Monday, March 30, 2009

Term 2 end

As the school holidays approach, the second "term" of my new job has ended. I have enjoyed the daytime alpha course immensely as I had just the best team and we spent many hours praying together in the autumn before the course started in January. Such a good way to form a team! Our guests bonded really well and we love these women. They are so precious to God. Because I love them I can never force them to accept or believe anything, but trust God who just loves them even more! This is why I like the Alpha course so much as it presents information for guests to mull over/process.

I've also got the prep for the summer club here well underway....finding a venue was a high priority as the current building accomodation is too small. Every venue I tried - school, community centre, other churches...said "no" to a hire for a variety of reasons but I just knew that I needed a space outside the church building to use and I finally got one.........but it's not cheap. I have to say that I really don't care about the money side of it, although I am careful (this is a word to K!)and I do budget pretty tightly for all activities and plans I make year on year in ministry.

I just feel its time to take the church out of the building.

One thing that has really thrilled me this term is a group of 13 children who make up a discipleship group. They are absolutely awesome kids. When they start praying, I can hardly get them to stop. I think taking prayer and Bible study outside of a Sunday (we meet on certain Saturdays) has been the best thing. They listen well, interact well and eat well (we have Pizza Hut pizzas!) I really love them already and I have only been here for a few months. What will I be like when they are older?

(I had a weepy moment this week when I heard of some kids being baptised at Easter in my previous church, Not being there to see that is hard. I feel like they are like my own kids)

I wanted to spend time bringing God's word to the discipleship group kids - time is always so tight on a Sunday - so we are unpacking some biblical truths about how God sees them. I am also using this group as an opportunity to train and release a young man with fabulous potential into working with children. How the boys need to see a guy who loves Jesus so much and talks about him with a passion.

I've also written parent history maker sheets to go along with the things the children are learning and doing so that some time is spent talking and praying adult-child/child-adult during the week. My prayer is that this will really help some of the parents in particular who either don't come to church at all or are very new Christians themselves, giving them suggestions of things they could pray for together or share with one another.

Finally I've started to prepare for a weekend away with all Primary 5s, 6s and 7s and again I am delighted to have such great leaders coming with me. I am REALLY, REALLY excited about the weekend away. Ones in the past (last church) have seen incredible moves of God amongst the children and their faith growing in leaps and bounds.

I am really looking forward to a Sunday off (this week). Followed by some days off to do a few social things, we hope, with some of our new found friends perhaps, and also for me, some reading on "children and spiritual gifts". Got to present a paper on this by the end of May.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


When we use the word "traditional" - what do we mean?

Traditional as in....we feel comfortable with it?
Traditional as's the way we have always done this?
Traditional as in....better?

What is traditional kids work? Get your flannelgraphs out....
(that sounds a bit rude!)

Someone's just asked me if one of our Easter services will have a traditional flavour. Ummmm. Does that mean marching, shouting, dancing, blowing trumpets and horns, sacrificing animals with still-beating hearts or....? My point is: at which point in history does "traditional" refer to?

One thing I know - at Easter we focus on the cross and on all that was accomplished there and on the power and might of God who resurrected Jesus from the dead - and what relevance that has for us today.

If that's traditional, I'm all for it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I have lost my keys again.........

It's actually putting me off going into the office, mainly because
(a) I can't get in (!)
(b) I'll be teased
(c) the office manager will be really annoyed

(at least the keys don't say "hi, we're keys to confidential storage" on them. They look like anonymous house keys)

Prayer appreciated, they always come back when I pray, but I'm turning round in circles with boxes to pack and things to take to charity shops.

I need a thick lanyard that doesn't dig into the neck so I wear it all the time, like the staff and volunteers of a large beautifully refurbished church with great facilities and storage for children and family work near us (not that I'm envious!) and/or a whistling keyring so I can find the keys........

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Moving House

Moving house on Saturday. And my little boy is off school sick while I try to work on an independent study paper. Am worried that I may be suffering from slight stress.

~ Found a sock in the lawnmower............

~ Got inexplicably emotional about my daughter's coming home from hospital outfit as I unpacked boxes of baby clothes to give away..........

~ Shouted at a goldfish...............

~ put a pen in a knife drawer and a knife in my pencil case.........

I am hoping for fun times with some friends after this weekend.

Feel in need of night out that's not for a church meeting!
What's your top stress-busting tip?

A warning about theology

Jesus said: "who do you say that I am?"

The theology student replied: You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being; the kerygma by which we will find ultimate meaning; the existential interface in all our interpersonal relationship encounters."

And Jesus said: "WHAT?"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3 posts in one day - new record

Just have to post this as it's so apt for all that I have written about.

Interesting Link

Here is a link to the article on new monasticism in mega-churches that I referred to in one of the comments below. For some unknown reason the comments form won't allow me to post the full address.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Typical Week

My work life has fallen into a sort of a pattern. I work four days a week (notionally)

Monday mornings are full of meetings; most with other staff but its also a good day for pastoral visiting as I work a "long day" on a Monday. But I really appreciate this day as one where we get some devotional time together as a staff team.
On a Tuesday I would usually be off but until the end of May I will be working most Tuesdays to make up for time spent finishing my degree.
(Wednesday and Thursday mornings)
Thursday invariably has a service planning meeting but we have recently started to have tea and a natter during that and we love this time - it's fun! and
Friday at the moment is spent on a morning Alpha course and prep for Sunday. I finish work at lunchtime to collect my children from their half day at school.
Saturday is usually off, although my patient husband would type here that like most people involved in any kind of teaching at church I invariably spend some time preparing later on a Saturday night - I admit to that.
Sunday - I am classed as working a half day although that starts early and finishes late. I love everything about Sundays, apart from carting all my equipment about to set up kids worship times from scratch again from building to building. That bothers me, especially as I often put a lot of effort into making things good quality and fun for kids but (a) I can't moan about it except here to an audience of nine (my dear blog followers) and (b) I've already done so at elders and staff meetings so I can never mention it again, I have just got to get on with it. Oh, I no longer live but Christ lives in me......

