If you look up the word “advocate” you read, “to support or recommend publicly; plead for or speak in favour of.” The phrase “plead for” seems to me to have a great deal more strength to it than “speak in favour of,” however I feel that the significant shift towards evangelical inclusion within Methodism over the past thirty years means that the latter phrase is more indicative as to where we should be. Does this mean I have lost my passion for the evangelical gospel? No it does not, but it does mean that times have changed.

Children’s Ministry That Fits; beyond a one size fits all approach to nurturing

David Csinos is a passionate man, passionate and organised. This is a book that reflects those characteristics. He firmly believes that children’s ministry should be both formational and transformational and he rages against flaws in our thinking that have perpetuated in our Sunday Schools merely because they offer simple manageable solutions to what to do with the children while the adults enjoy church. This is a book that pushes us to engage with children at a much deeper level.

Participate! Helping young people explore discipleship and vocation

Turning the phrase “young people are the church of today not just tomorrow” into a reality is easier said than done. It’s not just a one off project. It takes more than including young people on a rota or inviting them to a meeting where they dramatically reduce the average age. It requires the whole church to participate in creating an environment where young people can begin to recognise and explore their gifts and have the confidence to express, and have them affirmed, and sometimes not get things right, in a safe and supportive environment.

Unreached: Growing Churches in Working-Class and Deprived Areas,

Apart from the suburbs, there are few areas that the contemporary Church can point to as a success story. Even the most optimistic church worker will likely recognise that working class housing estates are among those areas where we have failed most. We know of the relative success among the urban working-class of the Wesleyan revival in the eighteenth century, the Salvation Army in the nineteenth century and what are now classical Pentecostal denominations in the first half of the twentieth century.

Developing our prayer lives

Recently, I walked down into our village to visit our local café. Living in the Peak District of Derbyshire, I was not surprised to encounter a party of teenagers, fervently studying a map of the  area, and falling out amongst themselves about which direction to take. I offered to help, and was soon  giving an impromptu map reading lesson.