The Most Hated Machine At The Gym – Measures To Motivate

I started my talk at the LAUNCH conference by talking about this machine. Two years ago, overweight and with blood pressure on the rise, I stepped on it and held the handles. There are lots of machines in the gym but I hated this one, because the readings were not pretty. I was 50 but the machine said I had the body of a 51 year old. What do you do? Resign yourself to the inevitable? Go to the cafe at the gym and buy a donut? Resolve to never go on that machine again? Or – CHANGE. I stopped some things, and I started some things. That’s a strategy. Dietary changes. I got coached toward a new exercise plan – and worked it. I stopped drinking alcohol (that’s a lot of sugar!). I drink a lot of water. This changed my results. I went on the machine today. 2 years on, my ‘metabolic age’ is 36. If I carry on, in a few years time I’ll be 21!  Maybe not. But with all the hard work of the conference […]


How Churches Become Generous – Dave Smith, Kingsgate Church #NextLevel

Preach Disciple Celebrate Model – GENEROSITY  How are we doing in these areas? PREACHING is absolutely foundational. We must preach about what God says about generosity and money. A lack of boldness holds us back, so God’s people are held back! We must not filter this through our Britishness. We must be biblical about it. Some of our churches just never talk about money. There’s a mindset to that. When I became a Christian I went to everyone I could to share the grace of God in my spirit and about salvation. But I heard a preacher talking about the blessing of God and he had justification, and salvation, and healing. Then he tried to talk about the blessing of God in provision. God has to free us from all wrong cultural mindsets. 500 years ago there was a reformation! Based on sola scriptura. The ultimate authority is God’s word. Not our reason or experience. And their primary foundation they focused on was about justification. But the Bible has a lot to say about money too. We must get convinced, and bold on […]


Happy Reformation Day! Ready For The Next One?

In a newsagents today I was amazed how many magazines are still writing about the effects of the Reformation, 500 years on. This one in the New Scientist is fascinating. It’s widely held that Martin Luther never aspired to be a great theologian or meant to start a revolution, he just wanted a conversation about salvation that led to the Reformation (did you notice that rhymed? I should have been a rapper!). Reading Nick Page’s recent funny and informative book on the Reformation reminds me Luther was not particularly original either, he combined the ideas of others with the questions he had from reading the Bible for himself and posed some questions about the church in his day that was so far removed from the people it was meant to reach. The new technology of the printing press took his ideas viral and set ablaze a conflagration leading to movements formed that continue to multiply to today. I thank God for that. I thank God for the Reformation today. I thank God for those who gave their lives so that […]


I’m Teaching – About Preaching

The preaching class at my theological college ended with an Egyptian monk called George telling me, ‘If God could speak through the mouth of a donkey I suppose he can use you.’ Since then I’ve read thousands of books and learned from everyone I can on public speaking and preaching, because I always want to get better at something so important! The Bible says not many people should step up to be a teacher, because we’ll be subject to a stricter judgement. How much more for if you presume to teach others to do it! Despite that, the Ivy staff team have asked me to put together some teaching to help them to preach. I might do more than one of there’s a good turn out, and this one’s open to all not just Ivy people. 7.30pm 24th November at Ivy Didsbury I’ll also touch on how to lead services well, and a lot of what I say will help anyone in business who has to stand up and present. I’ll have fun talking about something I love – you’re […]


Who’s job is Job? Caring for people in a world of need.

There’s a list in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes that sums up life pretty well, because we’re all in about to go through or going through some of the times up there on the screen – some time… 1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance… Do you know someone going through a tearing down time? Anyone on your street or Facebook page in a time of grief? Someone in the family who’s thrown away a job, someone searching for something or someone – but not finding. Someone in conflict? Someone longing for the time of healing? What do we do in times like that? How do we help? I’ll be honest, I was […]


Don’t Be The Hero – Be The Hero Maker. Dave Ferguson at #Exponential

This is a game changing talk from Dave Ferguson, so excited to have him come and bring this kind of stuff to LAUNCH in a few weeks. I have a front row seat here at Exponential now, why not join us in Manchester so you can get in at the beginning of what I believe really is the kind of shift the church in Europe desperately needs – a different way to count and a different set of practices, so the Jesus mission is best accomplished!  Becoming a Kingdom Builder is practice 5 to becoming a hero maker- one who multiplies leaders who multiply leaders.  It is a shift in what you count. This video shows one star forward who lost the game, when he shot in the wrong basket. What do we measure as churches? Is keeping attendance and offering enough?And how do we measure community transformation anyway? Discipleship? Dave is coauthoring a book on this with Warren Bird of Leadership Network. He found from interviews that leaders are looking for a new scoreboard. Dave visited a church that had ‘Register […]


There Are Too Many People Coming To Church

You’ll probably be surprised to hear a church leader saying that. The papers love to report the decline/demise of ‘Christianity/faith/religion’ in the nation – so any survey that points that way is of course big news. The truth where I am right now is that actually we actually do have too many people presently attending some of our services at Ivy – this is why we keep planting new ones and this morning had to keep some people waiting to get in the building because it was too full. But that’s not what I mean when I say there are too many people coming to church. What I mean is, too many people who still come to church, well – just come to church. I asked the people who came to our building tonight, do you just COME to church – or are you BECOMING church? We actually still have lots of buildings all over the nation where people still come to church – but not enough BECOME church. You become church when you get gripped by the grace of God […]


One Mission (Book Summary – my leadership ‘must read’ this year)

One Mission is my ‘must read’ leadership book so far for 2017. It follows straight on from another great book (Team of Teams) by the guy who wrote the Foreword – Gen Stanley McChrystal. I read that book and was blown away by it. Team of Teams documents how the Industrial Age introduced Frederick Winslow Taylor’s ‘Scientific Management’ model, which equated to Time and Motion/ Efficiency studies and Command and Control leadership. That used to serve us well when you were making Model T Fords, now – not so much (though its influence prevails far too much – for a crushing critique of how very unscientific that model actually is I recommend The Management Myth by Matthew Stewart). When McChrystal was placed in charge of JSOC, battling Al Qaeda in Iraq – he found that despite having all the men, the money and machines – they were losing against a far smaller group of insurgents in an agile, connected network organisation. The reason? They were efficient, but not effective. He was playing chess, while they were playing draughts! He had a hierarchy, they […]


Shout Out To My Ex-Gallbladder

‘Are you going to be sick? You look like you’re going to be sick.’ I couldn’t open my mouth to say to Zoe, ‘Of course I’m not going to be sick’, just in case. A  minute later I was so sick, so loud, my son heard me from upstairs and thought I was shouting with rage. That was two days ago and I’m sitting on the couch now feeling queasy with a ‘just in case’ bowl next to me. I had my gallbladder removed a few days back. Now I have an impressive array of stab wounds across my abdomen. One day the grandchildren may believe this was from when Poppa fought in the war so we all could be free, and I’ll never know how they came to believe such a thing. But finally feeling well enough to concentrate on something other than Netflix (hours I’ll never get back) I thought I’d pull together some ramblings and if it doesn’t make sense put it down to the tablets. I never thanked God for my gallbladder, till it was gone.  What a […]


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 […]