The danger of taking shortcuts in urban mission

I’ve suggested that the first step in “urban mission” is to step into and live in the culture. JH Bavinck writes about this stage in “The Science of Missions”

He is of course writing about traditional cross-cultural mission and he is writing 60 years ago but in that context, he says about the missionary:

“as soon as he sets foot in the place where he is going to work, he must face the question as to how he should approach the people. How must he win their confidence? How can he understand their inner life?” [1]

One of the biggest challenges is that the missionary is so completely different to the people he is going to witness to. Continue reading


In Context Training part 2: Subversive Fulfilment and a mission shaped syllabus

The other day I said that in context training needs to be framed by a missiology. So, I began to think about what that type of syllabus might look like. What if we used the Subversive Fulfilment framework that I’m engaging with for my sabbatical.

So here’s my “What If?” Continue reading

In context training needs to be … in context

There’s been a lot of rethinking and reforming going on around theological education in the UK. One of the big moves has been towards providing training away from the seminary campus and in the local context. There has always been the option of distance learning but the provision of Union’s Learning Communities model and Crosslands flexacademy take things up a level. Continue reading

Sabbatical: Refreshment, Reading and Visiting

So my sabbatical started a week ago. On the advise of a few people, I didn’t dive straight into study but took time this week to pause and reflect. This meant enjoying quite a bit of time with the phone off and away from email.  You know, life can be quite peaceful without email!

We spent a few days down in Kent. Sarah’s sister has just had a baby boy and so we got to spend a bit of time with the family. This also meant a visit to Rochester Baptist Church where I spent 10 years as a member before going to Oak Hill.

It was encouraging to see that the church is still growing. Every time we return we realise that there are more people that we don’t know. I would say that the majority of church members are people we wouldn’t remember and who wouldn’t remember us from when we lived in Kent. That’s a good thing. Continue reading

Men and women and the abortion debate

When I asked a couple of questions and shared a little of my view about abortion on twitter, I quickly got back responses to the affect of “shut up, it is nothing to do with you.” Here’s one example typical of that type of response:

“Okay, convince me that ANY man can have any concept of how it feels to be pregnant when there is any problem with that pregnancy, social, economic, biological, psychological. Why are there so many men in this debate? What do they think they can contribute?”[1] Continue reading

Legacy, individualism and abortion

I’m picking up on some of the examples of finding ourselves with a legacy from the past that brings consequences today.  Last Friday, the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising abortion.

I find that result a cause of great sadness. There are three reasons to be sad. Continue reading

Urban Subversive fulfilment – Why I will be reading what I will be reading during my sabbatical

From June – August I’m taking a little sabbatical/period of study leave. One of my aims is to focus on how we go about urban mission. This will include

–          Visiting some people in other contexts

–          Reading books, journal articles and blogposts by others who have experience and/or have also taken time to reflect on this subject

–          Taking time to reflect on our own experience here and think practically about the future

The other day I published an initial reading list with some of the books and websites I think will be of interest to anyone involved in this area of Gospel ministry.

I wanted to explain a little bit more about a couple of my choices Continue reading