There is no Plan B – why the church must help children disciple other children

No Plan B

An article from Aim Lower Journal:

At the 4/14 Global Summit in New York in 2010, Reverend C.B. Samuel of India indicated that our Christian teens are in need of ideals—a cause worth living for and dying for—but the church is giving them more and more entertainment instead. What is the real solution?

This article draws from There is no Plan B – a document sponsored by the 4-14 movement and Compassion International (click to access your FREE copy)

Erikson’s Theory of Psychological Development postulates a significant shift in development when one reaches adolescence (11-18 years old). Preceding adolescence, development depends on what is done to a person; at adolescence, development depends primarily upon what a person does. At this stage, adolescents begin to develop strong affiliation and devotion to ideals, causes and friends.

Recent Barna Group research on reasons why young Christians leave church focused on those who were regular churchgoers during their early teens and explored their reasons for disconnection from church life after age 15. The research revealed that the number one reason our youth leave church is because “churches seem overprotective.”

At the 4/14 Global Summit in New York in 2010, Reverend C.B. Samuel of India indicated that our Christian teens are in need of ideals—a cause worth living for and dying for—but the church is giving them more and more entertainment instead. Churches thought that teens left the church because of the Xbox and the varied entertainment available to them, so, to compete, more resources were invested on entertainment only to discover that the exodus continued. What children and youth need is a personal connection with high ideals, causes and worthy challenges; to be a force they believe can change the world.

Just recently, Catholic Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña of San Juan, Philippines, urged children and youth to actively participate in the missionary endeavors of the church:
You young people and children have the energy, enthusiasm, courage and the ability to take the risk to step forward and say, ‘we want to be in that boat also; we want to be with Jesus and respond to the challenge of mission,’ said de la Peña, who is also chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Mission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. The prelate also told the youth that as the future of the nation, this is the right time for them to take the opportunity to engage actively in the mission of the Church. (CBCP News, Monday, February 11, 2013)379.

You can read the whole article here.

Loving the new West Ham 2015-2016 away kit

Just sitting watching Match of the Day Two and I’m loving the new West Ham United 2015-2016 Away Kit.

It mirrors the kit worn between 1901-1903, while the new West Ham 15-16 Home Kit draws inspiration from the shirt worn in the first season at Upton Park in 1904.

West Ham 2015-2016 away kit

Umbro makes the new West Ham 15-16 Kits after the English Premier League club and West Ham United signed a 5-year kit deal in April 2015, replacing long-term supplier Adidas. Betway again sponsors the new West Ham United Shirts.

The new West Ham 15-16 Away Kit features a sky blue body with a striking with a claret band across the chest. West Ham United’s 2015-16 Away Kit mirrors the uniform worn between 1901-1903, which was the first Hammers Kit to boast the now-iconic club colours claret and sky blue.

West-Ham-United-15-16-Away-Kit (6)

The front of the new West Ham boasts a claret diagonal stripe detail and features the monochromatic white commemorative West Ham crest.

Sky blue shorts and sky blue socks with a claret hoop complement the new West Ham United 15-16 Away Kit.

DiscipleKit: Discipleship resources developed by CPAS

DiscipleKit

CPAS have designed a new tool called DiscipleKit; an easy-to-use website bringing together the latest discipleship resources in one place.

It has the aim of providing you with the information that you need about discipleship resources to decide which are right for your church and groups. There are over 130 resources on the site with more to come, from online course manuals to DVDs and everything in between

They say:

“We are really excited to welcome you to DiscipleKit. We hope you enjoy looking around the site, and discovering some great resources to energise your journey of discipleship. Every resource has the information you need, a link through to obtain it, and an extensive review which will help you choose the one you want.

We are beginning with a focus on resources for small groups for Adults, Youth and Children – for those who are Enquiring about Christianity, Beginning the Christian journey, or Growing along the way. But we have great plans for the site, which include resources for individuals, and additional themed resources such as those for marriage, parenting and seniors. We would love your feedback and suggestions, so do join our DiscipleKit community and tell us what you would like to see included.”

