Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

missional

City Wide and Hyperlocal

At CCM we have begun to talk about how we live as a multi site church. We have considered what our philosophy of church is, we have debated many different models and slowly we have realized that we just need to embrace who we are.

So we have started talking about being a church that is city wide and hyperlocal.

Describing something as hyper local seems a little counterintuitive. It would be like describing an Ant as having elephant like properties. It is an oxymoron but it is a very useful oxymoron! Let me explain what I mean. Hopefully I won’t sound like a moron trying to explain an oxymoron.

The term hyperlocal has been stolen from the world of bloggers. In recent years modern media has experienced a seismic shift from the massive to miniscule. Blogs are remarkably easy to set up and run, so a huge number of blogs have sprung up run by individuals that focus on a locality. That locality can be a geographic area, a people group, a cultural group or combination of everything; these hyperlocal blogs are heavily influencing mainstream media.

However, it is more than that. This change has seen the democratization of news and media. People are writing about what they want to read about and other people are following, sometimes in there millions. The local is affecting the international thus “Hyperlocal”.

Hyperlocal is driven by passion, it is high maintenance but costs nothing.

How does this relate to church, in particular multi site church? More tomorrow.

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Evanjellyfish

Dave Capener posted this today about a Christians tweeted response to the Death of Osama Bin Laden. I like what Dave wrote as the Christian twittersphere and blogosphere has been troubling me lately.

We have been incredibly quick to jump up and down on the death of another human being. By all accounts a particularly nasty human as they go but it is not our job to rejoice in anyones death or to loudly speculate as to whether they are in heaven or hell.

Dave also points out how Evangelicals are currently very quick to aggressively smack down anybody who dares disagree. The treatment of Rob Bell is an obvious example. Some very prominent Evangelicals were super quick to slap Bell around for thinking differently to them. (Dave calls them “Evanjellyfish”. I am stealing that and pretending I invented it)

I am all for disagreement, debate, argument and standing up for your position but do we have to look and sound like socially incompetent religious nutters while we do it? Clanging cymbal anyone?


I fear pointlessness

Well, for the first time CCM:City bounced. I mean we really shook the room last night. The band were really very good indeed and are beginning to move towards the sort of sounds that we need to see Manchester changed.

Sonically it would have killed my Granddad and it even made me flinch a couple of times as I was stood right next to a speaker, but the guys rocked hard. It is also worth noting that God happened to be in attendance as well. I always get nervous that I will end up with a church that sounds and looks good but which God doesn’t show up to because he thinks it is rubbish/pointless. Anyways, last night God represented and did his thing. I fear pointlessness.

I remember as a teenager in early 1990s Bedford we would go to the Kings Arms church on a Sunday evening (nothing else to do in Bedford apart from going to church – I do not miss that town). The church was, at the time, led by David Stroud and was reaching a bunch of 18 – 30s who were really quite a broken bunch. All I remember is watching worship that was passionate, and broken people falling to pieces and God putting the back together again. Every Sunday evening.

Even as a slightly stupid 15 year old these experiences had an affect on me and these memories resurfaced a few weeks ago and I wonder if we may be going in that direction. Manchester is a messed up (and beautiful) city. Please God.

#lovemanchester


Citiology

I will definitely be following this series of blogs.


Multi-cultural worship is unbalanced

I have been brewing this blog for a while. It is one of those opinion posts that I sometimes live to regret.

Multi-cultural worship is something I hear Christians talk about a great deal. On one level I think the idea is awesome and on another level it kinda bugs me (something that bugs me? Surprise!).

At CCM we have a very ethnically diverse church. We have people from Poland, Nigeria, Italy, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Sudan, the UK and a whole bunch of places I cannot remember. We often try to Worship in ways that reflect the culture of all the different nationalities, although everybody is keen to worship regardless of cultural or musical genre. So we use a few different languages and try to be imaginative where we can. Our worship leaders and musicians work hard and I am a big fan.

I am a big fan of churches adopting musical styles to meet the cultural needs of different ethnicities that may be represented in the church. If it helps them feel like they are valued members of the community then I am up for it. I can almost get my head round using styles of worship to reach out to ethnic groups that aren’t currently part of that church, although if that ethnic group doesn’t even exist in the churches locality I am not sure what the church is expecting to happen.

However there seem to be very few British churches who talk about using different styles from within our own culture. There is little use of music from popular (or unpopular culture). Is this due to the fact that the worship leadership scene is dominated by the white middle classes, and is also largely male and middle aged? Or is to do with the fact that church leaders feel uncomfortable pushing there worship leaders to view musical styles as a mission opportunity?

More to follow…


Mistakes to avoid in church planting

I found this interview with Ed Stetzer on the resurgence website. I have read a couple of Eds books and found them to be very helpful and insightful.

This interview has some solid gold advice on avoiding mistakes that I have already made!!

Kudos to Dustin Neely for asking the right questions.


"Friendship Evangelism" is heartless

A friend of mine (who is not a christian) read my blog entry about how I suck as a Christian. The basic argument I made was that I had been out with a couple of friends and that I hadn’t mentioned Jesus, the gospel or church.

My friend got quite annoyed with me. They argued that “friendship evangelism” was an insult to friendship and that the idea of Christians becoming friends with people just to convert them was wrong. They argued, that if I was a proper Christian (therefore trying to be like God and tryingto demonstrate his character in my own life) then I wouldnt have to force out conversations about God, Jesus or the church.

My friend is right. The idea of friendship evangelism does seem pretty heartless and even the more fashionable term “missional” can come across as patronising.

Do I get to know people who aren’t Christians just because I want to convert them? No. I hang out with the people I hang out with because I like them. Simple as.

However, I don’t think you can be a Christian and believe all that we believe and not have your friend’s spiritual condition in the back of your mind. That would be even more heartless.