Long-serving priest gives thanks for 100 years

Long-serving priest gives thanks for 100 years

Britain’s longest serving priest has celebrated his 100th birthday, having ministered to his flock for 75 years.  What a brilliant example of faithful ministry.

The Rev William Tavernor was ordained at Ledbury parish church in December 1941 and has been a village vicar across the diocese of Hereford ever since.  He chuckles when he considers the choirboys who sang at his ordination would now be getting on for 90.

Mr Tavernor, a father of four, celebrated his birthday on New Year’s Eve surrounded by friends and family, including his seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  There was also a special service in his parish church, St Michael and All Angels in Ledbury.

His first curacy was spent in Ledbury, then a parish near Kidderminster, before moving back to the Hereford diocese. He spent seven years as vicar at Upton Bishop, eight years at Aymestrey, 23 in Canon Pyon, in each case happily provided with glebe. He has since enjoyed 25 years of “working retirement” helping at Kingsland. “I packed up taking services two years ago,” he said.

However, 18 months ago at the venerable age of 98, Mr Tavernor returned to his old parish in south Shropshire, Bettws-y-Crwyn, to conduct a marriage service for grandson, Jack Tavernor and bride, Becky Floate assisted by her grandfather, the Rev Herbert Floate. The story was reported in the Church Times, complete with cartoon reflecting the two clerics’ joint age of 188 years with 124 collective years of ministry between them.

10 predictions about the future Church and shifting attendance patterns

Church Attendance

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:

  1. The potential to gain is still greater than the potential to lose
  2. Churches that love their model more than the mission will die
  3. The gathered church is here to stay
  4. Consumer Christianity will die and a more selfless discipleship will emerge
  5. Sundays will become more about what we give than what we get
  6. Attendance will no longer drive engagement; engagement will drive attendance
  7. Simplified ministries will complement people’s lives, not compete with people’s lives
  8. Online church will supplement the journey but not become the journey
  9. Online church will become more of a front door than a back door
  10. Gatherings will be smaller and larger at the same time

 

Reflections on nearly 40 years of ministry

Reflections on nearly 40 years of ministry

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?

 

Church of England Ministry Status Codes

Status Code 404

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.
401 Unauthorized
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
403 Forbidden
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
409 Conflict
You shouldn’t have tried to remove the pews
410 Gone
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
Bad Vicar
451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons
Very bad vicar.
451 Redirect
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
Sabbatical required
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.

How to Maintain Pastoral Zeal While Avoiding Pastoral Burnout

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″]

Winchester Diocesan Synod Update

Diocese of Winchester

Here are my notes from the Diocesan Synod Fish and Chip Supper last night which shared an update on the Winchester Diocese vision.

Colin – Overview of the Resource Pack

The Conference was great but how do we engage all those who weren’t there – the 30,000 who attend our churches each week.

Post-Conference Resource Pack

Handed over to Luther Pendragon (Ben, Adam and Paul) looking at what we want the resource pack to do.

  • We want as many people as possible to engage with the material and input from the Conference.
  • Provide a permament record of the context in which our Strategic Priorities were discerned.
  • Inspire people across the Diocese to engage with the vision of “Living the Minssion of Jesus”.

Want to capture the conference in as many ways as possible, looking professional on a tight budget:

  • A DVD showing the videos from Diocesan Synod
  • Audio podcasts of all presentations to be played from the CD-ROM along with the slide presentations – done with small groups etc. in mind.

Couple of warnings

  • This is one element of how we take things forward.
  • It is a tool – the tool needs to be used – we are asking you to be a champion of this in your deanery and parish.

Every Parish will receive at least one pack in the next two weeks.

 

Bishop Tim

Read from The Great Commission.

When he was a Principal of a Theological College in Nairobi, reopening the college, a young lad sat in his office saying the Lord had told him to come to this college, as a refugee with no money walking around Nairobi, this is where God had called him!  Bishop Tim had many offers like that, but something in him met Bishop Tim’s spirit – so he said yes, and saw great ministry between tribes of refugees.

That call is still there for us.  Matthew focuses on Emmanuel – God with us – at the beginning, write at the end he focuses on God being with us to the end of the earth.  To live with Jesus, to obey that command, to show that baptism means something, what it means to be human, to love, to see the world transformed.

