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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
We showed this short video at last year’s ‘Exponential Conversation’ event, because it explains quite succinctly the five levels or cultures of church multiplication and their distinguishing characteristics. As you watch it, ask yourself which level you’re at right now, subtraction, addition or multiplication – and where do you want to be? It might be a helpful summary that in Levels 1 and 2 the message is ‘Please stay.’ In Levels 3 and 4 the message is ‘Please come, be part of our mission.’ A Level 5 church is a launchpad saying, ‘Please GO! Fulfil your mission!’ If you want to go to the next level – you’re not too late to book for the church multiplication catalyst event LAUNCH in Manchester, 13-15th November. I’d love everyone who’s coming to LAUNCH to have already done the free assessment here so you know what level you’re at, because you can’t go where you’re meant to go next, till you know where you are now.
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 […]
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 […]
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!
“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.
I just had time to read a recent short paper on church membership and attendance by the wizard of stats, Dr Peter Brierley and I am DISTURBED! He does the church in the UK a great service by holding a mirror up to us in terms of how things really are, though I suspect the reflection is such an ugly one most leaders will take a glance, then look away quickly and go back to business as usual. The paper relates as I say to measuring church membership and attendance. He starts off by saying that attendance – ‘bums on seats’ is not of course the only thing we want to measure and I agree, though often it’s the leaders who are putting the most people off church who voice that argument most strongly. We make ourselves feel better by finding other ways people are ‘connecting’ with church because they are not coming any more. Membership is harder to define because some churches may set a high bar for membership (I think we do at Ivy) whereas in other churches […]