Going Long (part 1)

I started out at Oak Hill studying for a BA in Theology and Pastoral studies back in 2006. Whilst I was there people like Mike Ovey, Chris Green and Dan Strange persuaded me and others to extend my studies into and complete an MTh (Master of Theology).

I’m glad they did. As I’ve mentioned before, there are huge benefits to “going long” in your training for ministry. Just as theological training is not a hobby to enjoy for personal benefit, nor is it a necessary evil to get out of the way so we can get on with the real stuff.

There are two good reasons for this and both are deeply theological. Continue reading

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Reflections on grief

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

In our sermon notes on 2 Samuel 1, we started with a few examples of “fallen heroes.” This got me thinking about the different ways that we grieve.  I want to highlight 4 ways here. Continue reading

Lament for fallen heroes (2 Samuel 1

Three scenarios

  1. Earlier this year we got the news that Mike Ovey, the principal at Oak Hill had died suddenly. Someone we owed a lot to, someone who had been a great champion of the Gospel. There was a massive sense of grief and loss -an untimely death.
  2. Roy Clements -a prominent Christian preacher left his wife for a same-sex affair in the 1990s.  It was huge. Someone who had a big impact on the lives and testimonies of many. Similarly earlier this year one of the leaders in the Christian summer-camps movement was exposed as having physically abused boys who attended the camps.  This had an outside impact too. The media ran stories. Many seemed to delight in it. Actually, some of those who seemed to take greatest joy in it were those who claimed to be Christians if from other traditions.
  3. Another death earlier this year.  A prominent Scottish church leader among the “Wee Frees.” At first it seemed like a tragic suicide but then stories emerged of marital unfaithfulness.

How do we respond to those situations? In a sense, all three describe “Fallen heroes.” Continue reading

Urban Idolatry

It used to be said that pet owners begin to look like their animals. I don’t know if that is really true, however, it has also been said that we (as individuals and as a society) begin to look like and behave like our idols. Continue reading

The Problem with prejudice another perspective (part 3 )

We have seen the danger of prejudice including “implicit bias.” This includes:

  1. The danger that if I have an implicit bias against others I may misjudge them, I may mishear them. I may fail to see what they have to offer, fail to encourage them in their gifts and fail to hear truth from them.
  2. The danger that I may experience of perceive implicit bias from others means that I will hear everything they have to say as loaded, subjective and prejudiced. I may miss the truth when it is spoken by them. I may mistrust them and reject the love that freely offer.

Here are some reflections on how we can move forward. Continue reading

Why give time to training others?

Since I came to Bearwood Chapel 7 years ago, I’ve committed about one day a week to training others. This has included

-Working with OM teams offering mentoring and on the job training as they’ve learnt about how to do evangelism in an urban setting as well as leading seminars and Bible studies

-Mentoring a Ministry Trainee as he prepared for next steps via Theological College

– Running Faithroots Live sessions for interested parties and particularly giving time to support a church planter who is working with us.

From September, I will be giving one day each week to mentoring our Union Learning Community.

Why do I think it is important to set time aside for training others for Gospel ministry?  It does require discipline to carve time out in my diary. However, I strongly believe that it is worth it. Why? Continue reading

An offensive salvation

In an earlier post, I mentioned that there had been an attempt to link Evangelical Theology to the causes of violence and abuse. This stemmed from the allegations emerging about John Smyth but some commentators have linked this to the wider Public School system.[1] Continue reading