Global Connections conference: From where I’m sitting

I am excited to be one of the contributors at the Global Connections conference in May.  I find this a fascinating conference in comparison to many others I go to as this is one of the few conferences where I see not just training or abstract research being presented, but instead new agreements and partnerships are developed that impacts mission around the world.

Here’s the blurb for what’s going on at the conference this year, I’d love to see you there:

We are used to hearing mission leaders, typically European and American men in their fifties describing what the most important issues in mission are. But is this the full story? At the GC Conference in May 2016, we will have the opportunity to listen to a variety of voices; under thirties, women in mission, missionaries from the majority world and leaders of international networks sharing from their perspective on mission today. In a diverse world, it is important that we listen to a range of opinions to really understand what is going on. This conference is a start in that process and we hope will be challenging and inspirational.

Our Bible reflections will be given by Steve Timmis from Crowded House, and there will also be times of worship, prayer and reflection led by Luke Hamlyn.

Contributors include: Adam Lowe (WEC), Chris Kidd (All Saints Didben), Harvey Kwiyani (Missio Africanus),  Israel Oluwole Olofinjana (Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World), Lesley Cheesman (Agapé), Lucho Sanchez (Latin Link), Mark Oxbrow who will be bringing videos of leaders from around the world (Faith2Share), Philipa Kalungi (OMF), Ruth Wall (former All Nations), Sarah Brighton (Hope UK).

The programme will include plenary sessions led by the various groups above, opportunity for discussion and workshops as well as times of prayers and reflection to listen to what God might be saying to us.

I’m standing for General Synod

I am standing for the Church of England General Synod, as a member of the laity, in the Diocese of Winchester.  You can find out information about the other Laity and Clergy candidates in the Diocese of Winchester here.  Find out more about the General Synod here.

Here’s my election address:

 

Chris KiddThe Diocese of Winchester has a tradition of sending to General Synod experienced men and women, with many years of service to the Diocese and considerable understanding of a range of issues. I hope to complement that experience and understanding with my own fresh perspective, and links to young people across the Diocese. Currently I am a lay member of the Lyndhurst Deanery Synod, the Diocesan Synod, and one of the five lay members of the Bishop’s Council.

 

I believe strongly in a representative group of both lay and ordained sharing in the governance of the church. I am passionate about collaborative ministry and have experienced, and can worship God through, the rich diversity of churchmanship across our diocese.

 

I am married to Hannah (since 2004), and we have two children, Daniel (aged 5) and Joshua (aged 3).  I enjoy sport, blogging (www.chriskidd.co.uk) and reading.

 

My Faith Background

Having been brought up in a Christian family I have always been involved in, and enthusiastic about, church. I became aware of the need to make a response to Christ as a teenager at the Sheffield Alliance Music Festival in 1997 where someone spoke on the need to not be an armchair Christian. This sparked something in me, I realised that Christianity is about being an active disciple of Jesus, not just knowing Bible stories. Support and follow up from my youth leaders led me to make a commitment to Jesus, and to be Confirmed in 1998.

 

I greatly enjoyed my studies in 2001-2004 at Exeter University in the Theology Department. I felt that this was positive and challenging and that it deepened my understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith. Theology gave me the skills to both ask questions about faith, but also to answer other people’s questions.

 

Children’s & Youth Work

Over the last 11 years since leaving university I have worked as a Children’s & Youth Worker for three different churches. Currently I co-ordinate a team of over 60 volunteers who run the programmes and activities for nearly 250 children and young people aged 0-18 for St. Andrew’s Church in Dibden Purlieu. I am passionate about encouraging children and young people to engage with their faith in a holistic way.

 

I am involved both in the church and the local community. I was a Local Authority Governor and Vice-Chair for a Federation of Schools (2012-2015), I chair the Partnership Board for the local Children’s Centre. I also sit on the New Forest Local Children’s Trust Board developing strong links with statutory bodies.

 

I was privileged to attend Cape Town 2010 – The Third Lausanne Congress as one of 4,000 delegates, where I led a small group of six people from four continents, and was the Lead Blogger for the Congress. In the summer of 2016 I will be attending the Younger Leaders Gathering in Jakarta.

