A Mixed Up Minister?
What insights does the book of Jonah have for ministers today?
Led by The Revd Tom Stuckey, a former President of the Methodist Church.
Time to Talk of God
I hope like me you’re really excited and encouraged about some of the material that our Methodist Church has been publishing recently and that you’ve said thank you to someone! First there is the booklet to accompany Pray without Ceasing for the Methodist Year of Prayer – and I am still humbled and amazed that our church has committed itself to a task that has always been dear to the heart of evangelical Methodists and for which we ourselves have been praying for many years! Then there’s the RE-SPECT pack, which encourages us to look honestly as well as biblically at relationships (not just homosexuality!) and to explore areas that have been swept under the carpet for too long.
But perhaps best of all is Time to Talk of God: recovering Christian conversation as a way of nurturing discipleship. If you’ve ever despaired that anyone in your church might talk about faith instead of football or if you’ve kicked yourself for being insensitive, ungracious or impatient in trying to get people to speak about God and not gardening, then this is the book for you! Sections on 'What do we mean by discipleship?', 'Talking about our faith', 'Christian conversation in our contemporary culture', 'With the Jesus of the Gospels' and 'Methodist tradition' as well as a look at 'Current blocks to conversation' are presented in an attractive way with challenging but non-threatening questions for discussion, but the appendices should not be ignored either as they contain a wealth of practical suggestions to 'restore the conversation'.
What I think is so good about this material is that it can be used not simply in a House-Group (where some of the issues might have been touched on before) but in other settings too where people might be coming to these things afresh and could easily be put off… the 'noddy guide' for leaders contained in this book is invaluable for just such gatherings!
If you want an evangelistic tool then this book isn’t it – at least that’s not its primary function! But if you believe as I do that we need to start a little further back and encourage each other to talk of God inside the church before we become confident enough to do so outside, then Time to Talk of God will undoubtedly help towards that end. I warmly commend it to you.