I admit to becoming increasingly aware of envy, and it is ugly. And I’ve started to notice a pattern, which you might recognise, and maybe a way through.
The last year has made me face four specific challenges, which I’ve not found easy. I expect you’ve face them too, and I’d love to hear how you have done.
Invisible blessings are – a bit wispy, aren’t they?
A pastor wearing the glasses can look at someone, and their name, family members, and small group appears beside them. So what could go wrong?
If Steve Jobs said that personal computers are bicycles for the mind, could they also be bicycles for the soul? For the church?
Set aside your calmness, your carefully balanced and emotionally clear stance, which you may well have taken to lead a church through chaos. I want you to be honest with God about what’s being going on. And the wise writer of Ecclesiastes would encourage us to leave the balancing calm behind, and head to both ends of the spectrum.
Global culture has changed, to become a global culture of high-speed change.
Fellowship like this causes headaches and eye strain. It is literally disembodied. The oppose of incarnational. Touch screens are clever, but they don’t enable you to, well, touch.
In the blizzard of questions about how we do church-in-quarantine, the central question remains, ‘What will practically, relationally, build love between us?’
Consumerism would say, we will offer what is directly relevant for you, and you can ignore the rest; countering that mindset means seeing the relevance of it for someone else, and being delighted that it’s happening.
I see people’s eyes glaze over with a sequence of announcements. They reach for their mental ‘mute’ buttons, or ‘fast forward’ buttons, or whatever you do to get over the ads and into the programme.
People listen to our announcements with their guards up – it’s their habitual response to being told about something.
If you know what you’re praying for, you’ll know why you’re announcing it.
Ever since Rick Warren popularised the model in ‘Purpose Driven Church’, there’s been a growing move of churches clustering their life around what are called the ‘5Ms’: Magnification, Membership, Maturity, Ministry, and Mission. The idea is gaining traction, and therefore some push-back, so here’s my angle.
If our church took the approach of simply transporting a student-church model for training and equipping, we wouldn’t begin to resource our people.
So what if one week the analogy we used for our services was to be like a roller-coaster ride? Or a walk in the forest? Or a surprise party? Or a great epic? Or the movement through the verses of a well-known, or unknown, hymn?
St James Muswell Hill is hiring not one, but TWO senior staff, both members of the clergy team, preaching, taking services, and sharing in the pastoral and leadership responsibility. You can find out more about us at http://www.st-james.org.uk.
I went to a strong, hearty conference recently, full of talk about gospel work and initiatives, and the theme was ‘standing shoulder to shoulder.’ And I thought then, as I still think, that that’s all very well, but it’s still very independent. The model is that strong (i.e. larger) churches can help weaker (i.e. smaller)
We all get stuck trying to think creatively and clearly about a church or ministry. Imagining new stuff is hard, improving old stuff a bit easier, but staying in a rut is the default option. One exercise I use is called ‘The Rule of 10’, and it’s dead simple and really helpful. Just draw three