Thursday, 26 March 2009

Messy Church

This Saturday one of our MSC's begins Messy Church - if you want to know more have a look at our website The idea is that we have a chance to gather a whole load of families together for Glue, Glitter and God once a month as well as gathering around food in someones house and a small group at other times. This MSC is known as Outnumbered - the name taken from the BBC sitcom of family life - "Outnumbered follows the daily chaos of family life and two parents and three young children locked in an unequal contest." So much of family life is chaotic and challenging - Outnumbered MSC reckons that it is a good idea to include God in it!
Things often feel chaotic, or at the very least messy, in our lives. Somebody recently wrote about change, commenting that we are okay with continous change, the kind of change that develops out of what has gone before and can be anticipated and managed, .... but it is discontinuous change that is our main challenge a kind of change that is disruptive and unanticipated, that we feel ill equipped to deal with. This kind of change seems to be what we are so often dealing with in our present circumstances but we believe that God brings order out of chaos, that he redeems and turns things around. We are a people of hope even in the face of change and uncertainty and we see this being worked out in our lives as we remain faithful to him and his promises.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Working on a Dream

I just spent a whole weekend with people from St Peter's Shipley in the Lake District. They have a regular pattern of weekends away - one of the ways they have developed to stay connected in a church that numbers several hundred. They are a great bunch of people and I tried to do some reflection with them on what it means to be a great church not merely just a good one.

It makes me think that there are often so few differences between the christian and the not yet christian, or church and world. There are things that any church leader can do to grow a church that someone without faith could easily do from common sense and see some growth. Ouch - that line of thought hurts and challenges... is it really true?

I think the philospopher Nietzche said "I would be more willing to believe in the redeeming God of the Christians if Christians were more redeemed" - Hmmmm.
I believe the kingdom is not just good - it is great. We are to reach for greatness - greater works and this involves that amazing paradoxical Jesus mixture of humility and will.

The new Bruce Springsteen CD is called 'Working on a Dream' - our dream is the kingdom and the work involves acts of will that take us towards that dream and humility that enable us to travel well towards the dream coming to reality.

I love what we are trying to do here - wilfully choosing to organise ourselves around a vision of communities of disciples. We have such flexibility and opportunity to do this and though, as Springsteen says " seems so far away", we have to keep working on it.

I am aware of people being really interested in hearing what we are attempting to do and have had a real sense of challenge not to overhype at such an early stage of development – just keep working on it, share only the insights we actually have and boast in Jesus of course. Keeping a necessary sense of humility and awareness that we are not the be all and end all – just bunches of disciples trying to do what we are told!
Be encouraged!