Showing posts with label movement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movement. Show all posts

22 November 2013

Prayer, Bible study, story telling

Here's an opportunity for some free online training. Steve Addison presents a session on following Jesus and making disciples. It's no substitute for face-to-face contact with a trainer, but it's invaluable as a taster. If you get the chance to meet Steve, take it. But watch this and read the books anyway.

Steve Addison's website
Steve Addison's website
Steve Addison is an Australian with a calling, in his own words, to 'spark church planting movements, everywhere'.

He has written some great books, 'Movements that change the world' and 'What Jesus Started' are particular favourites on my electronic bookshelf.

Steve also runs courses all over the world and is coming to Nottingham next week for the Newforms National Gathering 2013. I'll be there, and I'm greatly looking forward to hearing him.

Recently, Steve Addison released an online training video available to watch live or for download. It is an excellent starter for anyone wanting to get out amongst local people and reach them with the best news in the known universe. It focusses on prayer, simple discovery Bible study and story telling.

Read his two books mentioned above as well, you will not be disappointed by either the style or the content. They are very readable but at the same time, challenging.

Questions:

  • Watch the video. Do you think you will approach people differently from now on?
  • What single thing that you have learned will most affect the way you think and behave in future?
  • Have you ever wondered what Jesus' daily life was like? Read 'What Jesus Started' and find out. [Tweet it!]

See also:

19 November 2013

Jonestown in 1978

Thirty-five years ago yesterday, nearly a thousand people perished at Jonestown in Guyana; they committed mass suicide by taking cyanide. Just as shocking as the deaths themselves is the fact that they were persuaded to die by Jim Jones, their leader.

Jonestown from the air
Jonestown from the air
Thirty-five years ago, nearly a thousand people died after drinking cyanide-laced soft drinks.

As we remember this dreadful event that shocked the world in 1978, let's ask again how it could have happened and what we need to learn from it.

The problem, at its simplest. was that too many people believed the leader of the group, Jim Jones. He told them to drink the poisoned mixture. And they did, men, women and children. The only survivors were those who had escaped beforehand.

How could it happen? - Why did so many people drink the poison? This is less easy to fathom. And how can we guard against something like this happening again?

Jim Jones was very persuasive, and he used the murders of investigators and escaping residents as a lever, telling people that the authorities would arrest them and torture them. A strong mix of anxiety, a sense of impending doom with no plausible escape, prior 'practice' sessions and calm persuasion convinced people to take the poison. And there's also the herd effect, nobody dares to be the odd one out, even when the consequences involve certain death.

Some people avoided the poisoning, a number by leaving before the fatal act took place, and a few who were away from Jonestown on the day of the deaths.

Avoiding danger - The fact that leaders can have such a major impact on their followers should cause us to consider very carefully who we choose to follow. In the church, we should be careful to follow only Jesus. Not only is that what he calls his followers to do (I am the Way, the Truth and the Life). He also loves us and never, ever calls us to harm ourselves or others.

We should be very suspicious of any church leader who issues commands, domineers, or insists on actions [Tweet it!]. Especially when those actions go against the consciences of group members. And we should be alarmed when any leader resorts to coercion or emotional manipulation.

In the case of Jim Jones' followers, it seems they were entirely well-meaning and devoted to him and his unusual mix of communist fervour and confused religious thinking. Some had the wisdom and courage to leave Jonestown, but it was far from an easy option for them.

Questions:

  • Can you think of other cases in which a leadership figure with charisma has misled people? Hint: think beyond religious leaders, include figures from the worlds of politics, business and more.
  • How would you have dealt with the Jim Jones scenario? If you had joined the movement as a young person, at what point would you have decided to leave? Read the Wikipedia article and be honest with yourself. Where do you draw the line when the line is ill-defined?
  • Is there anything we can do, individually or together, to prevent situations like Jonestown developing?

