Tonight at Ivy Didsbury Andy Smith blew us away with an incredible talk about the Magi, those outsiders from the East who found themselves in Bethlehem shortly after Christ was born, and on bended knee gave the best of who they were and had to him. There was so much great stuff there I encourage you to subscribe to the Ivy podcast and listen to the talk in full when it’s up later in the week. But something Andy said almost in passing at the end really grabbed me. It was an epiphany at Epiphany! Here it is, as I recall what he said: “The wise men got there, and saw… a baby, an infant, a little child. But God says in Zechariah 4:10 despise not the day of small beginnings,’ and this child grew into the Saviour of the world.” As I sat there I thought about those VIPs. They came looking for the King of the Jews, right? What would that look like? They’d know what Kings look like. And they are somehow looking for God there, the […]
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 […]
I wrote Work It Out to help Christians understand and explain their faith better, and so people who aren’t following Jesus yet will understand why we believe it’s the best decision you’ll ever make. The video summarises the main messages. Please watch it, and if you’re a social media type Tweet or Facebook share it to help me. All proceeds from the book go to Ivy Church. Available on Amazon in the USA and UK J. John says it’s,”Readable without being shallow, wide-ranging without being overwhelming and challenging without being threatening.” If you’ve read Work It Out already (and really liked it!) I’d be so grateful for you to share a positive review on Amazon.
This week I ended up embroiled in discussion with some CofE friends via Facebook after I retweeted a Guardian article by Giles Fraser on how the best thing to do with dying rural churches is shut them down and sell them off (that’s my summary, follow the link to read it if you like). His idea can hardly be described as original, but it’s put the cat among the bats in the belfry. And here I risk offending even more than he has by commenting that talking about rural churches only is a hostage to fortune. Would your community weep if the church was no longer there? I know some ministers who wouldn’t even weep if it wasn’t there! Places where the local dry cleaners would be missed if it closed more than the local church because at least that’s providing some tangible benefit. Urban or rural, churches that are only relevant to those still attending but irrelevant to connect meaningfully with their local community will die, they can just take a very long time to do so. Meanwhile a […]
(I’ve been asked by the guys in the USA to do a snapshot report of the ‘story so far’ and thought I’d share it here for those of you who are interested. This Sunday at Ivy we have another of our monthly days set aside to pray for NewThing and this will help you) I was just coming to terms with being challenged already from NewThing’s LARN process to step out of my comfort zone as Pastor of a growing network of Ivy churches taking ground here in Manchester and consider the whole of my nation of Great Britain: how to create systems to reproduce networks to attract, train and deploy apostolic leaders? Many of you will know from the Exponential book one of the main ideas is that you draw your vision on a napkin? That was one of the biggest challenges because I’m not very good at drawing (Manchester’s easy, just draw a circle for the M60 and drop a few dots all over for churches: Britain’s a lot harder to draw and always ended up looking like two pieces of […]
Because we all danced to ‘You got to move it, move it’ and because you have to get moving or don’t call yourself a movement – that’s what #IvyKinetic was all about. The whole church got equipped for the call – and hit the streets! To find out more or connect with us, check out the Ivy Church website or Like the Ivy Manchester Facebook page after you watch the video. If you’re a leader who wants to turn the church inside out to help people find their way back to God, you can connect with me after investigating NewThing to find out how we can together catalyse more reproducing churches that help people find their way back to God in the UK, Europe and around the world.
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 […]
I know that will annoy some people. Some people who know me think I already think big enough – but I don’t think God agrees. He’s been growing my vision and faith recently. Other people think small is beautiful. I agree. But bigger is beautifuller, when it comes to thinking. Some years ago I read a book called ‘The Present Future’– and I hated it. Why did I hate the book? It was like going to the Doctors and hearing that while you may look okay, just about everything is wrong with you, you’re really unhealthy and on the way toward slipping off the plate; then being told various obvious things that if you did them, would avoid that fate; but not being allowed to do them. It was like a mechanic looking at the engine, ‘Here’s what’s wrong with your car and here’s what you need to do to fix it,’ but while you really want that to happen, you know you can’t. It’s not possible. At the time I was leading an institutional church, with great people, meeting locally […]