I hope 5Q Book puts us ‘in ministry’ out of a job, to get the rest of us in ministry

I’ve been waiting years for Alan Hirsch to write this book, ever since the unforgettable Forgotten Ways which is a core text now for the Transformational Leadership course I teach at WTC. This builds on that groundbreaking work and goes deeper still. I’ll declare that I got a free e-copy for review but I just ordered the paperback because like Forgotten Ways this will end up multi-coloured and with scribbles all over. Kindle says I’m 20% through it and it seems like I only just picked it up, I was so engrossed. I’ll blog again when I get my breath back and having let my thoughts settle. For those of us who are in church leadership and used to Hirsch, my question is, ‘HOW THE HECK CAN YOU GET USED TO HIRSCH?’ If you actually read books with a mindset of implementation not just interest, his challenge to present day western ecclesiology changes EVERYTHING. Or it should. I just pray it’s not to late – the ongoing focus in denominations on ordaining some more people into the old system rather than […]


5 Ways Church Planters Change The Church

This week I was privileged to attend a gathering of church planting leaders from around the world this week. This talk by Dr Timothy Tennant, President of Asbury Seminary was packed with insights:  We believe the church is meant to be missional. And the way the church has been done that has been ‘be nice to visitors.’ But nobody is going to walk in the door to find out how nice you are. So we have to be at mission in the church. We have had pastors as ministers to existing members. But church planting is a permission slip to reach new people. The global church has become very nominal and needs to be transformed. Our posture is always that we need to be fellow travelers, experimenting together. People of different contexts and experiences, learning from each other. When you’re so busy planting churches and preaching the gospel you don’t have time to theologise on it.  To reflect and ask ‘What are we doing? How can we do it better? Field missionaries are often befuddled when they read mission journals. Theoretical constructs – how does it […]


Why does @garethrobinson think you should come to LAUNCH?

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! 


7 Steps To Create A Missional Culture – Dave Ferguson

Great session from Dave today at the Growing To The Next Level gathering at Kingsgate Church, Peterborough – and I suspect the seven steps below could be adapted for many  things you might want to change in a church, organisation or business  This is not just about having some missional practices (like BELLS or BLESS) – but how do you create and sustain a missional culture? We’re on a journey with that at Community Church, Chicago. We want a Come and See environment (Near) But also Go and Tell. (Far) MC + MP = MM Multiplying Churches plus Missional People = Missional Movement 7 steps to create a missional culture Name it – we are not where we need to be. This cannot stay the same! Brand it – do the hard work of making hard things to do simple to understand. Give the people a clear understanding of the problem, the mission, and clear missional practices. Do it! YOU are the culture creator. You will reproduce who are, and get the culture you deserve. When you can say ‘I am […]


Announcing LAUNCH – a catalyst for planting churches and growing leaders

Last year 250 leaders from a phenomenal number of streams joined us from around the world to fill the venue in Media City for our Exponential Conversation.  This November (14-15th, with a pre-con in Salford for church leaders only the day before) we are growing into a much larger venue for 800 to join us for LAUNCH. We are grateful that the conference is sponsored by Compassion UK and the additional workshops by Stewardship. Our partners list now includes RCCG, New Wine, Salvation Army, Fresh Expressions, The Message, NewThing, Forge and Broadcast! BOOK NOW! Take advantage of the great deals on prices now, even better for teams by clicking HERE. Watch the video and share it with others who believe the best is yet to come for the church in Europe HERE   


God’s multiplication looks to us like subtraction

If we’re looking to multiply – how does that work? Today at Ivy Kingsway Ben announced that that church in the Cinema is going to double. It’s been full for too long (not a problem most churches experience), a number of plants have gone out from it, and from Easter Sunday they’re going to try two services, which means the word nobody except babies like – CHANGE. Change is often perceived as pain, until growth happens. This got me thinking about how the Lord doesn’t just change or grow us, but multiplies, but it looks like subtraction. In John 12 read about how some Greeks came, wanting to see Jesus: 20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I […]


SIX STEPS to Growth

6 STEPS to Growth (Tom Lane, Gateway Church) Matt 25:14 ‘Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 ‘After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.” 21 ‘His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful […]


Church & Buildings – The Wrong Question?

This week I ended up embroiled in discussion with some CofE friends via Facebook after I retweeted a Guardian article by Giles Fraser on how the best thing to do with dying rural churches is shut them down and sell them off (that’s my summary, follow the link to read it if you like). His idea can hardly be described as original, but it’s put the cat among the bats in the belfry. And here I risk offending even more than he has by commenting that talking about rural churches only is a hostage to fortune. Would your community weep if the church was no longer there? I know some ministers who wouldn’t even weep if it wasn’t there! Places where the local dry cleaners would be missed if it closed more than the local church because at least that’s providing some tangible benefit. Urban or rural, churches that are only relevant to those still attending but irrelevant to connect meaningfully with their local community will die, they can just take a very long time to do so.  Meanwhile a […]


Update on NewThing Europe

(I’ve been asked by the guys in the USA to do a snapshot report of the ‘story so far’ and thought I’d share it here for those of you who are interested. This Sunday at Ivy we have another of our monthly days set aside to pray for NewThing and this will help you)  I was just coming to terms with being challenged already from NewThing’s LARN process to step out of my comfort zone as Pastor of a growing network of Ivy churches taking ground here in Manchester and consider the whole of my nation of Great Britain: how to create systems to reproduce networks to attract, train and deploy apostolic leaders? Many of you will know from the Exponential book one of the main ideas is that you draw your vision on a napkin? That was one of the biggest challenges because I’m not very good at drawing (Manchester’s easy, just draw a circle for the M60 and drop a few dots all over for churches: Britain’s a lot harder to draw and always ended up looking like two pieces of […]


Stuck In Jerusalem? It’s Time To Move!

I’ll never forget my time spent in India and Sri Lanka with some of the most beautiful, bold and fearless Christians I ever met. Hearing their stories of persecution puts much of what we moan about in context and changed my mindset forever. I’m reminded of that and challenged to the core reading the post (below the photo) from Exponential. As you read it, ask – what stage are you at? I like to think Ivy is getting to stage 4 right now, but so grateful we do not at this point have to pay the same price at Stage 2 as our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world. What do you think could be the reason so many in the West stay settled in Stage 1?   As director of training and leadership development for India Gospel League (IGL), Benjamin Chellapandian (“Pastor Benny”) oversees 7,000 church-planting pastors in rural India and Sri Lanka who over the past 25 years have planted roughly 70,000 churches. Recently, Chellapandian spoke to a U.S. church about God’s plan and purpose […]