Autumn youth mission resources

Because You're Love 2016

Because You’re Loved – free resources for autumn youth mission

If you are going to Soul Survivor look out for news about HOPE Revolution’s schools’ mission week 17th-23rd October 2016 – Because You’re Loved. All the ideas and resources are free to use. Find out more here and get planning on where you will be bringing the love this autumn.

Leaving evangelism to ‘professionals’ is missionary suicide

Leaving evangelism to ‘professionals’ is missionary suicide

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury told Premier that any church that leaves evangelism to the ‘professionals’ is committing missionary suicide.

Speaking about the need for everyone to invest in sharing their faith, he said:

“Any church that leaves things to the ‘professionals’ is committing missionary suicide basically.  The responsibility of demonstrating in word and works the love of Jesus Christ, in a way that is deeply attractive is the responsibility of every single Christian. Always. Everywhere.”

Archbishop Justin spoke out about how the Church has failed to equip people to share their faith for too long.

He said:

“If you go back to 1944/5 there was a report for the Church of England called Towards the Conversion of England prepared for William Temple.  It said there will never be a conversion of England until every Christian disciple is equipped to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  That has always been one of the greatest weaknesses in many churches – not just Church of England churches. We do not spend enough time equipping people to share their faith.”

 

Youth ministry as a social enterprise

Youth ministry as a social enterprise

I was fascinated to read about Mowtown Teen Lawn Care which was set up as a social enterprise part of a church’s youth ministry.

Matt Overton serves full time as associate pastor of youth and family ministries at Columbia Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, Washington. Mowtown is the business arm of Columbia Teen Enterprises, a new youth ministry and jobs program Overton founded with the help of church members.

The high-school-age crew works on Saturdays, earning fair market wages as part of Mowtown’s business model. But the jobs aren’t separate from the ministry — working for Overton involves much more than earning a few extra bucks raking leaves.

With the blessing of his congregation, Overton hopes to use the landscaping business to reboot the way his church reaches out to Generation Z: youths and young adults born at the turn of the 21st century.

“In youth ministry, we attract kids all the time with Cheetos, couches and games,” he said. “Why not attract them with jobs and work and life skills?”

I think this is a fascinating model for two reasons: firstly intergenerational ministry following the Sticky Faith research is seen to being crucial in the development of a secure faith; but secondly we are seem to be seeing a decline in full-time youth ministry roles, partly due to issues around the long-term financial sustainability of it, this missional entrepreneurship creates an opportunity for a church to develop a model that can help sustain youth ministry.

Global Connections conference: From where I’m sitting

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.

Global Connections Conference: From Where I’m Sitting: Mission from different perspectives.

gc-logo-300px

I’ve been excited to hear some of the details of the next Global Connections Conference, running 3rd-5th May 2016.  The conference is described as:

Often defining what mission is all about is left to missiologists and those who think of themselves as experts. Our next residential conference (which takes place every two years or so) will give the opportunity to hear from voices which are often left out. Entitled From Where I’m Sitting: Mission from different perspectives, we will be able to listen to: the under thirties, women in mission, missionaries from the majority world and leaders of international networks all giving their perspective on mission today. Our Bible reflections will be led by Steve Timmis from Crowded House. See our website for further information and to grab an early bird place.

Code of Best Practice for church partnerships

church_to_church_code

Do check out The Code of Best Practice for Church to Church Partnerships (C2CP).  

Global Connection have designed this to provide help for churches to think through these issues as they form partnerships with other churches, denominations or local organisations in cross-cultural settings both abroad and in the UK.

These brief principles and guidelines have been developed by a group of church leaders from a variety of backgrounds, all of whom have significant experience in cross-cultural partnerships. It is an excellent resource, as well as being short and succinct: so please make it known to leaders and mission groups in your church. Now available to download from their website.

Books I have read: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples

Books I have read: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples

Multiply Francis Chan

I’ve always enjoyed reading Francis Chan’s writings, a few years ago I was inspired by his book Crazy Love, so I was looking forward to reading Multiply: Disciples making disciples.  As a youth minister I’m incredibly passionate to resource young people to share their faith with their friends – they do such a better job than I every could do.  Not because I can’t share faith, or because I can’t answer the tough questions, but because I don’t have the shared context that they have.

