Sunday, December 09, 2012

Caden's Song

Dear readers

The Scottish news channel STV has recorded an interview with Caden Beggan's dad David and his close friends (and relatives) who are part of the band Union State.

You can watch it here

Please consider parting with 79p to buy this great recording (I'm loving it!) and know that you money is going to Yorkhill Children's Hospital in Glasgow into a special fund set up in Caden's memory to buy more of the kind of equipment that, amongst other things, filtrates blood following the onslaught of meningococcal septicaemia.

Bless you. Hoping to post about Akiane (as promised last post) soon, but wanted to pass the word on about the recording as soon as possible.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Precious Caden Beggan

Dear friends,

Caden Riley Beggan
Born 29th September, 2006
Died 20th November, 2012
. . . in Mummy and Daddy's arms.

Thank you for all your support.

Caden is alive forevermore . . .
(posted by Caden's dad on his facebook page)

I've written some reflections out in the hope they might offer some comfort.
Precious Caden and jump on the streets that are golden...explore the Heavenly City...laugh & giggle, play & dance, talk with the Jesus who knew you & loved you from before the creation of the world. Join in with the songs & shouts of praise to our God & know that in a very little while, we shall see you. Gone from this earth but alive for evermore ....

Caden IS alive for evermore. For the Christian, death is not the end. We do not deny that grief and pain exists but accompanying our mourning is our unshakeable, firm, belief that there is an afterlife and it is wonderful. And anyone is welcome to share this knowledge - it is not meant to be a well-guarded secret. We see descriptions of the fullness of life that lasts for eternity all through the Bible but perhaps most comforting of all for us who mourn today is what the book of Revelation says:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
[Revelation 21, verses 1 to 5]

"The old order of things has passed away" - everything that we see around us that kills, maims, destroys, divides families, spoils the earth, evokes greed, causes addiction, breaks down mental health and harms children will no longer exist. God created this earth (in whatever time span that makes you feel comfy!) and he intends to right everything that has gone wrong. And heaven, outside our time and space, reads like and sounds like it is the most amazing place ever. I'd strongly encourage any who are swithering about what this might mean to investigate further.

May I recommend two top-selling paperbacks? The first has hardly been off the NY Times Bestseller list. You could find yourself reading one of these books in one sitting. They are stories of children who have seen what heaven is like:
Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo and
The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Kevin Malarkey

You see, children are wired to connect with God very naturally. Scientists have actually discovered an area of the brain that does this. Check back next week (or sooner) and I'll write about a young artist called Akiane and her family's story. But in the meantime, check out the Bible and why not simply ask God: "are you for real? I want to know!"

In closing, though my heart is so heavy and I feel heartbroken for the Beggan family, together we all put our hope in God believing that we do not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4 verse 13).

One day we will meet Caden again. Until that day.....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Caden Beggan - a little boy's fight for life

Dear readers.

Today I want to ask if you would partner with me in praying for the life of 6 year old Caden Beggan. He lies in the ICU of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, Scotland, following suffering from meningitis and septicaemia. Sadly, his legs and part of one of his arms have had to be amputated to save his life. He is still very, very sick. I'd love to urge you to read and share his story through his dad's eyes by reading the daily posts on

I have never read such beautifully crafted, heart-rending and honest posts as these. But each and every one - even David's psalm of lament on Monday, points firmly to the Lord Almighty, the Lord of the Angel Armies, who sees and who knows.

I see a uniting of goodness awakening in this nation. An outpouring of compassion. A desire to speak well and bless, whether the person giving this voice has a strong personal faith or none. I truly believe God is moving in ways we may not yet see, to bring glory to himself and to draw people to him - in the midst of an evil, inspid, hateful disease which reviles and pains the Lord to see. Yet in the outpouring of goodness and mercy we see the hand of the Creator as it is a reflection of his all-consuming goodness in the human beings he so lovingly created. We are his workmanship - all of us.

