Saturday, April 24, 2010

Messy Church: a family approach to church

Messy Church is one church's attempt to be church for families who might want to meet Jesus, belong to their local church and bring up their children as Christians but can't cope with traditional Sunday morning church services.

How it started!!!
The first Messy Church began in 2004 when a group at St Wilfrid's in Cowplain near Portsmouth were frustrated because, as a church, we were hardly reaching any children with God's story.

We had lovely buildings and facilities but we weren't using them enough. We had wonderful creative people in the church, and the area we lived in needed as much community-building as possible, being a rather featureless suburb.

There was a lot of sympathy towards church in general but the church wasn't offering anything that really gripped the imagination of local families.

We decided very early on to try to do something for all ages together, partly out of a belief that we grow best as a church when we walk the journey with as many different people as possible, and partly from a desire to help families grow together in their walk of faith, not see Christianity as something you grow out of when you're eleven.

The rest is history... a messy present... and an unknown future that you may well be part of too!

What it might look like!!
The hall is buzzing with conversation. Around a table adults and children burst into laughter as they wrestle with metallic tubing and googly eyes and their teenage helpers despair of ever creating the promised artefact.

A toddler slaps green paint on a huge sheet of card under the watchful eye of a Granny (not sure if they're related or not - it doesn't really matter). A five-year-old watches wide-eyed as an enthusiastic leader shows her how to bang in a nail.

There's a delicious smell wafting out of the kitchen. The ten-year-olds, intent on their glass-painting, agree it must be jacket potatoes. The vicar takes a photo of the surreal result of the junk modelling and two mums catch up on the gossip as they drink welcome cups of tea and slowly decorate gift bags while their children make something unidentifiable but very chocolatey upstairs.

The cooks should be getting the plates stacked, but one of the mums needs to talk about her problems with her foster children.

I would be panicking about the story for the celebration later, but there's a huge collage of The Great Banquet to assemble before five o'clock, the powder paint has proved a formidable weapon of mess creation in the hands of Jack, and we've barely got started on the lettering and whoops, someone's kicked over the gluepot...

Just another Messy Church.

Messy Church is one church's attempt to be church for families who might want to meet Jesus, belong to their local church and bring up their children as Christians but can't cope with traditional Sunday morning church services.

It's a once-a-month time of creativity, worship and eating together.

For resources on developing, and birthing a messy church visit where you will find resources, a blog, a book and community sharing

Lectionary resource: Faith Element

What they say they are about?
FaithElement is a discipleship system that offer a simple but effective way for Bible study groups to grow in faith. Each week, we offer a combination of creative Session Pages, weekday prompts through Facebook, Twitter or email, and a brief Bible commentary video on the chosen passage. Best of all, FaithElement is free!

Faith Elelment offers 5 aproaches to studying a bible lesson from the Revised Common Lectionary readings. The five approaches are:

  • Media (uses movie clips, songs, and other media to spur discussion)
  • Mental (for those who need to understand)
  • Mystic (for those that prefer a spiritual, introspective style)
  • Missional (for those that are interested in action that makes a difference)
  • Youth (for student/youth groups).

The resources are all Free.....and there are notes, video clips, articles and music clips

To discover more visit

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Evangelism reflections

The Year of Evangelism is about…..
being intentionally active in sharing God’s Love
Here are nine simple things you can do everyday….
1. Wear a cross or a religious symbol. You may be surprised how many times this will start a conversation about your faith.
2. Pray before a meal, especially with family and friends, but also in public places.
3. Refer to your church, your faith and the Bible in casual conversation with others.
4. Respond "Thank God!" or "God is Good!" when someone shares an uplifting story with you.
5. Say "I will pray for you" when some one shares a personal concern or difficulty with you.
6. Send a card or note of encouragement, offer words of blessing that convey your faith and trust in God.
7. Be courteous and helpful in all public transactions; look for ways to give a verbal and positive witness to the hope that is within you.
8. Ask someone you may have hurt for forgiveness.
9. Be clear that your perspective is informed by your faith and belief in a loving, forgiving God.
Can you think of number 10???
Why not send it to us at

Living in the Year of Evangelism
involves caring for your friends earthly AND heavenly needs
If someone you cared for was in trouble and needed some help what would you do? Ignore them, let them go through the trouble by themselves, or would you offer them some help.
What about if they weren’t Christians, weren’t developing a relationship and growing in a relationship with Jesus? They are headed to only one place hell. Surely you would love for them to have the opportunity to be in heaven, with you and Jesus, so that they avoid hell.
There are six things that help us reaching friends:
1. Understand that sharing Jesus is an urgent. In Mark 13:32 we are encouraged to remain alert because know one knows the time when they will die or Jesus will return.
2. Don’t be conned by Satan’s lies that deter you from sharing Jesus, what He has done and is doing for them. The truth is most people appreciate discovering more about the God who loves them, despite their sin.
3. Look for opportunities, in your interactions and discussions there will be opportunities to talk about God, How great he is, what he has done, and to ask questions about what others think.
4. Just do it: the message we have is simple.
5. Be creative…give them books to read, watch a Christian DVD with them, invite them to a church activity.
6. Love your friends…continue building relationships with them

