Not just another mission conference
Okey Dokey ... just to continue my blogging
Today a couple of us from college gave up our day off from lectures and placement to head up from the South to pay a fleeting visit to the bright lights of Belfast.To a conference run by "THE" diocese :o)
It was great to hear what was happening around the parishes in Down and Dromore. In a church which can get negative about itself sometimes it was refreshing, revitalising to hear church leaders speak about renewing the vision of parishes, challenging the status quo. Looking at the positives and the negatives.
I went to two of the seminars as well as sitting in on Bishop Harold's Keynote address and all were impressive - and I am not just saying this stuff here because its down and dromore but putting it here because it's important to look at mission at a local level as well as in the international level.
This is going to be quite a long blog ... but no appologies for that ...
Harold's Keynote began with a quote from Bill Hybels - The local church is the hope of the world
He then went on to describe a vision of the church on this island has had over the years a rich heritage of landmarks - Ancient landmarks in all arts and parts and we need to develop what we have. Which is amazing to think that what we have inherited from past generations needs to be revitalised and reenergised with vision.
Throughout the diocese we have connections made in networks we need to keep these links of support and communication so that they can be used to build strength within the diocese.
The realisation that there are gaps - the analogy he used was gaps in the cheese (from the fresh expressions movement)- there are people groups within parishes which are missing from the pews we need to actively target them.
He explained the good points of the diocese and the Bad news but for each of the Bad news items presented solutions on how to solve such items.
It was also presented that there are 3 things which a focus group of students came up with for their ideal church
Relevant Bible Teaching
Vibrant, Engaged worship
The need to be a welcoming church also featured highly.
All of this stuff was reinforced by Mark Melluish from St pauls ealing who gave some points on how to grow churches
EXCELLENCE - Everything has to be done well, to the best quality
GENEROUSITY - everything needs to be in generous supply "if you don't eat - don't meet" conversation happens over coffee and biccies naturally - why not be providing things that help break down barriers
BLESS - We are called to go out and go to where the blessing is - we are called to be a blessing to the world
BELONG -People want to belong to something - we need to make that possible for people -
BELIEVE - the church needs to provide the opportunities for people to believe, to have space for people to come and explore their questions programmes like alpha or tough question groups may help BUT NOT as a one off thing
BECOME - the church need to allow people to become the people God called them to be.
MISSION & OUTREACH - Prioritise and set aside a bit of a budget for it!
PLAN THE YEAR - What are you planning for the year - what can people invite people to? and what will follow it that you can invite them to?
PLAN THE FOLLOWUP NOT JUST THE EVENT
GIVE A LEAD - if you as a leader are asking people to do it then you need to be doing it!
LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES - where can the church serve - the example was given that Danish pastries and coffees to local businesses, language schools, parenting classes, after school clubs
GENERATIONAL FOCUSED EVENTS - Kids, Ramblers, Garden visits, Films
INTEREST GROUPS - Jazz dancing, Arts, Football, Netball, Classical Music, Bookclubs ....
WHOLE CHURCH & SMALL GROUP EVENTS to bless the community
PREACHING THE GOSPEL MESSAGE REGULARLY
ATMOSPHERE - welcome and expectation
The Mission to the More Affluent
The afternoon session I attended was another very thought provoking session
A chruch that is missional understands that God's mission, calls and sends the Church of Jesus Chirst to be a missionary church in its own society and in the culture in which it finds itself ( Eddie Gibbs and Ian Coffey ' church Next p55)
This seminar started with an exercise to look at affluence
In world terms -Ireland is 4th and UK 13th in GDP per Capita
In the second quater of 2007 car sales in NI increased by 32% on the previous yr
40% of households in the UK have average incomes of over £40,000
Avg Household debt (exc mortages) in the UK 2006 stands at £8,600
Total Credit card debt in the uk in 2007 stands at £51bn
The avg house price in jun 2007 in N.I was £250k
The avg elect appliances on standby or charging at anyone in the uk household - 20
In 2005 the avg outstading debt if students attending scottish univ was £5795
In 2006 ice cream sales in the UK totalled 1.5 billion ( More than the total Education budget of the whole of Sub saharan Africa!)
all this as 1 Billion people in the world are living on less than 50p Per Day
Well, This week is another part of my journey on discovering about prayer and what it is all about - it's my first opportunity with a couple of people to organise a 24/7 prayer room in college.
It started at 9am this morning and will continue right through this week.
If you don't know that much about 24-7 take a look at their website www.24-7prayer.com - especially look at the vision of the thing - its quite amazing
Please join with us as we pray - pray for us, pray for the world, pray for CMSI Mission partners, pray for the staff, pray for ... what ever you like as nike says JUST DO IT!
Added on 12/11/07 at 12:25
Missing the blessings??
This is a strange wee thought I had the other night.
On sunday, after a busy day on placement, I arrived back into my room and was quite exausted. then someone said - that they were going to go to CORE chruch in the evening - mmm... all day had been thinking about it and wanting to go ... but then could I really be bothered?
I had just spent 5/6 hrs in a church why go again
In the end I did go and boys a boyz it was really good - the worship was great, the speaker spoke directly into the situations. The guy who prayed with me at the ministry time again spoke into various situations!
well this has got me thinking some strange but important questions
For members of the congregation - what are we missing by lying back and saying - "I couldn't be bothered going today" or "not tonight - I'm too busy"
For those preaching - what an amazing opportunity for God to use them - not by preaching something they have rolled out before but looking to new bread for taht day. Keeping in step with the Spirit and proclaiming the word.
Surely that is what is needed in our churches?
Well thats my wee bit of a rant for today! :-)
Added on 06/11/07 at 09:02