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 […]


Wanted: Jason (and Jane) Bournes for the Kingdom – NewThing Global

I am reflecting back on the inaugural NewThing Global meeting in Nairobi earlier this year and thought a summary post might help answer some of the many questions I get asked about NewThing Europe right now. We met there because of an initial connection between two leaders; Oscar Muriu of Nairobi Chapel was speaking at the Willow GLS and his message impacted my friend Dave Ferguson. They later reconnected through the conference Dave helps lead, Exponential – where Oscar in his amazing keynote from 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 he asked, ‘What are you living your life for that is worth Christ dying for?’ That led to our partnership discussions, and the idea of NewThing Global (of which I am now leading NewThing Europe) developed from that. We wanted to get a small group of friends to gather from the corners of the world to become part of a network, because trust can be communicated through all the relationships in that network. We’ve all been part of groups. There are groups that meet to train, or to talk, but a network is there […]


Ivy Church Becomes A Movement! Check the Video

Because we all danced to ‘You got to move it, move it’ and because you have to get moving or don’t call yourself a movement – that’s what #IvyKinetic was all about. The whole church got equipped for the call – and hit the streets! To find out more or connect with us, check out the Ivy Church website or Like the Ivy Manchester Facebook page after you watch the video. If you’re a leader who wants to turn the church inside out to help people find their way back to God, you can connect with me after investigating NewThing to find out how we can together catalyse more reproducing churches that help people find their way back to God in the UK, Europe and around the world.


Mustard Seed Faith to Change The World @OscarMuriu at #Exponential NewThingGlobal

Incredible talk by my friend and partner Oscar Muriu of NewThingAfrica and NewThingGlobal just now at Exponential. As I watch now many are responding, and I’m here praying ‘Me too, Lord! Make me brave!’  If you are resonating and responding to this and interested in planting reproducing churches and starting movements in Europe with NewThingEurope get in touch with me here.  There is sustaining faith, enough to get by today… and then there is mustard seed faith What is it? If your faith is small, you can say to a mountain – move, and it will be done for you. It’s the faith that moves mountains. It does not depend on my networks but on God alone. It begins where my abilities and resources end This is the faith that puts me in the place where nothing will happen until God moves. Mustard seed prays prayers so big there is no hope they would ever come to be without God. The sad thing is, 95% of Christians pray with that prayer. We ask for too little We are too easily […]


A Better Way To Celebrate St Patrick…

…than wearing a shamrock or even drinking a Guinness Pray his prayer ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’!  On the day we remember a powerful missionary pioneer. I’m reminded of what a revolution this man of God wrought by reading Steve Addison’s Movements That Change The World, required reading for New Thing Europe! Pray this with me, pray it for me, pray it for you and yours, for your spheres of influence, pray it out loud ( unless it’ll get you thrown off the bus)! I arise today 
through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
 through belief in the Threeness,
 through confession of the Oneness
 of the Creator of creation. I arise today
 through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
 through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
 through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
 through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom. I arise today
 through the strength of the love of cherubim,
 In the obedience of angels,
 in the service of archangels,
 in the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
 […]


Church We Can All Do

I follow Rachel Held Evan’s blog and I’m grateful for her pointing to this church in New York (a city I’m so excited to be visiting at the end of the year with Zoe). [vimeo 42866194 w=500 h=281] What a great idea – Dinner Church! Who do you think they got that from? I can see this working brilliantly here in Manchester. Sounds, looks and tastes a lot like how church started, and grew – and maybe it holds a big key to how we can once again build movements that don’t depend on ‘Who’s your Pastor?’, but rather ‘How’s your Pasta?’ More about St Lydia’s here.