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 […]


Time For #HugsNotHate in Manchester after the bomb

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. […]


Pray For Manchester Today – Blog – More Questions Than Answers

    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 […]


You Can Build A Ship, But You Can’t Make The Wind Blow. Matt Chandler

My notes from a stand out talk from this year’s Exponential West 2016; At conferences, you see the speakers up there, like they have something special going on, and then there’s’ little old me.’  Like they have these great big ocean liners and you’re in your little rowboat. But that’s not what matters. We can all aim to implement great practices; we can try to build that a bigger, better ship.  But… we can’t make the wind blow.  We can gather, we can motivate, but we can’t transform.  We are so much in need of the Holy Spirit to blow that wind, in the hope that we move forward. We must not think though, that He isn’t a magical genie in a lamp that you simply rub and it will happen! What we can do is look at the place where the wind blows. If we position ourselves where the wind has a tendency to blow, it will happen. Amid the books, the conferences or podcasts we can all think ‘the Church needs Tim Keller, or someone…’ but he put Keller […]


What Season Are You In?

From the window where I’m sitting the season is one of my favourites – autumn, but the people I was with last week would call it fall, and by virtue of the fact that people read the blog from all over the world, I’m not going to assume anything. We often think in terms of what time it is, and plan our lives by the clock or the calendar. I live day to day, plan month to month, and have an awareness of what season I am in, whatever the weather. Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. What season of life are you in right now? You have to discern what season you are in, because you can’t be the same in each of them. I heard a talk years back by Jim Rohn who described these four seasons and though I have forgotten the detail of what he said, I’ve tried to apply the wisdom from it. WINTER – Hang in There! Job 37:6 “He directs the snow to fall […]


Lying Down Beside Still Waters, In Nettles.

10 years ago I had a nasty fall off a mountain bike, smashed the bike helmet (this is why I always wear one) my right shoulder, and my neck. I knew I’d got it bad when the first thought I had as a spat bits of teeth out was, “Who’s going to preach on Sunday?” I can’t really recall being off sick since – until today. Yesterday I had a nasty fall off a mountain bike, and smashed my left shoulder. The front wheel overran the path, down the river bank and over the top. Thankfully I didn’t fall in the river but I landed in nettles, which meant my first thought this time was, “Quick, get out of these nettles!”. I knew my shoulder was bad immediately so rode home one-handed then went to casualty. I have to go to the hospital again on Thursday but the X-Ray seemed to show a break in the clavicle and some dislocation. Thank God for the NHS. Really, if you live in the UK, you know you should. They gave me strong […]


Time To Go Can Be Your Time To Grow!

Today I got TWO letters of resignation from two of our best leaders. Matty and Nick aren’t leaving because they don’t want to be at Ivy (they’re not even leaving Ivy, they’ll still be part of the church). The letters were expected, because we’ve talked at length about where they’re at and what God’s calling them out of – and into. Both have a different path ahead of them, but what’s common is that it will always all be about Jesus. Someone asked me recently, ‘What’s Ivy’s biggest challenge?’ I said, ‘When you tell people they can go and change the world for Jesus, they start to believe you – and go and do it.’ Ivy’s that kind of a place and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is why we need to keep raising up more leaders. Leaders we invest in, and hope will stay, but only as long as they should. Leaders with backbone enough to let go of certainty and not retreat into what’s safe – because they are NOT leaders. You can’t play it safe […]


How Can Your Church Connect With Generation Z?

  A pre-figure of Generation Z appears in Acts 20 where we read how a young man called Eutychus was hearing a sermon that sent him to sleep and he ended up ‘pushing up Zs’. He fell out of the window and would have stayed pushing up daisies, until the apostle Paul did something dramatic that raised him back to life. There are presently six living generations. How many can you name? I had heard of Boomers and Busters, got my head around Generation X (I’m in that bracket) and Generation Y (millennials b. 1980-95) but unlike marketeers and media people I was way behind the curve when it came to Generation Z, the tweens and teens of today (1995-2010). As someone who wants to reach the world for Jesus, that’s pretty much inexcusable- because this hugely populous group are the influencers of tomorrow, living in a world that has radically changed from when I was a teen. I first heard someone tackle the importance of reaching this burgeoning group of potential world changers (or self obsessed narcissists depending who you […]


Lead by listening – Brad Jersak

  Jesus is alive! The resurrection is essential to Christianity not just because there’s’ an empty tomb, but because he is here. We were not just left with a love letter. There’s a living God who wants to know us! Jesus believed we could hear his voice. But I didn’t really believe it.   What if we look at the new covenant promises? Based on Jesus dying for us. What are the promises he made to us.   Forgiveness is forgiven. It was done on Good Friday and I experience it now, AND by word count that’s not number 1. By word count, it’s that we get to hear God.   I grew up believing I had a personal relationship with Jesus, but not expecting him to speak to me. What kind of personal relationship is that?   Jer 31:31ff – Prophesy of the New Covenant. No longer will a man need to say to his neighbour, because from the least to the greatest, ALL will! The least in age, the least holy even (because doesn’t he speak then?! Not […]


LEAD BY VISION

As part of Ivy’s ‘Year of Equipping’ we have booked selected world class leaders to lift the lid on our leadership and help us all go to the next level. If you were to give yourself a score 1 to 10 in terms of how you lead, how well you steward your God-given influence, what score would you give yourself? If you’re brave enough you could ask those you lead to rate you! We aim through these ‘Equipped To Lead’ events to help those who lead at Ivy go from where they are now, to where God intends them to be. My friend Nick Klinkenberg visited this week to bring a wealth of experience having pastored various churches in New Zealand as well as coaching and planting across Europe. This really is a great talk and Nick’s passion for leadership that makes a difference and love for people just shines through! Make some notes on how to ‘LEAD BY VISION.’