Friday, June 29, 2007

Week off starting now! Oh yes!
So no blogging...


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Quick Catch up
Been a busy few days - Britain even got a new prime minister!

The London Event was a good day. The worship and stuff I was organising seemed to work in the end. There was some challenging input around the issues of slavery and justice, and attendance was reasonable for a first attempt.

There's a whole load of stuff being planned in London for Pentecost 2008. The plan is to be festival focusing on the positive stuff the church offers, a "gift from the church to the capital". Should be good, I met with someone about that a couple of days ago and they're looking at how to involve young people creatively.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Silver Ring Controversy
BBC is reporting 16 year old Lydia Playfoot taking her school to the high court for stopping her wearing a "purity ring". It's a "silver ring thing" ring!
Lydia's own site and info on the case can be found here.
According to the BBC:
"She alleges discrimination because the school allows Sikh and Muslim pupils to wear bracelets and headscarves"
And so the key issue seems to be is the ring a valid and integral expression of Christian faith.

It's an interesting issue - part of me admires a 16year old's strength in wanting to fight, but I'm not sure what I think. Is this really worth it? Surely there are more important things to be spending time and money on?
And it's interesting that Lydia's family appear to be part of the UK Silver Ring thing set up!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is it that simple?
Just been reflecting on the previous post and some other stuff (e.g. this paper I wrote).
What if the following is an answer to a question I get asked (and I'm sure other youthwork people do):
Q:"What's the answer to keeping young people in church"
A: Church

Q:"What's the key to attracting young people to our church" [horrible wording but it's what people say]
A: Church

Surely the answer is in the practice and relationships of being the church of God: Father, Son and Spirit?

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Youth Groups
Over the last few years I've used the quieter couple of weeks over the summer to write different papers for the LBA (click downloads
here). It's another way of getting training stuff out to the churches.
Currently getting ideas for what to do this year.
To get me thinking I went back to Kenda Creasy Dean's Practicing Passion.
And it's as good this time round as it was the first time.

"youth groups remain notoriously unreliable for the formation of faith. Faith, it turns out, is far more likely to take root in the context of families and congregations, and significant adult-youth relationships - communities where passion is practiced, where people are given towards loving one another sacrificially, and where we experience sacrificial love on our behalf"(p26)

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The London Event
This week my mind seems to be dominated by getting stuff ready for what we've boldly called "The London Event".
Traditionally the London Baptist Association did 2 annual "assemblies". This year we're trying one annual event, happening on Saturday at
The theme is "Freedom", and should be a good event, although the weather may be a factor as lunch time is scheduled as picnic and games in the park!
If you're a London Baptist, hope to see you there!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Retro Worship Music
While preparing for a service for Sunday morning on Jesus feeding 5000 I remembered an old song:
"Who took fish and bread, hungry people fed?"
Eventually I tracked it down in an old book (Youth Praise, Orange cover!), and realised it's by Betty Lou Mills.
We had some of her records when I was a kid, and they went with stuff like "Come Together". Great 70's Christian music.

The fish and bread song has some great lyrics:
"Who walked dusty road? Cared for young and old?
Who sat children on his knee?"

Fair to say they don't write them like that these days!
(and check out Bizarre Records for other random record sleeves)

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Mission in the Suburbs
I think it's for all the right reasons, but somehow "urban mission" sounds better (sexier?) than "suburban mission"! Clearly we have an historic problem of Christians leaving the urban inner-cities. In part here in London and in many cities that is being counteracted by some great deliberate church planting movements (e.g. Urban Expression) and the growth of the Black majority Churches and other ethnically distinct congregations. But it's still an issue of under-investment.
There is however, a challenge of mission in the suburbs. Reaching people who are doing well without God with the Christian gospel is tough! So I was pleased to read some stuff from Vineyard USA on the suburbs, from their "Cutting Edge" church planting magazine (Summer 2007 here). (thanks to Tony for the link!). It's an interview with David Goetz who's written an interesting looking book on the suburbs (which I've added to my wish list!).
Couple of quick quotes from the article:
"I think missionary training needs to be as rigorous for the suburbs as it is for the foreign mission field"
"Don't assume the large suburban churches have all the answers"

The second quote reminds me of something I read, although not sure where, about suburban churches which have the "smell" of success, without the missional depth. A warning that resonated with me.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Have added to the links in the right, the wonderful Pray as you go. Great 10 minute mp3 devotions.
Also Gear 4 Music, good for cheap music gear. Their own brand stuff is better than the price would have you believe - I've tried a digital piano and got the Mrs a pink guitar!


Christian Youthwork (again)
The poll results (see previous post) are interesting. Obviously it was a small sample and a very unscientific method! But it raises the question about what is distinctive in a Christian youthwork project. Is it the values, the approach and how are these different from statutory or other forms of youthwork? What about people from other religions as leaders in Christian youthwork- is that possible?
I guess a more nuanced question would have yielded different results. Perhaps it depends on the nature of the piece of work. It also potentially raises questions about the Kingdom of God and who's in!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Christian Youth Work
I was in a discussion last night about Christian youth work and how it's distinctive. So I decided to do a poll. And there's no "maybe"! So what do you think?

Poll now closed! The question was "Should Christian youth work ever use non-Christian staff or vounteers"
Results: 75% Yes
25% No

More later!

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Friends, Family and Hospitals...
Good weekend catching up with friends on Friday (first barbecue of the season!).
Saturday was what's becoming an annual trip to the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford to see our nephew and niece in a show, this year was Oaklahoma. The Centre is quite a nice venue for small shows.
And good to catch up with the family!

And hospitals? Suzie managed to fall off a children's roundabout (we were with a friend's child, not just hanging out out at the playground!) on Sunday afternoon, and damage her arm. The X-ray showed it probably isn't broken - but painful none the less! While being spun fast, the 3 year old was fine, sat tight on her seat, while Suzie was flung off! Couple of hours in A & E were not the most fun, but it does make you grateful for free, 24hour easy access health care!


Friday, June 01, 2007

Around the Blogs
Couple of highlights worth exploring:
Youthblog - Trends and directions in Youthwork
Andrew Jones - Offensive Language