And today, a commercial bus company decorated their buses in pink livery, promoting Caden's continual "pinking" (for tissue life and vitality to be restored, for organs to be restored to their original condition). The buses also show the link to the facebook page cited above, where David and Angela's faith shines consistently and faithfully. The picture below shows one of Caden's favourites - a green dinosaur he drew himself and his parents' description of him: "to know him is to love him".

This is truly a kairos moment; where many, many people are reflecting on their own lives and families as well as on the Beggan family's battle. Please, please pray for Caden. I sense the battle is intense and continual.
- Pray for Caden's parents David and Angela, his brothers Declan and Ethan,
- for the doctors and nurses involved in his care - "Team Caden".
- pray for the wounds from amputation to heal quickly and supernaturally well
- pray for the continued improvement to Caden's heart rate
- pray that his remaining arm and hand would be saved

Further detailed prayer information is posted daily on the Facebook page.

With permission from the undermentioned people, these reflections point to a faithful God in the midst of deep anguish and pain. He remains our hope and our strength.

Quote from Mike A, (quoted with permission, 16/11/12)

His dad, David, continues to post daily on Caden's status (and his own). But I wanted to share some perspective with you from a close friend of the family, who is in regular contact locally with the family.

Beth goes a long way to articulating my own heart, and how overwhelmed I have felt personally with the response from my own friends in church and on facebook. whether you pray or believe as I do; for those who have asked me privately about Caden; for those at work, family, church; through email or in person; for those who have taken up Caden's cause as your own; your compassion has moved me.

Quote from Beth S, (quoted with permission, 16/11/12)

God does not give me everything I ask for and I do not understand His seeming lack of response in the face of thousands of prayers - but I have felt His presence tangibly close, even in the severest disappointments. He truly never leaves nor forsakes.

What seemed to me to be a perfect way to show Himself strong to a nation and the world, God seems to have passed up. I have learned that I am not the defender of His honour, nor the manipulator of how He should perform. His thoughts are far above my thoughts and His ways are not my ways.

God has given humans, when He created them in His image, a massive capacity for compassion for others. I have been kissed and hugged by a number of total strangers in shops and doctor's offices in the past few weeks, a point of contact with Caden for the one doing the hugging - a deep comfort for myself. The caring response to the Beggan family's suffering has been astounding.

'It takes a village......' - so many people see needs and work behind the scenes in this crisis, without being asked or even having others know they are helping. Some are literally 'laying down their lives for friends.' I am astounded at the generosity of people, doing what each can do in his own way, to help in a severe and ongoing crisis.

The dignity of Caden's parents and entire family, in the face of suffering through the deepest valley I have personally ever witnessed or been through, makes me know that their strength is not their own.

I know not how it can possibly happen, but I KNOW that in God's own omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent attributes, in time He will weave (work) this together for good and be glorified.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Like the autumn rain, she's back!

It's been such a long time I dont know if anyone is reading what I write anymore. Which suits me just fine! I see the wee eBuzzing logo has gone into hibernation, probably because I haven't blogged for a while. I had a professional website set up to deal with the launch of my book so my attention has been focused there a little bit - but that's not the place for the incessant chatter of my daily life.

I can't do the whole update here on what I've been up to and where I'm at right now - I'll just let it come out bit by bit and I'll try and write a few more updates.

Basically my book is selling really well and I have been truly, honestly honoured by how it has been received. One of the most wonderful things that has happened for me is my connection - nay, grafting in - to the folks at 3DMUK - the most humble, honest, life-affirming and encouraging people I have ever met. For those of us in churches which wish to turn out the way a little more to serve those outside of the current congregation whilst seeing the members grown and develop at the same time, the guys at 3DMUK don't force anything upon you nor tell you what to do; they merely offer advice, ideas, coaching, vision, direction, experience and ...humility, coupled with a reliance and demonstration of the Spirit's power.

