Mark Drama

Mark Drama

Come along tonight to St. Andrew’s, Dibden Purlieu, to see the Mark Drama. A brilliant FREE performance of the life of Jesus, one of the most amazing stories ever, in 90 minutes.  The cast (members of St Andrew’s and Above Bar Churches): Charlie Besley, Richard Merrit, Tim Rowlandson, Tom Besley, Serena Carthy, Jane Nicholson, Pippa Brown, Femi Adeniran, Jenny Blake, Rebecca Trollope, Eryl Martin, Callum Johnstone, Leila Hyde, Andy Neal, Laszlo Penzes

Doors open from 7pm, with drinks afterwards in the Coffee House for a chance to meet the cast at the after show party!

Church Vision Morning: Context of Change and Diocesan Priorities

Thoughts for Coffee

Moral therapeutic deism – if you’re good you go to heaven, deism – God is not very active, he made it not by much, therapeutic – he’s active if I need him.  The issue is how do we prayer and undermine this through the little things we say in conversation.  Firmly believe we can change the spiritual climate of a parish – it just depends how prayerfully, thought fully and intelligently we interact with the three issues of moral therapeutic deism.

John Currin – Context of Change

A lot of change since 2007 – very significant changes – the new coffee shop approaching completion – want to begin to use it but not yet finished – hoping for a grand opening in the new year.  We are a more secular land than we used to be – Percy spoke brilliantly about that on Sunday night.  Significant changes in our staff – administration, care-taking, youth and children’s and assistant clergy.  On continuity is John and Jill Lewis.  A lot of changes in the Diocese with 3 new bishops – central and two suffragen – and two new Archdeacons.

What is God calling us to invest in, we don’t have a bottomless pit – we have finite resources of people, finance etc.  One thought from Tom Wright on building the kingdom of God and building for the kingdom of God.  Really important distinction – we are infected by the concept of progress – political progress, economic progress, education progress, technological progress – in the church we think the church should be getting better and better, and we should see more of the kingdom of God.  This is not, what +Tom Wright was saying when the new Jerusalem comes there will be a similarly, a continuity of what is happening, and wonderfully what we are doing in Christ will be translated into what is to come.  So as we seek to serve what is done is not done in vain, but will somehow in mystery and beauty mean something.  That is what we are called to invest our energy in – we don’t get discouraged.

As way of conclusion want to give to you what has come from the Diocesan Synod.  The Bishops Staff Team, Diocesan Synod and a number of guests spent time working together looking at what are the priorities for us.  We need to do a few things very well.

John Currin – Diocesan Priorities

Under God, delighting in His grace and rooted in the Diocesan rule of life, we will be a Diocese in which:

  1. We grow authentic disciples, going out as individuals passionately, confidently, and courageously sharing their faith and coming together as creative church communities of prayer and worship that live out kingdom values.
  2. We re-imagine the Church intentionally connecting and engaging with our local communities in culturally relevant ways.  We will rejoice in the richness of the “mixed economy” of all ministry and proactively promote vibrant parochial and breathe-taking pioneering ministries amongst “missing” generations, e.g. children, young people, under 35s.
  3. We are agents of social transformation using our influence as a Diocese to transform public and personal life.  We will demonstrate loving faith at work in local communities and across the globe bringing healing, restoration and reconciliation.  E.g. through Education, Social Enterprise, Health Care, Spiritual Care Teams.
  4. We belong together in Christ, practicing sacrificial living and good stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us.  We will combine radical generosity, care and capacity building with a clear focus on directing finance into the mission of Jesus.  Sharing and multiplying local good practice, using people, buildings and other resources wisely we will seek to boldly prune, plant and invest in building for the Kingdom.

Feedback and discussion

What is the Diocesan rule of life?  Prayer gives us discernment, not just running around being busy.  The Bishop proposes that the Diocese develops a Rule of Life.  Monastic movements have rules of life, disciplines they follow, and people will be invited for people to follow, and bring some commonality – the means by which people engage with God.

Struggle with the poor grammar.  Written following debate of over 200 people during 4 days this week.  This is not the finished article – it will be polished at Diocesan Synod for church leaders, lay people i.e. congregation, non-Christians.

What do some of these words mean?  Radical, breath-taking etc.

What is capacity building? If we increase numbers we need to increase resources, including building, finance and people.

What is a mixed economy?  Effectively saying the diocese has a breadth of approaches from traditional evensong, to contemporary services, methods of spirituality and worship.

Authentic discipleship – a depth of integrity.

How will we interact with it?

Feel humbled and that Winchester is quite a traditional diocese and yet the priorities seem to fit with what we as a church are passionate for.

What are currently doing that looks like these?

