Thursday, 6 April 2017

Seventy-two & re-usable coffee cups.

Re-usable coffee cups.

Question: How can you help save the environment, save yourself some money … and enjoy being involved in the mission of God … and all at the same time?

Answer: By taking someone out for a coffee and using one of our seventy-two re-usable coffee cups.

Challenge 1: saving the world one cup of coffee at a time.

According to the latest statistics, the UK throws away around three billion disposable cups a year. That’s over 5000 every minute! As if that’s not enough of a problem, a lot of the cups used in high street coffee chains aren’t actually recyclable. The problem’s the polyethylene that makes them waterproof that can only be recycled at a tiny number of specialised plants. So simply by reusing a cup, you can help cut down on harmful landfill waste. 

Christians have tended to stay fairly quiet in the environmental debate, although everything suggests a large proportion of new, younger, Christians assume creation care is an integral part of Christian lifestyle. Taking a reusable out with you, acts as a visual, gentle reminder we can make a small, positive, difference every day.

Challenge 2: saving money one cup of coffee at a time.

Starbucks still offer a 25p per cup discount offer if you use your own cup. Apparently they withdrew their 50p a cup offer because not enough people took them up on the offer! Now that doesn't make any sense, to me, common, business or ethical. However, some people do and it’s always worth asking, as at least it keeps the issue in the frame. Even one cup a week adds up to £13 a year savings you can donate to a worthy cause, or even warm yourself from the glow of being a better steward! Stewardship is a seriously under-sold facet

But what if owning one of our cups prompted you to buy someone a coffee on a regular basis? Imagine the impact if we had a DNA group meeting in every one of the 22,000 plus coffee shops now in the UK. Imagine the impact if you were prompted to take a friend out for coffee once a month. Coffee#1 don’t provide free internet access because they want people to sit down and enjoy their coffee and talk to people. We want you to enjoy your coffee, but see it as means to create the space to listen to a friend and maybe God will turn up in the conversation.

Challenge 3: saving the world one person at a time.

How many of us started our Christian journey with the desire to see the whole world converted to following Jesus, but somewhere along the road lost the depth of passion? My guess is, however, whilst most of us may have allowed that expectation to evaporate, we still have a passion to see some people we know personally, come to know Jesus and be rescued by him. We’re encouraging as many people as we can to pray daily for five people who are not yet followers of Jesus. Praying for ‘five a day’ is something we can all do and the knowledge that one in every five people in Britain is, right now, open to knowing more about Jesus should give us all the encouragement we need that God is already out there, ahead of us, drawing people to himself.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Grasping opportunities?

Are we grasping the opportunities God is providing? … I don't know about you, but whenever any group does a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, it feels like naming ‘opportunities’ is the most difficult for Christians to articulate. Please, please prove me wrong – believe me this is not something I want to be happy about.

I’ve just returned from our time away at our WEBA Conference in Saunton Sands and as a result, I have even more confidence now God is indeed presenting the Church, across the UK with a terrific opportunity. ‘The harvest is plentiful’. Obviously, there is an application for Jesus’ words in every generation, but right here (in the UK), right now it’s not so difficult to see, as even ten years ago.

Two things, in particular, are highlighting this reality for me:

i.               The ‘Talking Jesus’ research, which among other things tells us people are far more favourable towards Christians and much more importantly, hearing more about Jesus, than most of us have dared to believe, or accept. That’s akin to sitting in my living room, looking out of the window and seeing the harvest is ready, waiting.

ii.              The response to The Turning. There are some remarkable (and I confess surprising to me) numbers, representing people open to hear more about Jesus and how they might respond to Him being witnessed. That’s akin to sitting in my living room listening to all my friends popping round and telling me their stories.

My question now is not is there a harvest waiting to be reaped, but is the church able to act and grasp this opportunity?