So wherever you are at right now, I can say hand on heart, God is faithful - but watch your heart and your mouth and stay close to His word and to others who love him, love you and keep you accountable!

Luke 6:38
New International Version (NIV)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Update

Children, Families and God: Drawing the Generations Together

And in other news, my book is selling well but could, of course, do with more selling (I'd make a rubbish salesperson!) to help me pay off the rather large debt I incurred in this project. If I'm being honest I'm a bit concerned about this, I sometimes worry at night about finance, but this whole year has been about me being on a journey of faith and trust and no longer feeling safe in ministry. In that case, 100% success has been achieved there and I couldn't ask for more ;-)

However, I would like to be employed again in some capacity. I'm trying to work out if its sinful to ask for this....! Probably is. I'm just awful at waiting quietly.

Copies of the book are available direct from me right to your door on - only one click needed to buy (you're doing better now, Lynn!) and it will be posted straight to your door.

A distribution company in the UK (the truly wonderful Joining the Dots UK) has brought the remainder of the books into the UK for onward transmission to bookshops etc and lots and lots are being taken to the three New Wine weeks I think, as at least two one speakers have recommended the book. I am praying that they will do well there because, of course, bringing them in to an event is no guarantee that they would sell. I have a book launch and signing at CLAN (New Wine Scotland) next Wednesday 1st August at the morning break in the bookshop - please do come along if you are there - all support of every kind hugely welcomed!

The Diocese of London, Scottish Christian Broadcast magazine and the Baptist Union of Great Britain have reviewed the book very favourably, with more reviews on the way. Some churches have bought multiple copies for their leadership teams to read with regard to the mission and discipleship of the great big family of God together. My friends at 3DMUK have been selling the books to pastors and church leaders from the UK and European countries - I watched in awe as Dutch pastors took ten copies when I attended Pilgrimage in Sheffield!

I never imagined this kind of thing in my wildest dreams when I wrote the book. I remain in awe of the way God communicated his heart to me for the book in the midst of my own pain and sadness with regard to the frustrating situation I found myself in at that time. He put people around me who saw and listened and spoke the words of life over this project. They were operating at another level, really, with eyes of faith that saw something God would bring to completion. All glory and thanks to God - he clearly had his agenda in the book project as I simply would not have been able to write it had it not been for all that happened.

The really exciting news (for me) is that Children, Families and God: Drawing the Generations Together has been released in ebook format and is available in 6 countries - see the relevant amazon kind lore stores for further details - UK, USA, Spain, Germany, Italy and France.

If you have read the book and liked it, please let others know - buy one for your church leader(s), your parents, your youth workers, your neighbours - I did try to design it as a bible study guide, as a resource to underline and use for training others, as a tool for personal reflection and personal prayer and for activating and and encouraging others for what is ahead. I pray you will be blessed and be a blessing.

Oh - and if you want to pop a review on in the USA especially - or on or or anything else - that would be great!

The Influence of Parents

I just read the following (see quote) on a Worship Central forum. The thread asked people what Bible speakers or teachers had influenced them the most.

One person wrote boldly and publicly -
My Dad. He's The Real Deal. He Is Radical About Jesus, Like Jesus Is Radical For Us! He Doesn't Water Down The Word. He's My Biggest Role Model. My Dad Didn't Commit His Heart To Jesus Til He Was 31yrs Old. (I Was 12yrs) He Was Raised In A Broken Home In The Slums Of Philadelphia, And All He Knew Was To Fight His Way Through Life. (Literally) I Grew Up Watching My Dad In Rock Bands And Semi-Pro Boxing. While My Father Hid His Vices From Me And My Sisters, I Knew He Was Broken Inside. I Saw The Hand Of God Captivate The Life Of My Dad. God Reveals To Me His Power And Love Everyday Through The Life Of This Man. He Became A Home Missions Pastor By The Age Of 37 & The Lord Has Used Him To Turn Our Community Upside Down. He's A Combat Commando!!! My Dad Has Taught Me To Always Remain Faithful To God No Matter What The Cost, And He Leads By Example.

