The Church in the west has tried, tried and tried again – and by and large been found wanting – because people don’t want it. We’ve offered a God who people don’t desire, a community where they don’t belong, an institution they distrust.
It’s time for a REFRAME.
I was privileged this week to be in Manhattan as the guest of Alan & Deb Hirsch – facilitated by Rich Robinson to form a small collective of global movement leaders through a ‘communitas’ exercise (Alan likes to make up words). We were hosted in Tim Keller’s church offices at Redeemer City to City. Our purpose? To look at how the church can step outside the models, mindsets and habits that have brought us to where we are – because they will no longer move us forward. We have to change our paradigms – and then our practices. One day was spent looking at NYC as an example city. What would we do to see the gospel saturate this city of more than 8m? I’m going to blog again with some more of my thoughts as a result, but as we rolled paper across the tables and discussed with marker pens in hand, I was fascinated to hear from kingdom change makers as diverse as Danielle Strickland and her husband Steve, leaders like Christine Caine, Dave and Jon Ferguson, Hugh […]
What is God’s will for the church? Maturity. That the people in it grow together as the body of Christ reaching out to the world around us. God wants all of our churches to grow up. But the church has developed a strange view of maturity. We’ve equated it with knowing more Bible verses than someone else, or going to more meetings. That’s not how God measures maturity. Ephesians 4:15 says, ‘We must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.’ We’re meant to grow up, in every way, into Christ, the head. Head of what? His body. What’s his body? The church. You can’t grow into the maturity God wants for you outside of the church of which he is the head. So how does that happen? The answer is in the same chapter; the way that ‘all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ…’ is when we release all the gifts of […]
A friend who is planting churches in the north of England asked me to put together a short document to help introduce what we do to his leaders. Having written it, I thought I would share it here in case you are interested – or to pass on? NewThing began in Chicago under the leadership of a church planter called Dave Ferguson. Having started many Community Churches in the Chicagoland area, they began to plant across the USA. Other types of churches with a heart to reach people far from God connected informally, then formed more formal networks to encourage best practice for reproducing disciples, and coaching to multiply churches and networks. We like to keep things simple – so NewThing champions 4 Rs: RELATIONSHIPS (which grow and are fostered through regular meeting) RESOURCES (sharing ideas, stories, best practices and being financially generous to help other ‘NewThings’ happen REPRODUCING goals that we hold one another accountable on. RESIDENCIES to train new church planters and leaders of the future. These happen locally and now globally. Here in the UK I took up the […]
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 […]
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 […]
This week I was privileged to attend a gathering of church planting leaders from around the world this week. This talk by Dr Timothy Tennant, President of Asbury Seminary was packed with insights: We believe the church is meant to be missional. And the way the church has been done that has been ‘be nice to visitors.’ But nobody is going to walk in the door to find out how nice you are. So we have to be at mission in the church. We have had pastors as ministers to existing members. But church planting is a permission slip to reach new people. The global church has become very nominal and needs to be transformed. Our posture is always that we need to be fellow travelers, experimenting together. People of different contexts and experiences, learning from each other. When you’re so busy planting churches and preaching the gospel you don’t have time to theologise on it. To reflect and ask ‘What are we doing? How can we do it better? Field missionaries are often befuddled when they read mission journals. Theoretical constructs – how does it […]
It may not be what you think. Last night I came in from a fabulous night at Ivy Central and just got a DOWNLOAD about the Parable of the Sower. I will be making this a major focus of next Monday morning’s ‘Transform Leadership’ gathering at Ivy Central (M20 2GP) 10am to 12pm. It will be on Facebook Live too if you can’t physically join us. Last time there were 50 or so in the room and many more virtually from various parts of the UK, Europe and Africa. Whatever your field as a leader, it’s time to get ready for multiplication!
Last night we went down to the seashore with some old friends to set off fireworks for bonfire night. One of the rockets somehow lost its fuse, then the fuse must have got damp because it wouldn’t light. All its brothers went flying off to do their glorious thing, while ‘Mighty Max’ could only watch from a safe distance like the rest of us. It was going to miss its purpose and party. What do you do when the fire goes out? Personally? What does a church that’s losing or lost its fire do? There’s no point complaining about it or willing it to go again. The potential may be there but it’s still going nowhere. Enter BIG BEN. We put no longer very mighty Max right next to Big Ben. When Big Ben went off, 36 glorious shots in all, well, there were 37. And number 5, most wonderful of them all, loudest and brightest, was Mighty Max. He didn’t need a fuse. He needed great company! This is a little parable for me as I think about New […]
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 […]