I'm struggling with the "living sacrifice" thing at the moment. I just feel that my self is so strong. I guess this is why God moved us here, away from familiar territory, because he wants to refine me. Owch! I was a straggly heap on Sunday in an undignified face-to-the-floor type moment because, when worshipping I was humbled by the thought that Jesus is so worth it and I am so unworthy and I just wept and wept. But then it was one of those "look at his face and be filled up" moments.

I find I am doing increasing amounts of admin work and writing work at home in the evenings just now as I am combining work and finishing my degree. I can do some of this at home when the children have gone to bed as I finish early most days to collect my children from school and to have some time with them (homework takes ages though!)

Thus I try to limit my evening sessions to no more than three a week, ideally two -but this is difficult as I spend a lot of time with volunteers and caring for individuals and families.

All church staff members, I suspect, are losing days off as we can't carry them all the spare days forward. It's not that we don't want to have days off; (I do!) - its often that we have taken time back for the extra hours on Saturday things or on additional evening meetings so if we were to take even more days off we simply wouldn't get any work done.

I would be really interested in hearing how people juggle/boundary their time when they work for a church. What are other readers' thoughts and experiences?

It's probably ridiculous that I work four days a week as I hardly ever do, if I am being totally honest. Are we also in a culture often where we don't take lunch breaks; to talk to one another about non-work things is interrupting people's genuinely busy day? I have heard me say things more here than I said in the past: "I've got this deadline" "I've got to get this done today", "I'm sorry I've only got a minute" and its also been said to me just as much.

Stop for one another. Take time for the one. Calm the storm, still the seas, overturn the tables of expectation, let things go - all so so much easier said than done.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grumpy Old Men

I had coffee with two grumpy old men today, respected theologians and thinkers the two of them, kidding on they are all prickly and hard-edged when really, they are kind, caring individuals with hearty chuckles and a great sense of humour (I used to work with one of them. He had to have a sense of humour!)
This is for them:-

Friday, March 06, 2009

Exciting but Full Weekend

This is one of those weekends when I think my scheduling is just plain awful. But, as the title of this post implies, it's going to be an exciting and full weekend.

This morning I led the Holy Spirit morning from the current daytime alpha that I lead with an ace team. We ate a cooked breakfast together then looked at who the Holy Spirit is and what he does. Then we moved on to the session "How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?". It is always such an honour and a privilege to pray with people on alpha. God's faithfulness to the guests is awesome. He knows what they need and just how they best receive. We enjoyed a very real sense of God's presence and power. I just love alpha. Hearing lots of words on the Nicky Gumbel DVD is great. The content is great. Learning to pray and read the Bible is great but to have all of these things covered over with "phileo"love - the demonstrated, natural affection of the Father is just WONDERFUL. Don't you find that when you feel his love so tangibly you just love him back all the more and so on?

After a couple of hours at home I have scurried back to finish my preparations for a new kids discipleship course tomorrow. I have 12 kids coming to learn about how God sees them and in subsequent months to learn more about growing in God; learning to pray and to listen to God's voice.

I've been hard at work preparing an (actual) treasure chest per child full of spiritual truths for those "no good, down days" (we all get them!) But I couldn't be doing this without the wonderful gals in the office who are crafty and ingenious where I run out of ideas.

Then after this I am taking some of the children to perform a sort of dance (its hard to describe!!) at a major conference of some 1,200.

On Sunday I have managed to have one service off and not over-commit to things I am personally responsible for. So I can sit in on one of the kids groups and just enjoy.

On MONDAY I am committed to leading an afternoon on a year out programme in another city. I love meeting this crew. Here's my brief, which I need to give a lot of thought to as I try to make it not a lecture but pretty interactive:-

"It would be great if your topic could be along the lines of “A Vision for working with children and families (more than Sunday School)

By the end of the session I would hope the trainees would have a wider, broader and more holistic understanding of not only the needs of children and families within church, but also their strategic part to play in advancing the Kingdom of God outside the walls of the church. I feel that within this framework you have plenty scope to touch on things like developing supernatural gifts; evangelism; family cell etc and also share stories of what God has been up to in your own experience"

Lots to prepare for and think about!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Turn it up.....

This photo (which my church has purchased from istock!) graphically illustrates a word given to us as a church to turn up the heat in certain areas of our corporate life. It's exciting but its a word that requires a response - from hearts turned towards God.

My thoughts turn towards the warning given to the church in Laodicea (Rev 3:16)
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

I find this comment about the Laodicean church quite disturbing. Even more so the thought that this could actually be a description of the state of one's heart without realising it. The moment you think "that can't possibly be me!!" is the moment you probably need to think that it just might be.

I so want to be a person who is passionate and on fire for God. Sometimes unhelpful thoughts and remembrances cloud my brain and I have to fight on through. In the past week this has been specially true and I have been helped by reading two passages in particular - the beatitudes and Colossians 1.

God, I want to see your kingdom come on earth as it is on heaven. I want to give my life for that and not for my own selfish ends. My SP pointed out that my (our) own selfish ends really come into everything we say and do most of the time. Gulp. He's right of course, which is annoying (if I'm brutally honest!)

What tips or pointers do you have when you are aware of lukewarmness in your church or in your own life?