Church 

Figuring out small groups

I (we) haven’t got this sorted. It’s a mixed bag. We have some. They’re great. But we don’t have enough. Not by a long way. We have one monthly and one weekly going well and another on life-support. We should have at least three if not four times that number. Here are a few links with numbers in them. 3 Critical Elements Every Small Group Must Strive For Four reasons to serve food at your groups and meetings Five Essential Elements of Transformational Small Groups That’s all well and good…

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Articles 

I’m all alone

I’m going to start light-hearted because as I wrote this piece, all I could think of was this: Who do you sympathise with, Donkey or Shrek? Is there a difference between being alone and being lonely? The difference mostly resides in whether or not being alone is a choice or not. The default self-coping mechanisms of introverts everywhere is to ensure there is time to retreat in order to rest, recover, think. A parent of small children is often desperate to be alone, to not have another person constantly there.…

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Links 

The Curiosity Index (12.06.2019)

The Prosperity Heresy Yesterday I linked to this story from the BBC on poor Americans being exploited by TV hucksters. I’d like to follow that up with this proposal. 7 Surprising trends in global Christianity in 2019 Yesterday I wrote about The Ebb & Flow of Christianity and just after I pressed ‘publish’ I read this from Facts & Trends. It provides some additional support and is a strong reminder not to think the world will necessarily follow Europe’s path. On the Pleasures and Sorrows of Life Without Screens From…

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Church 

The death of the church

Todd Dildine recently did a four-part series on you guessed it, ‘the death of the church’. It’s an analysis of the American scene but I think has much wider implications. In Part 1 he assesses the landscape and sees that in America it’s not only the church that is declining but in fact community organisations of almost every conceivable sort. The collapse of the American church and the breakdown of the American community are tied together. When you take a critical look at our society you will discover that America…

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Articles 

Rediscovering Hospitality

In Japan lonely senior citizens (especially women) are shoplifting in search of the community and stability of jail. From 1980 to 2015, the number of seniors living alone in Japan increased more than sixfold, to almost 6 million. That’s quite extreme but all across the developed world it has become clear that loneliness is a killer and it is an epidemic. Alongside the rise of loneliness has been the decline in religious commitment. What this has revealed is that religion creates a huge amount of social capital. Social capital here is really just…

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Articles 

The church & the search for happiness in an ocean of loneliness

It is a well-documented fact that Christianity in the West has been on a decades long march from the centre to the fringes of society. What’s now apparent (and is something of a surprise to some people) is that this retreat has not been entirely beneficial. The retreat of the church has left some significant voids which societies are struggling to fill. Loneliness is toxic to the human body, Yale University’s most popular course ever is on happiness (suggesting our brightest young people don’t know what happiness is) and articles written…

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Church 

How is a church on mission organised?

I’ve long been helped, inspired and encouraged by the teaching of Jeff Vanderstelt. I must have saved about 30 articles that I went through yesterday as I thought through being a church on mission. Although I’ve already collected a guide to missional communities (purpose, reasons, rhythms and marks) I think there is so much good material here worth considering. So here are some key questions and answers to this particular way of building and being church. What is a missional community? Missional communities are actually a response to a different question. What does it…

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