A movement for change

In the last couple of articles I’ve been writing about issues to do with race (and a little about class) that we need to respond to if we are to see multi-cultural churches reaching multi-cultural communities.

Of course, it is easy to identify problems but how does change happen? We say that “The Church” or even “The Conservative Evangelical constituency” need to change.  Agreed, but what does that look like in practice? Continue reading

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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

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

#ActBC Trainee opportunities

We have opportunities for people to train with us in urban mission and church planting.  We are looking for individuals and couples who believe that they have a calling to share the good news about Jesus in our urban communities with a particular focus on estate and inner city ministry. Continue reading

Reforming Theological Education – further thoughts on the conversation

There’s been this little conversation going on about the best way to provide theological training for ministry.  Questions include:

–          Must theological training always happen in seminaries and on campus or is there a place for in context, local church-based training?

–          Is theological training too academic in nature and are there ways of equipping people through more ‘vocational’ methods?

Reading blogs and twitter feeds, I get the impression that some people are willing to concede that in context training may have a place but the general gist of it is that campus-based seminary training is better.

My position is that both seminary based and in context training have their place but that the in context and vocational training should and could be as effective at thoroughly equipping people for ministry.

I want to pick up on some of the reasons why by challenging some of the assumptions and arguments that I’ve heard.

Continue reading

Wanted: Urban Pioneer Church Planters

Sandwell and the Black Country need church planters. We need people to move into estates and into communities where there is no meaningful Gospel witness and to share their faith.

Just to be clear, we are not looking for pastors to come and look after new, ready made churches with 30 – 50 members. We are not even looking for team leaders to take charge of a core group ready to start the plant. Continue reading