10,000 New Churches! Want To Be Part Of NewThing – In Europe?

  A friend who is planting churches in the north of England asked me to put together a short document to help introduce what we do to his leaders. Having written it, I thought I would share it here in case you are interested – or to pass on? NewThing began in Chicago under the leadership of a church planter called Dave Ferguson. Having started many Community Churches in the Chicagoland area, they began to plant across the USA. Other types of churches with a heart to reach people far from God connected informally, then formed more formal networks to encourage best practice for reproducing disciples, and coaching to multiply churches and networks. We like to keep things simple – so NewThing champions 4 Rs: RELATIONSHIPS (which grow and are fostered through regular meeting) RESOURCES (sharing ideas, stories, best practices and being financially generous to help other ‘NewThings’ happen REPRODUCING goals that we hold one another accountable on. RESIDENCIES to train new church planters and leaders of the future. These happen locally and now globally. Here in the UK I took up the […]


Crispin Fletcher Louis – The (High) Priesthood Of All Believers

Crispin’s background growing up around church was that things would go great and the Spirit would move – the church would grow, but that was not sustained and that was often because of leadership dynamics, the way churches were led, with abuse of power at times, leading to unhealthy results. There are some concepts to be grasped here that will need a lot of time to think through the implications of. We looked at questions from the outset to open up the day such as; What do we mean by the priesthood of all believers? How do you figure out your calling? Why did priests, and particularly the high priest, dress in particular special garments? Why does bullying happen with the people of God? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? There is an old dualistic/ platonic view of what that means, which comes from Philo who tried synthesise various views with the OT creation picture. That only our spirit/soul/rationality are created in the image of God. That’s not a faithful picture of what Genesis […]


Rob Parsons – Communicators Masterclass

My notes from a master communicator at Spring Harvest 2018 God can use anyone to communicate – that’s a given But we can all get better You’ll lose people’s attention for two reasons you’re boring you’re good – so they’ll lose track of what you want them to focus on; change it up and tell a story Eyes matter; look in sections at people, even if you can’t see them in the lights they can see you. It includes people Minimise the distance between you and the people as much as possible Sound matters. It doesn’t matter how good it is, if the sound is rubbish. Do a sound check, the way you actually talk. Try to minimise distractions. Shut the doors. Don’t have people wandering round. Don’t have coffee being served while you’re doing it. Don’t waste the start. Get into it. Aristotle on persuasion; Ethos – the character, establishes credibility and credentials  Logos – the reasoning  Pathos – the heart.  Which should we focus on? It depends who and what we are speaking on and to. Pathos is connected to […]


Malcolm Duncan James 4, 5 – LOSE IT #SH2018

There is a single thread that links this all together and if we get it, it can keep us in the right place. HUMILITY The book pivots in 4:7-10 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. CS Lewis described humility as not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. The test of humility; When you work into a room do you need everyone to see you Do you always need to have the last word? Do your ideas always have to be best? Tim Keller The Freedom of self forgetfulness – based on 1 Cor 4 So look […]


Malcolm Duncan – Tame it! Living a life of freedom

James 2 & 3 Faith and works James wants us to link our faith convictions with our attitudes. Our WISDOM, WORKS and WORDS. But he’s not a linear thinker,  one issue then another – these motifs occur in various places. He keeps looping back round in a cyclical way and intertwining them so we connect what we believe with how we will. Like going round a spiral staircase and passing the same thing over and over but from a different perspective. But what’s at the centre is not ‘WORKS’ but WISDOM. James is about living a godly life. And you can’t do that without godly wisdom. It’s like a tapestry and the threads are wisdom, in how you speak and live – woven together. Chapter 1:20 was about how we engage with anger. How to respond based on God’s perspective. ‘Your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.’ = Don’t assume your anger equates to God’s anger. You may feel you are angry for truth when in fact you are angry for your preference. He says ‘be angry and sin not’. How […]


