Monday, February 26, 2007

Willimon on Worship.
"If someone asked a Christian, “What’s the purpose of your worship? Why do you gather on Sunday and sing songs, dress up, kneel, march in processions, clap your hands, shed tears, speak, eat, and listen?” We could only say, “Because we are in love.”"
(from this post)

William Willimon's blog is always thought provoking!

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The Sky is Falling?!?
Just been reading this book by Alan Roxburgh as background for my next college assignment (here's the essay title: "Can an inherited church become an emerging church?"- good eh?).
The subtitle of the book is "Leaders Lost in Transition", and I found it's good stuff. He argues that the radical change merchants (he calls them emergents) and the established leaders facing changing times (he calls them liminals) need each other to face the missional challenges of our day.
Here's a couple of quotes:
"Emergence cannot be imposed form above; it is cultivated by participation. Leaders must let go of the belief that more information or more data or some new program can reestablish control and result in a desired future" (p89-90).
That in itself is so helpful - change must be about more than the leaders "selling the vision". I think that also has huge implications for youth ministry and the church, in terms of vision and participation.

Here's another, a definition of the role of leadership, especially apostolic leadership:
"The role of leaders is to cultivate environments that release the missional imagination of the people of God".

My only gripe is that I had to order it from the USA, but the Allelon shop was very efficient!

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just logged on to blogger to see that I had "666" posts!
Bit of spring cleaning (I know it's not quite spring yet) this weekend, sorting our bedroom. Involved the usual trip to Ikea, the local dump (or "Re-use and Recycling Centre" as it's now called) etc. But the results are good.

Caught up with some friends too the last couple of evenings which was cool.
Also trying to catch up on reading ahead of my next college assignment.

Today I was doing an "all age" service at one of our churches. I took the Lent theme and based it around the lectionary passage for Lent 1 (yes I am still a Baptist) of the temptation of Jesus. As part of a response I tried to track down some "sack cloth" - found something not too far off and cut it into strips to be used as bookmarks, tied on wrists or whatever as a reminder for Lent.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lent (again)
OK so yesterday's Lent post ended up a bit tongue in cheek with the biscuit thing!(my excuse is being a Baptist - see here!)
For some more helpful thoughts and ideas try Tim or Maggi.
Or one of the Lent Blogs: Grace, Hopeful Imagination.
I was particularly struck by this list: A Lent less ordinary:
"Lent isn’t about self improvement or a diet, laudable as those things may be. Why not make lent about improving something other than yourself like your relationships with others"


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Giving up for lent?
Lent starts with Ash Wednesday tomorrow.
Traditionally people give things up (Fernando has some good thoughts here).
Hypothetically (because we know that fasting is supposed to be done without fuss), if someone gave up biscuits what counts? Twix (it has a biscuity centre)? Other chocolate bars? Crackers?
Jaffa Cakes (caked by name, but are they?).
This site seems to be the most helpful (great site name "").
I think I'll stick to their definition of biscuits:
  • They come in packets
  • They have two sides
  • You could dunk them in tea
Anyway I know that probably missed the serious business of lent, but I am concerned about when is a biscuit not a biscuit!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Time out
Good to get a day off with
Suzie on Saturday, having worked the last few. We went up to the Tate Modern and wandered around. Didn't do the slides though! It was great weather for wandering along the river to the South Bank. Sooz took the photo - I can't claim the credit! Tonight we went to the Orange Club in West Kensington for the "Original Songwriters" night. Some nice stuff. We knew some people playing in the band Fever Fly. Nice playing with a great female vocalist. It was wierd going into the venue, as I realised I had been there before, but it was more than 10 years ago! Makes me feel old!

(Yes it's a dodgy camera phone pic!)


Friday, February 16, 2007

Teen Shootings
While some of the media would have us believe that parts of South London have turned into a new kind of "wild west", the shooting of 3 teens in the last couple of weeks is never the less concerning. (BBC here).
Where is hope? What is the gospel for these young people?

Camila Batmanghelidjh wrote an interesting piece in the Guardian last week.
She suggests this is part of a systematic failure of the authorities, and a direct result of poverty. Here's an interesting idea:
"What is needed across London, and across the country, is the amalgamation of all services for young people under one roof. These centres should have high-calibre staff, mixed with youth workers, and remain open from morning to evening so that a young person can get up and have somewhere to go - whether they need to fill in a form or get treatment for a stomach ache."
An interesting model for youth ministry?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Last week I was speaking on 1 Thessalonians 2. The opening line is "our visit was not a failure". When you read the account of the visit in Acts 17 you see a riot, their host put in prison and all sorts of stuff. And yet it was not deemed a failure. Clearly they were not using some of our modern evaluation tools!
Had I read it in time I would have included this quote from Frost and Hirsch:
'the Christendom-mode church is so infected by the spirit of "success"that real connection between people in church is usually quite rare' (The Shaping of things to come,p64)

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mission is happening!
Back from our conference to snowy London - but everything seemed to be working OK, I managed to get to Waterloo and back today no worries.

Reflecting on the last couple of days, I'm amazed at the signs of life and the wonderful stuff happening among Baptists in London. (I'm sure it's happening elsewhere too!). So many creative ways of engaging with communities and individuals. It really re-enforces the fact that mission must be incarnational, and that there can be no "one size fits all, buy this programme now!" approach. We had stories of a large middle class town working to transform a whole town centre, plus we heard of those from small churches in needy areas and everything in between. Much of it isn't trendy or flashy, but it is real missional engagement, costly stuff, shaping the church. Yes there's much to be done, and I'm realistic about the journey some of our churches need to make from being historic established organisations to becoming vital missionary communities. But, praise God it is happening!

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Making Mission Happen
Day 2 at High Leigh for our annual pastors conference.
Our theme is this, and its been interesting to hear stories of mission on the ground in different parts of the Capital. Seems there's some great stuff going on.
Today I had the job of preaching at Communion to a room full of Baptist pastors. Preaching to preachers!

Now its a session on world mission with Chris from BMS world mission.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Off again
Just got back from a quiz night - lots of churches from across Ealing represented, in aid of CAP Ealing. We didn't win but it was good fun.
Monday I'm off again to our annual London Baptist "Pastors Consulatation" at High Leigh. It has WIFI so I may post something from there!


From "team" to "community"
I was leading a training session at a church today: 2 hours to cover basics of youth ministry and a quick session on "team work"! Actually it was a great session, these things depend so much on how the participants respond. In preparing for it I got thinking about how "community" differs from "team". Team is needed - common goal, everyone playing a part etc., but community is our distinctive as Christians.

At the centre of a ministry there should exist a spiritual community; a covenant group that is attentive to God, discerning the Spirit and caring for one another. In youth ministry our methods are as significant as our message Mark Yaconelli: 'Contemplative Youth Ministry'


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Godbearing Life
In preparing some stuff today I went back the book "The Godbearing Life".
Wow it's a great book!
"Youth ministry is more about ministry than about practice this means that when our own life catches fire, the souls of youth and our congregations ignite as well" (p17)
Bring on the fire-starters!