Showing posts with label Mission. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mission. Show all posts

05 March 2010

NEWS - Explosive potential

Roger Thoman writes An inflatable ring'The Simple Church Journal', a blog about simple, organic church life.

His most recent post examines the potential for mission which he argues is inherent in small, organic forms of meeting.

Roger asks
Could a small (but growing) movement of simple/organic church-lifers lead to a revolutionary impact upon world missions? There is something deep inside of me that says the answer to this question could be a resounding “YES.”
I agree with him! Something deep inside of me resonates with that loud, exclamatory 'Yes!' My own experience recently has been that the very smallest forms of church life are generally the easiest to spread and the hardest to stamp out. They tend to be deeply relational, focussed, and zealous in everything they do. They tend to consist of people who listen to the Spirit because they want to hear his voice and follow his direction and receive his encouragement. Small groups often reach out to the world, not to suck people in to the group but to birth new groups. How exciting is that?!

Roger is right to imagine how these small expressions of church might transform societies and cultures. They have the potential to do exactly that.

But small groups can run aground and stick fast just like larger groups can. It's not size that causes a boat to hit a reef or sandbar, it's navigating into shallow water. As long as we float deep in the things of the Lord supported only by the water we will go where the wind of the Spirit takes us. But the moment we take our eyes off Yahshua and fix them instead on growth in numbers, church finances, patterns of worship, forms of church governance, offices, structure, and the rest we are bound to stick fast and stop travelling.

Although this can (and does) happen to groups of any size, there is no doubt in my mind that smaller groups are less likely to be trapped and more likely to be refloatable in the event they do run aground.

And the smallest of all (CO2) is perhaps the most nimble of the lot. After all, what are the chances of running aground in an inflatable ring?

26 February 2010

MISSION - An experiment

Sean and I have been invited to join an experiment, initially for a period of three months. A modern laboratoryDuring that time we plan to meet weekly with the main objectives being mission-focussed through intentionally hearing from the Holy Spirit, paying attention to one another's hearts, and praying together.

We'll be using some of the ideas and methods we've been learning through CO2 to help us in practical ways, and we'll be comparing notes with other people taking part in the same experiment. It will be a huge help and encouragement to be on the same journey with people in other places.

In my own mind I'm quite clear that I don't want anything I do or think to detract from hearing and seeing what Yahshua will show me (and Sean) through the Spirit. The only thing I can be sure about is that the Lord knows better than I do. I'm expecting him to demonstrate while I watch, and then coach me while I try to follow him.

Today was our first meeting as part of the experiment. So far we have agreed that we feel an urgent need to be reaching people in the area around St Neots and Huntingdon and that we need to pray - together and separately. We have made a list of people we feel led to visit and have begun making contacts. And we have started communicating with our fellow experimenters.

We plan to get together weekly and I may be posting here again after some of those sessions.

12 December 2009

Bedford - Tough Talk

This evening Donna, Paul and I drove into Bedford for the X-treme Camps reunion meeting at Priory Methodist Church in Newnham Avenue. At the X-treme Camps ReunionThe numbers were lower than expected, but the evening itself was just great!

There was live music and Stacey made an excellent job of capturing the attention of everyone in the room, especially the younger ones. This, of course, was the object of the exercise. The music and singing were strong and enthusiastic and were followed by a sort of bush tucker competition during which volunteers were invited to consume such delicacies as lemon and lime slices, banana and gravy, anchovy and chilli. One young man stuck at it valiantly and took away a very worthwhile winner's prize.

Tough Talk had been invited to take the main part of the evening and they were very good. They combined an account of one man's very rough life with brief episodes of squats by another guy carrying a heavily loaded bar across his shoulders. Each time Chris returned he lifted an increased weight and in between the story of Simon's life continued. This created a sense of tension throughout, keeping us listening to every word.

The true story involved Simon's love of money for the power it gave and the final loss of everything. There was also loss of a job, involvement in a club brawl, a court case because of the violence, and then a remarkable phase in which Simon met a follower of Jesus who persuaded him to come to church. It turned out to be Holy Trinity, Brompton - the home of the Alpha Course! Nicky Gumbell prayed with him, he took an Alpha Course, and his life was transformed.

We heard a second life story from another member of the team, the band came back for more music, and then we all headed home. I was greatly impressed by what I'd seen and heard. I came away with a DVD of more Tough Talk stories and two books with even more of the same. It's great stuff. Highly recommended for any youth or adult audience.

See Tough Talk in action for yourself in the video below. Premier.tv has more Tough Talk videos online.

26 May 2009

Eaton Ford - Freedom?

We discussed the final details of the leaflet for the Eynesbury kids camp, and we also talked around the issues in reaching out openly when this might put our families or friends in danger. HandcuffsAlthough this is not something that is a problem for us in the UK right now, it is a severe problem in some countries. It's interesting to ask ourselves how we'd react if this happened for us. We have no idea how the political and social scene will change, wherever we may live!

