Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Mark Saunders testimony link.

Here's the link to the testimony of Mark Saunders, I heard on Sunday at Woodlands, Bristol. Having made South Bristol our home, for over twenty years now, it's a special one. Enjoy.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

New version of the Great Commission unearthed in England

Steve Addison posted the following, last year www.movements.net - before he made his most recent visit, when we linked up. I'm interested to hear whether he found this manuscript!
I realise it was tongue in cheek, but it is a perspective a number of people have of us here in the UK and most jokes have at least a nugget of truth!
Of course, having just returned from the USA I'm aware we have an aversion to anything, which smacks of pure pragmatism, but if 'just do it' has become 'just do nothing" we have a much bigger problem.

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 11:16 PM PDT
Great Commission
In a development that is going to rock the world of Christian missions, a previously undiscovered version of the Great Commission has been uncovered in England.
According to this ancient manuscript, the Risen Lord gathers his disciples together and says,
Lads, don’t go anywhere, don’t do anything. What I want you to do is to devote a substantial amount of time over the next two years to considering a strategy for the evangelisation of the world and how you might lead the church in that task.
The authenticity of this version of the Great Commission has not yet been verified, but is already turning our understanding of Christian mission on its head.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Following the Exodus

So why spend so much time and so much money and travel so far, for two days?  I've just returned, home to Bristol, from The Space in Between, held in Texas. Of course, I missed the storm, which is probably a good reason! However, Alan Roxburgh is onto something, from my view, and that something is that God is up to something. The dominant motif, for some years now, has been we're (UK Church and Church across the Western world) in exile. Not denying the myriad of helpful insights this has brought and will continue to bring, but I've been uncomfortable about the monopoly view this has taken.
Exodus needs a hearing! The lessons of living in the wilderness also have something to teach us, just as learning to sing the Lord's song in a strange land does.

I guess I'm looking for some balance - living through the wilderness and exile are in our guidebook and both have great help to bring. Two things about the wilderness from Exodus we need to recover, however, are an utter dependence upon God for direction of travel and sustenance for the journey, plus a confidence in God in the wilderness he's probably led us to, just as he did Moses et al.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

No intentionality, no mission of God?

We had Chris Wright (the big ‘The Mission of God’ book one) speaking at our Ministers Conference the week before. One of the comments someone fed back to me was, 'he didn't teach me anything I didn't already know'. I've pondered this one. 

What would we have done with anything 'new'? After several years talking about 'missional church', I don't know a single church (obviously this will be a challenge peculiar to West of England Baptists!), which does not have something to learn. When we say 'know', what we usually mean is an intellectual, or conceptual, assent to whatever's being said. When the Bible calls us to 'know' there is something very different in mind.

So, after several years of talking, we have a pretty good theological consensus around what we now understand as 'the mission of God'. The challenge we face is to live out the paradigm, get in the flow of the intentionality of God's Spirit, or however else you wish to term it.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Space in Between.

Well, just had a fascinating two days at The Space in Between – essentially a workshop aimed at regional and national denominational leaders. For a starter, it brought together a fascinating blend of different tribes – Baptist, Mennonite, Lutheran, Episcopalian, mainly. The two people, known to those of us in the UK who read around the missional conversation, heading up the days are Alan Roxburgh and Craig Van Gelder. It’s refreshing to engage with people like these, who are undoubtedly impressive, but bring a humility and openness, and a genuine sense of not knowing (and, therefore, not trying to provide) all the answers. Alan I've known for a number of years, just met Craig, but worth the airfare for what you can't get from the books.
For me, operating in a regional Baptist context, I sense an affirmation we're moving in the right direction – in terms of trying to nurturing teams of people, who can cultivate collaboration, discernment in seeing where God is at work and a willingness to take risks.

One observation on our North American brothers and sisters, who are bemoaning their lack of finances and resources, is they will probably have to see things get worse, before they get better – wealth becomes ‘baggage’ if it gets in the way of the mission of God. We began with dwelling in the word, from Luke 10 and Jesus’ command ‘take no baggage’ is one, which is easier to respond to when you have less to leave. Now whether my colleagues across the UK are going to agree with me, or not, remains to be seen, as we can always use more finances, but too much is a greater spiritual issue than too little when it comes to money.
Special thanks to the TMN team for great hospitality and a delicious Texan steak.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

St Marks Community Cafe, Easton, Bristol

One of the great things, at present, is the number of different approaches to cafes/church/community/mission we've got going around WEBA land. Here's a look at the St Marks Community Cafe, in Easton, Bristol. Lesley used to work for us in The Old Forge, our WEBA office, so I'm biased, but take a look, you'll enjoy it:

Direct video link: http://youtu.be/RwY6EiUx_OA