Thursday, March 29, 2007

You might not feel rich, but check out how rich you really are here.
I won't reveal my result, but I'm in the top 2% in the world!!!
There's a UK version here.
Kind of scary!
"He who has been given much, much will be expected"
(HT to Billy for the link)

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Becoming Missional
'Leaders become permissional and missional when they:
1)Become less purpose-driven and more dream sensitive
2) Create an atmosphere of inquiry rather than one where questions are stifled.
3) Help others "colour outside the lines" rather than looking for prefabricated performances'
from Cooke & Goodell: Permission Granted to do Church Differently, p94).

Is there a tension between leading people somewhere and being releasing or is that merely based on modern mechanistic notions of going somewhere, and mission as based on programmes and "attraction"?

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Weekend Off
Nice to get a weekend off. We headed down to Rye to catch up with some friends. Was much fun just chilling out (and a shamless plug if you want a decent website or design stuff try Ifour, Graeme who we stayed with is one of the brains behind it!).
Back to work this evening though, just about to head off to a meeting...


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Re-booting church?
One of the sessions at BU Council was an update from the "Younger leaders forum". This included a plug of a new resource "Ctrl- Alt-Delete: Rebooting Church for young adults". It is a resource in 2 halves - one half for the church, one half for young adults.
I did grab a copy, but thus far have only had a cursory glance - but looks good.
Andy was one of the one's presenting it and has more.

I also picked up a copy of "Making a Splash", a baptismal preparation tool for young people.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Children's Ministry
Great thoughts from Fernando on children's ministry:
"I believe if we want to “re-think” children’s ministry, then the place to start is with viewing our kids as not just the future consumers of culture, but the future creators of culture. So why don’t we stop treating them like fickle, short-term oriented consumers who need to be entertained with the latest trend and fashion? Why don’t we start by taking the long term view."
More here

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Inferior Soft Drink Selection
I'm currently in Derbyshire for Baptist Union Council.
While the Hayes Centre, Swanwick and High Leigh are both run by the Christian Conference Trust, it's disappointing to see an inferior soft drink selection here. There are no cans of 5 Alive in the dispensers. Poor!
Apart from that it's fun to be part of the inner workings of Baptist life in England!

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Catch up
Spent yesterday with a gathering of small church leaders (that's leaders of small churches, not leaders who are vertically challenged!!) from South London, as part of the LBA's Small Church Connexion. It was an encouraging day, good to be there and hear some of what's going on. I was talking about youth ministry and the small church. One of the other speakers spoke of their churches journey into being a more missional church. He suggested:
"95% of mission is about listening".

It was then good to look in on Back to Reality and see the monthly celebration still doing a good job with young people in the Ealing area.

Today I was in North London for a mothering Sunday service.

Tomorrow off to BU Council - so hoping the forecast snow has little effect on the roads!

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Emerging youth?
Guest poster Dean posts "Are our teens emerging too" over at Jason Clark's blog.
He seems to be writing from a US perspective, but asks interesting questions.
If we're re-imagining church, who are we re-imagining it for?
In the UK I think a lot of people have arrived at some of the "emerging church", missional questions through youth ministry, so the perspective is different.
But how do new communities genuinely include children and young people?

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Quote for the day
"In times of transition and major change we must budget for failure. We have not passed this way before, and we need to lighten up on people. We are feeling our way, learning to walk in more sensitivity to the Holy Spirit"
Cook & Goodell, Permission Granted to do Church Differently, p46)

I like the notion of budgeting for failure, having permission to experiment.
I also appreciate the advice to lighten up on people.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Random Thoughts on Community
Reading some of the emerging church literature for college presents you with this kind of caricature contrast:
Inherited church= Meetings focus
Emerging church= Community focus

I guess things are not that simple in reality, and community was one of the strong values of the “house church” movement (UK 1970’s-80’s), as well as being an emphasis of the cell church people.
Anyway it got me thinking about community. Just this morning I was reminiscing about the community of my teenage years – like many teens it was a tight knit group hanging out.
Then at Uni the CU group was a great example of Christian community, sharing meals and lives.
Since then other youthworkers, colleagues and church in different ways has been places and expressions of community. Different things for different stages of life I guess.

Having a kind of “itinerant” ministry it can be easy to be disconnected. My natural inclination is to ask as to why other people are not looking me up, making sure I’m ok, praying for me etc., but then I ask myself how much am I doing that for others?

