Monday, October 27, 2008

Church for Everyone?
On Saturday I went over to East London for the "Church for Everyone" conference. Dr Bruce Milne was teaching some stuff, based mainly on his book Dynamic Diversity. The book draws heavily on Ephesians, arguing that in Christ we are no longer divided, we are a "new humanity" , therefore churches should be "new humanity churches" and reflect this, bridging all cultures, generations, socio-economic divides etc.
I find his arguments quiet convincing, and a helpful counter to the "Homogeneous Unit Principle" (for discussion on that see here).

I guess for me the key question is about what we need to do all together and what can be done in separate groups. Can we really hold diverse cultures, generations etc. together in one worship service? Is such an approach missionally viable? How does specific-group mission relate to gathering as church?
Of course these arguments have been rehearsed many times before, but "on the ground" how do we work it out? Is "niche" church the way forward, or perhaps this idea from Steve Collins (which I've probably mentioned before).

Probably more posts on this in time, as it's the backbone of my dissertation...

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yesterday it was a privilege to speak at the first "Korean London Teenage Mission Conference", running as a new stream at the 5th Korean London Mission Conference.
It was fun to experience bi-lingual worship with a verse or 2 of most songs in English and then in Korean, led by a great youth band. And a strange feeling to speak off the back of a video I didn't understand a word of.
I did 2 sessions, one on "who am I?" looking at at our identity in Christ, and the second on "why am I here?", picking up on how who we are relates to being called to "do good works"(Ephesians 2:10).
And everyone got Big Mac and fries for lunch!
Was great to be there and talk mission to young people from a nation with such a heritage for sending out in world missions. And the blessing one another with a song at the end was quite moving, as was seeing a group of young people dedicate themselves to live for God's purposes.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day

It's blog action day and this years theme is poverty.
What a complex issue! Especially as the UK news is dominated by economics at the moment - talk of recession and credit crunch, bank bail outs etc. But little thought of the poorest and truly economically disadvantaged in the world.
This passage is always a challenge to do rather than just believe, because I think we know this stuff, but doing it is harder:
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" (Isaiah 58:6-7)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Contemporary Dilemmas
Here's a moral dilemma, that I really don't know the "right" answer to, but it happens often, and happened today:
You pull in to a pay and display car park in a town centre in a suburb of London. Someone appears to offer you their ticket - it's got 1 1/2 hours left on it, it's not one of those new "put your registration in" places, and you only plan on being 30mins maximum.
Is it right to take and use the ticket, thereby saving a couple of £'s or is it wrong as tickets are "not transferable"? What is the right course of action for the Christian (especially youthworker/minister) faced with this tricky moral dilemma?

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Successful Church
I've posted before around the issue of what success looks like in youth ministry and church life (e.g here and here). But the models that are still prevalent are those based on number crunching and surface effect.
Here's a quick quote:
"But we are not far from thinking that the church leader with the biggest congregation and the flashiest Sunday meetings is the most successful" (Chester & Timmis, Total Church, p188).

On the other hand is there a danger that we lose any desire for growth in these ways because of the fear of being accused of being "attractional" rather than "missional"? How can we be realistic in looking for growth that is deep and Christ-centred?

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