Adapted from the article: “Friends” by Greg Stier

Living in the Year of Evangelism
affects how you read and hear the news
How should Christians read the news? Like non-Christians, only with a radical sense of belonging to God’s story, insofar as God himself has revealed it. In other words, there’s a huge overlap with non-Christians. We’re all created in God’s image, fallen, and sustained by God’s common grace. As Martin Luther and John Calvin (Reformers of the church) said, non-Christians have a huge understanding of “things earthly”, even if they do not embrace God as he has revealed himself in his Son through the gospel.
More importantly, Paul said it in Romans 1 and 2.
We have to distinguish between the Great Commandment (calling us to love God and neighbour), which is the common commission of all human beings, and the Great Commission (calling us to preach the gospel, baptise and teach). Both are essential, but they’re really different.
The news is a form of the law. It draws on common wisdom and data. Even it’s editorials reflect both the fact God’s general revelation and it’s suppression in unrighteousness. Obviously, this natural law isn’t as clear as God’s revealed will in Scripture, which goes deeper in it’s analysis of our fallen condition. Yet when we read and hear the news, we’re neighbours loving fellow neighbours.
In this era between Christ’s two comings, God sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If he shows his common grace toward all people and a common interest in all affairs, these issues should concern us for more than merely practical reasons. We share with non-Christians in the same joys and disappointments of temporal life.
However it is essential to remember, the gospel isn't announced in the news. For that, we need heralds who bring the most important news of all.
People like pastors, teachers, wise theologians and even you and me who highlight God’s love; informing others that there is more to life than they hear in the news, that God has a love that deals with sin, failure and delivers everyone who trusts Him the gift of eternity.
Adapted from and article in Leaders who last, by Dave Kraft

Living in the Year of Evangelism is about…..
Sharing telling God’s Easter story and your Easter story….
the best story ever!!!

We have the best story in the world to tell. It's a story about life, and love, and God's triumph over sin, death, and the devil.
It's a great story that has been handed down to us as a gift.
Our role in this story is not to hoard or hide this gift but to find new and unexpected ways to share this gift with the people around us.
The story of Jesus dying and rising has been told through twenty centuries. For many it is a story about hope and about what God can do. But for some Easter isn't a source of hope; simply because they don't know the story. And this is where every Christian has a role to play…every Christian should immerse themselves in the story of Easter….this involves
Thinking about:

  • Who are you most like in the Easter story?
  • What is God up to in the Easter Story?
There's a story to tell. There's a world ready to hear some Good News.
Jesus was dead and he is risen.
And in telling the story….something amazing happens….all who
believe will have life after death in him.

What does the Year of Evangelism mean?
The story we heard recently in church of the Chinese farmer who had his eyes healed then some days later lead others with a similar condition to the doctor who healed him, sums up what it often means for us to be active in evangelism.
Being involved in evangelism means:
• Sharing with others the good God is doing
• Not having to know it all, or exactly how God works.
• Walking with others, as you lead them to the one who will
bring healing.

DVD Bible Study series: Engage

Engage is a DVD bible study series developed by CPH that is focuses on issues relating to Young Adults but claims not to leave them there

Engage and discover what God has to say to you through His grace in Jesus Christ.

The topics covered include
CONVOY: Why do bad things happen to good people?
DESK: What do you hide?
HOSE: What happens when life breaks down?
KINGS Ever left alone in a crowded room?
MILLION: How do you seperate fact from feeling?
PHONE: Ever get that call you never wanted?
ROPE: Are you at the end of yours?
RUST: What's eating away at you?

available at
for a preview visit

Web Site: Church Relevance

Kent Shaffer's blog Church Relevance aims to develop relevant and effective church ministries and assistance to churches.
There is a list and link to the 100 top Christian blogs, churches to watch, a range of free resources and regular articles. Available at

Web site: IXMARKS

9Marks believes the local church is the focal point of God’s plan for displaying his glory to the nations, and that the Bible is sufficient for the life of the church. As an organization, therefore, we are church-focused, scripture-focused, and pastor-focused. We value a multiplicity of voices and styles as well as like-minded partnerships. We hope to continue growing in our own knowledge of God’s Word and its application to the local congregation. And we intend to spread our content through existing venues, platforms, and institutions, not to create new ones.