The book can be used for personal devotions, but works well for a group to look through together.  It is split into five sections:

  1. Living as a Disciple Maker
  2. Living as the Church
  3. How to Study the Bible
  4. Understanding the Old Testament
  5. Understanding the New Testament

This book would work well as a post Alpha or other evangelistic course for those who wanted to develop a stronger foundation to their new-found faith.

We used the first section themed around what is a disciple and what does it mean to share our faith with our group of 11-14 year olds who really enjoyed looking at the material.

I thoroughly recommend taking the time to read this book and the additional resources developed for it.

Spring Harvest 2014: Unreached People Groups

Spring Harvest 2014

This afternoon I went to a seminar led by the fab Eddie Arthur on Unreached People Groups:

 

The first Christian missionaries to the Kouya people in the Ivory Coast were in 1958.  They were rejected by all but one person.  The first Christian convert in 1958, the second in 1981 – 23 years later.  For 23 years he had to pray, do fellowship, read the scriptures in another language.  In 1988 missionaries turned up to translate the scriptures into his language.  He prayed for thirty years and ended up with a bald fat bloke from Sunderland.  He could have expected the Archbishop of Canterbury or

 

There is a church in every village, the scriptures are available, this last week the Jesus film came out in Kouya.  Most of us hadn’t heard of the Kouya but God had and is reaching out to the hidden peoples.

God answers prayer – yes the prayers of his faithful missionary prayer groups but also the prayers of these hidden groups.

God does thing in surprising ways, it isn’t how you expect it.

 

“My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else.” Romans 15:20.  We take the idea of a British church for granted, but if the Roman missionaries hadn’t come here we wouldn’t be Christians without pioneer missionaries.  The only way that people come to our faith is when we go to the places that has no church.

 

The Good News

Seoul in South Korea in 1900 has no churches.  In the year 2000 there were 7000 churches.  So much so that the Korean church is making plans to plant churches and supporting planting of church in the UK!

14 million of 140 million Dalits (sometimes called the Untouchables) are committed Christians.  There are higher percentages of Christians in comparison with anywhere in Europe.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim population in the world.  They used to release religious statistics annually, but now don’t do that as they’re embarrassed as to how many Christians there were.  Now estimated to be about 15%.

Estimated that there are more followers of Jesus in China than members of the Communist party.

Countries with fastest growing evangelical population:

19.6% per year – Iran – both the Persian and the Kurdish groups.

16.7% per year – Afghanistan – growing by 1 in 6 every year – that’s huge growth.  A Christian had been asked to head up adult education in a whole province due to the Churches being the best at helping people learn to read.

8.9% per year – The Gambia – where British Tourists go in the middle of Senegal.  Strongly Muslim country, but the Church still growing at nearly 10% a year.

 

This is the most exciting time in history, there has been no time in history as to when more people were coming to faith.  More people in the Islamic world have come to Christ in the last 25 years than in the entire history of Christian mission.

 

The centre of gravity of world Christianity has shifted – it used to be White – British, Europe and America alongside some colonies.  There are more Christians in Africa, Latin America and Asia.  God is reaching out into the world and reaching to people in ways he has never done before.  We don’t see it in our country perhaps but it doesn’t negate what is happening.

 

The Bad News

Worldwide, only 1 in 7 Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus know a Christian.  If you are born a Hindu the likelihood is you will go your whole life without ever meeting a Christian.  Increasingly the same if you are born an atheist.

 

The Worse News

85% of Christian Workers are in locations where there role is to support the existing church, focussed on maintaining churches, not focussed on reaching out to the world.  In money terms about 10% goes to the church from Christians, of that, a further 10% goes to cross-cultural international missions, so about 1% of the total money Christians own.  Of that 10% goes on reaching the unreached, so about 0.1% of our income as Christians goes on spreading the gospel in places that have never heard of it before.

 

Many churches in the UK form links with countries such as Tanzania, Gambia etc. due to British language, nice beaches, good safaris, and more % Christians than the UK has.  Very rare for a church to have links to Iraq, Afghanistan, Central African Republic.

 

Who are the Unreached

It’s easy when you are a Bible translator – they have the Bible or they don’t.  To say whether they have Christians is harder, and so there are lots of different definitions:

A people group is unreached when the number of Evangelical Christians is less than 2% of its population.

It is further called unengaged when there is no church planting strategy consistent with Evangelical faith and practice under way.

