…and why people leave

The previous article gave some data on how people came to us over the past 8 years. The other side of the coin is that people are leaving at different times. Continue reading

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Spiritual Anticipation

Yesterday our church family were excited and joyful about a few things. First of all, we celebrated the recent birth of a baby girl to one family with a thanksgiving and dedication. Secondly, we congratulated a young couple who have got engaged. Everyone was talking about the wedding, when, where, etc. Thirdly, we are anticipating another couple having a baby in the summer. There will be new parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties.

The other week I sat with a church member by the bedside of a dying relative. Over the past week I’ve been in regular touch with them to see how they were doing. We’ve also been concerned for other families where there is acute ill health, in a couple of cases its related to aging. As well as sharing in joy and excitement, we share in sadness and concern too. Continue reading

The important link between pastoral care and church discipline

We’ve been working through a teaching series called “Believing and Belonging” at Bearwood Chapel.  It’s based on some studies we put together for potential new church members. We’ve looked at questions including “What is a healthy church?” and “Who should be a member of a church?” We’ve also talked about leadership, baptism, communion, gifts and giving. The last talk is all about “Church Discipline.” In fact, going back to the original studies it is about pastoral care and church discipline.

This is important because, church discipline gets a bad press at times. We don’t like the word “discipline” it sounds harsh and authoritarian, Yet, discipline is a very Biblical concept. Continue reading

“I give them communion because it does them good”

This is a follow on from the post about children and communion. My dad tells the story about a church he attended where the vicar would ensure the choir boys were given communion because “it does them good.” Shortly after taking communion, the boys would troop out of the service, kicking each other, swearing etc. The communion did not seem to have done them much good at all. Continue reading

Should children take communion

From time to time I get asked this question and as we’ve been working through a believing and belonging series looking at things like membership, baptism and communion recently I thought it might be helpful to share a few thoughts.

I want to suggest that there are four questions you might want to ask.

  1. Why is the child taking communion?
  2. What is your approach to baptism and communion?
  3. What is your approach to children and baptism?
  4. Do you practice an “open” or a “closed” table.

Let me explain -you will see that they are interlinked. Continue reading

The danger of “self church-discipline”

Self-discipline or self- control is a good thing and a fruit of the Spirit. Self-church discipline is something entirely different, deeply distressing and quite dangerous.

I want to suggest that most “Church Discipline” is self-administered. Remember that church discipline will often include asking people to step down from particular roles and responsibilities and eventually may include exclusion from church membership.

So, what happens when someone self-disciplines?  They start to exclude themselves from things including: Continue reading

The Grace of Church Discipline

Sometimes we talk about exercising church discipline. We’ve often talked about how the phrase sounds legalistic and harsh. Yet, if this is something that God’s Word asks us to do as churches then it would be wrong of us to assume that God’s intentions are legalistic or harsh.  Rather, as we have often discovered, God’s “Law” is always more loving and full of grace than our attempts at mercy. Continue reading