  • Think re-imaging church is currently vital.  We’ve started to with coffee shop, and the new children and youth initiatives.
  • Hospitality through groups, cream teas, lunches, Alpha, Marriage Enrichment.  Would love to see a continued develop of social activities for “just because …”.
  • Social transformation – in the community, care homes, schools.
  • Location is fantastic – all the open door things we do.
  • Spiritual care and visiting is done well, mentoring is an extension of this.

 

As a leadership and PCC we will seek to implement this for how it will work best here.  It is a steer bearing in mind that we can’t do everything.  Otherwise we will fall into doing too much, and not doing it well.  Hold this morning in your prayers.  This is not an imposition from on high, but is something we can engage with to help us.

 

Church Vision Morning: Reflections on 60 years of Preaching

John Balchin celebrate 60 years of preaching this year!  Have the benefit of hindsight of what has been happening:

  • A time of progressive decline – numbers attending churches have gone down.
  • Forgotten how many ‘evangelistic initiatives’ we’ve been given to halt the decline but fail to halt it.  The USA imported ideas are difficult to translate.
  • The Billy Graham crusades were the biggest Christian thing in years, many people joined churches and even into ministry.  Alpha is one of the home-grown formula and Soul Survivor have been very useful.  But many have drained away into the sands of time.

Is there a biblical pattern for church growth?

Hardly any commands to evangelise – yes the Great Commission – which is all embracing and never been rescinded – but not much else – the apostles weren’t pushing the churches to share faith with their neighbours.  The church was growing exponentially – they didn’t need to be told.

When you examine the letters the first Christians weren’t all evangelists – some had the gift of evangelism e.g. Philip and a more modern example is J. John.  But not necessarily preaching evangelists, the God given ability to make the good news clear and to bring people to a conviction of faith – that is not everyone’s gift.  Many books have been written saying that we should do this and that to lead people to faith.

What was happening in those days?

  • Acts 2 – it went back to an individual experience of Christ – in one sense it was too wonderful to keep to themselves and on the other they shared something for God’s love for them.  It led to spontaneous witnesses – we may not be an evangelist-  but being a witness is part of our basic experience of being a born-again Christian – we share our holidays or our operations – why not the most experience of all?  To share our faith is just part of our faith.  That is what they were doing without being told.  We also need to recognise those who are gifted and release them.
  • The Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitude as transformed Christian character – this is renewed Christian character.  Immediately Jesus says “you are … salt of the earth, the light of the world.”  If our experience is real it should be self-evident.  It is obvious.  There are some people in 1 Peter 3:15 – “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”.  Why would they ask – because you have hope, meaning in your life there should be something about us that leads for others to ask questions.  We don’t want more Christians we want better ones – as then more will naturally come.

A stress on quality

  • Church growth is a science today – not programme, communication, method although all of these have a place.  The key thing is quality.  If you look at churches that are growing, that buck the trend.  Schwarz canvassed a 1,000 growing churches that had characteristics such as structures that really work, small groups that really cater for those who belong to it, and passionate spirituality.  Asked a question “Do the Christians in this church live committed lives and practice it with joy and enthusiasm?” – it is essential to see this naturally spilling over into prayer and more.
  • Translate into action – inspiring worship, relevant applied biblical teaching and preaching, full programme for children and young people.  People don’t ask for denomination – we’re quite a heterogeneous group in terms of this.  Children are the church members of the future – but maybe not our church – they may not come back after university.
  • Something like that has been happening here over the last few years.  We’re doing a lot of the list of aspirations.  Compared with a lot of churches we buck the trend – we have people coming to faith, we have a wide age range (we have gaps), we have a crop of children and young people having invested in that, we’re linked well to the community.
  • People talk about being “missional” – that’s not english!  But we do need to be outward looking, there are some churches where people regard the church as hteir private chapel, they have a private faith, and don’t cope with anyone who want to meet with them.  Frustrated when hear young people being told to learn 1662 faith because we don’t live in 1662.  It is very sad – they are cosy club waiting for their members to die.
  • Thank God by His grace we are not that, equally we are not perfect, but we are missional and we would like to do much more.  We can’t be complacent, when we think of the need of those living without God and hope in our local community.  They need Christ.

A Couple of Riders

  • The material we deal with – most young people 60 years ago went to Sunday School.  Now we deal with much more ignorance, we need to start much further back, we are facing more what the first Christians faced.  We have to be realistic that many don’t have a clue about the Christian faith or how we do church – the media don’t help.
  • The spiritual climate – growing grapes seems to be a struggle based on the climate often.  One of Schwarz’s research weaknesses is the spiritual climate differs place to place and time to time.  The USA has some very large churches but the spiritual climate is different – they assume most people go to church, they wouldn’t expect to elect a President with no faith – it varies across the country, not all churches in the USA are large – the average church is only 70 people.
  • We’ve seen times of spiritual awakening, but it is God’s work.  The bottom line is we are working with those who are spiritually deaf and blind – only the Holy Spirit can make God’s truth true for them.  We are living in a war-zone where the devil is contending for the soul of our nation.  We can’t rely on human interactions.  We need to focus on prayer – without prayer nothing worthwhile happens – whereas when people do pray often surprises happen.
  • When you read Paul’s work in Acts and the letters not always large numbers came to faith – we are responsible for letting them know – they are responsible to God for their response.

