Hi, welcome to our virtual coffee shop. Pull up a chair, take the load of your feet. Let's chat.
who are you, where you from, what do you do in life?
I'm a pastor for the Baptist Church.
I get you a drink? Cappucino, earl grey, dandelion and burdock, pale ale?
you like a doughnut or pastry to go with that?
if you had to describe the church/project/experiment/thingy you are currently
involved with in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
In some ways, it feels like we're somewhere between a church with house groups and a group of house churches.
you an instigator? / new recruit? / have absolutely no recollection of
how you got involved?
One of the things that gripped me was reading a small booklet by Stuart Murray-Williams and Anne Wilkinson-Hayes entitled, 'Hope from the margins: new ways of being church.' They look at a number of different expressions of Church and mention in passing that the Church or Christ the Saviour, in Washington DC began by asking themselves, What is the mission that God has called us to? What kind of church do we need to be to fulfil that mission? And What spiritual disciplines are needed to sustain that kind of church in that kind of mission?
Our church was seeking to reach out to Daventry but we were failing to come up with any strategies for effective evangelism. I came across these questions and shared them with the Church and we were all struck by how applicable they were for us. It turns out that we didn't need a strategy as God had already come up with one: Church. What was needed was not a super-clever method for blitzing our town, but - and this was particularly relevant given the nature of life in Daventry - a way of being church that effectively embodied the gospel for the people living here. That would obviously be different according to the people we were trying to reach.
So, we have committed ourselves to releasing small groups of disciples across Daventry, with each group spending time and energy discovering what it means to embody the grace of God for their estate. This may involve sacrifice and 'dying' to what is comfortable for us - but that is what being the body of Christ is all about.
do you value most about being part of it?
excites you most about it?
anyone ever turned up out of the blue not knowing what to expect?
I'm okay with that. I've got no problem with Cell churches as my whole approach to church structure is fairly pragmatic. The Baptist thing makes me cringe though. We (Baptists) used to be known as radicals, but - like so many cutting-edge movements of the past - we institutionalised and stagnated. For the Baptists that stagnation took place during the Victorian era and the age of pulpit giants like Charles Spurgeon. The thing is that Spurgeon was considered uncouth and worldly. He was anything but conservative! My response to those who question our Baptist credentials is that it is precisely because I am Baptist that I cannot consider doing things the way they've always been done.
Conservatism is great if you want to sustain external structures or guarantee the same results you've always been getting. What is needed today is people who are willing to risk it all - money, reputation, their very lives - to see the mission of God come to fulfilment.
Three words that describe your attitude to 'being church' in the big wide world: Incarnation, Incarnation, Incarnation!
The concept captures so much for me: it includes the idea of being sent on a mission - of actually *being* that mission - as well as sacrifice and service, being a means of grace, pointing to God and showing the way, flexibility and more.
words that DON'T:
have this weird dream - you meet Jesus face to face.
the big secret you're itching to share with everyone?
would your 'emerging church survival kit' contain?
else you'd like to share with us before you have to rush off?
Good to see you. Have a good day!