Who really believes in a trickle down effect?

The trickle down theory, is the concept that if the wealthy are free to get wealthier then there will be a trickle down of that wealth to the middle and working classes so all benefit. This means if you cut taxes at the top, then eventually all will eventually benefit. The approach is particularly associated with Thatcherite and Blairite economics. Continue reading

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Still not learning and still not repenting

The Church of England has announced it is providing £2.6 million to help revitalise church life in Newcastle. That’s right £2.6 million pound. That’s enough to pay for the salaries and building hire of 13 church plants over a 5 year period. Think of the difference this investment could make if the C of E were to partner with Oak Hill Theological College and Acts 29 to get 13 church leaders onto some of the neediest estates in the North East of England. Continue reading

We are looking for Gospel workers

Our desire as a local church in the urban West Midlands is to see people in our inner cities and on our estates come to faith in Jesus Christ. We see fields white for harvest but also that the labourers are few. If you have a passion to see people in urban Britain come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we’d love to invite you to come and join us in the mission field here. We are praying that God will send labourers into our harvest field. Continue reading

Getting to know the West Midlands

So, you are thinking about pastoral ministry in an urban area, maybe as a trainee, pastor, church planter or part of a revitalisation team. Where do you start? One thing I would encourage you to do is spend some time getting to know the area, getting a feel for the communities and cultures.  There’s a good role model for this. Paul spent time walking around Athens, observing. Continue reading

The challenge of reading about the working class

As part of my sabbatical, I’m doing some reading and writing around the subject of urban mission.  This includes spending a little bit of time thinking about class issues. There’s one problem with this. Who does research about working class people, who write studies, articles and books about them?  The answer is middle class people. Continue reading

Church planting: Can two views be right at the same time?

Pre-millenialists believe that Jesus will return and reign for 1000 years. Until then, the church must patiently endure and remain faithful. There will be times of persecution including one great tribulation. Christians should expect to be in the minority.

Post-Millenialists  believe that Christ’s millennial reign is happening now, before the return of Christ. They expect great growth in the church and Christians to have influence and power, even seeing Christian governments formed.

Both viewpoints claim to have evidence that their view is right. Pre-Mills point to the way that the church is small minority and the rise of hostile secular governments. Post-Mills point to great gospel growth around the world. Evidence seems to support both perspectives because at any one time, the church is seeing fruitful growth and struggle depending where you are.

I was thinking about this when reading two articles about church planting last week. Stephen Kneale argues that church planting has become popular -it’s the in vogue thing to do and there’s a certain status that goes with being a planter.  Ryan Burton King has responded by arguing that planting carries very little honour and there’s very little interest in  church planting.

Can both be right? Continue reading

Churches and Church plants, Pastors and Church Planters – what’s in a name?

Stephen Kneale has been writing about church planting and specifically about “church planters.” He’s been asking whether it is right to refer to people as “church planters.” His argument is that you are either a pastor who has a congregation to pastor or youu are someone who could be a pastor if and when you have a congregation. His main issue is with people describing themselves as church planters and their churches as church plants years after they planted. Continue reading