Expository Worship and 2 Samuel

I thought I’d share an example with you of our congregation leaders thinking through how to connect up the teaching series with the rest of the service over the next few months.  We are coming to the end of 2 Samuel (ch 14-24) and so we did two things. First of all, the preaching team met together to look at the big picture of what is coming up. The the congregation leadership team (11:15) spent a bit of time thinking about implications for songs, prayers, responses additional readings etc. This is what they came up with.

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Who is anti-Semitism a problem for?

I wrote a little while back about anti-Semitism.  I also had a little disagreement with a Christian news editor who tweeted the image at the heart of part of the recent political controversy (the painting removed in Tower Hamlets). It was my view that republishing the offending image was unnecessary we don’t need to show something for people to know it is wrong (you didn’t find people publishing examples of the type of pornography that Damien Green was alleged to have on his computer).  The response I got back was that people needed to see the image in order to decide for themselves whether it was anti-Semitic. Continue reading

Preach carefully – looking after victims in church

I’ve been writing a few articles in response to a challenge raised on twitter about whether churches were safe places to refer abuse victims. Continue reading

Bullies

I recently wrote about how we can work so that churches are a safe place for abuse victims to turn to.  I want to follow up by saying a bit more about how we deal with abusers and bullies. Abusers are bullies. They use power to influence, control and manipulate others who they perceive as weaker for their own gain and gratification. That power may be based on physical strength, hierarchical position, popularity or the ability to influence through charisma or intellectual capability. Continue reading

Plural eldership – principle or practice

At our Union Learning Community today we ended up talking about how we approach the question of plral leadership. We spent a little bit of time talking about approaches that emphasise a single leader within the hierarchy. What We actually tried to do here was be fully empathetic with the view and understand the arguments for it ( I may try and include a post on this sometime). This was stretching. However, I think that our group remained convinced at the end that leadership in general and leadership in particular should be plural.  Continue reading

In the know … a follow up to “The urban forgotten”

I have a friend, they were invited by the local vicar along to church some years back and quickly got very involved. More than that, it is oh so clear that they have had a wonderful encounter with the Gospel. They love Scripture and set aside time each day to read it and pray. There’s only one problem, I don’t think they would really have much awareness about labels like Evangelical, let alone being “Reformed.” Continue reading

Why is theological training vital for urban mission?

We are committed to training people for urban mission. A significant part of that training includes practical experience of Gospel ministry but it also includes a lot of “Theology.”

Now, “Theology” at times has had a bad reputation. It can be a bit of a dirty word, especially amongst those who see the urgency of the mission and get frustrated by those who seem to be bogged down in the theory.

Theology is often associated with academia. It is seen as remote, cerebral and out of touch. It has often been linked to liberalism and the denial of Scripture’s authority and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yet, theology, properly speaking and done properly is the planter and the preacher’s best friend. Indeed, no-one should be preaching without taking time to study some theology. Those seem like strong words, so why do I say them? Continue reading