Those of us who are parents, how deep and wonderful our love is in influencing - nay - SHAPING and MOULDING the next generation. And where we're struggling - don't parent alone. Get alongside others in your community who will help you reflect the glory and grace of God which can change your life - make you more patient where you feel tetchiness and graceless, fill your heart with love for your child where you feel dry, refresh you in the challenge of parenting. He really does do this - if only you knew how much I need this and receive this whenever I come to the fount of living water to ask for help. I'm living and loving Hebrews 4: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Resist the urge to send your children away to activities or camps every week during long holidays - invest your time in them and you will reap the dividends. Tell your children you cherish them - explain what the word means (if they are younger) and lavish its use on them - it makes them feel so secure and loved.

Precious, dearly loved children. How they need to know this. And so do we.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (I John 3:1)

Friday, June 08, 2012

Face into the Sunflower

Life just got really, really exciting. Word is beginning to get out about the book and the first book launch is one week tomorrow. A couple of national reviews have been done and the physical books - my share of them - arrived today.

I think what I am most excited about is that "it is finished". I have been obedient to what I believe God asked me to do. Read back here, wow, I can hardly believe it myself!

I have just realised that I have not written anywhere on this personal blog what happened at the HTB Leadership conference in February 2011 that was really a catalyst for all that you may have been tracking. At the end of one of the session (and to be honest, coffee was being served, there was no remarkable encounter/ministry time happening for me), a chap I knew vaguely but who I had never, ever had a conversation with came up to me and asked, out of the blue: "what's God saying to you just now?"

I was taken aback, its true I hadn't left the front where worship and prayer had been happening, but I was just standing quietly, alone. I said: "God is saying to me once again that I will write a book to prepare the UK for the coming influx of children and their families and I will write this to help church leaders know how to handle this from a number of different angles. The book will take many different topics but will ground it in practical theology and real life stories " (or something like this).

I didn't expect him to be that interested, to be honest, but he stood back and said: "the time is now. You need to write this now". I explained that I had a demanding job on staff at the large church I was part of and came home exhausted, just wanting to be with my children and husband and I couldn't see how I could fit this in until the children were bigger.

He paused for a moment and said: "you need to ask for a sabbatical." At this point I burst into tears as I had been feeling the same and had asked my employers who had not responded favourably to my request for a number of reasons - so that door was shut. I had been a children and family pastor for 8 years; I had worked hard, I loved those I served deeply and I knew hand on heart that I was not asking for selfish reasons.

We exchanged a little more on this and then he prayed for me. I can only explain what felt like lightening strike me - and him - and - I don't know how you will take this readers, but all I can say that what happened in the natural PHYSICALLY felt like a decisive 'strike' to act. I had no idea how I could afford to do what I was going to end up doing a few weeks later and the mechanics of what happened next I will leave there. Suffice to say, the friends with prophetic ministry confirmed the compulsion I felt to do this thing. And as you read back you will see how much pain was in the birth of this book, but it meant my face was pressed hard against the throne of God; all I could do was look at him and bring all that I felt, all that I wanted, all that I had risked and given up, at his feet. Hence the sunflower picture at the top of this post - face into the beauty!

Getting the Book
If you live in the States you will be able to order Children, Families and God: Drawing the Generations Together to Change the World here

If you live in the UK, order using my personal website below in the first instance, and/or ask your local Christian bookstore to stock the book (this would help get other people to buy it?) - you may need to let them know the publisher is Evangelista Media, formerly Destiny Image Europe, and it has just been published (June 2012)

If you happen to be reading this and are attending PilgrimageUK in Sheffield, 11th to 14th June, you can also buy it there!

If you would like a copy to review for a national publication, contact me via the website.

Orders/contacts/endorsements/diary - all do-able now through this website.

Thank you for standing with me.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Book Launch Details

On June 9th the first delivery of this book will with me!

