Carey Nieuwhof the founding pastor of Connexus Church north of Toronto has written an interesting post on 10 predictions about the future Church and shifting attendance patterns:
- The potential to gain is still greater than the potential to lose
- Churches that love their model more than the mission will die
- The gathered church is here to stay
- Consumer Christianity will die and a more selfless discipleship will emerge
- Sundays will become more about what we give than what we get
- Attendance will no longer drive engagement; engagement will drive attendance
- Simplified ministries will complement people’s lives, not compete with people’s lives
- Online church will supplement the journey but not become the journey
- Online church will become more of a front door than a back door
- Gatherings will be smaller and larger at the same time
Sam Storms, the lead pastor for preaching and vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, has written a fascinating blog post reflecting on nearly 40 years of pastoral ministry.
I’m not sure I full subscribe to everything he has written – for example I would fully subscribe to women being fully involved in church leadership. But there’s a lot of gold in this article – a few highlights that resonated for me:
1. I wish I’d known that people who disagree with me on doctrines I hold dearly can often love God and pursue his glory with as much, and in some cases more, fervency than I do. The sort of intellectual pride that fuels such delusions can be devastating to ministry and will invariably undermine any efforts at broader Christian unity across denominational lines.
3. I wish I’d known how deeply and incessantly many (most?) people suffer. Having been raised in a truly functional family in which everyone knew Christ and loved one another, I was largely oblivious to the pain endured by most people who’ve never known that blessing. For too many years I naively assumed that if I wasn’t hurting, neither were they. I wish I’d realized the pulpit isn’t a place to hide from the problems and pain of one’s congregation; it’s a place to address, commiserate with, and apply God’s Word to them.
6. I wish I’d known how vital it is to understand yourself and to be both realistic and humble regarding what you find. Don’t be afraid to be an introvert or extrovert (or some mix of the two). Be willing to take steps to compensate for your weaknesses by surrounding yourself with people unlike you, who make up for your deficiencies and challenge you in healthy ways to be honest about what you can and cannot do.
10. I wish I’d known about the destructive effects of insecurity in a pastor. This is less because I’ve struggled with it and more due to its effect I’ve seen in others. Why is insecurity so damaging?
Gordon MacDonald is a long-term pastor who writes with fantastic wisdom. Alongside Eugene Peterson and Henri Nouwen he is someone who I try to read anything that he publishes. Reading this book I was not disappointed.
I bought A Resilient Life a few years ago when I was beginning to explore my own emotional and mental health. On the back cover it talks about how life is like running a race – “isn’t this the perfect metaphor of what your heart is longing for – running life’s race with intentionality and grace? With strength and focus? Well, you can.”
The book intermingles MacDonald’s story of being a runner at high school, and being coached by the legendary Marvin Goldberg, with the wider stories from life. A Resilient Life looks at five major themes:
- Resilient people are committed to finishing strong
- Resilient people run inspired by a big-picture of life
- Resilient people run free of the weight of the past
- Resilient people train to go the distance
- Resilient people run in the company of a “Happy Few”
Over the years I’ve seen too many leaders burned and destroyed in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Only this last weekend here in the UK we’ve had the headlines surrounding Lord Sewel. Gordon MacDonald speaks out against this challenging people to put their life on a Christian foundation that prevents this.
For me having gone through something of a crisis moment in my mid to late twenties it’s been interesting to reflect on how I deal with the past and look forward to the future. My copy of this book has lots of scribbles and underlining – bits I plan to come back to time and time again over the coming months.
I loved the blog post on Waxing My Knees regarding CofE Ministry Status Codes, enjoy!
Here’s a list of Church of England Ministry Error Codes inspired by a recent conversation on a certain clergy web forum.
All are genuine http web error codes. ***Simon Douglas has pointed out that these are in fact ‘status codes, but he is a self-confessed geek***
400 Bad Request
No. You cannot ask God to smite Mrs Miggins.
Similar to 403 Forbidden, but specifically for use when authentication is required and has failed or has not yet been provided. The Archdeacon has not got back to you and you can’t be licensed.
402 Payment Required
Reserved for future use.
The collection has been a bit short recently. No one can leave the service until they’ve given some (gift-aided) donations
The Wardens have taken your Church keys away. Unlike a 401 Unauthorized response, authenticating will make no difference.
404 Not Found
The requested resource could not be found but may be available again in the future. The vicar is unavailable. It is not possible to leave a message on their voice-mail.
405 Method Not Allowed
That is not how we celebrate the Communion in this tradition.
