Revitalisation

There’s not much time left until Christmas now but there’s probably just enough time to order John James’ excellent little book “Renewalrenewal: Church Revitalisation along the way of the Cross” from our good friends 10 of those.

John is the pastor of Crossway church in Northfield, Birmingham. In 2010, shortly after finishing at Theological College, he went with a small team from another local church to help a struggling church. That church had chosen not to die but to seek revitalisation so that it could be a viable gospel witness in a needy area.

I’ve had the privilege of preaching at Crossway. Today, you’ll find a lively gathering of people covering all generations and from a variety of backgrounds. This is a church that is growing not by transferring Christians from one church to the next but by getting out into the community and sharing the good news. In the book, you’ll find stories of people whose lives have been changed by the good news. This is not about big rallies and mass conversions. Rather, it’s about steady discipleship, 1-1 study, meeting with families in homes.  It’s about being an everyday church.

The book makes a clear and compelling case for church revitalisation and its valid place  alongside  more popular evangelism strategies such as church planting. It then takes you on a journey through the life of a revitalisation project, through the ups and downs, confronting the challenges and navigating pitfalls along the way. Continue reading

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Work and family – parents and children, slaves and masters (Ephesians 6)

What is “Spiritual warfare?” For some of us, the phrase will immediately conjure up Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings-esque images with evil spirits flying in and needing to be repelled.

When we looked at Ephesians 5:22-32 and Paul’s instructions to husbands and wives, we saw that this section of his letter is all linked back to the instruction to be “filled with the Spirit.”  In other words, Being filled with the Spirit is all about living out our everyday lives at home, work and in the church in light of the grace we have received in Christ.

Similarly, the whole section points us forward to Ephesians 6:10ff where Paul describes the armour of God we need to fight spiritual war.  Spiritual Warfare is about living in light of God’s grace through Christ in our everyday lives at home, work and church. Continue reading

Wives and Husbands (Ephesians 5)

How do you spot a Spirit filled Christian? Maybe you look for that radiant glow. It’s like they float into the room and their face shines. Maybe, it’s all about their gifts. Can they speak in tongues, heal, prophesy?  Maybe it’s whether others recognise them and give them a title like pastor, prophet, missionary … Continue reading

Adore (2) Isn’t it selfish for God to demand our worship?

“But if God demands that we love and worship him doesn’t that make him selfish and self-centred?  I don’t want to worship a God that needs and demands my worship” Continue reading

God Predestines

So, if God is sovereign and eternal and if God’s will always comes to pass, then doesn’t that lead us to a particularly thorny question? The topic of Predestination has been one of the most explosive and divisive issues in church life.  It famously led to quarrels between John Wesley’s Methodists and other leading Evangelicals, causing serious damage to the work of evangelism during the 18th Century Revival.[1] Continue reading