We’ve had the most extraordinary opportunity to be together at the Conference, we’ve done the mountaintop experience, but many are now back at the coal face of reality.  Going to trust Jesus, as we gather together we heard the Spirit speaking to us and now we can begin to look at the practicalities, we can re-imagine the church, re-imagine the diocese to become a mission shaped diocese, to transform society – we have great resources amongst us if we are committed to sacrificial living – we will see generosity bring hope.

To bring these four strategies to reality we need leadership, +Peter and +Jonathan help do this in the Northern and Southern Archdeaconries looking at the Archdeacon, Deanery and Parish levels.  Asking how do we work that out in this context?  We have with the Bishop’s Staff Team to offer the service and leadership that will make a difference at this time.

Written to all Area Deans, Assistant Deans and Lay Chairs looking at the process of how Mission Action Plans will come into being.  One area of detail that will need to be discussed and work together is how the Mission Action Plans will work.  It will not be possible to opt out of these.  SOmeone who will help us with this is the new Archdeacon for Mission role, 1% of the Church of England Clergy have enquired about this role!

Very excited, sense we are so much on the edge of what will happen.  There are challenges but the Lord will be with us, we will go forward and we will see great things happening amongst us.

Questions & Comments

When will we see the Rule of Life, PCC is interested in what that will look like?  Agree Mission Action Plans and Diocesan Rule of Life by Advent next year.  This gives us time to discover what a rule of life is, and what the history of rule of life in our Diocese is.  The Professor of Ecclesiastical History from Oxford is coming to give the Bishop Lectures, if ordained you will be invited, others come along, we’re in the town hall.  It will not make you holy, but if it represents holiness, it will remind you of how to live your life for God and others.  Hope to have a hint in the way the Lent Course is being put together.

How will we maintain Priests in Parishes alongside the 3Ps.  The Ps are dimensions, not priorities, so we need to learn the difference between vision, outcomes, and plans.  This will come into the plan where we look at how mixed economy is worked out in a practical level.  The dimensions are much bigger than priest and parish.  It is a strategic priority worked out practically.  Believe in the ordained church, believe in parishes, but also believe in doing things in different ways as our founders the Benedictines did.

Mission Action Planning – how do we make the process work instead of just being a Mission Wish List.  Need to develop a mission model, there are many out there, start by reading Mark Chew and Mark Ireland, How to do Mission Action Planning, and then have to agree our own model.  Will propose a model in December that we will back for the whole diocese.  It isn’t just for us, but the generations coming behind us who we need to be faithful for, to release and enable them.

Pete Maidment – The Lent Course 2014

Pleased to share some of what the Lent Course 2014 might look like.  Offering 6 sessions of material, to help you and your congregations to engage with our four strategic priorities.

  • Session 1 Living the Mission of Jesus – what does the kingom of God look like
  • Session 2-5: The Four Strategic Priorities
  • Session 6: Working towards A Rule of Life

A time of going deeper, exploring what does it mean to go deeper.

Overall aim, strategy or outcome: People in the Diocese of Winchester will have a good understanding of the four strategic priorities and how they can transform personal spirituality, churches and communities.

Some further outcomes

  • A renewed passion for Jesus living out his mission
  • A deepened sense of community and commitment to one another
  • A marked increase in commitment in discipleship
  • Steps taken towards creating a Diocesan rule of life

Asking Andy and Pete to head this up means it is a course for everyone.  Not just for adults in home groups, so children’s groups, youth groups, adult groups (home groups, lent course groups, men’s nights in pubs, women in pubs, mums in toddler groups!), sermon material – using lectionary readings to link with sermons, and Messy Church outline.

Core Material

  • Core material that all groups will have, regardless of background:
  • Learning outcome – every group will have the same aim
  • Introduction – same background reading material
  • Scriptural texts – same bible stories
  • Questions for discussion – the same questions for discussion
  • Prayer – corporate prayer

Enabling people to talk as families and communities.

Additional material

  • Liturgy
  • Worship
  • Cultural reference points- music, movies, literature, poetry
  • Spirituality links – helping people using it in their own prayer time
  • Website – people to use in their own ways

Training

Will be training people in January and February to both Archdeaconries, both Channel Islands, course specific but giving transferable skills e.g. for youth work.

