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

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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

Where are the non-white leaders?

Quite a few UK Christians have been praying and talking about a desire to see our churches reaching across cultures and becoming multi-cultural reflecting the many different ethnicities in their communities.

There are two motivating factors. First of all a recognition that church divided on racial lines is not a good witness to the Gospel which means we are all one in Christ Jesus and the future hope we have of people from every tribe and tongue gathered around the throne. Secondly it’s motivated by a desire to see unreached communities hear and respond to the Gospel.  Continue reading

6 Reasons why we have failed to reach working class and deprived communities (Unreached)

In his book Unreached, Tim Chester identifies 6 reasons why the church has struggled to reach working class and deprived communities. 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

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

Sabbatical Week 2 – An urban conversation: meeting Stephen Kneale in Oldham

Friday 6th June meant a train and tram trip up to Oldham which, headlines as the most deprived town in the England, where Stephen Kneale is pastor of Oldham Bethel.

The area (Glodwick ward) was originally white working lass but has seen first of all afro-Caribbean immigration and then in the 1970s Bangladeshis and Pakistanis meaning that there is primarily a Muslim area. It’s typical of a lot of inner city areas, terrace houses and Mosques -are church buildings are also there but how full they are on Sunday and how much the reflect the local population is open to question. Continue reading