Invest For Eternity

Here’s the video talk I put out across Ivy sites last Sunday to encourage people to invest in our Firstfruits offering next week. Feel free to contribute at if it speaks to you!

5 Steps Of Leadership Development

SO CHALLENGING! Jon Ferguson who wrote Exponential has been teaching us on this core competency for leaders to multiply their impact as part of our NewThing Catalyst Community. The 5 Steps of Leadership Development Conversation – “I think you could be an outstanding leader of…. would you be up to apprenticing?” YES  Great! Let’s work together  (This has to apply to every area of leadership and ministry.) Qs at every stage – “What worked? What didn’t work? How can we improve?” Step 1. I Do. You Watch. We talk  Just watch me.  2. I Do, you help, we talk  Get in the mix, ask them to help at some level. How could they help?  3. You do. I help. We talk  Transition to taking on responsibilities for the group. You run the sound board… 4. You do. I watch. We talk  They are getting increasingly confident. I’m a safety net.  5. You do. Someone else watches.  The former apprentice is now leading another and apprenticing them.  We always need new leaders. Not just for a new location, but for where […]


I’ve been reading and listening around issues of why it’s hard to be a man these days. Because the pressure is on, as I wrote about in my book Rough Diamonds. Most of the men I now connect with are not struggling so much with being a tough guy as I worked with (or arrested) in the Police – but rather they’re struggling as they try to be a ‘nice bloke‘. That sounds okay, but it’s not the authentic masculinity Jesus modelled and its pursuit can lead to the creation of passive aggressive, approval seeking, manipulative wimps. This leads to frustration, giving to get, fixing rather than listening, avoiding conflict, constantly seeking approval and hiding mistakes. The ‘nicest bloke you’d ever meet’ can also be dishonest, secretive, controlling, passive-aggressive, isolated, and addictive. I’m convinced that trying to be a Christian nice bloke can compound and collude with this rather than help it. As a man who’s moved from tough guy to recovering nice bloke I want to meet up with other men more, as both scripture and psychology affirm this […]

The Shepherds Were The First Church

In the time of the Roman empire, whenever a VIP family had a baby, they didn’t have Facebook but to get the word out but they’d send out a herald. The emperor would send out heralds to let all the other VIPs know, announcing the ‘good news’ of the birth. If this was a first son, even better because the family name would continue! “A child is born!”  So when we read the God sends a herald angel, to say ‘Hark! Good News!’  Notice – who does God send heaven’s heralds to? LUKE 2: 8There were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, […]

WIN THE DAY! Ten Minute Morning Ritual For Winning At Life

WIN THE DAY! Romans 5:17 NIV ‘For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!’ We don’t have to leave it all to chance and just hope the day goes okay. When I connect to God’s grace first thing in the morning I can #wintheday and #winatlife. Your morning ritual sets you up for success or failure and I’ve learned how to get much more done with much less stress when I start my day this way. Even ten minutes can make a huge difference. I always try to exercise physically in the morning and have a good breakfast too. You can always go longer if you have time, but we all have to start somewhere. If you tell me you can’t make ten minutes in your life, I’d have to wonder whether you really have one. THE 4 STEPS FOR YOUR 10-MINUTE MORNING #WINTHEDAY Pray: Get comfy, shoulders […]

Rod Plummer – Discipleship In Japan

Rod went there from Australia because his wife had a ‘tsunami vision,’ a big wave coming. Tsunami is a Japanese word. Went there for a holiday. Found many had not even heard the name of Jesus. Went with a team of ten fellow Aussies. But their wave – was a wave of love First few months was so hard. They survived, then one came to Christ – and since then they thrived. When converts became leaders it started to multiply. Keys to discipleship. Evangelism to discipleship = motion toward Christ. Meet people on the street – and reach them by starting conversations. If we met 100, 10 might come to church and 1 would get saved. That’s how they worked. They knew they needed a church of JOY. (1 Thess 5:16-18 MSG) The churches there were predominantly solemn and quiet. They wanted to reach the young people. So, funny, happy and clappy! Karaoke started in Japan! This was a culture – funny, celebratory – a life house. Many were growing up lonely. 40 million in Tokyo. Make the church their […]

Dave Smith – 6 Convictions From The Great Commission

We are experiencing a fast drift away from a biblical culture. There’s a lot of shifting going on in terms of morality and even what it means to be a human. What has not changed? The Great Commission! 1)   Discipleship is our primary business. There is ONE imperative in this commission. Disciple making is the number one mandate of what we are here to do. To help make followers of Jesus. We have often thought in terms of numbers and buildings. And it’s good not to think small. But it’s about building big people. Shift focus. So there mission here = ‘Transforming lives from our neighbourhoods to the nations’. Everything else we do must serve this. 2)    Our job is to help people on their discipleship journey. The three participles are GO, BAPTISE and TEACH. Don’t just be strong at one of these (we are good at reaching, or at teaching)! How would someone’s journey look like in your environment. Where are the gaps in your process? How many people who we baptise or do Alpha are still here 6 months on? Are we […]

Dr Gary Chapman – God Speaks Your Love Language!

  What a privilege to host New York Times #1 best selling author Dr Gary Chapman at Ivy Church yesterday for two services and then a special afternoon event focusing on children and marriage at Ivy Sharston. Here are my notes from the morning talk. He told some great true stories to illustrate each point but if you want to hear those too please listen to the podcast which we’ll put up later in the week.  Gary said that ever since writing the book a question he’s been asked time and again is What’s God’s Language? The short answer is, he speaks all 5 of them! When you look through the Bible you see that because God is love, people come to him because he spoke their love language.  We are all unique, so he speaks our language to connect with us in unique ways: Words of affirmation  Genesis 1: God blessed creation, and when he made people, he blessed them too… A favourite piece of scripture for many of us who are Words of Affirmation types would be Is 41:10 ‘Do […]


If you’ve read Dave and Jon Fergusons’ book Exponential (if not why not?) one of its main ideas is that you draw your vision on a napkin. (Check out Dave’s artwork from a recent tweet on this) I’m not very good at drawing (and in the UK we call them serviettes which doesn’t have the same ring), but as a Manchester church leader drawing my ‘dream serviette’ used to be easy – circle for the M60,  drop a few dots around for new Ivy churches. I was running that plan until I went to Chicago in 2014 where God challenged me through coaching and friendship with Dave, Jon and other NewThing leaders to draw the UK, and help, partner with and encourage others planting here (we’re going to roll out that same coaching community in the UK in early 2019, first details and application opportunity will be revealed at LAUNCH). In 2015 I met again with other Dave and a few others in Nairobi Chapel, where its incredible leader Oscar Muriu drew the whole world (rather well), parcelled it off […]

Let’s Talk About Sex

Tomorrow evening I start a new series at Ivy Central, Didsbury 7pm I’m calling FIRST LOVE. When I was on holiday this year I had a dream that when I woke up I felt like God was saying we should look at the whole area of sex and sexuality and relationships, friendships, marriage, singleness, gender and so on. I’ve never really gone into these things though it seems everyone else talks about them all the time but my reason has been ‘I want to keep the main thing the main thing and just focus on Jesus and the good news.’ But who is the good news for? And how come the world does not see the church as its purveyor? It would be hard to disagree that one of the main reasons is for how we’ve gone about this. I’d planned a one off teaching on singleness and dating but I felt like we had to go further and deeper into messy areas the church has traditionally made such a mess of discussing,  where there’s an incredible amount of hurt […]