Lots of questions – why 2%, why Evangelical, helpful for strategy – it leaves us 6,545 Unreached People Groups, of those 3,055 are Unengaged – they have no Christian witness amongst them.  This is the biggest issue that faces our Church today.

 

These statistics help to focus prayer, missionary ideas.  The problems is that you can’t take the statistics too seriously.  One of the groups on the list from the Lausanne congress is where Sue Arthur was working with three denominations including two pastors!  It also focuses on smaller ethnic groups, missing out that the majority live in cities and the mission strategy is focussed on rural communities and not the mega-cities e.g. Tokyo.  People groups are complex some inheritance comes through the father, some through the mother so when inter-marrying across people groups happen it is not straightforward to put them in a neat box as seen in books and or websites.

 

Is the UK really reached?  We probably have more than 2% of evangelicals, so technically yes, but there are large swathes of communities that have no Christian community.  How much contact do we have with our neighbours from other religious backgrounds.

 

What Should We Do?

It’s always the biggest question.  We need to revisit our mission priorities.  Mission notice boards have all sorts of interests including poverty relief, justice issues, someone teaching theology somewhere, but very often nobody who is reaching out where no one has planted a church before.

 

Get in touch with an agency focusing on the unreached.  When churches do their own mission they tend to stay within a certain comfort level.  Talk to WEC, Interserve, Friends International, Wycliffe and others.

 

Pray – it is the most important thing.  It feels like a cop out to say it is the most important thing to do as it feels like you aren’ doing anything.  But God has limited his own sovereignty and action he waits for us to ask, he wants us to be involved.  God answers our prayer, and God will answer the unreached through the prayers of his people.

Unreached people of the day – you get an email or tweet to help you pray for groups.

The Joshua Project – daily prayer for a different people group.

Bibleless People Project – daily prayers for a different people group.

First Gospel Prayer – for four years Wycliffe will send you info to pray for one people group, and at the end of the four years hope to have a gospel and Jesus film in their language.

 

What about the unreached on our doorsteps?

The hardest missionary situation is post-Christian, post-modern Europe.  Not likely to be beaten or thrown into jail.  Harder than where there is a strong religion as people are used to talking about their believes.

 

People often say: “Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words” – a misquote of St. Francis, but we need to explain why, otherwise we have hungry people still at risk of hell.

 

We often look at Matthew’s commission.  We need to move from that commission to this commission from Jesus: John 20:21 – “Peace be with you; Just as the father has sent me, so I send you.”

 

Every year there are 50 plans for world evangelisation, the fact they have to keep making them says something about their success.  The Commission gets us excited, but God balances this by saying do it in the way that he sent Jesus – in humility, not to order people around, born in a poor home, rode into Jerusalem in triumph on a donkey, always pointing at his father.  We will only reach the unreached people groups who we give up our life – literally or in comfort – for those people.

 

Q&A

What are we seeing that is working in the UK?  20 Schemes – planting churches in 20 housing schemes seeing drug addicts and prostitutes coming to faith.

Moving into an estate in Brixton to work with drug addicts, where do you start?  Start with prayer and making friends – which takes time.

How long does it take?  How long is a piece of string, in Britain we are finding people trust each other less.  People meet in the pub together instead of in the homes.  People work longer hours, they don’t want to spend time meeting with Christians after a long day.  Take 15-30 years to translate the Bible normally for Wycliffe.

Do Messy Church weekly as focussing on relationships, not enough to do it once a month. 

The importance of understanding culture when doing mission

Monkey and Fish

I saw this great story on the importance of understanding culture when doing mission over at Our Afghan Adventures:

A typhoon had temporarily stranded a monkey on an island. In a secure protected place, while waiting for the raging waters to recede, he spotted a fish swimming against the current. It seemed obvious to the monkey that the fish was struggling and in need of assistance.  Being of kind heart, the monkey resolved to help the fish.

A tree precariously dangled over the very spot where the fish seemed to be struggling. At considerable risk to himself, the monkey moved far out on a limb, reached down and snatched the fish from the threatening waters. Immediately scurrying back to the safety of his shelter, he carefully laid the fish on dry ground. For a few moments the fish showed excitement, but soon settled into a peaceful rest. Joy and satisfaction swelled inside the monkey. He had successfully helped another creature.

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.

 

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.