Sample material

FInal material will be edited and designed.  Do share feedback to Pete and Andy.

 

Do you trust us?  Trust us to deliver, commit some time this Lent to share in this journey.

 

Jesus Didn’t Do It All

Jesus is coming“Jesus didn’t do it all. Jesus didn’t meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry. He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do”.

Kevin DeYoung from Crazy Busy.

The Technology Tornado

Tornado

I loved The Technology Tornado post on the Simply Youth Ministry newsletter this last week:

This area has been a particular struggle in our own marriage, and one that we have by no means figured out. We’ve had many talks and constantly wrestle with what boundaries work for our relationship. In this day and age you can’t completely disconnect from the world, but nor should you be so distracted by constant email pings and texts that you’re not present for your family. This technology conversation has a lot of gray areas and so it takes a fair amount of effort and communication to hash out.

Here’s the main goal: Don’t allow screen time to replace face time.

People need attention. They need you to be focused on them, listening, alert, and engaged. There is no formula or set of rules that you can follow to guarantee you’ll be great at paying attention. And chances are that as the capabilities of technology expand and integrate more and more into our daily lives, this will be an area you’ll have to work on a lot.

As you talk with your spouse and family about technology, be sure to listen to each other’s opinions and work together to create boundaries that fit your unique needs.

Here are some things we’ve enacted in our own marriage and family life:

1) No technology at meal times. Phones are off or on vibrate, they are not sitting on the dinner table. Computers and iPads are closed and put away.

 2) No charging devices in the bedroom. It’s really hard to have quality time when things keep buzzing, dinging, and drawing our attention away from each other. Plug in and charge the electronics in another room.

3) Work email goes to a work computer. For us it helped to not have ministry emails dinging into Jake’s phone. It kept him constantly “at work” even though he was home.

 4) The freedom to say no. We each have the freedom to express frustration if we feel the other one is being sucked too much into the technology tornado.

5) One Sabbath day. Technology is turned off and totally ignored one day a week. (In theory! We admit, this one is hard to do.)

Have fun using these new ways to limit the control technology has on your life!

Thank you for loving students,

Jake and Melissa Kircher

@jakekircher      @MKircher83

Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013

Diocese of Winchester

This last week I was privileged to join with 200 other Diocesan Synod members and guests at the Winchester Diocese Synod Conference at The Hayes.  God did some truly amazing things as we talked, prayed, worshiped and listened together – uniting such a diverse group of people around four priorities for the next three to five years is no small miracle.

Below are the links to all my live-blog posts from the different sessions:

Please remember all of these blogs were written live and so won’t always be 100% accurate, and may contain typos and spelling mistakes. For further information about the Diocesan Synod Conference check out the Diocese of Winchester website.

Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013 – Session 14

Diocese of Winchester

The 14th session of the Diocesan Conference is entitled “Mission, ministry and discipleship review” and is led by Caroline Baston.  This is a live blog – apologies for any spelling mistakes and/or typos.

Caroline Baston has chaired a complex review asking serious questions, suffering from ill health couldn’t make the drive up here, so Tim Sledge has agreed to present the findings.

Want to focus on some of the themes as we look at a new direction of travel.  Want to be very clear – the report has done an awful lot of research, asked various surveys, obtained lots of statistics, large number of interviews and discussion with the Mission, Ministry and Discipleship department.  Had a huge number of changes, been asked lots of questions, and yet delivered consistently.  They;ve been unsettling times, and have taken a long time, as we seek to change direction of travel rather than quick changes.

During the process started every meeting with prayer.  More than a quick nod to God during oepning of bags, but led some themes of being on the threshold, trail blazing God.

On the Threshold

We have lots of new things happening, but this threshold demands an urgent change.  Linda Woodhead spoke at a conference on the latest statistics from the census, which makes for sober reading.  She had never come across an organisation of the church for a collective ability to ignore the facts.  Especially important is what is happening the younger groups and how they see the church as irrelevant.

