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.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Forgotten Ways ... the sequel

Probably the most influential book, in terms of impact, on the UK missional conversation over the last ten years. As Alan is the biggest influence on Forge Training and we're very much part of the South, West & Wales hub, it's the very least I can do to flag up the new edition of Forgotten Ways. As I said to one person, first time around ... 'the clue is in the title'
in response to them saying 'there's nothing new here'!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Winstone, Gloucestershire, Baptist Church

I'm looking forward to the 200th Church Anniversary in Winstone, Gloucestershire, this weekend.

This the first page of their minute book:

Mr Aldom, Henry Hawkins and Mr Davis were going through this village to a Sunday School at Colesbourne. on 21st January 1816 were accosted by a female, who requested they hold a Prayer Meeting at her house as they returned in the evening. To this they agreed and when they returned they found to their astonishment the house was crowded with people. The service was commenced with prayer and the word of God was read and a few remarks made upon it: The service was not in vain for one female was arrested so powerfully by the spirit of God that when she retired she was obliged to go home to her bedside and like the weeping prodical cry for mercy. She has since become a member of this society and has borne an honorable testimony ever since.

Shortly after a person of property in Winstone who was intimate with the friend who opened her house first for them sent word that she would like for them to call upon her. Mr Davis called and she told him that she had a stable she would Let to them, at the rent of three pounds a year. Mr Davis mentioned this to Mr Hawkins pastor of the church at Escomes who agreed to it and took it. It was then fitted up and cleaned and on 21st March it was opened and a Sunday school formed.