The nine marks are (1) expositional preaching, (2) biblical theology, (3) a biblical understanding of the good news, (4) a biblical understanding of conversion, (5) a biblical understanding of evangelism, (6) biblical church membership, (7) biblical church discipline, (8) biblical discipleship and growth, and (9) biblical church leadership. These are not the only things which are necessary for building healthy churches, they are nine practices which many churches today overlook and that need to be emphasized once again.

Visit for information, articles and books for pastors and church members.

Lutheran Central: A site offering a range of resources

Lutheran Central offers links to a range of resources similar to

They offer resources in the following areas:

•Good Lutheran Humor
•Online Bible Search and Study Tools
•Lutheran Beliefs
•Online Daily Devotions
•Famous Lutherans
•U.S./Canada Lutheran Church Bodies
•Bibles & Bible Translation
•Lutheran Radio, Videos, and Music
•Adoption and Social Services
•Campus Ministry Resources/Locator
•Directory of Lutheran Pastors
•Exceptional Lutheran Cong. Web sites
•Family Resources
•Lutheran Bookstores - Gift Sources
•Lutheran Camps
•Lutheran Colleges and Universities
•Lutheran History and Origin
•Lutheran Insurance
•Lutheran Seminaries
•Magazines and Periodicals
•U.S. Lutheran Schools Pre K- 12
•U.S./Canada Congregation Locators
•Volunteer opportunities- US & Intl
Worldwide Lutheran Churches/Ministries
Africa Lutheran Churches/MinistriesAsia/Oceania Lutheran Churches/MinistriesCentral/South America Lutheran Churches/MinistriesEastern Europe & Middle East Lutheran Churches /MinistriesEurope/Scandanavia Lutheran Churches/MinistriesNorth American Churches /MinistriesFor Pastors and Leaders
•Evangelism Resources
•Sermon and Devotion Resources
•Liturgical Calendar
•Lutheran Councils/ Orgs./ Auxilaries
•Statistics, Research and Opinion
•Lutheran news sources
•Fundraising & Stewardship Assistance
•Lutheran Missions - International
•Lutheran Missions - US/Canada
•Relief & Development Services
•Theological Newsletters and Journals
•Web Page Resources/Designers
•Youth Ministry Resources

visit to discover a range of resources

Door 2 hope:

Door2Hope is based on a Christian outreach strategy called NET Fishing, which links people and their God-given strengths and passions into a Network of Evangelistic Teams. Developed and supported by a Lutheran Pastor

NET Fishing is “stone soup evangelism.” The participants—whether individuals, small groups, churches, or ministries—share whatever they have, so that they all can be more effective in sharing the love of Christ with people. There are no fees or membership dues. The steps to participating in Door2Hope are simple.

Step 1 – Learn
Brief overview: 38-slide presentation
An example:
Detailed description: 42-page document
More details for those who want it: 159-page document
Spiritual Gifts Inventory

Step 2 – Inform
NET Fishing Partner Info document

Step 3 – Dialogue
We discuss with you how we can mutually assist each other.
We connect you with others in the Network of Evangelistic Teams.

Step 4 – Collaborate
We help each partner to reach out more effectively.
We celebrate “playing” evangelism as a "team sport".


More Contemporary Lutheran Music: Truevine music

Truevine Music offers over 50 contemporary Lutheran Songs

Truevine aims for their music to be:

  • Congregational
  • Contemporary
  • Theological
  • Sacramental
  • Liturgical
They offer songs and resources for free.
Resources include lyrics, chord sheet, lead sheet, keyboard sheet and audio
Visit Truevine at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Food for thought: Hey Pastor you want a successful Youth ministry

Perry Noble is the Senior Pastor of New Springs Church and writes regularly about ministry....

Recently he wrote an article on thoughts why youth/student ministry at New Springs is successful...My summary his thoughts are:

#1 –Hire a leader, someone you can trust, someone you dont have to stand beside and make decisions for. (Some pastors won’t do this because they need to be needed!) AND…I made sure he was able to assemble the team he wanted around him…I did not hire for him!

#2 – Make sure the leader is resourced. The youth are not responsible for raising the funds for youth ministry....the church is. Why??? over 85% of people in church are connected and committed before they turn 18 Take care of your youth.

#3 – Make sure the youth leader understands the vision of our church. Spend time with them…go to lunch, encourage them to communicate with you in ways that suit them sending text messages, etc..

#4 – As senior pastor spend time with the students/youth

#5 – But don’t try to do youth ministry! Your idea of what is suitable is likely to be out of date.....The senior pastor is not the expert in youth ministry…and so don’t try to be!!!

#6 – Ask your youth and student ministry staff/leaders lots of questions! BECAUSE, like it or not…what they are doing right now is going to be what the church is doing in the next 10 to 15 years!

#7 – Give them permission to fail…as long as they fail by trying great things then don't be overly concerned about it

To read his full comments visit