Colleagues exploring pioneer ministry might be interested in my Pioneer Primer. I write a new column each month published in Exeter Diocese’s magazine, which I then post up on the website. We are about one year into a two-year plan, so there are 11 short columns for far, each answering a ‘question’ or an issue. The idea is to drip the ideas into the lives of church members, and cumulatively to create an easy to understand primer about how to begin to get involved in Fresh Expressions. The early columns argue the case and answer queries; the later ones will get more serious about how to put a toe in the water.
Stephen Dinsmore was missioner in Chelmsford before taking the helm at SOMA UK. He writes with news of this short-term mission opportunity. For more details contact Stephen via the SOMA website: www.somauk.org
There is an excellent opportunity for individuals and/or teams / part team to engage in cross cultural mission, refresh vision, experience the church in Nigeria, put faith to work, and move forward with the Lord and, for those who bring a team, to forge deeper relationships with them .
SOMA International Chairman Ben Kwashi, Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria, has invited SOMA to bring multiple Teams to his Diocese during summer 2010. The event has primarily an evangelistic focus.
The church in Nigeria has known rapid growth, faces multiple challenges and has risen to be have one the largest memberships and be one of the most influential Anglican provinces in the world.
The invitation starts with a two day international Mission Conference and is followed by multiple international teams working with local churches and evangelists moving out across the area to engage in evangelism & renewal.
4 August 2010 -- Mission teams arrive 5-6 August 2010 --Mission Conference 7-16 August 2010 --Mission Teams 17 August 2010 --Mission teams departure Flights direct into Abuja, Nigeria booked through SOMAUK.
Robert Jones (Worcester) and André Urbanczyk send details of the 2010 German Kirchentag - I (Paul) attended one of these years and years ago (= 1975 if you must know) and found it enormously inspiring.
The Kirchentag is Europe's largest Christian festival, gathering hundreds of thousands of people for the duration of 5 days. I am a Lutheran Minister from Bavaria, Germany and have worked in Bristol in Church-of-England parishes since 2006. As part of my ministry I am advertising the 2nd Ecumenical Kirchentag, hosted by my home church, the Lutheran Church in Bavaria. We aim at inviting not only German christians but people from all over the world. To spread the work in the UK I obviously depend on existing networks to reach those who might be interested in coming to Munich. Please help me by sharing this news where you are.
Epicentre is being launched for the first time in the UK by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, with a potential start date for the programme of September 2010. The vision for Epicentre is to turn the heart of a generation towards God. The BGEA believes that in order to encourage young people to have a long-term commitment to Jesus, young people need ongoing support and a strong church community. Epicentre is a seven-phase programme that brings local churches and the BGEA together for approximately 10 months to engage, challenge, and minister to both Christian and non-Christian youth. The Epicentre programme has already proven to be a great hit with towns and communities across Canada and the UK board is keen to see the Epicentre programme have the same or an even greater level of impact across the nation. The BGEA is excited at the prospect of once again being invited to work with towns to do mission, with the opportunity of serving alongside Christian young people over the period of 10 months.
If you would like to know more about the work of the BGEA (UK) and the Epicentre programme then click onto the website at www.billygraham.org.ukor email Anita Darashah-Borman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There is evidence that the tide is beginning to turn. Signs of recovery and growth in the church are being seen across the UK, such as in London where the latest research shows the church is growing.
Effective church leadership will be essential to see these promising signs of growth accelerated and fulfilled, and for the nation to be transformed.
This new conference, hosted by Nicky and Pippa Gumbel, will look at the values and principles that underpin effective leadership in the church. An outstanding line up of speakers includes Gary Clarke (Hillsong), Pastor Agu (Jesus House) and Paul Williams, Bishop of Kensington.
The conference is aimed at leaders and their teams from all churches, regardless of size, denomination or context. Nicky Gumbel explains a little more about the aims of the conference on our website, click here to view.
Across the two days there will be ‘Leadership Labs’ on all the different ministries of the church, as well as the opportunity to get to know others within various ministry ‘streams’. If this sounds like something that would benefit your church, please book
Check this out from Jim Currin - and a solid gold star to Jim for finding and commending this information.
BBC / OU survey: 57% would return to church if they could
The BBC has done it again.
From the producer who brought us The Miracles of Jesus and Around the World in 80 Faiths, we have A History of Christianity. Who says religion is dead? I heard that the programmes triple the regular BBC 4 audience when shown.