Click here to check out the site.

Survey of England’s children

Children's World Report

Children’s Worlds survey has been conducting research across the world understanding children in a range of countries.  The latest survey for England has recently been published, based on research from late 2013 and early 2014.

There’s a huge wealth of statistics in the 38 page report which is worth digging into.  Here’s how the research sample was taken:

The England sample was designed to achieve a nationally representative sample of children aged 8 to 9 years old, aged 10 to 11 years old and aged 12 to 13 years old with at least 1,000 children in each group. The primary sampling unit was schools. Separate samples were drawn for Years 4 and 6 (primary school education) and Year 8 (secondary school education). Both samples followed the same methodology. First, a complete list of schools in England was stratified into five groups by the proportion of children receiving free school meals (a very rough indicator of economic prosperity). These groups were approximate quintiles (based on numbers of pupils in each stratum). The approximation was because of a lack of precision in the data available on free school meal entitlement. Within each stratum schools were selected randomly with probabilities proportional to size (number of pupils), with the aim of achieving a target of at least eight schools per stratum. Within each selected school, one class group (not grouped on pupil ability) was randomly selected.

The Dangers of Social Media for ‘Missing’ Children

Last week I read a brilliant blog post on the dangers of posting about missing children on social media, over at Barefoot Social Work, do check it out:

Missing Children

I’ve seen a couple of ‘Missing Child’ posts on Facebook this week and I wanted to explain why I won’t be sharing them. They are always heart wrenching pleas for help. Some of them, I have no doubt, are genuine. I know this as a quick search on Google and I find that the police are also concerned for their whereabouts and are actively searching for them with the support of authorised charities and agencies. However, there are some that are not what they seem*.

Some are simply a hoax and some of them are not ‘missing’ at all. The child may have been adopted due to the risk of significant harm; they may be in hiding with their other parent as a result of serious domestic violence within the home; or the whole family may be in police protection and the concerned ‘father’ is not who he claims to be. Furthermore, ‘missing adults’ may wish for their location to remain anonymous, and they do have that right which we must respect. As virtual strangers we do not know the circumstances of their ‘disappearance’ and we should trust in the expertise of professionals to get the full picture.

In my current role we will share posts from Hampshire Constabulary but we haven’t shared other posts until we can verify the information for exactly the reasons outlined above.

Songs of Praise to feature makeshift church in Calais migrant camp

I’m really pleased to hear today from various news agencies that Songs of Praise is filming a segment in Calais to feature the makeshift church from the migrant camp.

Producers have already spent two days shooting an episode at a makeshift Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the ‘Jungle’ camp, which will be broadcast on a date to be finalised.  And the full crew for Songs of Praise is due to arrive at the centre of the 5,000-strong camp this weekend.

This comes amid a worsening crisis which has seen nine people lose their lives after thousands of migrants stormed the Channel Tunnel in a desperate attempt to build a new life in Britain.

Pictured is a makeshift Ethiopian Orthodox church, where film crews have already spent a day shooting

Pictured is a makeshift Ethiopian Orthodox church, where film crews have already spent a day shooting

A baby sits in the middle of women from Ethiopia and Eritrea who are praying and singing during Sunday mass at the makeshift church

A baby sits in the middle of women from Ethiopia and Eritrea who are praying and singing during Sunday mass at the makeshift church

Prayers at the makeshift Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Prayers at the makeshift Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Production for the show was disrupted after one parishioner objected to being filmed during a service at the tarpaulin and corrugated iron church, The Sun reported.

Another worshipper, Ezekiel Lala, confessed to the newspaper he had been caught trying to illegally enter the UK thirty times.  The 28-year-old said:

‘I pray in church for good health so I can get to England.  I know God will help me. I try every night to get to England.’

Kibrom Kasta leads an service for Ethiopian and Eritrean worshippers at the jungle church

Kibrom Kasta leads an service for Ethiopian and Eritrean worshippers at the jungle church

Liverpool FC: Christian Benteke’s a great buy

I think Christian Benteke could prove to be a great buy for Liverpool FC.

