Monday, 16 February 2009

a culture of expectation?

At our Sidmouth Conference last week we had Kingsley Appiagyei sharing something of his heart and passion to see revival again in the UK. Clearly, one big danger was always going to be, speaking to an almost entirely white group of West Country Ministers, the culture gap between us would become a void. Could we hear sufficiently what Kingsley was saying to actually benefit?

Well, the general response was a positive one, but I suspect this was more down to a meeting of one another as people and disciples together rather than a coming together of style, or thinking. One problem, from my perspective, seems to be around what I’d call a culture of expectation. Kingsley has seen a church grow from zero to 2000 plus under his leadership – they have also planted out others from Trinity as well. Some would argue it is easy to expect great things from God if that has been your context over the last twenty years. The same people might well argue that what works in one culture (black, African, South London) is not transferable to the predominantly white west country. Personally, I’m in the second group to a fair degree – what seems to ‘work’ in one culture does not automatically work elsewhere (haven’t we witnessed this often enough with imports from the US?). However, the sentences with babies and bath water comes to mind if we, therefore, argue we wont bother trying anything. To a large extent we do not operate within a culture of expectation – faith and trust in God are not obviously evident all around me (OK if it’s just the West of England!). There are individuals who have some expectation God will work and faith to match, but they’re not representative of the present church culture. If God is God and it’s about faith in him - more than what works, or doesn’t, why not?

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