Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A couple of pictures of the Feast Central Gathering

The Feast: Kairos Launch & the Bishop's challenge

On Friday 15th October we gathered at the Yorkshire Hotel - 116 Kairos people and guests with Bishop John Packer to give thanks and celebrate not only our existence but our emergence into the new thing God has called us to. It was a great privilege to see the range of people, all so different yet a real buzz of unity, of shared hearts and minds for the sake of the kingdom.
We started the meal by breaking bread together and then between courses we had stories of life-transforming moments as people have encountered Jesus and followed him. We committed ourselves to the heart of our faith in the words of the baptismal promises and affirmed our commitment to Jesus.
After the main course the Bishop said a few words to us - words of really helpful challenge which I have reproduced below for you to reflect on.
A great evening - as always the people made it special.


I Corinthians 12 vv 4-13 (The Message Version) 
 4-11God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:
   wise counsel
   clear understanding
   simple trust
   healing the sick
   miraculous acts
   distinguishing between spirits
   interpretation of tongues.
   All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
 12-13You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.

 The Bishop challenged us.......

  1. To celebrate the gifts of individuals given by God; and for members to celebrate the gifts of others.  Owning the variety of ministries, and taking risks as the Sower spreads his seed so generously.
  2. To develop the ‘option for the vulnerable’ and ensure that there is a particular concern for those in need on the part of the life of Kairos.
  3. To ensure that the communities are indeed mission-shaped:  that they are so designed as to speak to those who have not yet heard God’s call to them.  So the communities will grow, change and flourish.
  4. To develop a unit across the network and beyond, so that there is mutual support within Kairos and with the rest of Christ’s body in Harrogate.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Celebrating the Feast

For the second year running we are celebrating the Feast - wanting to embed in the rhythm of the Kairos network ways of celebrating together. We have been reflecting on 'the power of festival' - and my thoughts have been especially in regard to the way in which in our culture festival is being degraded by consumerism. Learning how to celebrate as God's people is such a fantastic message and witness.... but we do need to learn as so much of what passes as celebration amongst in today's Christian culture is, to be brutally honest.... wimpy and half-hearted. Maybe this is because some of the time Christians are really not sure they want love those they are supposed to be celebrating with or maybe it is because we are much too focussed on church and not focussed enough on Jesus - who, by the way, knew how to celebrate and make a festival come alive.
We have articulated our understanding of festival in 5 words beginning with P; 

Through Festival we seek to
• Understand God’s wonderful provision
Celebrate His goodness with praise
Invite His manifest presence
Demonstrate his power
and express His heart through prophetic declaration

We have a lot of learning to do in this but we have gone some way already. Last year we had a shared thanksgiving meal, an open day where our base is and a Central Gathering on the Sunday. This year we are holding a feast in a hotel in central Harrogate and using it as an opportunity to launch the Bishops Mission Order - naming our new status as a church with the Bishop and others present with us. Saturday will bring lots of activity as Kairos people get out on the streets in various different ways - questionnaires and giving out sweets, Messy Church, helping someone with their garden, doing things in neighbourhood's people feel they are called to - as always it seems food will be a feature of many activities. Sunday will see the 9am service not meeting as normal but under the name of '9am OUT' two teams of people connected with the 9am service will go into two different elderly people's homes to share faith. At 10.30am on Sunday 17th we will hold a Central Gathering to celebrate together - encounter the presence of God, his power and proclaim his favour.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

On Thursday evening (30th Sept 2010) I went to join The Wanderers MSC as they gathered, for the first time in a new way, as many people involved in The Wanderers as possible. We had Curry and Communion - a great time together. A number of things occurred to me about this. The 'extended family' (oikos) nature of this - people were part of this and yet involved at all sorts of different levels in the wider MSC activity. The way in which this gathering involved a potent combination of perspiration and inspiration - they have got on with doing things... not waited around for things to happen.... they have also been very open to getting inspiration from God through praying together as a core team etc. Finally I was really encouraged that this MSC started under two years ago as just four people. Now there was a group of 18 gathered for curry and communion, some of them, maybe even up to half of them coming to faith over the last year or so. How encouraging! How simple!
I have just contributed to a presentation for the Diocese of Ripon & Leeds Diocesan Synod on Pioneer Ministry. In my presentation I was giving a simple introduction to what we are trying to do - I went over just a few of our values - some memorable phrases that are influential

  • A Community of Communities - MSCs & Services - Gathering & Scattering
  • Low Control High Accountability - releasing & the taking of responsibility
  • Mission as the organising principle - MISSION shaped communities
  • You can belong at different levels - MSC isn't about delivering people to central gatherings where 'the proper Christians are'!
  • There are many opportunities but fewer callings - revelation and response, hearers of the word and doers of the word, inspiration & perspiration

It was good to go over these things again - I find that I need to regularly revisit vision and values - its kind of a missional discipline to reconnect with such things regularly. If God has given revelation in such areas we must respond.