Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's Pentecost today - celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Was good to be at West Ham's stadium for the London Global Day of Prayer event.
While in some ways I wonder about such gatherings in terms of use of resources, there was something inspiring about being part of today's event. It was especially good that the event seemed to reflect some of the realities of church in London - it was definitely a multi-cultural event, with the Black majority churches taking a major role, and some authentic Indian-subcontinent flavoured worship. Seemed good to be in such a gathering on Pentecost.

All in all a good event to be part of.

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 25, 2007

Having posted on worship a couple of weeks back, and I know others have been talking about the whole singing/no singing worship stuff, I was struck by some words from Eugene Peterson:
"Song is one of the two ways (silence is the other) of giving witness to the transcendent.
And so biblically formed people do a lot of singing as they worship... Because God and therefore the worship of God, cannot be reduced to the rational, song has always been the basic act of worship
("Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, p176-177).

So can we ever ignore singing if we are to be true to being the people of God?

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Roxburgh Journal
If you're interested in things around missional church, especially about can an existing church move and change, then I recommend the Roxburgh Journal.
So far 4 episodes, one with Steve Taylor, one with Mike Goheen, and one where Daryl Dash interviews Alan Roxburgh (yes that's 3, not heard the 4th yet!). All downloadable mp3's.
The first 2 were helpful when I was thinking about "can an inherited church become an emerging church" for a college assignment, and I listened to the 3rd yesterday and found it equally useful.Good for those boring journeys!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Unsung heroes
Couple of things at the weekend - a training and a church visit led me to reflect on the unsung heroes of the local church. Those people who truly love - God, the Church and young people, and put hours of time and money and themselves into stuff. Paid workers call them "volunteers", but really that's a bit of an insult for some of these people! And I guess we see them not just in youth ministry but so many aspects of church life.
In a city where people work longer and harder, it's such an encouragement to see those who really care and have caught something of God's heart, who refuse to be warn down by the "system" of institutional church, and keep going!

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Couple of things have led me to thinking about this.
Wednesday I went on the annual trip to the Christian Resources Exhibition.
It struck me that if all the courses, ideas and "stuff" worked then we should have a thriving church in the UK! (With nice chairs, folding tables and a glass lectern!)

Today I was at something called the London Urban Theology Project, a bunch of people presenting papers for discussion around ministry in London. It was stimulating stuff! One of those papers echoed this idea suggesting that the ABC for many churches has become "Attendance, Buildings and Collection". We focus on style and technique, programme and things rather than attending to the hard work of being church.

This echoes a lot with the call for community and authenticity in some of the stuff around emerging missional church. Yet in so many areas of church life (youth ministry is a classic example) we seem to lack the time or imagination to do anything other than buy an "off the shelf" solution.

I often wonder if some churches do "projects" to avoid really doing mission! Being "missional" is much more intrusive.

Labels: , ,

Monday, May 14, 2007

Interesting documentary on Channel 4 on teenage swearing (link here).
It followed one school's attempts to address the issue.
It raised the interesting question of where the influence comes from: media, home, peers or some combination.
Be interesting to know how Christian youth clubs deal with this, especially "open" type clubs - both with young people swearing and the choice of music on the playlist etc.
Is swearing a big deal or is it a generational thing - some things more offensive to older people but not too much of an issue for the young people themselves? Or are some words just plain wrong anyway?
Keeping a lid of the words we use is not always easy!
Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect, able to keep their whole body in check." (James 3:2)

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm currently looking at John 18 for a church on Sunday morning.
I read an interesting view on this verse: "When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground." (John 18:6).
It's probably not going to be a major point of the message, but one suggestion is that the "fell to the ground" was involuntary - a kind of "slain in the Spirit" experience. Is this reading too much into it, was it more of a fall in worship or fear?
I guess I'm looking to all you NT scholars to help here!

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Quick Catch up
Yes I did get back from Brighton! Although my car did try and stop us - when we came to leave battery had gone flat. The RAC were, however extremely efficient and it was all sorted less than 30 mins after calling them.
Probably went to less meetings at the Assembly this year, not through some deliberate plan as much as my hotel offering a great breakfast from 9am!
Anyway Assembly was good on the whole, although unfortunately didn't make it to check out Prism this year. One question in my mind, though, is how is it/can it be an "assembly" of Baptists rather than just another conference?

I've just been doing my annual report for a grant we get, and although it can be a chore doing that stuff, its been quite good to look back and see what has been achieved this year and what God is doing!

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Brighton Rocks?
Tomorrow is the start of the annual pilgrimage to the Baptist Assembly!
This year we're back in Brighton, so I hope the sun keep shining.
The theme is "In Search of Freedom", marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Prism, the creative/alternative stream is also happening again this year. The bits of that last year I dipped into seemed to be good.

Labels: ,

Youth Ministry's Goal?
There has been some discussion over at the Youthwork Community board on "What is Christian Youthwork?".

I recently re-discovered a paper by Michael Warren called "Youth ministry in an inconvenient church" (from the great resources at the Princeton Institute for Youth Ministry). In this paper he outlines a vision for youth ministry which is about equipping young people with the skills to live as disciples of Jesus.He says this is inconvenient and at times dangerous and contrasts to ministries which focus as their only aim at being "fun" or "cool".

A slightly edited version of the paper is called The Goal of Youth Ministry .
A couple of quotes:
'The important question about youth ministry is not "Where are the kids?" or "What should we do with them when they show up?" but "What is the nature of our community?" What are the discipleship skills appropriate to those who have moved beyond childhood, and how can a community exhibit those skills in a way that attracts the young and draws them to inspiring mentors in faith?'

'As churches start asking what the gospel means in our own time and in our own neighborhoods, youth ministry will become what it should be: an activity shaped by the gospel, alive to the gifts of the young, that teaches practical ways of living out the faith'.

Definitely worth checking out and putting alongside the writing of Kenda Creasey Dean for an answer to the question of what are we trying to do in church youth ministry.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Church Leaders
Great post on "Ten propositions on being a minister" by Kim Fabricous.
(ht to Sean for the link)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Paid Church Youth Workers - have we plateaued?
I was just wondering if the UK trend for churches employing youth ministry people had hit its peak and was now in decline?
I have no empirical evidence, and there's still plenty of jobs on Jobsearch! I have, however come across several areas where youthworkers gatherings/networks have significantly shrunk. Not just because people aren't coming out (although experience tells me that encouraging people to see wider than their own "thing" can be difficult), but because there are less workers in the areas.
Is this a "blip" or is the trend changing (or the growth slowing down)?
And why might that be? (I have a few ideas about poor employments and clashing expectations).
Or am I mis-reading the situation?

Labels: ,