make over!
It's fair to say I'd let it get into a mess, mainly because admin. is not my strong point. Personal papers, family stuff and work had all merged in to a state. With this being in my home and Suzie being good at admin it was time for action (mainly by her)!

Anyway the result looks good. But part of the process meant going through stuff that's been sat there since we moved here 2 years ago, plus other stuff that's arrived from my parents place when they had a clear out. So I looked through A Level notes (all gone), degree stuff (mostly gone) and 12 years of youthwork and ministry stuff. Nostalgia has been in the air quite a bit recently anyway (I've been sifting through old photos and video for my home church's 125th celebrations).
No profound revelations, but it's always amazing to look back and see God at work.
And to see the relevance of all those lectures on popular culture and postmodernism when I was at Uni!

Photo as requested- it's a work in progress - still need to sort some stuff in the next couple of days!

Friday, September 01, 2006

How to get people to "volunteer" for youth ministry is one of the top 3 questions I get asked by churches. Previously I've suggested it's probably part of a wider issue of ownership and vision. I'm convinced that even in London where people claim to have no time, they find time for things they believe in and are passionate about.

Ian has posted a great post with 7 tips to recruit volunteers (which I'm sure to be "borrowing"!).
One of the best perspectives I've seen recently on this is from Contemplative Youth Ministry
where Mark Yaconelli describes a process of the community prayerfully discerning who's called to the task. Most of that stuff can be found online here, but here's a quote from the book:
"A contemplative approach to recruitment rests on trust. We trust that God will raise the people we need for the minstry. If not, then maybe our church isn't called into youth ministry"