Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Archive for January, 2010

The end of honesty

This whole honesty/self promotion thing has been spinning my head in the last week or so.

All good stuff and all of it has provoked me to think about how I present myself. The world of Twitter and blogging is easy to be drawn into and can quickly show you to be really quite self involved. However, I also love the idea of putting yourself “out there”. I guess I need to be honest about everything and not merely present the good stuff. Besides, if I only wrote about the good stuff there would not be many blog posts.

So, I shall move on from this subject. But let us be clear, I suck. I suck a lot.

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More Honesty Please

Kevin Deyoung blogged about “the Fetid Pool of self promotion”.

Being willing to ask hard questions is a must. Do I want money and recognition? Do I feel the need for validation? Do I like it when I look successful? Or do I want people to learn more about Christ and honor him with their lives? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I pray that my heart is mostly concerned with the last yes, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Good stuff. I am painfully aware of how often I stray into self promotion. I regularly ask myself why I blog? Is this a genuine attempt at transparency and a means by which I can test run ideas? Or am I shameless self publicist? I suspect its all of those things. I just hope its more about Jesus than me.

Blue, with a hint of amber wrote about the dangers of self promotion and a lack of honesty.


Honest

On friday I wrote about honesty, particularly in terms of leaders being honest about their success.

Since then it has been rattling round in my head (plenty of room to do so). I follow a bunch of people on twitter and have noticed a trend whereby leaders promote themselves so as too promote their church. It is a slightly odd phenomenon which seems completely understandable but slightly twisted at the same time.

Steve Tibberts blog about the new centre of influence in christianity being large churches and conferences, where formerly denominations and the bible colleges had the most influence. This led me to wonder if in the modern era christian “personalities and celebrities” are actually having the most influence.

Not sure where I am going with this. Do we use the internet to promote our church and end up promoting our own brand? Does this mean we spin everything we do to improve how we look?

So in the interest of honesty, on Sunday at the chapel there was 14 of us. I had a great time but I still want the numbers to double.


Links and things

The Simple Pastor always throws out blogs with a whole bunch of Links on. This is an idea I am now going to steal. e has a clever name for it (I link therefor I am). I do not have a clever name and am open for suggestions.

Interesting article in The Guardian today about Rick Warren and Saddleback Church

There was also a great article about the music sene in Manchester.

Steve Tibbert is doing an interesting series on old rules and new rules. He has written some very interesting stuff and definitely worth a look.


Everything is not going to be OK

Monster blogger Seth Godin got the brain juices moving this morning with this post – No, everything is not going to be ok.

He is right. When we change stuff, or start something new we are faced with the real possibility that we will fail. Every church plant has a high chance of failure. Should that stop us pioneering? Definitely not, but we would probably help ourselves if we were a touch more honest.

Finding the bravery to shun faux reassurance is a critical step in producing important change. Once you free yourself from the need for perfect acceptance, it’s a lot easier to launch work that matters.

Lets talk about the problems, the pitfalls and the failures. Lets celebrate our success at working through them.


The Times on Preaching

I was directed by a friend to this article about preaching on the times website. The basic outline of the article is that a study by Durham University has found that people still enjoy preaching.

In their report the Durham researchers admit to puzzlement that so many people looked forward to the sermons, and confess that more work was needed to find out why.

The report questions whether people look forward to the sermon so much for the content, the engagement, the entertainment, the theology or simply that it gives them time to switch off.

I preached on Sunday morning and I am preaching again this Sunday morning as well as the next few Sunday evenings. So it is encouraging to read that people are either looking forward to the sermon or at the very least are going to enjoy 30 minutes of quality switch off time!


My Sofa is magic

The problem with my sofa is that it is amazing. Seriously, I could spend days on that sofa. This Sunday afternoon my sofa was working its magic. The football was on, we had dinner with some good friends, I preached in the morning and I had the mental capacity of a jellyfish. Did I want to go to The Chapel? Nope.

But I went (I kinda have to as the PA is at my house, I run the meeting and the whole thing was my idea. Well, it was Gods idea but you know what I mean). Anyways, we had a cracking evening. We heard some passionate preaching and God turned up (always nice that the lord shows up to boost the numbers….).

But the best bit of being back on the top floor of Baa Bar was the fact that we are still going. Back in Sept 09 I was not convinced we would make it to Christmas and now we are in 2010 and we still exist. Not only so we still exist but we are believing God for big things and slowly God is answering those prayers. People are appearing and wanting to join us. Each one of them adds something to us that we didnt have and each one improves us.

So can we make it to the end of 2010?


No pressure then?

I found this article by Sam Storms thanks to the desiring god blog. The title of the article is An Appeal to All Pastors: Why and How Should We Preach. Sam Storms gives 8 reasons why we should be committed to biblical teaching.

  1. We must preach because of the power of the Word of God to change human lives and to transform the experience of the church.
  2. We must preach because preaching is God’s ordained means for making himself known to us.
  3. We must preach because preaching not only communicates truth about God, it also mediates the very person and power of God.
  4. We must preach because preaching (aside from reading) is the most effective means for transmitting the truths of Holy Scripture.
  5. We must preach because preaching is the fuel for worship. Preaching fans the flames of passion for Jesus.
  6. We must preach because preaching is not simply the fuel for worship, preaching is worship.
  7. We must preach because preaching is the catalyst for church growth, renewal, and revival.
  8. We must preach because preaching is the means by which the glory of God is revealed and imparted to those who listen with faith.

I am preaching on Sunday. No pressure then…


New Blogger

My buddy Steve Wheeler is now blogging.

He leads the student work at the fantastic Church Central in Birmingham and also plays cricket. He is a little funny looking but there are no pictures of him on his blog so you are safe to check it out.


Love your city

So we are recommencing on sunday night at the Chapel. I am really excited to be returning to our upper room in a vodka bar! Christmas had dulled the sense a little but being back in Manchester and back work for the fantastic (and complex) Christ Church Manchester.

Who know what the next term will hold? I certainly do not. However, we will work hard and we will seek God. If nobody joins but we are closer to God then everyones a winner. If people DO join and we are closer to God then we will be better prepared for any growth.

Today I listened to a talk by a guy called Jeff Vanderstelt who leads an Acts 29 church in Tacoma (which is somewhere in America). He talked about the importance of loving the city/town you are planting into. This struck a chord. I do love Manchester! She is a crazy city (on Saturday night I stood next to a guy on the train who had a foxes tail sticking out back of his coat) and a broken city but I am nuts about Manchester.