Benteke signing

Benteke was the ninth-highest scorer in the Premier League last season with 13 goals, despite the injury which saw him miss out on the World Cup restricting him to just 26 starts.

The Belgian has come up against Liverpool on six occasions since making the switch to England, earning two wins and one draw. Incredibly, he has scored five goals against the Reds during those games.

The 24-year-old is already established on the international stage, having scored seven times in 24 appearances for the Belgium national team since making his bow against Bulgaria in May 2010.

Christian Benteke scores his first goal for Liverpool with a stunning volley against Swindon Town in a pre-season friendly:

Prior to joining Aston Villa, Benteke represented Standard Liege and Genk during the early stages of his career and also enjoyed loan spells with Kortrijk and Mechelen, all in his homeland.

Benteke's volley flew past Swindon goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who could only stand and stare

Benteke’s volley flew past Swindon goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who could only stand and stare

After completing his move to Anfield, Benteke told Liverpoolfc.com:

“I’m very happy to be here and I would like to thank the owners, Ian [Ayre] and of course the manager for their massive effort to bring me here.  It’s hard to show your emotion when you’ve just come from doing something [like this] but of course I am very happy.”

To read the full interview with Christian, click here.

Books I have read: A Resilient Life

Gordon MacDonaldGordon 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.”

 

A Resilient Life

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.

The Cost – Brother Andrew

Sixty years ago a man called Andrew took the risk of saying ‘Yes’ to God. It led him to venture behind the Iron Curtain where he discovered persecuted Christians, people who were truly counting the cost of following Christ. ‘Brother Andrew’ went on to found Open Doors, an organisation that supports persecuted Christians in over 50 countries today – including thousands of Christians in Syria.

As this short film weaves between the story of Brother Andrew’s early adventures of faith and the story of the church in Syria today, we are presented with the same choice: are we ready to say ‘Yes’ to God, whatever the cost?

A great film celebrating sixty years since Brother Andrew said ‘Yes’ to smuggling the Bible into countries where it was banned. What a legend!

Books I have read: The Quants

The QuantsHaving worked in The City doing recruitment of financial traders, and specifically quantitative traders I was interested to read Scott Patterson’s take on quant trading.

Patterson traces the history of quant trading by starting with Ed Thorp, the maths professor who applied his theories in the gambling world. Having successfully taken on the Las Vegas tables he then took his models into the financial trading sphere in the 1950s.

He goes on to trace the development of quantitative trading from blackjack to black swans. Patterson is able to simply explain the complex ideas underpinning our financial system through an extraordinary and insightful story.

The second half of the book focuses on the crisis of 2007-2008 where a number of quant hedge funds and groups in investment banks almost collapsed. It highlights the issues of greed and conceit amongst the financial trading institutions – a character-rich tale of how brilliant mathematicians and technologists ignored the human element of trading.

It is definitely worth reading this book for an in-depth analysis of one of the points in recent financial history where things started to go awry – leading to the situation we find ourselves in 2015.

Amazing artist

lion-resting

Paul Smith was born in the 1920s with cerebral palsy, instead of allowing that to limit his life, he persevered.  In a society which at that time didn’t support people with cerebral palsy at age 16, he learned to speak, and at 32 he learned to walk.

What’s even more amazing is the way he started to paint using an old typewriter:

 

Liverpool FC 2015/2016 Away Kit

Liverpool FC and New Balance today revealed the team’s brand new away kit for 2015-16.

New Balance took inspiration from the past to produce the sleek design, which has red trim on the collar, crests and sleeves.  Reds trio Simon Mignolet, James Milner and Martin Skrtel were in attendance to unveil the strip, which is available to purchase immediately.

Head to the Official LFC Online Store to get your hands on the away kit for the new season now.

Mignolet said: “The New Balance away kit looks great and the team are aware of past years where the club has had many successes wearing white away kits. Hopefully this kit can bring us luck away from home next season.”