Showing posts with label Newforms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newforms. Show all posts

12 September 2013

Steve Addison in Nottingham

Don't miss the opportunity of hearing Steve Addison speak at the Newforms Gathering in Nottingham, 29th November to 1st December 2013. It's not too late to book, though places are going quickly.

Steve writes and speaks on missional movements, his books What Jesus Started and Movements that Change the World are excellent and have made quite an impact.

Here's what Martin Robinson (director of Together in Mission, UK) has to say about Movements that Change the World...

Steve has been tantalizing me with tales of this book for years. He has talked to me about the content on numerous occasions. The chapters are distilled from years of experience and thought, and the final product has not disappointed. Practitioners and thinkers with a passion for mission will want to read and reread this book.

Here are some things you can do right away

See you there!

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.


  • 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:

16 April 2010

Nottingham - Newforms Conference Session 1

Although we weren't registered and won't be present for the Newforms Saturday and Sunday sessions, The Newforms websiteSean and I were able to stay on for the first evening after the excellent pre-conference during the day.

Marsha Farmer opened the meeting and Peter Farmer followed up with further information. We heard about 'Broken Britain' where there are now very few churchgoers.

Peter introduced Tony Dale (visiting from the USA) and he spoke simply and quietly without notes, but to great effect. He began by asking how we might birth churches that consist mostly of people who are initially non-believers. Tony explained that Felicity had been unable to make the trip despite the intention that both of them would have been with us. They prefer whenever possible to share the work and for both to speak.

We heard about Victor Choudhrie's work and the very powerful move currently underway in India.

Tony made one remark that particularly stood out for me, I made a note of it. He said, 'The less successful we are, the more we need God'. This seems to me so true, in fact fundamental. We need to be driven by the teachings of Jesus, the encouragement of our peers, and by our own experiences to throw ourselves upon the Lord - not merely for help, but for basic direction day by day, moment by moment. If he doesn't build the house everything we do will be wasted.

Nottingham - Newforms pre-conference

Sean and I travelled up to Nottingham for the day to join Peter and Marsha Farmer and other simple church leaders for the Newforms Conference pre-meeting. From Tony Dale's Facebook pageWe didn't plan to stay for the main conference on Saturday and Sunday, but we were able to stay for the opening session on Friday evening.

We began by going around the room and saying a little about ourselves by way of introduction. There were, I think, eighteen of us. We came from all around the UK but mainly England. Peter Farmer then spoke for a while on the interesting topic of church planting movements and we spent some time in open prayer and sharing. Mim reminded us that Jesus is the King, Marsha prayed for emotional healing, especially for women who have so often been hurt by being overlooked or even at worst despised in church life and particularly in church leadership. I shared some things about the sheer privilege of being disciples and about Jesus' call to Peter to 'feed my sheep'.

Tony Dale joined us a little late due to some travelling difficulties, but we were glad to know that he made it into the UK before volcanic ash closed the airports. Felicity was unable to come due to an unexpected family commitment and although it was disappointing not to see her, at least we had one Dale with us!

Tony began by asking us what books and authors had particularly impacted our views on church life. Wolfgang Simson, Neil Cole, the Dale's own books, George Barna, Frank Viola, and Rad Zdero were mentioned, I added Paul Vieira and Bruxy Cavey to the list. many of these and more are listed on the House2House 'Books' page.

Tony then told us something of the background to their move to the USA and some of the events that had shaped their journey. He mention big and little church working in harmony, he described how the Lord has a destiny in mind for his people, and he pointed out that it is clear he's preparing us for something big.

He stressed that movements start rather small and multiplication is very slow to begin with. Tony also mentioned that we need expressions of church that are relevant to each culture and people group that we can identify.

Next, he considered the requirements for a movement to begin in Western Society. God has chosen to work through people, but we must choose to co-operate. Some kind of infrastructure is necessary too, to provide useful tools. Online social networks like Twitter play a very important part here. Ideas are essential and stories are a great way of getting them across. We need to 'tell a new story'. We also need to consider the language we use, for example 'Christian' carries various kinds of baggage for most non-believers.

We should think of church as a new way of life, not an event. Also it is imperative to ask Jesus and then do what we hear him say. We are meant to to be followers, a disciple is someone who recognises Jesus and does what he says (John 10:1-4). This is very significant in terms of mission! The Holy Spirit will lead us to the person of peace. We can teach anyone to listen and do.

Jesus always released people back into their sphere of influence (for example the Samaritan woman). Movements don't grow and divide, but they grow and send out again and again. Tony illustrated this by telling us a story from an Asian country in which great moves of the Lord were happening regularly. We need to dare to let our best people go if there to be any chance of a movement beginning.

Tony also touched on spiritual warfare, we need to 'be not ignorant of the Evil One's devices'. Something that had helped Tony and Felicity was to pray through the Psalms. At one point they had read that they should pray until the enemy was unable even to lift up his head, and in that way they found victory in a particularly difficult and trying time.

Another topic he covered was the place of women in ministry. This is a very important battleground and he and Felicity always minister together if possible. There is another principle that he mentioned, one that seems to me to be true and worth remembering. Tony said, 'What God did last tends to persecute what he does next. We need to forgive.'

What I've written above are just highlights here and there, things I wanted to jot down to keep. There was much, much more, it was a wonderful day!

06 April 2010

ANNOUNCEMENT - Newforms UK Gathering

This is to remind everyone about the Newforms UK Gathering due to take place in NottinghamThe Newforms UK Gathering from Friday 16th April until Sunday 18th April 2010.