 

Key Issues for General Synod

A Missing Generation: I am eager for children and young people to have life changing encounters with Jesus. I am passionate about people discovering that they are loved by God and the holistic hope that can bring them. I want people to realise that faith has an impact now and not just in eternity. We are missing a generation in our churches and so we must keep mission and evangelism as the highest priority for the Church, facilitating the new and ancient ways of sharing the hope and the life transformation that the gospel brings.

 

Safeguarding: We can barely comprehend the terrible damage that has been inflicted on those vulnerable children and adults for whom the Church should have been a place of safety and hope. In my role working with some of the most broken youngsters in our local community I understand how crucial it is that nationally, and locally, we continue the great strides in improving our safeguarding practices, training, and policies so that the church truly can be a place of safety and hope for the most vulnerable in our communities.

 

Poverty & Welfare: Through my work I am sadly all too aware of the need of an increasing proportion of our communities for basic necessities. It is essential that everyone works together to highlight these issues and that the Church focuses its resources towards the communities most at need.

 

Lay Leadership: I long to see the Church committed to making disciples and releasing its members to serve Jesus in the church and in the world. To enable this I want to see clergy and local lay leaders supported and developed so that every congregation is encouraged in maturity and growth. The Archbishops’ programme for Reform and Renewal will be critical for this, and I will support initiatives that free up the laity to live out their Christian potential.

 

With all issues that will be discussed at General Synod, I will prayerfully consider each on merit. Listening carefully to all sides of the argument, both locally and nationally, whilst at the same time seeking to be obedient to what I understand the Bible to be saying and the Holy Spirit to be prompting.

 

Your vote is important in this election. I ask for your first preference vote and should I be elected, your prayer in the months ahead.

 

Do please contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss any issue.

YC14 Seminar: Helping yourself to help your youth

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The seminar was led by Helen Godwin and myself – you can download the powerpoint here.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Jesus calls/commands us to live freely and lightly and yet many of us don’t.  It can feel impossible, but Jesus asked us to do this so it must be possible.

When we are exhausted we long for someone to take charge – that is what Jesus is doing here ‘Come!’

Ministry – as a full-timer or a volunteer – doesn’t fit with the 21st century concept of work-life balance.  Instead the more helpful concept is that of rhythm and speed.

It is impossible to manage ministry in the same way each day, or even week.  For example Christmas will always be a busy period in ministry.  In a work-life balance model we fail if we are involved in all that goes on in church at Christmas.  Yet rhythm says this is okay, with rest and holiday the week after.

The old phrase is look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.  We need to look for rhythm in our days, weeks, months, and beyond.

We need to obey and take a Sabbath rest!

Often a deeper root being exposed here – we are works based and not grace based.

Feel compelled, guilty, fear what others think, not pulling my weight

But we are called to say ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light’, can we say that?

Would we feel guilty if we did?

Is Sabbath rest a norm for us, preventing us from getting weary and heavy ladened? 

  • Singles – you’ve not no family to take up your time! Really!!!  Do your family and friends feel you have a good boundaries?
  • Married – does your partner not only know but see/experience them being more important than church?
  • Kids – are your kids fighting with the church for your attention? Are they seeing your faith in action in your personal life and not just your work/volunteering?

Or are we simply hiding – Is work an escapism from your life/all of these – babysit my kids!!

We are called to love God – do we only pray and read his word for the sake of a preach?

Love our neighbour – is that youth outreach based.

Love ourselves – do we even attempt this one?

Watchman Nee – “Adam began his life with the sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter God’s rest, and then alone can he work.”

Eph 2 v6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. …8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

“For Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE”.  – we are invited to enjoy it, not try and attain it.

Priorities – The picture of putting the big stones in first – God, Family & Friends, church.  Being obedient to what he asks – so we need to take time to listen.

Are our children/youth growing up – whirl wind of activity – doing instead of being is the signal we send. Resent church.

