Sunday, 11 May 2014

Albania visit

Maybe Paul preached to a crowd around this amphitheatre?

I’m writing whilst visiting Albania - my first visit, which is proving to be a marvellous experience. I'm here to explore the potential of a partnership between West of England Baptists and some Albanian Churches. 
I was moved by one of the local church elders, whose son was baptised last Sunday. He told me his testimony was the first time this church had heard anyone say “I was brought up in a Christian home”. 
I often quote the line ‘the church is always only one generation away from extinction to help me, even if no one else, to focus upon the need to pass on the gospel of Jesus Christ to the next generation. 
This was literally true in Albania where, prior to the collapse of communism in 1991, 
we were unaware in the UK of any visible evangelical group of believers. However, I have been reminded several times in the last few days, it is highly likely the Apostle Paul established the gospel here in Durres, where I am staying. His reference to ‘Illyrium’ in Romans 15:19 is modern day Albania and Durres is the obvious port for him to have left from for Rome.
The Lord is challenging me:
Where do I need to rely more upon the embracing grace of God, who can do immeasurably more than I can ask, or imagine?
Where do I need be more open to the flow of the grace of God through my life, into the lives of others?

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Turning up for the movement?

This is a slide, which seems to cause some reaction. It highlights the two key areas, we need to put more energy into, if we're to return to looking more like a movement, than religious institution.
The one at the top, in terms of more intentionality around outcomes. The one to the right in terms of looking to intentionally 'turn-up'. This is based on where the vast majority of people are saying we are, across the UK Church, on a bell curve such as this.