See also:

06 December 2012

Alan Hirsch at Newforms

Some fifty people came to the Newforms National Gathering where Alan Hirsch was speaking on movements. The sessions were good with plenty of time for questions, group discussion and feedback. Alan's long years of study and experience came through clearly as he spoke.


Newforms National Gathering 2012
Last weekend I drove to Nottingham to join about fifty other people for the 2012 Newforms National Gathering.

Alan Hirsch had kindly agreed to come as the main speaker, and the meetings were hosted by Peter and Marsha Farmer assisted by helpers from Nottingham and elsewhere.

People from all over Britain had booked places and travelled to join in. Some had come from Europe and even as far as Australia to be with us. We met at St Saviours and at the Riverway just opposite (both made us very welcome).

Hearing from Alan and Peter - The sessions were pretty intensive, but breaks for tea, coffee and lunch were frequent and long enough that our concentration didn't lapse. Alan Hirsch and Peter Farmer were so interesting and engaging that we might have managed with even fewer pauses. Many people already knew one another from previous meetings, at least slightly. Those who were new were soon joining in the conversations during the breaks and making new friends.

There were sessions on Friday evening, all day on Saturday, and Sunday morning and early afternoon.

Topics covered included apostolic movements, networks, mission, disciple making, viral spread, and reproduction. Alan drew on his years of study and experience on these subjects, covering the central place of Christ himself in detail and then looking at the five gifts in turn.

Alan spoke about discipleship and church planting movements, how they work, why they fail, the factors involved, and the fivefold ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11) - apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers (APEST). We were encouraged to interrupt the main sessions with questions and Alan was willing to respond before continuing. This made the whole experience more interactive and useful. Peter spoke more briefly on some of the practical aspects and also gave us time for discussions at our tables, with feedback.

Here's the Ephesians passage in its proper context, Ephesians 4:11-16.

Taking it further - Alan Hirsch has published books on each of these aspects, they're listed and introduced on 'The Forgotten Ways' website. Perhaps I need to work my way through all of them.

Alan encouraged us to consider what our own gifts might be and explained that one of the best ways to discover is to pay attention to what others say about us. We are, after all, part of a body and the body as a whole recognises the value and function of each part.

We went home challenged and encouraged. The video on the right includes comment from some of the people present.

The National Gathering is an annual event. Check the Newforms Events and Training pages for details of next year's gathering and other meetings.

Questions:

  • Have you thought about your own gifts in terms of APEST? (You might have more than one.)
  • What do those around you in church life think about your gifts? You may not need to ask - just listen.
  • Do you think you might come to the next National Gathering in November 2013?
  • Have you read any of Alan Hirsch's books?
  • How do you think you can apply these ideas in the place where you live and in the church there?

See also:

19 April 2012

Nomad with the Dales

Here are some of the main points made by Tony and Felicity Dale during their recent interview by Nomad. It's all good stuff; Tim and Dave head home with some highlights still buzzing in their minds.

Nomad's blog post about the interviewTim and Dave run the Nomad Podcast. If you haven't heard any of their monthly interviews, you've been missing a treat!

The latest interview is with Tony and Felicity Dale from Texas, recorded when they were in the UK recently. Tim and Dave travelled to Cheltenham to meet them for the interview. After five minutes of mirth and banter in the car they finally get to the point and the interview begins.

We hear the background story of the Dale's early days in medical school with patients coming to the Lord and many small, home-based communities. They moved to the USA in 1987, clearly led by the Spirit, but once they arrived they were at a loss for direction.

After nine years they gave Father an ultimatum, and things began to move again. They led a discussion with businessmen based on Proverbs and over the next year all of them became believers. They also started a breakfast Bible club for their children's friends. The children and then their families began to follow Jesus too. With the business people and the new families they decided to try to multiply the small rather than just growing bigger.