Church Vision Morning: Mission Audit Review

Many moons ago, in 2007, the church conducted a Mission Audit, after the Diocese asked churches to.  Used a CPAS resource to process this.  Not just experience but what you learned from it.  Had a wealth of material come in, recorded it all, and John was down to do it all.  Lots of statements of aspiration.

Wanted to reflect on this experience and reflect on how God has led us in the last 5 years.  Giving you everything that came back, some of which we engaged with, and some of which we haven’t and have done other things.  This is what we intended, what we thought the Lord was leading us to, so we can learn how the Lord leads churches in five year periods.

Feedback

Encouraging at how much we have done, and the things we haven’t done still stand.

2.2.1 Fully Bible-based, Spirit-filled and Prayer-Supported

  1. Lay leaders aren’t trained – but often the activities are very poorly attended.  Possible issues about training for new leaders to activities.  What on-going training and support does the full-time staff get?
  2. Preaching series’ are good, but specific evangelistic services don’t happen with the exception of the
  3. Healing ministry – want to pick up on young peoples experience through Soul Survivor, do it through prayer ministry team if requested but a franction of congregation.
  4. Training hasn’t been developed apart from home visiting team, use a Lent Course to explore other faiths, or co-ordinate across home groups to explore themes.
  5. Mission with faith sharing team nearly happened but was postponed.
  6. Parish weekend away happened at Lee Abbey but nothing in-house which we need due to cost and children.
  7. What is it – is it coming together for social and prayers – several home groups now pray monthly as a group.

2.2.2 Active and in the heart of the community; visible – welcoming – serving

  1. Practising what we preach – we try! and sometimes succeed
  2. Not had a pet service!  Haven’t restructured services but we could and should be looking at that now, e.g. Cafe Church; 10.30am service can be too full.  Opening the Coffee Shop before the service.
  3. Communication strategy – much better – but could still be worked on.   Good practice.

2.2.5 Can respond to and meet everyone’s respective spiritual needs

  1. Prayer ministry, use chapel as well, doesn’t happen as can’t be seen so is this not appropriate.  This causes a blockage for many people, especially men, and youth.  Why not on a 2:1 ratio do prayer ministry elsewhere.

Street Pastors was a real highlight but not on the original form.

Feedback from other groups:

This list was a list of aspirations from home groups in one form or another.  Hopefully you’ve seen how much we’ve done.  Not intending to get another great big list, but your reflections on these areas as we looked at last time.

  • Anthony Mizen: Want more focus on home groups so led from the centre, possibly linked to the sermon series.  In-house parish weekend to be more inclusive want to recommend we review that.  Prayer book – want to allow people who use the centre to engage with it through the Coffee Shop and prayers.  On nearly all issues communication is key.
  • Sandie Spanton: Feel the presence of the church at Little Haven is well received, but definitely a church feeling at that place.
  • Alison Alcock: Active in the heart of the community – felt done a lot there – communication through the website and sermons on the website is very helpful.
  • Colin Tatchell: Don’t all know what is happening, as so many groups and activities.  The fact that it is going on is a strength.  Communication is difficult, but maybe it doesn’t matter so long as those who are targeted know what is happening.  Training of leaders – home group leaders etc. seems like we could do more.  Developed Alpha, Youth Alpha, Pastoral Care – Streetwise fizzled out but Street Pastors came in.  Increase in electronic communication has been good.  Opening of the Coffee Shop could be a good opportunity.
  • Sue de Jong: lots to celebrate, CAMEO lunches, 40th Anniversary, J John, Adrian Plass.
  • Lynn Dunkason: Highlights of achievement especially in 2.2.3 and 2.2.4 and 2.2.5
  • John Balchin: remarkable what has been achieved
  • Peter Toller: training in other faiths is critical.

Got quite depressed as there is an expectation for more, possibility of discouragement and disappointment.  When at Sarah’s licensing, Bishop Stephen Cottrell spoke on John 15:1-5 and living and abiding in the Vine (God) and God being the gardener cutting off the dead bits, and cutting back the fruitful bits.  Something about priorities not a task list.  There has to be a means of discerning priority and focus so we don’t simply follow our own particular enthusiasms which allows us to see and defer something bigger.  There is something different between good ideas and what God calls us to do.