Be kind to ourselves and others on our teams. Demonstrates Grace and that we trust God.

If self care is seen as another task on a list to be ticked off then it may well not be the genuine care that we need.  Chpt 12 – Well watered tree.  Ian Hoskins.  Youth Ministry edited by Sally Nash.  2011

There is a tension between productivity and faithfulness.  As Henri Nouwen points out – “Productivity is an attempt to create life” but “we are called to deliver lasting fruit.”  The issue centres on who is in control and how much intimacy is there – it’s a focus on the relationship not what comes out of it.

As Oswald Chambers said: “The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship.  That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.”

Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that we can’t help but be shaped by the world.

Scarcity mentality: there isn’t enough time to do everything I need to do.    Key Q: How do I get all this done?

  • Importance of image: concern with my audience (e.g. facebook); worried what people think; personal ‘brand’; hide the real you.  Key Q: How do I look to others?
  • Workplace of culture: productivity focus; concern with measurement and success; congregation satisfcation and market share; comparison with others leads to working harder.  Key Q: How do I justify my life?  Have I done enough?
  • Work-life balance: You can have it all; Fear Of Missing Out; fill every minute; Key Q: How do I do it all
  • Orphan mentality: I’m on my own; it’s all down to me; self-reliance; unable to truth God or others.  Key Q: How do I trust?
  • Fear: Of vulnerability; of failure; of rejection; of not belonging.  Key Q: How do I not … ?

And yet God doesn’t need me to do anything but I receive the privilege of joining in His mission with Him.

Three areas of well-being we want to focus on:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Spiritual

Physical well-being:

  • Take a Sabbath
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Healthy eating

Stress is “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them” according to the Health & Safety Executive.  From a Christian perspective stress is forgetting who God is, who we are, and that there is an enemy.

The spring is designed to extend, take pressure, release and return to the starting point.

  • Change: Births, marriage, deaths, moving house, changing jobs etc.
  • Demands and expectations of others: Expectations which are often not written down.  It is key to bring them out into the open: “I am here to serve you but you are not my master.”
  • Self-expectation: This multiples the 2 springs above it.  If you try to keep everyone happy then when high demands happen it is even harder.
  • Demotivation and resentment: Resent work that someone else should do; resentful that God hasn’t delivered certain things.  Sense of scarcity and ownership.
  • Attack: As J.B. Phillips said “Enemy loves to squeeze us into the model of the world.”

Strengthen the spring: go back to the physical well-being: sleep, exercise, health diet, good spiritual habits.

Develop your support network: who prays for you on an ongoing basis?  Family and friends; mentor; accountability groups; spiritual direction etc.  To receive support it requires us to be humble.  Sometimes our role focuses on supporting others so much that we struggle to receive help.

Understand and reduce the weights: understand the dynamic between the weights and recognise the role of the ‘conformed mind’.  Reduce the impact of the weights.

We ignore the fact that we are emotional beings to our peril.  We need to teach our youth and especially our lads that emotions are part of us, and if suppressed cause untold damage.

Learning to express emotions is a healthy and normal part of our development.

Where do you worship and feed?  Are you only reading the Bible to prepare for youth sessions; praying arrow prayers to God because you haven’t had time to prepare?

It is important that all of us step back and worship God, and receive from Him.  This can be a challenge e.g. older youth doing children’s work and never going to church.

A young person stepped back from leading worship because she was no longer worshiping – a chore and needs to connect again – such guts.

Do we take time out to BE and not do?

What works for you?

Open Paris Session 3: Digital Media and Mission

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Session 3 of the Open Paris Conference was From Guttenberg to Zuckerberg: How Social Media is Changing the Church by me.  If you wish to use the powerpoint click here:

 

Of all the messages the world has ever heard from politicians, story tellers, advertisers and more the gospel is still the stickiest.  The good news is that God’s message is your message, which makes your presence and voice online wholly (and holy) indispensable!

I want to challenge you today as a Christ follower to change your mind-set of the way you spend your time online.  I want to challenge you to forgo denomination, to sit in the same pew or row, and write this ongoing story together and share new ways to reach a fragmented world for Christ.