If you would like to pre-order, please send your email address to and I will send you a pre-order form.

The publisher is Evangelista Media (formerly Destiny Image Europe) and so the book will be available to Christian booksellers through the normal distribution networks. The book will also be available in the United States and worldwide through the publisher's website.

Below are the details of the two Scottish book launches. If you live anywhere near, or can travel to come, please do come to celebrate with me the culmination of this part of the journey. For me these evenings will be a time to celebrate - I managed to finish a book and more than that, the HUGE risk I took has paid off in that those who have pre-read the book say they have found it encouraging, inspiring to them personally and timely. I'm so glad. All I wanted to do was to produce something that was helpful and gave something back from all that I have experienced in my walk with God thus far. But it wasn't borne easily and as many of you know, I experienced pain in its birth - in many ways I felt very alone.

I left my job to read and ponder children, families, faith, discipling and missional communities and the future of the church! So on these evenings we will worship and pray together for the future of the church in the UK. These evenings are not about buying a book (honest!)

Friday 15 June 2012
@ Holy Trinity Church, Hailesland Place, Wester Hailes, Edinburgh EH14 - 7.45pm

Tuesday 19 June 2012 @ Queens Park Baptist Church, (Camphill Building) Balvicar Street, Glasgow G42 - 7.45pm

Below is one of the endorsements at the front of the book. Hopefully it gives you a flavour of what its about.
Page after page of this excellent book is filled with the testimonies of children, young people and families who have been completely transformed by the love and power of God. These stories are woven together to produce a passionate and articulate advocacy for the church to move in a new way. Lynn is calling on the church to embrace whole family discipleship and so much more. This is a radical departure from a great deal of what is currently happening in children's, youth and family work within the church.

I believe that this is a prophetic book - there is something here that is a foretelling of what the Lord wants to do in our nation. Lynn boldly lays out a way of thinking and being the church that will enable every generation to find their place within the church's new awakening. I strongly recommend the reader to take time to read, ponder and weigh what is being said here. There is a way ahead within these pages.

Alan McWilliam, Church Leader, Whiteinch Church of Scotland and Chairman, CLAN (New Wine Scotland)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It takes a whole church......

Below is an open comment I wrote on Krish Kandiah's blog in response to a post he wrote. Read all the responses others have made. Great points raised from other people's experiences. What are your thoughts?

Hi all

I am probably too late to add a comment in but I had a special reason for waiting…..this post really wound me up Krish. Not in a bad way, as I hope I will explain but because it made me weep tears of pain and frustration. I have taught, practised, written, trained, preached and prayed on and through what I am about to say. I'm not posting it to wind people up or being deliberately (naughtily) provocative back, I’m just sticking my head above the parapet to share a little of my heart for our church.
I didn’t choose to do what I do now, I would have been very happy (and better off!) in my previous career and like the commenter who has been asked when he’s going to become a real pastor, not a youth pastor, I have felt the pull of God to do what I do because of the reformation I believe he wants to bring to the Church.

What we have always done just isn’t working. In the year 2000 the church-going population of Great Britain was 4.4 million and 19% of this figure were children aged 15 or under, i.e. 836,000 children. By 2025 the churchgoing population is estimated to be 2.3 million with 5% aged 15 or under i.e. 115,000 . That’s a huge decrease in 15 years or so, if current projections continue. We will have lost 721,000 children in a 25 year period that we are almost halfway through.
If we were to go back to 1990’s figures and compare this with the 2025 estimate, we will have lost contact with 1.1 million children .

Now Peter Brierley (from whom I have these stats) and Mark Griffiths ("One Generation From Extinction") have written extensively on this. I don't want to remain at the point of doom and gloom. I write now as from my experience as a children and family pastor.

