Thursday, 6 April 2017

Seventy-two & re-usable coffee cups.

Re-usable coffee cups.

Question: How can you help save the environment, save yourself some money … and enjoy being involved in the mission of God … and all at the same time?

Answer: By taking someone out for a coffee and using one of our seventy-two re-usable coffee cups.

Challenge 1: saving the world one cup of coffee at a time.

According to the latest statistics, the UK throws away around three billion disposable cups a year. That’s over 5000 every minute! As if that’s not enough of a problem, a lot of the cups used in high street coffee chains aren’t actually recyclable. The problem’s the polyethylene that makes them waterproof that can only be recycled at a tiny number of specialised plants. So simply by reusing a cup, you can help cut down on harmful landfill waste. 

Christians have tended to stay fairly quiet in the environmental debate, although everything suggests a large proportion of new, younger, Christians assume creation care is an integral part of Christian lifestyle. Taking a reusable out with you, acts as a visual, gentle reminder we can make a small, positive, difference every day.

Challenge 2: saving money one cup of coffee at a time.

Starbucks still offer a 25p per cup discount offer if you use your own cup. Apparently they withdrew their 50p a cup offer because not enough people took them up on the offer! Now that doesn't make any sense, to me, common, business or ethical. However, some people do and it’s always worth asking, as at least it keeps the issue in the frame. Even one cup a week adds up to £13 a year savings you can donate to a worthy cause, or even warm yourself from the glow of being a better steward! Stewardship is a seriously under-sold facet

But what if owning one of our cups prompted you to buy someone a coffee on a regular basis? Imagine the impact if we had a DNA group meeting in every one of the 22,000 plus coffee shops now in the UK. Imagine the impact if you were prompted to take a friend out for coffee once a month. Coffee#1 don’t provide free internet access because they want people to sit down and enjoy their coffee and talk to people. We want you to enjoy your coffee, but see it as means to create the space to listen to a friend and maybe God will turn up in the conversation.

Challenge 3: saving the world one person at a time.

How many of us started our Christian journey with the desire to see the whole world converted to following Jesus, but somewhere along the road lost the depth of passion? My guess is, however, whilst most of us may have allowed that expectation to evaporate, we still have a passion to see some people we know personally, come to know Jesus and be rescued by him. We’re encouraging as many people as we can to pray daily for five people who are not yet followers of Jesus. Praying for ‘five a day’ is something we can all do and the knowledge that one in every five people in Britain is, right now, open to knowing more about Jesus should give us all the encouragement we need that God is already out there, ahead of us, drawing people to himself.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Grasping opportunities?

Are we grasping the opportunities God is providing? … I don't know about you, but whenever any group does a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, it feels like naming ‘opportunities’ is the most difficult for Christians to articulate. Please, please prove me wrong – believe me this is not something I want to be happy about.

I’ve just returned from our time away at our WEBA Conference in Saunton Sands and as a result, I have even more confidence now God is indeed presenting the Church, across the UK with a terrific opportunity. ‘The harvest is plentiful’. Obviously, there is an application for Jesus’ words in every generation, but right here (in the UK), right now it’s not so difficult to see, as even ten years ago.

Two things, in particular, are highlighting this reality for me:

i.               The ‘Talking Jesus’ research, which among other things tells us people are far more favourable towards Christians and much more importantly, hearing more about Jesus, than most of us have dared to believe, or accept. That’s akin to sitting in my living room, looking out of the window and seeing the harvest is ready, waiting.

ii.              The response to The Turning. There are some remarkable (and I confess surprising to me) numbers, representing people open to hear more about Jesus and how they might respond to Him being witnessed. That’s akin to sitting in my living room listening to all my friends popping round and telling me their stories.

My question now is not is there a harvest waiting to be reaped, but is the church able to act and grasp this opportunity?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Practising for Christmas 2016?

I'm conscious I've not been using this site for blogging as much as once was the case ... and that was never as frequently as intended. Consequently, I've omitted to signpost anyone dropping into The Old Forge to our Seventy-two's Practising for Christmas 2016:

It's neither too late to join in, or to encourage others to do so:

Today's focus is on Practising Humility:

Today I was stopped in the reading by 'he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts', which is in verse 51 of 'Mary's song'.

Lord search my inmost thoughts and shed your light upon them. 
Help me to acknowledge where my pride has eclipsed your ways. 
Remind me you are able to renew my mind, so I might be re-aligned with your ways through my life.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Welcome to the new look South Wales Baptist Association regional team

Welcome on board Carl, Susan and Tim. South Wales BA commissioned their new look regional team yesterday and it's another clear signal of the desire for mission to become the organising principle across our Baptist networks. In seeking their new appointments SWaBA expressed their desire 'in moving forward mission needs to be at the heart of all we seek to do'.
Nick Bradshaw will remain as the Team Leader, but giving more of his time to missional development and engagement. 'Aspiring to be a movement on mission means that the Association Team Leader needs to be leader in mission'. Together with new appointments Carl Gidney, Susan Stevenson and Tim Daniel this has every possibility of being a significant team among us and we welcome them warmly and eagerly anticipate the next chapter.
This represents a clear intention for everything, which forms a part of the agendas for the regional team and those who become involved in regional strategy and engagement to be viewed through the missional lens. It also provides the level of staffing, which enables SWaBA to be more proactive and initiate than staff with JD's which fill people's time to capacity simply keeping the wheels of the system oiled, or just de-clogged.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Forging ahead?

Last weekend was the final one of the Forge Training hub for the south, west and Wales 2016. For me personally, this first Forge year has been a thrilling journey, as I’ve watched people grow in their confidence in the fact they are part of God’s good news. During the Forge Training much is said about whatever we’re doing needing to form cultures, which form disciples, which form disciples. The great thing has been walking alongside people as they reflect on ‘how’ this is working out in practice.

You'll be able to find out more via:          
and in 2017 we hope to have Forge Training hubs in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol & Leeds.