If you use a SatNav your destination is the first thing you think of and the last place you get to.  That’s the vision that’s laid out, the values, and how we tick is that destination.  Then it programmes and works out where you are.  On holiday in Ireland a few years ago, got utterly lost, asked for directions to Shannon.  He was told “well now, I wouldn’t be starting from here” but here is where we are.  That is where the direction of travel will be set, and how the resourcing of travel will be.

Usual Sunday attendance has a downward trend from 2006 over 22k to 2011 over 20k.  Confirmations again on a downward cycle.  Funerals are a signifcant opporunity, and again a large downward trend.  This is not unique to Winchester, but the Church.  Age profiles of Clergy and SSM and Readers are very high.

Trailblazer God

English people with no French language trying to order coffee and cake – which the waitress didn’t understand so they shout louder again and again.  The different languages we are speaking don’t get any easier if you shout louder.

The typical Christian is a young black women – we have an awful long way to go to catch up understanding the world.  Not just new ways of reading the map.  The M1 is littered with distribution centres, and the motorway is clogged with lorries, too often we’ve been warehouses and we need to become distribution centres close to information highways.

You listen to things, you thiink it is amazing, the hairs go on the back of your neck, but how do I explain it, bottle the enthusiasm and explain to my parish?  My diary is rammed, how am I going to do this – how can I integrate this?  How do we go back and prepare for revival?  This department will be one of the most critical parts of it.

Previously was a Diocesan Missioner, thought the job was to do Mission and Evangelism, but after a year realised not spending much time with non-Christians.  Was worried he wasn’t supposed to be doing that.  Your job is to convert the church is what he heard God say.  Convert the church to a mission and evangelism agenda.  So many fantastic opportunities.

Abiding by Ben Quashi refers on p. 155 to Shechinah showing God as trailblazer leading the way for the camp.  Re-Pitching The Tent by Richard Joys is worth reading.  We want to showcase all that is of excellence in Cathedral and Big Top.

Global church needs an understanding of

  • doing local mission with global awareness
  • participating in global mission
  • learning from the global church internationally
  • receiving the global church locally

Media and communication is critical.  How our lobbying voice can be a support and challenge to politicians with partnership for the Anglican voice.  How do we liaise with our church schools – our other congregation – whether or not they are church schools or not.  Doing more to develop diocesan global partnerships.

Transforming God

The Transforming Nature of God, remembering how much has been done, remembring St. John the Divine through the programme Call the Midwife – it was prophetic work.  In terms of our ministry and faith devlopment how about every church being ready for birth, for life to be born there.  The Clapham Sect leading to the CMS and now Divine Chocolate as a reminder, personally was hoping for rose petals and someone to rub him down late at night!  The Trussell Trust and the amazing work they are doing.

What needs transforming?  We need to be there to hold the hand of those who are utterly terrified of this.  The SatNav if you go wrong, if you take a detour, will help get you back on course.  We need people on the team who help recalculate the journey or give encouragement when on the right road.

The specific task is the conversion to the new route of travel.  To help define with us the strategic vision, to encourage and resource the discipling of people.  So key recommendations are about blending the best of old and new with the disicpleship of all people at every stage of faith.

Mind the Gap

Bishop Tom spoke about the beatitudes.  Robert Warren wrote a great book about the beatitutdes and said those who mourn in the Greek is those who mind the gap – those who mind about those who weep, who have pain.

Recommendations

  • Team Leader/Third Archdeacon – in place to do the evaluation, the work and how.  Archdeacon should not get caught up in systems and structures, but create them to enable mission in and through the diocese.
  • Design and delivery of framework – how are we going to travel with people on the route map.
  • Vocation of all – royal priesthood – all called to the challenge of this task.
  • Support of the new
  • Pioneering for all and not for the few – James’ DVD shows a mixed economy – a blend of tradition and pioneering with permission and freedom to fail.

Were 67 recommendations in total in the detailed report on the website.

Motion

  1. Approves the direction of travel as set out in the summary of the mission, ministry and discipleship review.
  2. Approves the creation of an Archdeacon for Mission Development, to be responsible for those areas of work summarised in the report.
  3. Requests the Bishop’s Council to continue to work through more detailed recommendations in developing a new mission and ministry strategy.

