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.
Pagitt is one of the key protagonists in the emerging church missional movement in the USA. As such, his key thesis is that traditional church methods no longer work in contemporary western society. In this new ‘inventive’ age, a new method for preaching is required.
I was going to Methodist Conference and wanting to take some reading with me that might be of help through the week. This title seemed like it would fit the bill, especially given the glowing endorsements on the back from Loretta Minghella (CEO of Christian Aid) and Rob Bell. - I am a sucker for a celebratory endorsement!
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.
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.
I’ll admit this one is not for everyone, but it is for every Methodist minister, local preacher and Christian who wants to think seriously, but not obscurely, about what a Wesleyan theology looks like.
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.
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.
In 2001 a friend invited me to a Men’s Conference in Market Harborough. At breakfast on the last day one of the organisers asked me to take one of the speakers toLiverpoolfor his next engagement. This journey has changed my life.
Since I was just a twinkle in Your eye,
have you been writing down the poem which is me.
But now I get the feeling that
the very phrase,
the one initiating growth,
that crystal-forming seed,
Has got to go.