They learned that success in Father's eyes is not about what we do but much more about what we become because of Jesus. Even before they left the UK they learned not to build something that can survive with or without the Lord. But simple church is not a panacea for all ills, preconceived ideas can mean that house church just becomes big church shrunk smaller.

Felicity describes a simple church in an underprivileged area. It was messy and based very much on present needs, but that is what Jesus loves to do amongst his people. Life brings us into church as a lifestyle, not an event. We need to understand that we don't need experts, anyone can start a church. People gather in every context, the person of peace may be a Cornelius or a woman at the well. But regardless of the kind of person, such people have circles of influence and they have the ability to lead built into them.

Simplicity implies reproducibility, complexity slows down multiplication. We need to find simple patterns that the Lord can work through. Simple food is better than complex food, for example. Pot luck or pizza is just fine. The same applies for prayer for one another. Tony explains that they determined never to make things complicated or difficult. Prayer is just chatting naturally with Father.

The person of peace concept is missional, moving out into that person's context. Sequentialism is a barrier to multiplication - 'I need to do this before I start to do that'. Local community worked in the East End of London, but it doesn't work for the Dales in Austin. However, people are very mobile in the USA and they have community with visitors, at work, at the gym, or Starbucks. They are therefore living the presence of the Lord wherever they can.

We are called to make disciples, Jesus will build the church with those disciples any way he wishes. Tony explains how this happens in the business he runs, it's not a Christian company but discipling takes place there very naturally and easily.

Disciples need to learn the key skills of hearing from the Holy Spirit for themselves and being obedient.

After the interview, Tim and Dave discuss the session. Tim is particularly struck by the idea that making disciples is our call and Jesus will build the church. Dave is engaged by the thought that disciples are primarily people who hear and obey the Lord. There is some more amusing banter before the recording ends.

See also: Felicity's blog 'Simply Church' and the 'House2House' organisation they set up.

28 October 2010

Brampton - Traffic lights

We met at Sean's this evening, talked about a range of topics, and prayed together about the things Father is doing in this corner of England and our involvement in them. I felt that there is a huge move going on just under the surface.

Traffic lightsHe doesn't necessarily show us the details but he says, 'This is the way, walk in it.' We may not know what's going on, but it's enough that we know we are in the right place at the right time and travelling in the right direction.

The subject of the 'Filling Station' meetings at Moggerhanger came up again. This is intriguing and seems to have begun in and around Bath in North Somerset. The next meeting is planned for 15th November. Apparently Simon Holley (Kings Arms, Bedford) was at the October meeting so the interest is quite wide.

I had a vision of an autumn day, there was an area of grass and I knew that winter was about to begin. It started to snow and I expected that when the thaw came the ground would be muddy and unkempt. But as the snow melted I saw that a carpet of snowdrops and crocuses had grown up. Instead of mud there was a glorious carpet of colour and a wonderful fragrance. And the Spirit said, 'Remember this vision. When everything seems to be falling apart and you expect to see a mess remember this vision and be encouraged.'

Jim thought that God is putting us in positions where we can make a difference. There will be more beauty as we see more of Jesus. Our role is to talk with people and draw alongside them. We can have a positive effect on somebody's day merely by listening. I believe we have an awesome privilege and also a great responsibility to hear and see and share the vision.

We prayed for our friend David for continued blessing and to have the path made straight in his life. We also prayed for his family. Jim had a picture of traffic lights and knew it was for Sean in particular. He senses that Sean sees a stop light but the signals are beginning to turn green. The message was to be prepared for the green light and not to remain at the traffic lights too long.

I had a vision of oil and as I watched I knew that the oil represented the Holy Spirit. Oil acts to prevent sticking, whether we put it an engine or use it cook and egg. Oil releases us, it frees us to move.

Sean had said very little until the end of the meeting when he reminded us of the most important thing of all. He said that God is always the same. He told us of the value of a proper view of the Lord, this is foundational. We need to grasp this vision, this truth. We can only reach others when we have first imbibed the truth.

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