Would the Early Church have Tweeted?

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The churches that we’re planting don’t have Twitter accounts. They don’t have Facebook pages. They don’t even have web sites. I guess that makes me some kind of social media Luddite or something. Partly it’s due to the very early stage we’re at, but even then, I think the conventional wisdom is that setting up the web site—or perhaps these days, the Twitter account—is the first thing you do when setting yourself up as a church; it’s your virtual signboard. Read more about Would the Early Church have Tweeted?

Learning to love the liberals

When I was growing up, the Church was very simple—there was the Evangelicals, who had the truth of the Gospel, and then there was everyone else: Anglicans (who were all nominal), Catholics, and liberals. There was another very simple equation: Evangelicals spread the Gospel and try to win converts, liberals didn’t really talk about Jesus but just did social and political stuff. You can still see remnants of these equations, in the way we talk about churches today. Read more about Learning to love the liberals

You in your small corner and I in mine

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I wrote recently about the danger of doing, and specifically of the danger of chasing the kind of activity and achievement that feeds the ego, and about making the choice to go the quiet, invisible way. This has become a running theme not just in my work but in my personal life as well over the past few years. I have been facing the need—the urgent need—to let my dreams die. Read more about You in your small corner and I in mine

The Way of Life

I’ve been reading (and, let’s face it, publishing) a lot of books recently about discipleship. New discipleship programmes are a bit of a booming industry at the moment: Neil Cole, Frank Viola, Tony Dale, Tim Miller, Mike Breen, Alan Hirsh, the list goes on and on, and the premise of each of their books is essentially this: “What would it look like if the Early Church wrote a discipleship training manual? Read more about The Way of Life

Base ecclesial colonialism, part 3

I was planning to write a post defending Rick Warren (which, let’s face it, is news enough) from the suspicion and criticism aimed at his plans to establish a Saddleback Church franchise in London. I was going to say something like this:

I’ve been on both sides of this debate: initially as a Christian when a new denomination was looking to plant “one of their churches” in a very well-churched area; and then on the other side right now, as I’ve been questioned for planting churches in an area which area does have churches in it. I don’t believe as some (including the agency we work with) that church planting is necessary the best way to share the Gospel, nor do I believe it is the commission we’ve been given. (which I think said something about disciples and nothing about churches, which makes it a lot harder to carry out. If I can plant a church, then any fool can.) But there is still a merit in planting churches, even in an area with lots of churches already. First, people are different and we should contextualize the Gospel to as many tastes and subcultures as there are—no single local church can hope or expect to serve everyone. So there is always room for a church which is bringing something new to the area. Second, what’s the threshold for describing an area as well-churched or under-churched? You may actually find that an area which appears well-churched actually has difficulty serving all the people in that area, if you just try running the numbers.

Obviously the first point doesn’t apply to Saddleback, since it is practically the apotheosis of franchise Evangelicalism—it both defines and reflects the culture which many, many other churches are trying to achieve. Which leaves point two: try running the numbers and see. So I tried running the numbers. Read more about Base ecclesial colonialism, part 3

What is to stop me from being baptized?

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We did Acts 8 in house church Bible study a couple of weeks back:

So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. Now as they were going along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water! What is to stop me from being baptized?”

Some as pastors and teachers

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Bible reading in church today included Ephesians 4:11:

It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.

I’ve been involved in quite a few pastorless churches recently and I know how much they have cried out for a pastor to come (and save them?). People find it really hard to be in a church without a pastor.

Reading today’s passage, I can’t help wondering what would happen if we found it just as hard to be in a church without apostles, prophets, or evangelists. Read more about Some as pastors and teachers

To the women first

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When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared first to the women, he must have known that, in those days, the testimony of a woman would be considered half as valuable as that of a man. He must have known that the disciples would not believe them.

In fact, if he knew those things and he knew what he was doing, then he must have appeared first to the women because he knew that the disciples would not believe them. Read more about To the women first