Together, as leaders we can light up the online space.  We can “go” and we can “tell” as Jesus asked each of us to do.  And we can change absolutely everything.

Game Changers

Throughout history, game changers have stepped forward in the faith to affect the way people communicate God’s truth in the culture in which they live.

As far back as 2002, Pope John Paul II got it.  He understood the significance of the Internet and inspired Christians around the globe to embrace it as a way to share Christ with the world.  Here’s what he said in a public speech:

“From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard?  For it is only when His face is seen and His voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption.  This is the purpose of evangelisation.  And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man … I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now as in the past, the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world, ‘the glory of God on the face of Christ.”

Communication channels have changed radically since Moses walked down the mountain, stone tablets in hand.  Old Testament scribes wrote on parchment made from treated skins of sheep or goats, and they used pens fashioned from reeds.  The prophets preached in synagogues and countryside’s.  Later, Paul wrote his letters on scrolls of papyrus and gave them to friends who would deliver them to the churches in other cities.

Little did Paul realise the frenzy that would kick up on the other side of his prison bars as game changers emerged, ready to take up the charge of the gospel.  Generations of followers communicated the gospel with various tools.  In 1440 the printing press changed everything as Bibles went from locked archives to retail.

In 1517 Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the University Church in Wittenberg and changed the game again.  Religious tracts were used as major channels throughout the turbulence of the Protestant Reformation.  John Calvin wrote, debated, and preached tirelessly during the Reformation.  In the eighteenth century, John Wesley travelled 250,000 miles by horseback in his efforts to spread the Word, and he preached in open fields to as many as twenty thousand people at a time.

In 1922 Aimee Semple McPherson preached what is believed to be the first radio sermon.  Christian writers such as A.W. Tozer and C.S. Lewis followed with critically important writings through World War II.  Passionate game changers such as Dwight Moody and Billy Graham also shared the gospel over the radio waves.  Television and revivals catapulted the reach of Billy Graham’s ministry.  His first television crusade generated 1.5 million letters to the television station, confirming the power of that medium.

Bill Bright was another game changer when he wrote The Four Spiritual Laws, the most widely distributed religious booklet in history, and later commissioned The JESUS Film, one of the most influential films ever made.  The renowned documentary on the life of Christ has reached more than 6 billion people in 234 countries and has been translated into one thousand languages.

But just because a technology evolves, there is no guarantee that a demand will support it.  Remember the Microsoft Zune?  The Apple Cube?  Google Buzz?  You don’t remember the technology failures because they failed.  Multiple factors can be attributed to why social media has grown so rapidly, including cheaper broadband, a fire to innovate and the global economy shift.  As unprecedented economic, political, and social factors continue to fragment continents, cities and even homes, words such as connection, community, and relationship increasingly dominate the conversation.

To explain this in statistics it took radio thirty-eight years to reach fifty million users; television, thirteen years; the Internet, four years; and the iPod, three years.  In just a nine month period, Facebook added one hundred million users, and downloads of iPhone applications reached one billion.

Still think using social media is a passing fad or another waste of time?  You may soon join the ranks of these leading, albeit well-meaning, thinkers:

  • “Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognise it as a conspicuous failure.”  Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology on Thomas Edison’s light bulb, 1880.
  • “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad”  The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company, 1903.
  • “Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.”  Time, 1966
  • “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.”  Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer, and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926.
  • “Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.”  Dennis Gabor, British physicist, 1969.

Broadcast to Social Media

In the five hundred years or so between the inventions of the printing press and the Internet, we have lived in a broadcast media environment of books, radio, newspapers, and television.  These media served as highly effective platforms for sending a single, well-crafted, attention-getting message out to as many people as possible.  But broadcast media afforded little opportunity for feedback or discussion, except, perhaps, for letters to the editor.  In the church, we have used this one-to-many broadcast communication model in sermons, printed newsletters, letters from the Rector, and broadcasting worship services on Radio 3 or Songs of Praise.