The gathering has been arranged by Peter and Marsha Farmer who live in the city and have been active in mission and church planting locally.

It's not too late to book your place if you're not already signed up, and Nottingham is a good, central location for access from all parts of the UK.

12 February 2010

Nottingham - Gathering the regions

Peter Farmer had invited us to Nottingham for a national meeting to consider simple church growth, mission, and networking. I collected David, then Sean, and we set off up the A1. A Nottingham canal sceneAs we passed Stamford the traffic seized up and the satnav recommended leaving the A1 and heading north through Stamford and Bourne so that is what we did. (We learned later that there'd been a major accident on the A1.)

When we arrived in Grantham there were more holdups, then a closed slip road, and we were very late arriving at the meeting. What should have been one and a half hours or so took at least two and a half!

(Caveat: what follows is based on my personal notes taken during the meeting. They don't always represent my own view or opinion, sometimes I'm reporting what I heard rather than what I think myself.)

After a coffee and chat, people from six regions of the UK shared on organic church growth and activity in their areas. Pete began house church meetings two years ago and is aware of ten or twelve groups in Nottingham. They are starting to plant amongst non-believers. Johnny and Steve also began meeting in smaller groups two years ago in the South-West, they're meeting with unchurched people too. Rob and Mim are in London in a mixed community with large numbers of Muslims, they have seen that we need to see people as loved by God, not as potential 'converts'. Tim, Tammy and Aaron all reported from the Midlands, they want to plant churches that will plant churches and are learning how to listen to Jesus and obey. Alistair from North-East Scotland is working amongst friends and mentioned the annual Clan gathering at St Andrews. Sean, David and I shared about the network of groups meetings in parts of the East.

During a time of open sharing, I stressed that we need to hear and then obey. Obedience without first hearing is not possible, and blessing comes when we are obedient. But the question of how we hear can be problematic. Sometimes we struggle with this.

The Lord also gave me a picture. I saw a jelly mould but I only had a small cup of jelly. The Lord said, 'Pour it into the mould.' So I did, and when it was set and turned out it was in the shape of a foot. He said the same to others and out came part of ear, then a nose. And I knew that when the mould was completely filled it would reveal the pattern, a rabbit. Meanwhile, all we could see were our individual parts, we all tend to think that our little part is right and the others are wrong. But they are all necessary.

After this we heard from Pete and Marsha about church planting movements. Some topics covered included making disciples, intentional outreach, spearheading, taking ground, prayer walking, and finding a person of peace.

More generally, some things that struck me as important were that a sovereign move of the Lord would be required, multiplication would be necessary if we are to disciple the nation, we need new spiritual fire, an experience of power, and resolute fasting and prayer. It will cost us more than we can imagine, we will require holiness, fire, a willingness to 'spy out' the land. We will also need to work together, partnering with other churches and ministries. We should look for viral growth.

Intentional evangelism was expanded, Pete suggested we might list 100 ways to evangelise and then use them all. He added that we need to sow abundantly otherwise there will be no disciples. We should also decide which group of people we are called to and ask ourselves, 'How can I catch these particular fish?'

Towards the end of the meeting we were asked to consider our goals and share them so that we can ask others to hold us to account. We need multiplication in terms of people, churches, networks and more.

A further meeting was pencilled in for Friday 14th May, and a Newforms Gathering is being planned for April 16th to 18th. For details of these meetings please check Peter's website.

04 December 2009

Newforms - Video meeting with Peter Farmer

Peter Farmer and I spoke for two hours online using Skype. Despite a number of drop outs and restarts we were able to cover a lot of ground in the time available. Connected networksI can recommend Skype for this sort of online discussion, it's very helpful to see the person at the other end of the connection at the same time as speaking and listening.

Focused on the King is a loose network of small groups in the Bedford, Cambridge, Northampton area and in our very informal way we are also connected more widely via Newforms, a UK-wide network of networks. Pete started Newforms in May 2008 and aims not only to connect the various networks of simple, organic churches that exist in the UK, but encourage further growth, provide training, arrange national meetings etc.

Some topics we discussed
  • Pete's travel to various parts of the UK which he calls Mission Britain, and his plans for visiting the London area in the next few weeks. I was able to give him some contact names. Another group we'd both like to have contact with is one in north east Scotland. They were visited by Alex Campbell and Floyd McClung in 2008 for training in church planting.

  • People and groups we know. We shared about local and UK-wide networks and individual groups. These seem to be developing more quickly now, and it seems to me that much of this growth is spontaneous. Pete mentioned the Salt and Light Network which I haven't come across previously.

  • Church of Two (CO2, see also Stories from the Revolution). I shared the basis of this with Peter, it turns out there are similarities and some overlap with the Pilgrims and Pioneers idea that he's been using in Nottingham.

  • International conferences and contacts. We exchanged some of our experiences from my Dallas trip in September, and Pete's trip to Delhi just recently. I put him in touch with contacts in the Netherlands and in Sweden and we talked about the work of Wolfgang Simson, Floyd McClung and others.

  • Meetings for the early part of 2010. We are considering some sort of gathering in our area in the first quarter of 2010, and Pete is planning two national meetings in the same period.

  • We also discussed training  and resources for making disciples and planting churches.
All in all it was two hours well spent. We both ended the conversation informed, encouraged, and connected. And staying connected was the reason for the conversation in the first place.

(You can also read Pete's notes on this meeting.)


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