Jean Claude Bragard, the producer for BBC Religion and Ethics, has brought to life the events and issues of yesteryear with fresh insights for today. However, it is not so much the history and programme which I would like to comment on, so much as the online survey which accompanies it.
The introduction to the survey reminds us that 71.6% of the UK population described themselves as Christian in the 2001 Census, although only 15% of that number belong to, or go to church. Interestingly, the questionnaire is designed to ask people who call themselves Christian why they do not attend.
Visit the web link above and see how it is worded. The questions make it is difficult to fill in if you do go to church. The results probably produce a bias which is less representative of the church going population as a whole, which presumably makes the various conclusions all the more encouraging to people like me.
So far, 3239 people of all ages and backgrounds have completed the online survey This is a great response, not least as many surveys which shape industry or get quoted on the national news are often only based on a sample of 1000 respondents. Of those who have taken part so far, 77% say they call themselves Christians to other people, and a further 18% would sometimes say so to their friends. These figures are very high which is not surprising as prompted by a programme about the Christian faith.
More striking though, if I have read the results right, is that nearly twice as many men as women have completed the questionnaire: 2114 compared to 1125. I am not sure what that says: do more men watch the programme or take part in online surveys? Virtually all are from the UK as only 207 say they are not.
In passing, I was also interested to see the distribution across the age groups. Apart from the under 20’s where 216 questionnaires were completed, and the over 70’s where 126 replied online, the twenties (533), thirties (575), forties (644), fifties (637) and sixties (508) provide a fairly evenly spread.
The first thing to note is that more than half of the respondents go to church every week and pray every day. No doubt they are the most motivated to complete the questionnaire but remember they have been discouraged in the introduction. More than ¾ pray more than once a month. Of the survey target audience nearly half do not attend church regularly so what have they to say to us all?
When asked why the people don’t go to church, the least significant reason is lack of time and peer pressure, while many more say that they ‘don’t feel comfortable’ or ‘not found church that suits me’, or simply ‘don’t need to go to church to be a Christian’.
Having said that, significantly for such initiatives as ‘Back to Church Sunday’, 57% of respondents then said they would go more often if they could. Chiefly, for these people, what stops them is work, family and other commitments, rather than the church itself.
I find all this very encouraging when the invitation is for people who don’t go to church to respond and more men than women have done so, and more than half would go more often if they could.
Christianity is not just about history and the past, but very much about the present, and with a future to look forward to. Thank you ‘Aunty’, for producing A History of Christianity and the stimulating survey which helps us reflect on this.
Cray-twins Karen Carter & Andrew Roberts send this from Fresh Expressions (also downloadable as a Word doc here):Download Media Release
January start for more mission
shaped ministry courses across the UK
highly successful Fresh Expressions mission
shaped ministry course, which helps Christians to reach those not involved
in traditional churches, starts in nine locations from January 2010.
Essex to West Yorkshire and Dorset to East London, the new season also includes
the first courses to be organised in Scotland - at Glasgow and Inverness. Two
further new msm courses will start in
Bromyard and Muswell Hill in April next year.
one-year, part-time msm course looks
at how to start, and sustain, fresh expressions of church. By the end of 2010,
an estimated 2,000 people will have taken part in msm courses across the UK.
Locations for courses
starting in January are Inverness and Corfe Mullen (from 16th Jan);
Leeds, Bradford, Skipton, Shrewsbury, and Colchester (from 23rd
Jan); Glasgow, and Walthamstow (from 30th Jan).
24-unit course is usually presented over three Saturdays; a residential
weekend; and six or seven weekday evenings. For those developing fresh
expressions of church, mentoring is offered in between meetings. Individuals
are very welcome to sign up for the course but organisers have found that
learning is enhanced when people come as part of small groups.
Please check this out and commend it - not just because the possibility of a Christmas pub quiz, Karaoke carols or the story in cartoon is intriguing and lovely but mainly because of the enormous evangelistic potential of offering visitors who come to church over Christmas an extra way of exploring the Christmas message when the get home....
How about if every church said to its guests "If you would like to discover more about the Christmas story and its meaning then visitwww.rejesus.co.uk".
Martin Keenan has written the latest Share blog, called: 'To maturity and beyond'. In it, he explores the question: 'What does it mean for a fresh expression of church to become mature?' and he quotes a few thinkers along the way. To read his blog and leave a comment, visit: www.sharetheguide.org/blog/