Social media represents a profound shift in this model.  Today, almost anyone can publish a blog, have a YouTube channel, and host their own podcast – in effect an internet based radio station.  Anyone can comment on, extend, qualify, discuss, and share a clergy’s sermons.

In the era of broadcast media, the most influential ministry platforms tended to be those of large cong

How the Church can reach out to beat the bullies

 Last week, an article on How the Church can reach out to beat the bullies was published by Ruth Gledhill in The Times, reflecting on the great week we’d had doing Monsters Stink Holiday Club, do check it out:

The Times holiday club

How the Church can reach out to beat the bullies

Ruth Gledhill August 20 2013 15:08PM

The Times holiday club 1

Bullying – the sad reality for many

This September hundreds of thousands of children will be returning to school. Sadly, for many of these, bullying is an ongoing reality.

The charity Beatbullying believes that bullying affects one in three young people. Despite the best intentions and many positive interventions put in place by schools up and down the country, bullying is still a real issue facing our children and young people.

And it is not only bullying that can be a problem for today’s children. Children and young people can be scared of lots of different things. These range from a fear of the dark or getting lost, to what the future holds, worry during a time of family instability and more.

Teachers and parents, faced with a myriad of other tasks, are not always able to get alongside the children they work with and care for to help them deal with these different issues. This can leave many children feeling isolated and alone as they struggle to work through their fears.

This summer, our church on the edge of the New Forest has made an attempt to reach out to some of these children. As head of youth ministries, I believed that there was a clear need for a summer activity programme for children that went beyond the usual struggle for a parent to occupy their children during the long summer holidays. In our church community we saw that the church has an opportunity to speak into the difficult situations facing young people. This is because, even with the wealth of resources available, and as hard as schools work at preventing bullying, there sadly will still be times when children are bullied.

As a result, last week, more than 190 children aged between two and eleven years old took part in a week long holiday club at the church.

Using the theme “Monster’s Stink!’”, this holiday club was designed to help children deal with “monsters” they encounter such as bullying, fear and getting lost. Using clips from Monsters Inc. and stories from the Bible, they have been helped to find ways of dealing with and sharing their different emotions and fears.

Each morning ran at a fast pace with many of the usual holiday club ingredients – stories, games, messy challenges, singing, teaching and “flanning” of leaders. Eighty-five trained volunteer adults and young people facilitated workshops such as cake baking, dance, drama and music, video and photography, arts and crafts, and sports all of which gave the young people a sense of pride and “can do”, giving many some much needed self-confidence.

Due to the kind support of St. Andrew’s and all the volunteer staff, the church has been able to run this at a suggested donation of £5 per child meaning many families who haven’t been able to access other holiday projects have had an opportunity here. We at St Andrew’s Church sees this as a way of living out our mission of being “at the heart of the community”.

In the current economic climate we’ve seen council run children’s and youth play schemes decimated by round after round of funding cuts. This leaves more pressure on statutory groups such as schools, health care and others to pick up the pieces, but with each of them also undergoing their own major re-structuring we find that the statutory services do not have the capacity, the resources, or the time to help children and young people deal with the wide range of challenges they face as they grow up in 2013.

This leaves a gap, groups of families, children and young people who are not being supported by the government, education, the NHS and others in the way that a generation ago would have been. This is a gap that the church and other voluntary sector groups are increasingly filling. There are challenges for those organisations as to how they resource their work, but for us as we leads the children’s and youth work at our church, this isn’t an optional add-on but is at the core of what Jesus asks his followers to do.

Too often, the church in the UK has focused on teaching the children and young people it already knows key bible stories, without providing helpful application that helps them understand what difference they can make in their lives. While there is a contextual and historical benefit to knowing the Bible, it comes alive when we understand how we relate to it, and what truth and principles we can learn from it. I would love to see more churches and other groups doing what they can to reach out to children and young people, helping them as they encounter various difficult issues or “monsters” in their lives rather than just sharing another Bible story for the sake of knowledge

Chris Kidd is director of children’s and youth ministries at St Andrew’s, Dibden Purlieu, Southampton. Follow him on twitter @chriskidd.