There has been a lot of talk in recent years about ‘missional churches’, outward looking communities that are able to interpret the gospel within an ‘emerging culture’. Less has been said about ‘missional ethics’. Some may think mission and ethics are necessarily separate, even incompatible, because one refers to the Good News of God’s grace while the other points to rules and regulations. Yet they were intricately interwoven by Jesus, who not only pronounced the Great Commission but also preached the Sermon on the Mount.
Over the last year in my work with the Inspire Network I have visited dozens of Methodist Churches, as well as Baptists, Anglicans, Salvation Army, URC and various kinds of ‘Fresh Expressions’, New Churches and non-denominational pioneer missional communities. Everyone seems to be talking about discipleship!
The need to make disciples and not just Christians is one of the Key lessons we need to learn from John Wesley, says Mark Williamson.
John Wesley has a lot to teach the Church in the 21st century. In many ways this should be obvious – that the founder of our denomination has wisdom and principles that we can still learn from today. And yet, somehow, so much of our church seems to have forgotten the legacy he gave to us.
I remember two distressing experiences of model-making from my childhood. Whilst industriously turning out Supermarine Spitfires and German Reconnaissance Kubelwagens was a practice that did not normally produce many problems (open the box, separate the parts, stick them together, throw away the bits that didn’t seem to have been used), there were two occasions where I was left somewhat scarred by my hobby. One was where there was an integral part of the undercarriage missing from a Vickers Valiant B.Mk1.
The study of Islam is an important issue in plural Britain. Islam is additionally a significant factor for Christians, given the contemporary challenge that Islam brings to the Christian claim to be the hope of the world, and the need for accuracy in understanding Islam.
There is quite a plethora of popular books helping Christians to understand the relationship between Christianity and other faiths, or more often Islam. Many of these are very good, but are usually written for a general Christian readership and don’t necessarily stretch the reader. Those that do come from a more intellectual perspective are often from a view that does not affirm historic Christian beliefs.
Inter-faith meeting can take many forms, but one of the aspects that evangelical Christians need not fear, is the recognition that we can learn from people of other faiths. This is a theological statement that needs a bit of unpacking. One sentence won’t do this but part of the meaning is that I can learn something about God and how I relate to Him that I did not previously know but that is contained within Christian understanding.
This book gives comprehensive coverage of a huge problem for nations who face a growing issue with aging populations. It gives us a Christian and biblical response to this question. It is jointly written by Dr James Houston who is a founding father of Regent’s College, Vancouver and a pioneer of evangelical spirituality and Dr Michael Parker, who has many medical qualifications through the United States Army and also serves on the governing council of “the American society of Aging Forum on Religion, Spirituality and Aging”.
When someone asks you to run a leadership programme for 15-21 year olds there are lots of things to consider. Most people would perhaps freak out at the prospect of working with 15-21 year olds, as teenagers can be a tricky age group with which to work.
The Methodist Church is being called a ‘discipleship movement shaped for mission’. This is, of course, more of an aspiration than an actuality. Much of what we do is really aimed at maintaining church rather than making disciples, and this is clearly reflected in our understanding of church leadership. On the one hand, the need to preserve our denominational structures has made managerial competence an indispensable quality. Simply fulfilling all the demands of institutional bureaucracy, at both the local and national levels, can be an exhaustive task.