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 […]


Efrem Smith – KINGDOM DREAMS IN A BROKEN WORLD at #Exponential

Revelation 7: After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, 10 as they shouted, “Our God, who sits     upon the throne, has the power to save his people,     and so does the Lamb.” 11 The angels who stood around the throne knelt in front of it with their faces to the ground. The elders and the four living creatures knelt there with them. Then they all worshiped God 12 and said, “Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom,     thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God     forever and ever! Amen!” 13 One of the elders asked me, “Do you know who these people are that are dressed in white robes? Do you know where they come from?” 14 “Sir,” I answered, “you must know.” Then he told me: “These are the ones who have gone through     the great suffering. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb     and have made […]


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 […]


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 […]


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! 


Dave Ferguson Says ‘Make Sure You’re At LAUNCH This Year!’

“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.


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 […]