Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Who should be youth leaders?
Back in June I ran an unscientific pole on "should Christian youthwork ever use non-Christian staff or volunteers?" and 75% said "yes" it was OK. That led me to think about what is the Christian in distinctive in youth work (see this post).

This issue is being discussed on some other (non-UK) youth work blogs at a far more interesting level, so I won't add anything, but suggest you check out Tim's thoughts and subsequent comments and Darren's response.

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Admitting Defeat
I've had a London-wide role for 7 years now, and today for the 2nd time the traffic won! Choosing which method of transport to use to get to places and which route is a delicate business, but today I was beaten by the North Circular/A406.
The first time (several years ago now) I was beaten by the South Circular! I often by-pass the M25 as that is famed for its jams.

I don't think twice in 7 years to miss meetings due to travel chaos is a bad record, and I think travelling in London, even on the roads, is easier than many people perceive it to be. But clearly more investment in transport is needed, and while the mayor's freeze on some fares is to be welcomed, freezing travel cards would also be helpful (and the announcement of the prize freeze coming just before the London Assembly elections next year seems a bit suspect to me!)

Anyway if you are going to use the A406, this site is a helpful guide to make life more interesting!

(pic from BBC)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quick Quote
I'm officially "on holiday", but still trying to keep on top of my next college assignment.
Just came across this quote:
"A vigorous emerging church thus formulates its beliefs, and even its basic theology, according to immediate local needs and pressures, rather than waiting for the approval of venerable and distant mentors. What the"mainstream" church thinks is not terribly important for them, and mainstream is a designation that changes over time" (Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom, p139).
I think it applies to the "emerging church" in the post-modern West as much as expressions birthed elsewhere.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back up and running
A new hard drive and a complete re-install later I'm back up and running!
And actually didn't seem to loose any data (that I've noticed so far anyway!).
Although by installing a new hard drive I lost the "PC angel" which saved my data this time round, so I hope this new drive is a bit more stable, and I'll be looking for another safety net.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day & PC Crashes
It's "blog action day" and bloggers are being asked to post about the environment.
I would have done this earlier, but my hard drive crashed. This has happened before so I'm wondering if rather than re-installing everything and getting my hopes up I should just bite the bullet and fit a new hard drive. As I've got to re-install pretty much everything from back-up anyway it might be the best idea. I shall wait and see how the current one fares for a day with a "clean" Windows install and little else before deciding.

Anyway the topic is the environment. A while ago I found some interesting papers on Christian mission and the environment at the Redcliffe College journal "Encounters". Helpful stuff.

Personally I want to confess that often desire to do more on environmental stuff doesn't always translate into action. Like those days when driving is more appealing than walking/public transport (I had that today), so you drive. Or when you only realise after binning it that it could be re-cycled.
Of course we all need to do our bit, and could do more. But like so much in life sometimes belief needs to be shown in action. But I appreciate the call that creation care is to be as much about mission than "stewardship".

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Brigades & Uniformed Youth Groups
I often get asked about Boys Brigade, Girls Brigade etc, (Scouts and the like are not so common among Baptists). The questions are often about how to close the groups without offending people who hold dear to their ideals, how to integrate them in to the wider youth work of the church and how to use them effectively.
A while ago I was sure the era of uniformed youth groups was long over and we should just kill them all off (the groups not the participants!). But every now and again I hear stories of great things happening through these groups, especially in unexpected situations or places where other forms of youthwork have failed. Plus I know the organisations themselves have made big efforts to try and bring them in to the 21st Century.
But is there a place for uniformed groups? What should we do with them? How can we use them?

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Called to youth work?
I came across this post from someone thinking about how they ended up in youth work and are they called to it.
It got me thinking about a theory I had a while back. Are people called to youth ministry? Or are they called to ministry/to work with people and they chose to exercise that among young people? So you have people called to be evangelists or pastors and they could be that in a church or in another culture, but they do it among young people.
Or may be not - maybe some people are called to work with young people primarily.

A few years ago I took part in research about youthworkers and calling. Not sure what the results were. But it's an interesting question. Especially with people like me who would say they are called to help churches engage and to build church rather than called to be youthworkers. Of course there is also the issue of longevity in youth work, and the fact that so many seem to move out to other ministries (which is valid).

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What Kind of Blogger are you?
What Kind of Blogger Are You?

Another quiz to pass some time! (I saw it on Nuno's).
It's part of "Blog Action Day" coming up Oct 15th!

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Mission in a multi-cultural city
When I talk about what's going on in London to people from outside I often end up talking about stories of growth and new churches. But as the statistics on church going in London bear out, these are inevitably ethnically distinct congregations, or established churches being re-ignited by incoming groups.
This article by Daniel Clark (pdf download) describes some of the issues. Diaspora churches often face unique challenges, and yet have much to teach the inherited churches. But as the article points out, hoping "foreign" missionaries will re-evangelise the UK is not without its cultural difficulties:

"Even those concerned for the spiritual welfare of the UK struggle when tried and tested methods in their homeland do not have success".

It's a complex situation, without easy answers. And when you add in young people and those of the second generation it gets even more complex. But I guess that's what makes cities like London so exciting. And somehow in the middle of it all God is at work.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

I was looking for a story to illustrate "disappointment" and google led me to "ex-Christian", a site of "de-conversion" stories.
Some sad stuff there.
It's worth looking at a because there are some valid critiques and lessons to be learned. Clearly most of the stories are from the USA, and are perhaps as much a rejection of a cultural Christianity. And some will always chose to leave.
But we've much to learn about the way of Jesus I think.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Colour Change
Tried playing around with the template.
I know I should be preparing for Sunday...
In the end went for black. Maybe subconsciously inspired by the energy saving search engine "Blackle".


Worship: Balance
There have been lots of critiques of "contemporary" worship, many of which have been insightful, especially around the tendency to be triumphalist and unrealistic. Much of this has been helpful (although with the exception of the ever popular "Blessed be your name", has it made much difference "in the pews"?).

This is an interesting video from John Eldridge at The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies in Canada, looking at the need for the major and the minor in worship. A helpful call for balance I think.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Just read this thought provoking quote:
"The essence of idolatry is the identification of the reality of God with the image of God produced by a culture" (Boff, "Good News to the Poor", p17).
What is shaping my view of God?

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