406 Not Acceptable
This parish has passed resolution A&B (please provide proof of Y Chromosome before continuing).
407 Proxy Authentication Required
The parish is under the authority of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet.
408 Request Timeout
The server didn’t turn up to help with communion
You shouldn’t have tried to remove the pews
You succeeded in removing the pews
411 Length Required
See “Paschal Candle”
412 Precondition Failed
The candidate is not baptised
413 Request Entity Too Large
You can’t pray for that!
415 Unsupported Media Type
You’ve picked up a copy of the Church of England Newspaper. Stop. Put it down. Walk away.
416 Requested Range Not Satisfiable
You’ve attempted to lead a Common Worship service. Please try again using the Book of Common Prayer.
417 Expectation Failed
Welcome to the Church of England
418 I’m a teapot (RFC 2324) – [[This is a real http error code!]]
You over consecrated at communion. Go and sit quietly in a dark room.
419 Authentication Timeout (not in RFC 2616)
The Bishop is late for your licensing service.
420 Method Failure
You are not licensed in this province
422 Unprocessable Entity (WebDAV; RFC 4918)
Multi-faith service attempted. Logic error. Syntax undefined.
423 Locked (WebDAV; RFC 4918)
You’ve forgotten the safe key and the service registers are unaccessible
424 Failed Dependency (WebDAV; RFC 4918)
The family won’t do the eulogy. Stock response needed.
426 Upgrade Required
Liturgical reform is in progress
428 Precondition Required (RFC 6585)
The candidate must be baptised to perform this rite. See Error#412
429 Too Many Requests (RFC 6585)
The Parish has sent too many requests in a given amount of time. [Common Error]
431 Request Header Fields Too Large (RFC 6585)
The Glebe land needs managing [Largely a redundant error]
440 Login Timeout
Synod Error. Indicates that session has expired. House of Laity to blame.
444 No Response
You’ve asked a question of the Archdeacon. Standard error.
449 Retry With
Automatic response to 444. Expect boot loop.
450 Blocked by Windows Parental Controls
451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons
Very bad vicar.
Check out the Church Times job website.
494 Request Header Too Large
See 431 but apply to multi-parish benefice.
495 Cert Error
Crisisof faith. Try ‘retreat’ command.
496 No Cert
498 Token expired/invalid
Try using bread instead of wafers
499 Client Closed Request
Change suggested. Standard parish response.
499 Token required
Only used in parishes where Children in Communion has been implemented.
Loved this blog post from Anglican Memes:
As the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales prepared to enthrone its Diocesan Bishop, Nick Baines, details of his specially-designed robes were revealed.
Having been tipped off about the likely result of the General Synod vote on Saturday which made the wearing of robes optional, Bishop Nick requested a groundbreaking new design of Episcopal apparel which he strenuously denies is based on the Liverpool FC home kit.
His mitre bears what appears to be a hitherto unseen Diocesan acronym YNWA “Yorkshire North & West Areas”
Note: Bishop Nick and the Area Bishops for the new Diocese do actually have newly-created robes which have been designed by Polly Meyell. These can be seen on the West Yorkshire and the Dales website.
Christopher Ash, director of Cornhill Training Course, speaking on May 13, 2014, at Truth for Life’s Basics conference, shares out of personal experience and from the Word:
How can burnout be a problem in ministry when Christ Himself encouraged His followers to give up everything for the sake of the Gospel? Christopher Ash explains that there is a vital difference between living sacrificially for Jesus and pursuing our calling in a way that leads to mental and physical exhaustion. When Christian leaders bear in mind that we are created by God from dust and that all of our endeavors are dependent on Him for success, we are reminded that Gospel ministry is a humbling privilege and enabled to rejoice that we are recipients of God’s grace in Christ Jesus.
You can watch the whole thing here:
[youtube id=”QhaegeSFm_E” width=”580″ height=”337″]
There’s an interesting new missional entrepreneurship competition being launched by Greenbelt and the Church Mission Society:
The Church Mission Society, in partnership with Greenbelt, is launching a missional entrepreneurship competition ahead of this year’s festival.
Submit your entry by 18 July 2014 >
We are asking festivalgoers to submit an idea that is both transformational and includes a means of generating income.
The shortlisted entrants will get to pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs at Greenbelt 2014.
The winner will receive a free place – worth £400 – on CMS’smissional entrepreneurship week, an annual residential atPickwell Manor in Devon (pictured above). They’ll be taught with other budding entrepreneurs, the expertise necessary to work up their idea into a realistic money-making venture and have the opportunity to present to a panel of potential funders.
