When People Leaving Is Good

I love growth. I’m excited and encouraged when new people join our church. I am even more excited when they stay. I find it hard to say goodbye or to let go. When you have a small congregation (and the structure of what we have done in Bearwood means that we have a cluster of small congregations) it is painful and maybe discouraging when people leave. It can even be frightening. We don’t have a guaranteed steady pipeline of new people coming to fill the gaps.

Yet, there are sometimes good reasons why people leave. I’ve hinted and mentioned these in previous posts. Recently, I did some analysis about why/how people come and join us but I also included some analysis on why people leave.

Here are three good reasons for people to leave: Continue reading

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The Generation Game

What do we pass on to the next generation? I remember sitting in a group where a grandma, mother and daughter were present as we shared testimonies. Grandma told us how she had grown up finding church boring and legalistic as a child and into her early teens. Then God miraculously saved her. Mum gave pretty much an identical testimony and then guess what, daughter told her testimony and it was the same. It was lovely that all three had been saved but we were also left wondering if there wasn’t a cycle that could do with stopping. 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

Speaking to the whole person is pastorally vital

Last week, I was teaching a group of people about the Trinity. I gave them some discussion questions including

          How do you talk about this doctrine to non-Christians?

          Can God stop loving me?

          Can I lose my salvation? Continue reading

What does the fox say? – and the hedgehog know

“The fox is a cunning creature able to devise a myriad of complex strategies for sneak attacks upon the hedgehog. Day in and day out, the fox circles around the hedgehog’s den, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. Fast, sleek and beautiful, fleet of foot and crafty p-the fox looks like the sure winner. The hedgehog on the other hand, is a dowdier creature, looking like a genetic mix up between a porcupine and a small armadillo. He waddles along, going about his simple day, searching for lunch ad taking care of his home.”[1]

But every time the Fox shows up with a clever strategy to get the hedgehog, the hedgehog simply rolls up into a ball.  It is safe.  The world is divided into foxes and hedgehogs argues Jim Collins in Good to Great. Foxes are those who look at the world and see lots of complexity and have lots of ideas and strategies. Hedgehogs are those who simplify the complexity. [2] Or to quote Isaiah Berlin, “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” [3]

From this, Collins developed his Hedgehog principle. This is the idea that great leaders keep the main thing the main thing. They focus on one important thing and don’t get distracted. For Collins this is based on three factors Continue reading

Commissioned (Matthew 28:16-20)

The talk from Hannes’ commissioning service

 

This morning we are commissioning Hannes.  What exactly is it that we are commissioning him to do? What better place to find out than this famous passage often referred to as “The Great Commission.”

Before we go on, note three important things

–          First that it in fact it is not us that commission. We are simply passing on Christ’s commission

–          Second that whilst there is a specific way in which Hannes has been called to fulfil this, the commission is for all of us

–          Thirdly, we need to say something about the context. Continue reading

Mission is not the enemy of pastoral care

It’s one of the perennial challenges for church leaders. Do we focus outwardly on mission or inwardly on pastoral-care.  At times, it can feel like these two things are in competition. If our focus is always on outreach, then people in the church will go uncared for, unvisited, unsupported.  Of course, if we don’t do mission, then will we see any new people? Does that local church have a future? Continue reading