James 1 ‘The Symphony of faith.’ Malcolm Duncan #SH2018

  My notes from today’s Bible reading at Spring Harvest Harrogate Who was James? How does he establish his credentials? He doesn’t say ‘Jesus’ brother James…’ but ‘James the servant of Jesus.’ The church does not exist to serve us. We exist to serve Christ. It’s a pastoral letter (paraenesis) James is reminding them – to exhort them. Not saying ‘there there there’! He’s inspiring them that they are more than they think they are, and they can live differently. He picks up many threads – loose structure. James has more imperatives in a short letter than any other book in the NT – yet delivered in a caring way. Full of metaphors. Mirror, horse, ship, arrogant businessman, patient farmer. We can connect to them. And echoes of many sources – not just OT and Jesus, but others like apocrypha. It’s a book that challenges our view of ‘success’ – a worldly church and a fleshy faith. This has to speak to the western C21st church. The only way out of worldliness is repentance. Letting God define us. James 1 – living in faith […]


A Consuming Fire – Matt Lynch of @wtctheology

We were privileged to host Dr Matt Lynch at Ivy last night where he gave great teaching on the subject of how we encounter our God who is ‘a consuming fire.’ My (unedited) notes are as follows –   Exodus 24:17  To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. What does the Bible mean when it says our God is a consuming fire? It occurs a number of times in the Bible and the OT occurrences seem pretty scary! Eg Isaiah 30 See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar,     with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath,     and his tongue is a consuming fire. 28 His breath is like a rushing torrent,     rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction;     he places in the jaws of the peoples     a bit that leads them astray. God comes and settles his presence on a mountain but then warns the people not to come anywhere […]


LEADERS ARE READERS – MY TOP TEN LEADERSHIP BOOKS

My friend Steve Barnett who runs St Andrew’s Bookshop has asked me to put together my top ten recommended books on Leadership. This is very hard! There are more books on leadership than anything other than romantic fiction. Thankfully as I never read the latter I have lots of time to spend on the former, so here goes (these are just Christian ones, when I teach on Transformational Leadership at Westminster Theological Centre I have many more eclectic, business focused and academic suggestions for students too). I’d love to know which ones you would add to the list? Leadership Axioms Bill Hybels Willow Creek’s founder distils decades of leadership at the sharp end on issues such as envisioning others, people skills, financing the dream and releasing the power of everyone. My favourite axiom? ‘Don’t say anybody else’s no for them.’ 76 short chapters to dip in and out of over and over again. Down to earth and actionable – itself a model for leaders and communicators. The 360 Degree Leader John Maxwell I was going to say I’ve read everything Maxwell […]


The Characteristics Of A Strategic Mission Mindset (Acts 2) – Dr Kate Coleman

This was an incredible talk that I will return to over and over. Its implications for the church and its mission are inestimable.  Dr Kate Coleman The characteristics of a strategic mission mindset (Acts 2) There are themes here for us all. Main event = PENTECOST Acts 2:1-13 Acts 1:13 tell us the disciples were gathered. Doors locked. In fear. This room = their place of security and bonding together. They had encounter and hope there. They got fired up there! They were where Jesus told them to be. They were united there! It was very special place – but also potentially a very dangerous place. It had the potential to become their prison. We have to be willing to engage in ‘the mission before the mission.’ To keep an ‘upper room mentality.’ Attached to the last encounter, the last paradigm, the last place Jesus spoke to us. Waiting for lighting to strike the same way, twice. People say ‘This where God did this and that, I loved it then, it used to be packed out.’ Hoping for a repeat […]


BE A BOTH/AND CHURCH – Dave Smith (Kingsgate)

Face the challenge – and seize the opportunity. How? Hold together attractional and missional Both/and Come and see and Go and share church From the outside in AND Equip to go from the inside out. Because we want to see the multitudes around us saved! COME AND SEE This isn’t new and invented by Willow Creek! It’s in the OT. Isaiah 2. The mountain of the Lord that many peoples come to it! Direction there = outside in. Temple, tabernacle. Jesus, the Word became flesh – tabernacle among us. So – ‘Come and see’ is there in the gospel. Jesus is the living temple. Acts 2, and 11. Multitudes converted to the new temple – US! Living stones. We have to rediscover the wonder of gathering as God’s people and increase our expectation of what can happen when people ‘come and see’ a church alive! Full of the presence of the living God in the gathering. This needs INVITATION. Someone bold enough to say ‘Come and see.’ We want to be part of God building something that people come and see. […]