I found your post provocative Krish because unless the way we do church is up for root and branch reformation, we simply talk. We know how bad the statistics are and we know we have to do something. I don’t believe we have to have the attitude of getting our kids to last through church but instead, have more of an attitude that is up for a return to the Old and New Testament pattern of (as Gordon Wenham says) – “we’re part of a team”. We’re in this together and we don’t live for our own preferences or style of church; how can we together learn more about our amazing God and let as many people as possible know about because of the way we live our lives as individuals, families and communities?

I’ve been able to think recently, (and huge thanks to Joel Green’s writing on children and families in the book of Acts) at what it must have looked like to see such radical reformation of household life in the First Century. For women and children in particular something so utterly revolutionary was happening to their treatment and status that those outside Christianity looked and wanted to be part; in a context of hardship and even waves of persecution, people wanted to see the same kind of radical reorientation and transformation in their family lives. Pliny wrote that even children were at risk from the menace of Christianity! Chuckle. This thing was spreading like wildfire through the Roman Empire and men, women and children were loving Jesus and each other as part of the embryonic church.

You see, straight away what I represent is more than just children, although I love them dearly, I love the church. I love what we look like when we are together. I love that on a Sunday morning I look out a gathering like no other on the face of the earth. No shopping mall, football stadium, concert or school composes such a rich mix of ages, backgrounds, interests and ethnicities.
Partitioning and compartmentalising for convenience sake only has really got to stop in all of our major denominations in order that we might operate as I believe an extended family (the clan and tribe of the people of God).

Now I do not write this post as an intergenerational guru.Yes, I have set up and advocated intergenerational small groups. I’ve also done age-specific groups. I teach or oversee in all-age settings, but also separate settings. I am not saying that we must be together ALL of the time What I am saying is that we have deferred to be apart MOST of the time. I could write or propose a structure for an individual church as I have been able to put into practice in my own ministry but you know what, that’s not going to kick it either.

What I have found to be most effective is not a structure or de-programming exercise but a massive culture shift in how we see the young: their current potential, their innate ability to have proven insight into things of the kingdom, their natural connection with the supernatural, their place of incredible acceptance and humility. THESE THINGS we are to nurture, provide space for and…..learn from…..

Negativity and decline is NOT the picture across the whole world. There are lessons to learn from churches in nations (Indonesia is a great example) who are experiencing tremendous growth due to what I would summarise as this: children contribute to and partake in kingdom practices – they are being discipled as naturally as drawing breath through the input of the whole church which means they learn to pray with expectant faith, worship chasing the presence of God and engage naturally in mission which is marked by signs and wonders.

I just feel its time for us to take our hands off controlling church shape and structure a little more which, at times, favours the oldest/wealthiest/gobbiest/(insert your own adjective!!). Children occupy a unique place in the gospels, one which with all my heart I long for the church in the UK to return to.

Jesus, children and the kingdom, all three are in relationship. Through their lack of desire for power and prestige or glory they possess something that I believe we are desperate for in the UK – a church with integrity, authenticity and humility marked with God’s heart to love freely and with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.

Bless you Krish for taking the time to stir this up – you have been much on my mind since you wrote this.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Something's stirring

Imagine what it would look like if children, teenagers and their parents with no faith background at all, who know nothing of the stories of Jesus, start to come along to your gatherings in significant numbers – as little as three or four families could change the dynamic of some smaller churches and some fifty families will have a considerable impact.

It was with a mixture of excitement and incredulity that I read the following question from a working mother in a column in one of the UK’s quality newspapers. She was seeking advice from the well known TV presenter Mariella Frostrup :

I feel angry a lot at the moment – I'm taking it out on my husband, and because my two-year-old is inseparable from him I'm worried I'm also hurting him when I head for the front door. I'm so frustrated. I'm the main breadwinner and I work 60 hours a week while my husband and mother-in-law look after our children. It's the best-case scenario, but it drives me mad. My husband constantly whines about how tired he is from his 27-hour working week. When I'm at home I'm in primary care of the children. I would find the sick feminist joke that is my life funny and enjoyable if I was appreciated, but I'm not remotely. I have my character assassinated on a daily basis. Do you think church is the answer? I don't believe in God, but all that singing and being grateful has to help, surely?
I read this woman’s desperate question just days before I finished an edit of my book on getting ready for children and families to seek out solace and meaning in the church - community - and I felt a deep urge to include a reference to this story in the book, so I hope I have snuck it in despite the deadline.