 

Questions for review

  • What excites you about this?
  • What do you think is missing?
  • Where is God calling you to contribute/participate in this?
  • What resources do we/I need “on the ground” as we travel in this direction?

 

Discussion

  • Why an ArchDeacon as we have mirrored clergy-lay?
  • +Tom Wright’s teaching and preaching has been enormously powerful, we can’t see that input into church life in the document.
  • Ethnic diversity is lacking at this conference, and so want to see a focus on that?
  • Have the group considered the growth of the London 2020 vision and how we can learn lessons from?
  • Does this person need to be ordained?
  • Can we approve one element but not another?
  • A commitment to excellence – delivering excellence if asking people to attend training etc., more individually centred flexibility to enable
  • How is this going to be funded?
  • The laity could be harnessed but this language needs to link with them.

Bishop Tim’s response: ArchDeacons carry some responsibilities that allow them to do things that others can’t do.  This is an essential part of how the church works – showing how important we see it is.  More significant to have ArchDeacon than to have a Director.  An ArchDeacon will be listened to in a way that others quite frankly won’t.  An ArchDeacon globally carries weight and is able to open the doors.

MOTION CARRIED

The “Chips” Principle

Kurt Johnston

I loved this article from Kurt, on the Simply Youth Ministry mailout last week:

I think I first heard about the “chips” principle when I was working for former pastor and current leadership guru John Maxwell.

The concept is a simple one: In church ministry you are constantly putting “chips” in your pocket, or taking them out. When you find yourself out of chips, you are out of luck and potentially out of a job. So you never want to run out of chips!

You get chips when you earn trust, when you handle an upset parent properly, when you help out another ministry, when you say “yes” to something the senior pastor asks of you, and so on.

You lose chips when you break trust, come home from camp late, say a joke from stage you shouldn’t have, whine to your senior pastor about your schedule, ignore a parent’s concerns, and so on.

Because I want you to have lots of chips in your pockets as you minister in your setting, let me share the three things that I’ve discovered consistently put the most chips in the pockets of youth workers:

  • LONGEVITY—Nothing puts more chips in your pocket than simply sticking around for a while! When you weather storms and turn down other opportunities for “greener pastures,” you put tons of chips in your pocket. In the revolving-door world of youth ministry, staying committed to the teenagers in your church for a prolonged period of time gives you chips galore…which you’ll need when you have to cash some in because you played the cinnamon challenge game at camp.
  • ATTITUDE—Sometimes it’s not what you do but how you do it that puts chips in your pocket! Agreeing to emcee the senior adult potluck doesn’t automatically win you favor. Agreeing to do it enthusiastically, and expressing gratitude that you were asked, is what earns you chips. And you’ll need those chips because you will have to cash some in if you ask a room full of 80-year-olds to play Twister! It’s been said that your attitude determines your altitude. I like that, and have found it to be true.
  • COMPETENCE—For most churches your involvement in their youth ministry, whether paid or volunteer, is a skill-based opportunity. You add chips to your pocket every time you do something well (unless of course, your attitude stinks). You add even more chips to your pocket when you consistently do something well that others on your youth team can’t. So look for ways to do what you do well and do it often! This will give you lots of chips that you will need to cash in when you miscount and leave a student at a rest station on your youth group road trip.

How full are your pockets?

Thanks for loving students,
Kurt Johnston

Books I have read: Who Stole My Church

who-stole-my-church

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading Who Stole My Church by Gordon MacDonald.  Travelling back from the Digital Children conference at Cliff College I had a chance to finish it on the train.  The concept of the book is a story, a narrative of an imaginary church in a New England town which examines issues and tensions that are experienced as a church goes on a journey of change.

During the narrative we see the Pastor of the Church meeting with a group of older people for a “Discovery Group” exploring their concerns and frustrations with change ranging from worship, name of the church, prayer, mission and more.  Through the story I could recognise many of the characters in the people I have met in the four churches I have worked in.  It reminded me of the fables that Patrick Lencioni has so brilliantly written.

I borrowed this book from my library but enjoyed it so much that I’ve added it to my wish list.  It is a book that I would come back to several times to think how am I sharing vision, how am I enabling people to fill ownership of decisions, and some really interesting thoughts on how to bring different generations together in church something that I will reflect on more here on the blog in the coming days.