Chris asked, 'What are the two most important things we can do to make the church more successful?'. The major points seem to be that we should listen to the Lord's direction and follow it, and that we should give one another the freedom to do the same. After all, we must love the Almighty with all our heart, mind and strength and we must love our neighbour the same way we love ourselves (Mark 12:28-34, Romans 13:8-10). If we have that kind of love in our hearts we cannot help following the Lord's commands and giving one another the freedom to do so too.

Yahshua set us free so that we could live free (Galatians 5:1). And if he has set us free, we really are free! (John 8:36) Does this mean we are free to follow whatever men and women tell us? No! We always had that freedom, Israel demanded a king 'like the other nations' and in modern times people have followed all sorts of leaders.

No, we were set free to follow the Lord! We are free to hear his voice, to walk as he reveals, to love, and to give that same freedom to one another.

07 May 2009

Eaton Ford - Empty barn?

While we were chatting this evening and considering prayer needs, Jim's mobile rang with news that a friend's toddler granddaughter had just fallen downstairs and been taken to hospital. A wooden barnWe prayed for her and for all the family, and heard later that she was home from hospital with no ill effects.

As we moved into a time of quiet peace in the Lord's presence, Jim reminded us that, 'Even though the barns are empty, I will rejoice in the Lord' (Habakkuk 3:17-18). He pointed out that when we face difficulties in our lives we have to get through them, and often this involves praise and thankfulness despite the problems.

We spent most of the evening considering how to proceed with the youth camp now that we know the school field will not be available. We discussed the kind of leaflet we would need for a door-to-door drop and what information we should put on it.

09 April 2009

Little Paxton - Camp

This was a quiet and relaxed evening, only Jim and Chris were there.

We discussed the plans for the Youth Camp A tentin July and its pre-meeting on 25th May. We still have no venue and are hoping to take this forward soon. But the choice of venue is out of our hands, we need to discuss it with someone else who is not available at present. We are not nervous, but we are depending on the Lord to provide whatever we need and lead us in the right direction.

Jim read Luke 22:24-27 and we talked about how, if you want to become great, you must choose to be weak. We discussed how the church belongs to Yahshua, not to us. This is a point made by Wolfgang Simson repeatedly, he knows how important it is. The church is not ours to rule or plan or build, not ours to order. It is Christ's - he gives the orders, we carry them out.

Chris was interested in Matthew 21:33-46, this passage came just before the passover meal shared by Yahshua and his disciples. He tells them the parable of the tenants and then he says, 'He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.'

This is an intriguing saying. Jesus is the stone.

If we fall on him we will be broken. We believers have fallen on him, we fall on him for his mercy, grace, and forgiveness. And he does indeed break us! In becoming believers, if we are serious about it, we are challenged to change our ways. We can no longer go on being the people we were, we are utterly broken.

But if Yahshua falls on a person, that person will be crushed. We usually think of 'crushed' as destroyed, snuffed out, but there is another possibility. Perhaps we could say that Christ 'fell on' Saul on the Damascus Road. Saul was crushed, not in the sense of destroyed, but in the sense of having a completely new and different perspective. His views, opinions, and certainties were crushed and he had to begin again.

19 February 2009

Little Paxton - Summer planning

This evening we discussed plans for the Youth Camp in the summer and prayed again for the Lord of the harvest to send in more labourers. It was good to have the video and other materials from Pete and we were able to make a start on planning, sketching out our main ideas for an event in Eynesbury, perhaps in May.

The video below was made for a camp in 2007 and will be updated for this year's event.



Although we discussed some of the practical aspects this evening, we are also very aware of Father's hand on everything that has happened so far. He has put us in touch with the right people at just the right moment at every point along the way. Usually he has surprised us, sometimes we haven't even understood what he's done until afterwards. There is already an impressive array of 'coincidences' and these are encouraging us to expect more around the corner.

We praised him and thanked him for it all. All the honour and glory is his!

22 January 2009

Eaton Ford - Youth Camp

This evening we met again with Pete after a long gap over the Christmas/New Year break. We thought and discussed and prayed and were greatly encouraged by the end of the evening.

Pete explained that the campsite was booked and that YWAM were involved again (though with different participants this year). He plans to meet with us again next Thursday too and will be able to bring some materials along with him - a short video presentation and some leaflets.

18 September 2008

Eaton Ford - Lazy or diligent?

We began with a hot drink and a chat about events during the last week. Once again the main topic was next year's youth camp, important aspects are to make sure that Father is glorified in all we do and say, to have some plans for earlier events that could help us meet young people and their parents in Eynesbury, and to consider how best to bring new believers into the church in St Neots. Nearly ready for harvestWe have had one enthusiastic response and one unclear response from the two churches we have approached informally so far.

Jim mentioned that we are all supposed to feed the other sheep that belong to the Shepherd, we are not meant to feed our own organisation with a supply of his sheep. Sheep are not a commodity, we are a family.

Chris read Proverbs 10:4-5, he'd come across these verses while reading privately before the meeting. He said that in his own life he feels he's been a lazy son, but it's never too late to start and now is the time. Yahshua said the fields are full with the harvest (John 4:35), if we are diligent and wise we'll be busy gathering those crops.