This precious family is who we are to be ready for – will you love them with me?

There were a variety of comments in the online section of the newspaper following Ms Frostrup’s reply, with one person suggesting that the advice given back (“why not check out church?”) was written sarcastically. I know that the actual scenario was true, as I personally have met women who have expressed the identical sentiment to this. Something is drawing them. Let’s be ready to welcome whole families coming to or churches to check us out, to come to a church gathering so that they do something together and experience something different from consumer-led weekends - there is a growing desire for community and I'm up for whatever this entails!

Full source reference:Life & Style column, Observer magazine, p54, Sunday 15 January 2012, online link in second paragraph

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Update

Quick update on where the book writing project is. It's finished!

It's now in the internal editing process which is me and my three senior pastor friends who have agreed to have a read and suggest changes, but at the same time the manuscript is now with my publisher and next week the external, professional edit begins.

The publisher has also asked me to obtain some 250 word summaries for the first page or back cover of book. The person who knows me best, my senior pastor of 27 years, said it contains "dynamite". That's a bit scarey (it could go down like a lead balloon?) and also very honouring of him to say that as he is man with a deep knowledge of Scripture with impeccably high standards (there is no truth at all in the rumours that he used to re-align all the chairs early on a Sunday morning if they were millimetres out from their set pattern.....!!!?)

Next comes the cover design, title etc.... - very, very exciting. It's been a long haul but I have read a lot, prayed more and really "enquired of the Lord" to process my ideas and thoughts. It has also been an act of worship and a time to recall all the great things the Lord has done amongst the congregation in the two churches I have worked in.

If you are interested in getting a copy, I hope it will be out by June this year

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

God loves children

I've written this post for anyone who pops by here because of what I posted on a public forum offering to pray for anyone who wanted someone to do that for them following the "One Born Every Minute" programme on TV tonight.

God loves children, very much. He cares about their entrance into this world, that moment of birth, the first breath they take and the path they follow in life.

He didn't intend that it should be a difficult time, a lonely time or a tragic time. This world has got pretty messed up through the actions of humans and not because God wanted it to happen or meant it to happen.

But he knows when we need him, and the great news is that when we look for him or call out to him, he's there.

I'm a minister, a pastor, who specialises in working with and supporting parents, children and families. Although I'm on a break from my job just now because I am finishing a writing project, I love what I do. It's not about forcing what I believe on anyone, I always, always respect other people's beliefs - my job has always been more about standing alongside you when things are tough or celebrating with you when your family brings you joy and happiness. Being a parent and working together as a family is genuinely hard work at times!

Christians believe that prayer works. God always listens when we pray, so post in the comments below if you would like me, and some of my friends who I trust hugely, to pray for your family and your children. You can keep it anonymous and not even give much details except please pray for XX and XX.

I used to work alongside a carers and toddler group that met twice a week and the carers got a break while their children were looked after by "aunties", older people from our church who were fully trained and Disclosure-checked. We had a prayer tin where people could write out things they or the family were worried about and some of us met to pray for these little requests. Every week there was things in that tin and it was a great privilege to be trusted with them so that we could pray.

If I can answer any questions you have about Christianity and what Christians believe and especially how this fits in with children, do post here too or perhaps you might think about attending an Alpha course, again all of the details on these (you put your postcode in and you can find out where one is near you) by clicking here

Alpha is great, it's a no-pressure course introducing Christianity, often over a meal if its an evening course, or at the very least (if its during the day) with coffee and cake! You can ask anything at all, be totally honest about what you think and no-one will try to make you change your mind. The course just puts some information before you (usually by watching a short DVD) and then has a discussion time. What I have always found to be great about alpha is that people make really good friends and the group forms a strong bond - which is an added bonus!

