Most of the cards I see for Father’s Day are a bit of a joke, and not that funny. ‘Dad’ is praised – for his farts or ability to drink beer. Is that it? But in a world where men don’t know how to be men, how on earth are they meant to learn to be a father? Gordon Dalbey wrote about polling a group of 350 men and asking whether and how their own fathers ever gave them help, encouragement or support in parenting. Only 5 put their hands up. Even less men heard anything from a father as they wrestled through issues such as their own sexuality. And we wonder why we’re in a mess? God promised to turn the hearts of the children back to the fathers, and if not the land is cursed. I’d say we’re seeing the second part of that in so many areas, because we are not seeing the first. The stakes could not be higher! If he’s still around, celebrate Dad today. I really miss mine. Buy him a tankard or a […]
Gareth Robinson heads up New Wine’s focus on Church Planting and together with his wife Lizzie runs a church plant in Salford, Manchester. We asked Gareth at last year’s gathering ‘Becoming Five – in partnership with Exponential’ what he thought of it, “It’s a great joy to be here! It’s great to have all sorts of people from all sorts of places gathering together to talk about church planting, to ask the questions like; what is really working – and what can we do to see church planting encouraged across our nation and across the world?” We liked that so much we invited Gareth to be on the team helping plan November’s LAUNCH which will be bigger and even better! He’ll help and host the LAUNCH Pre-Con (in partnership with New Wine) too which will have a specific focus on questions church planters and those considering that missional move need to grapple with. Book now before the best deals go!
“If you’re interested in church planting, if you’re interested in multiplication, in mission or movement making – this is the place that you will meet with other people who love and are passionate about the same thing, where you can also learn and share best practices with each other. Make sure you’re there this year!” Dave Ferguson: President, Exponential. Book now and bring your team before the best deals go! 13-15th November at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester Leaders from across the world are gathering for LAUNCH Church Multiplication Catalyst in partnership with Exponential where we learn to multiply disciples, leaders and churches in Europe and beyond.
I blogged the morning of the bombings about how as I discovered the news about the brutal attack at the Manchester Arena I realized I was walking around with my fists clenched, and how it’s hard to pray with your hands like that. Later after we opened the church for prayer to the community and as I looked at the cross, nail pierced hands opened mine to grace. But as more details emerged, my heart began to clench. Ivy is a church with many medics, some very senior. I kept in touch as well as I could with our guys. They have worked 16 and 12 hour shifts “saving lives and limbs” as first priority but nothing but a warzone could prepare many of the staff, though used to appalling injuries. Extracting the nuts and bolts of evil, trying to convince wounded parents to receive treatment themselves when they only wanted to be patched up and be with their injured children. The calculated manner and premeditated maliciousness of deadly intent to maim the most defenceless young families. I hate it. […]
I go to bed early. But through the night the phone in the corner kept buzzing away at an unusually high rate. Then this morning the phone rang and I was asked by someone in the press what I thought about what has happened here in my home city Manchester. Within minutes I had read all the texts, had all the information, and all the questions, but so few answers. How can this have happened here? I love this city that I lead Ivy Church in so much! My year started at the Arena as over ten thousand of us gathered to pray in the New Year for Festival Of Praise. Now I hear of this carnage in the same place. One of our friends, an Ivy member, was there with his kids last night at the concert there, he says a last minute mess up with the tickets put them away from the seats they should have been in right where the blast was, so they were saved. I thank God for them, but then so many […]
While on a short city break in Barcelona I was suddenly taken ill with excruciating pain in my stomach. I’d been pushing through since it started at 5am, telling myself it was indigestion, and I just had to ‘man up’ and it would go away. At 7.30am I went for a run just so I could have pain in other parts of my body and take my mind off it. It didn’t go. By 10am it was so bad I said to Zoe please could she go to the chemist. Then I rang her on the way and said ‘I think we need a Doctor.’ An emergency doctor was called, who called an ambulance after giving me morphine. They put a blue light on and I ended up spending 3/4 of my city break in a hospital bed, with gallstones – thankfully I’m now back in the UK. But while I was there they fasted me, so I thought I might as well use the (enforced – does it count?) discipline to pray while in another part of Europe about the […]
How often have we gone to church or heard some teaching at a seminar and maybe we even thought, ‘Okay this is good stuff’ – but not changed anything? Why is that? How many times like in the parable of the sower does the seed get put down, or in some of your work you’re going round throwing it out there and it’s getting pecked away, choked out, trampled down and NOT producing the kind of fruit it should? Last week I read a fascinating book called The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. He looks at how a tiny Tennis club in Russia has created more top 20 women players than the whole of the USA, how one woman has taught Jessica Simpson, Beyonce and loads of other pop stars, how one island in the Dominican Republic produces the world’s best baseball players, South Korea all the best women golfers, how do we create talent, learn anything better and grow skill? It’s all to do with myelin, whether it’s learning a language, swinging a bat or playing a violin. Every […]
I just had time to read a recent short paper on church membership and attendance by the wizard of stats, Dr Peter Brierley and I am DISTURBED! He does the church in the UK a great service by holding a mirror up to us in terms of how things really are, though I suspect the reflection is such an ugly one most leaders will take a glance, then look away quickly and go back to business as usual. The paper relates as I say to measuring church membership and attendance. He starts off by saying that attendance – ‘bums on seats’ is not of course the only thing we want to measure and I agree, though often it’s the leaders who are putting the most people off church who voice that argument most strongly. We make ourselves feel better by finding other ways people are ‘connecting’ with church because they are not coming any more. Membership is harder to define because some churches may set a high bar for membership (I think we do at Ivy) whereas in other churches […]