Anyway random thoughts – but authentic community seems to be something Christians (including myself) are often better at talking about than doing, whether your church is established or emerging.

And if you knew me from TVUCU or from youth and you stumble across this blog leave a comment or mail me – be great to hear from you!

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More on Worship
As I've probably said here before, one of the joys of a role like mine is experiencing lots of different churches approaches.
Last Sunday was a charismatic African congregation.
Yesterday morning I was the piano player for a local church's baptism service - we got through 13 hymns (and they mostly were hymns)! But it was genuine, authentic and moving.

In the evening I was speaking at another church - it was band led, enthusiastic and loud. The band were mainly Brazillian, the congregation mainly Afro-Carribean!

William Willimon has written more on worship here.
Couple of quotes:
'Who are the actors in this drama of worship? The minister, the choir, the organist or pianist, and the ushers? This makes the congregation the audience. Is that the way it ought to be? No. The congregation are actors in this divine-human drama'

'Why do we do it? We do it because we are in love. The modern world teaches us to ask, of every event and relationship, “Now what good will this do me?"... Christian worship is counter-cultural to all this. We do it, not primarily to “get something out of it,” but to give something to it. We do it because we are in love.'
Click for more

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Inside the Organic Church
Like every good conference, there was a bookroom at the Matrix. I picked up a copy of Bob Whitesel's Inside the Organic Church.
The book is a pretty good, short, easy to read description of Bob's journey to 12 emerging churches. 10 of the churches are US based. It's not an in depth book like Gibbs and Bolger's, but gives a good flavour, an introduction to some expressions of emerging church. My only concern is that people could read the book and look at his lessons from each church and miss the point totally by using them as a programme or way to change worship (he is very clear that that is not what he wants people to do).
One of the most helpful things in the book is a chart contrasting Institutionalization with Improvisation (which came out of his observations at Solomon's Porch).
He suggests:
"My observations led me to believe that the organic church sees effectiveness (connecting people to Christ) as trumping efficiency (doing it in the most programmatic and premeditated way possible).Thus improvisation...must be preferred over a propensity to execute things perfectly" (p118)

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I'm back home. Good time at the Matrix conference (if I'm honest it was better than I had anticipated).
One of the highlights for me was that the vending machine sold "5 Alive Berry Blast" in cans! I know it wouldn't be a highlight for many people, but it gave me enough sugar and vitamin C to keep me going! (and it made a change from "Fruit Shoot").
Apart from that the highlight was probably James Lawrence (as mentioned yesterday), who defined talents as "not what you can do, but what you can't help yourself doing".
Other bloggers who were there included:
Sarah, Ian, Simo, Phil, Alice, Kathryn (who's blog appears a little redundant), and they may comment on more than the soft drinks on offer!

One random thing was that all the main sessions were in a marquee (which had a kind of dodgy wedding feel and a great smell of gas from the heating) as the conference centre's main meeting room is being refurbished (which was especially strange as I was only in there a couple of weeks ago!).

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Matrix Conference
I'm at the Matrix full time Christian youthworkers conference at High Leigh.
As expected a number of other bloggers here "in the flesh" - I'll link to them later, as they may post more interesting reflections than me!
So far we've looked at "Youthworker as Theologian" and "Youthworker as Leader". James Lawrence from CPAS was excellent on the leadership stuff. I also went to his "going deeper" session, where he covered some excellent stuff on not striving for a balanced life.
He argues we need a surrendered life, which leads to abundant life and blended life. Balance for him is an unhelpful metaphor as we end up more stressed about being out of balance!

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Like several other of the UK Christian Youthwork bloggers, I'm off to the Matrix conference this afternoon. Should be good...

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

All Age
Had a great training day today looking at that tricky subject of all age church and worship.
Is it desirable or possible to worship together across the generations?
I think it is, although connection outside of the "service" is also essential.
Clearly some "family services" are poor and unhelpful, but that need not be the case with a bit of thought and creativity. I also think there is stuff we can learn from alt. worship and "non linear" approaches.
Anyway it was a thought provoking day. Input came from a couple of ministers from across London, and Mike from the helpful family worship web site.
One quote from the day (not from me!): "it's not about entertainment, it's about belonging", which was part of one church leaders journey in this area.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Crazy PC Case!
Here's one that's been doing the rounds on e-mail and blogs - think it could catch on with the high church people: Stained glass PC case!

Think its from a guy called Jim here

(ht Mark L for this!)