How to enter
Simply tell us, in 20-25 words each:
- What is your idea to make a positive difference in the world?
- How will it generate income to be financially sustainable in the long term?
You must be:
- over 18
- a UK resident
- able to take up the prize from 16-21 November 2014
- attending Greenbelt Festival 22-25 August 2014
- and willing to pitch at a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event over the Greenbelt weekend.
Closing date for entries will be Friday 18 July.
Announcement of the successful shortlisted entrants will take place on Monday 21 July.
Submit your entry now >
This is a great video about the CMS Pioneer course:
David Beer was one of those church leaders you wanted to learn from, one who I had the privilege of meeting and hearing speak several times. In Building a Strategic Church he allows us to sit in a coffee shop with him and chat about lots of different areas of church ministry.
The book covers a huge number of areas with eleven chapters, each subdivided into little sections only a few pages long:
- Why be strategic?
- Strong leadership
- Team spirit
- Relational structures
- Application preaching
- Training and equipping
- Exponential thinking
- Generous attitude
- Involvement with the local community
- A caring heart
- Putting it all together
After serving as Senior Pastor at Frinton Free Church (a church with approximately 600 members) he went on to head up the Purpose Driven Church movement in Europe. This does mean that some parts of the book come across as overly American and reliant on the acrostics and structures that come from Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church.
The book left me wanting more in several areas, I would want to bounce ideas with David Beer, understanding why he does things in certain ways, and what he thinks about some of my ideas. If you’re looking for a helpful overview to the how of church then look no further.
The children’s and youth ministry I help to lead has had a fantastic 2013, check out these facts to give you a flavour for what’s been happening:
- 197 children attended our Monsters Stink holiday club – the biggest summer holiday activity for children in Hampshire
- 78 assemblies, 29 RE lessons, 104 lunch club sessions and 8 pupils mentored weekly in local schools
- 150 year 6 children helped with transition to secondary school
- 225 children visited the church for RE
- 388 tweets on Twitter
- 97 Facebook Likes for Dibden Minis
- 100 Facebook Likes for Dibden Kids
- 129 Facebook Likes for Dibden Youth
- 25 young people went to Soul Survivor with 6 young people becoming a Christian
- 30 young people went to Fairthorne Manor
- 290 attendances at iDen and jDen
- 769 attendances at Uncover Tuesdays
- 13 services led by the Youth Worship Group
- 50 at the Dibden Youth Christmas Social
- Over 23,000 watched a testimony video the week before Easter on Facebook
- 13 young people got Confirmed
- 1,601 attendances on a Sunday morning and evening
- 2,115 attendances at Dibden Minis
- Over 5,420 volunteer hours given, excluding Steph Gray’s time, saving over £50,000 in staffing
Years ago when I was first in ministry I picked up a copy of Shine on, Star of Bethlehem by Geoffrey Duncan. The book is a huge worship resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
Geoffrey Duncan is well known for producing great prayer and worship anthologies, and this Christmas resource does not disappoint. What makes this resource so helpful is the variety – both in terms of content – be it welcoming prayers to final blessings to full orders of services; but also in terms of style and age – I’ve felt very comfortable using this with children and young people as well as with older adults.
This is one of the resources I come back to time and time again during the Christmas season – if you don’t have it I recommend you get hold of it.
This week I’ve been reading Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro. I was recommended this book by one of my previous colleagues who had been really encouraged by Cordeiro’s honesty and attitude. The book starts by reflecting on his experience of burnout and how he realised that his life was not sustainable and needed to change.
For me the most helpful aspect of the book was his honesty both as he reflected with what he needed to change – that it ran deep within himself; and the depth at which Cordeiro explained practically how he managed this – especially with the Personal Retreat Days – something I will certainly be taking on board as we move into 2014.
The concept of a dashboard which helps to measure vital systems essential for health and success was interesting, he used: Faith life; marriage life; family life; office life; computer life; ministry life; financial life; social life; attitudinal life; author’s life; speaker’s life and physical life. I found Cordeiro’s thoughts on the different questions we ask ourselves in our 20s, our 30s, our 40s, our 50s, our 60s and our 70s helpful to realise that after ten years in ministry who I am, and the questions I ask of myself have changed during this period.
With recommendations such as “This is a must-read for all leaders” by Bill Hybels it certainly isn’t one to ignore, and whilst there is nothing that you probably haven’t heard before, it will certainly encourage you and challenge you to make your life more sustainable instead of constantly leading on empty.