Tuesday, 29 July 2014

a loved individual creates a loving church

I picked up a quote from Christy Wimber, speaking at New Wine this week – ‘a loved individual creates a loving church’. I imagine she was saying something to those in leadership, about the need to be receivers – to those who have been forgiven much, to those who have received much grace ….

Apparently I said something similar yesterday – talking about the Good Samaritan – 'it’s not the givers, but the receivers who define love’. The characteristic of ‘love’ is not defined by our church programme, or the ‘care team’ agenda, but by the awareness of the person on the receiving end. The man left for half dead would define ‘love’ by the Good Samaritan’s attitudes (when he 'saw' he went to him, unlike the Levite and Priest) and actions (bandages, lift on his donkey, medication, care, bed, meals, etc.). 
As church leaders we need to take care, lest we think our preaching definitions are achieving anything. It's not what we say, which defines whether we are a loving church, or not. I notice whenever I suggest people ask those who've merely attended a church activity, or passed through and not come back, what they think about a particular church, those in leaders start getting twitchy. 
Next one from Christy Wimber: ‘you can give and not love, but you can't love and not give’. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

a team game won by the best team

Well, the World Cup is behind us for another four years. When I was in local leadership our caretaker often used to ask if I ever preached a sermon without a football reference, so i always appreciate a fresh supply of material!

Many people said it, but a team game was won by the best team - Germany. They didn't have a Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi or a Neymar, but they were a better team. That's a difficult admission for an English football fan!

When I observe local church leadership teams, which I feel as if I spend my doing, I would say the same is true - if we could measure effectiveness, outcomes and fruitfulness more adequately, I think i could prove it.

Some Ministers are great up-front leaders, but negate too high a percentage of the impact of their apparent leadership by not providing helpful frameworks for people to follow the word of God though daily living. 

Some Ministers are great preachers, but many of their words dissipate through insecurity and the heat of difference of opinion.

Some Ministers are caring pastors, but shepherd people into a cocoon of comfort, which disappears through disappointment and unrealistic expectations. 

All Ministers are human beings who can multiply their impact and fruitfulness by investing in the core team who are called to walk in faith with them. They might not win any cups, but church becomes the great place we all know it can be when it reflects the whole body of Christ.

PS I had to laugh after trying to defend Luis Suarez pre our staff meeting the day after the bite before, when I read totally by accident from Galatians 5 when reaching verse 15 ...If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other!

Friday, 11 July 2014

It's behind you!

I'm sure the photographer here, Colleen Niska, is right in thinking this will only happen once in her lifetime. An amazing photo - taken last week in Canada.

Check out: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152149235746975&set=pcb.10152149239216975&type=1&theater

The photo depicts the bride and groom holding hands while walking along a country road.  What the couple could not see was the tornado behind them.  A Canadian news station confirms that two tornadoes touched down in the area where the wedding was held, so this was not a photoshopped picture. The couple said the wind blew a tent over, but otherwise their reception was a success!
Interestingly this picture was sent to me by a friend in Malaysia who picked up the 'parable for our times' written by an American. 
So, within hours we have collaboration from Canada, USA, Malaysia and the UK, but across the BU we seem unable to effectively collaborate around mission!? 
However, he really sent me an article by Jim Denison about his recent visit to the UK: http://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/1101-photo-captures-tornado-behind-wedding-couple 
You may, or may not find his observations true to your experience, but It's always helpful to see how others view us.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

"We have to go now, make us ready"

Last week a few of us took Chris Ellis, this years BU President, round three new church planting environments within WEBA. Our photographer (incidentally also my daughter Emily who could radically improve the impact of any website with a great photo package! - http://www.emilycolesphoto.com ) sent us the photos from Portishead over today. This was among them, which sounds like a pretty good slogan for many who are catching the pioneering spirit.