Jim has been reading about the period of time between the old and new testaments, a time when Israel had no revelation and no real sense of the Lord's purpose. He thought how he would hate to have no revelation or purpose in his own life. But Jesus came and everything was changed, and his Spirit is with us and speaking to us daily. What a privilege we have!

Sean emphasised the importance of loving our neighbours. He read out Romans 13:8-14 where Paul writes that the time has come to wake up from our sleep. He had read this passage recently and it had been on his mind. Like Chris, he feels that he has been, if not lazy, then at least asleep. We talked for a while about how the church in the UK seems to have been asleep during our lifetimes. Christians seem to be mostly inactive in our day. It's as if night has come, everyone is asleep so it's natural for us to yawn and slumber too. But we need to wake up!

We talked about how everything must be done for Father's glory, we dare not take any of that glory for ourselves. Then Chris shared a picture of a house, it was like looking down at the plan of the house. He realised that the house is Father's living temple built of the living stones of his people. It's the house in which he lives, where his Presence rests. There were many rooms in the house and each room was like a different part of the church - the Baptists, The River, Open Door, the Methodists, St Mary's in Eaton Socon, and so on - each one like a separate room. As he looked, Chris saw that not all the rooms had internal doors. Sometimes a room had an external door, but no connection to the other rooms. And the Lord said, 'What an inconvenient house!' He also told us that he will open up doors between the rooms, he doesn't want a house like that, it needs to be changed to make it more useful.

Jim saw it a little differently, he was encouraged because we are going to go into the town and open up doors for young people to come in and have life in its fulness. We prayed for doors to open up right through the estate, doors to open for the Good News. We asked this in love.

Jim also mentioned that we need the Holy Spirit to give us openings on the estate that we can develop, ideas that can be presented to others as projects, at least four half or whole days of activity on the estate. And we need something for Brampton too.

We discussed this and jotted down six preliminary ideas, but Sean felt a little unsettled in his heart. He reminded us that the Lord will provide the things for us to do, they may not necessarily be the things we think up for ourselves. So as we go forward we need to be open and expectant.

11 September 2008

Eaton Ford - Camp planning

Jim was unable to make it this evening, but Sean and Chris spent some time talking about church in a general way, Campingand then Pete arrived to join us.

We were able to make some progress with planning for the youth camp next year, and Donna sat with us to listen and contribute some useful thoughts and questions.

We prayed briefly at the end of the meeting, and agreed to meet again next Thursday when Pete will bring some of his helpers so we can meet, discuss, and pray about the coming camp in much more detail.

04 September 2008

Little Paxton - Prayer walking

We met at Jim and Pam's for coffee and an initial chat, then headed to Eynesbury to prayer walk the area. It was useful to spend some time there, Mallard Laneto notice the grassy areas that would be suitable for a small tent, or a bouncy castle, or a band to play. It was dark while we were there and we could see plenty of potential for groups of young people to gather and cause trouble. We even saw a broken house window.

After walking for a time we stopped and stood in a group to discuss and pray together. It was a time of prayerful conversation, or very informal prayer, and it was good.

During this time Chris mentioned how helpful it would be if there was a home here on the estate where we could meet. Jim pointed out that there must be Christian people living here, maybe within yards of where we were standing; several of us remembered people we knew who did indeed live nearby.

Just as we finished this thread of conversation, a woman crossed the street and called out, 'What are you doing?' Perhaps it seemed odd to find a group of five adults talking here after dark (Sean, Ben, Tash, Jim, and Chris). As soon as she came close, the woman recognised Jim and then Sean as well! 'What are you doing here?', she asked.

Jim introduced us to Paula and we explained about the plan for a youth camp, but we didn't mention the idea of a house on the estate that we could use for prayer. She immediately said, 'Why don't you come over to my house for a cup of tea?' We were actually quite reluctant at first, but she insisted so we followed her across the street to her home - just a few yards.

We sat and chatted over hot mugs of tea, we met Paula's son and her husband, and then we went back to Jim's before each heading home again.

Isn't the Lord good? isn't he amazing!!

01 September 2008

Eaton Ford - Talking about youth

This evening we met with a specific agenda and several extra people. Jim, Sean and Chris were here as normal, but we also welcomed Ben and Pete who both have a particular interest in youth work. St Neots articleBen runs a young people's group in Little Paxton, Pete runs youth camps every summer.

We spent a lot of time talking, and a number of very interesting ideas and thoughts were shared. Pete told us about his background and how he came to be involved in youth work. Chris explained about the problems in St Neots that had started him thinking and praying, Ben explained his plans for a tent meeting in St Neots.

The amazing bombshell of the evening was provided by Pete who, in faith, had already reserved 100 places for St Neots young people for a camp at the end of July 2009. This is awesome news and had us all smiling and rejoicing. It's going to take some planning and effort, but it seems that Pete will handle the camp details and management, our role will be to find the people who will fill those 100 places.

This was an unusual meeting in every way!

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