Finally, here's an ancient prayer of blessing that any of us can pray over our babies and children, friends or older relatives. I often pray it while the other person sleeps. You're praying it to the God who suggested it
to us as a way of blessing each other and it is now used by many churches as a prayer said over babies and children. A blessing is simply praying the best from God for someone.

Its from the book of Numbers, chapter 6, in the Bible. An online bible is available here.

The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Dummies Guide to Creating a Vision Statement

In this period of sabbaticalling I have met with a number of lead pastors who are working out their church's view on children and children's ministry. They have all asked me how I got my vision going.

Prior to April, I was emailed by LOADS of children's/youth workers all over the country to ask, amongst other things, how I knew what I was to do first, what were my priorities. I always asked them what their vision for their role was - which was often met with....pauses/blank looks/uncertainty. So I'm pretty pleased that now their team leaders want to support them in this.

Last year I ran an equipping track at my annual vision day to help pastors and leaders get a vision for children's and youth ministry but, errrrr, I encouraged them gently not to just copy my vision statement. That's a cop out - what might the Spirit of God want to say to you which will be much more exciting than my vision statement would say?! I know whose I would rather have any day :-)

Here's my Dummies Guide to Creating a Vision Statement
(not that I am saying pastors are dummies. Far from it. I'm one!! (one what?)

Implementing a Vision for Children and Young People

The first THREE steps to implementing a vision for children and young people in YOUR church are to:

1.Get armed with information from culture and Christian research

2.Get familiar with passages in the Bible pertaining to children and young people

3.Have an open heart and mind, to be challenged and changed, stirred and broken

The next step, if it is needed…..(and it might not be, you alone know this about your church). Vision for the future is built from the ashes of repentance.

4.Repent for any wrong attitudes personally or corporately held towards children and young people.
See this post for help with this.

5. Consider the following definitions. Make sure you understand them:
Values – principles held that informed the vision process
Vision – the place children’s, family and all age ministry should go.
Process – how is this vision to become reality?

6. The next step is to write out your theological non-negotiables about children and young people. These are your values.

"My last church" example:
•Children start with God. However, their “default” is to veer away from him without a twin strategy of evangelism and nurture. Every young person needs to hear the Good News and be nurtured in their faith journey.

Children and teenagers need to be given regular opportunities to personally respond to what God has done through Jesus’ death and resurrection and to keep on saying “yes” to Jesus through thick and thin, throughout their stages of cognitive and spiritual development.

Children and young people are capable of understanding their position in Christ, precious, chosen, people whose prayers are heard and who are worthy of the Father’s love, “welcome at the table”.

Children and young people are part of the Joel 2:28 promise (“I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”). We are not to construct a theology of “what is not for them”. We uphold that there is no “junior” Holy Spirit.

7. Then write out what, in your wildest dreams, you would like to see in the future. This is your vision.

Mine is tightly worded into three bullet points. If your church has a vision statement, look at your thoughts to see if it marries with it. Hopefully it’s not going in the opposite direction!

Obviously I am not going to reproduce this here now as that was for then. I will be asking God what it should be for next place I am and those who follow me in my previous church should be asking God what it is they are uniquely to bring as they're not me and they will have different "wildest dreams". I know mine were very big but I had a history of seeing big things happen with God so I was never going to have a vision statement that said "I hope the children all behave and have good fun in Sunday School."

8. Think: how are you going to get there? What needs to change? This is the process.

Again, I had a tightly worded pathway to make these things happen and before the church's structure changed I was a significant way along seeing these being carried out.

9. Finally, writing a vision requires the heart to follow it through to implementation.
It needs to be presented to vestry/diaconates/board/elders. It needs to be taught from the front. It needs to underpin every leadership decision your church makes. It needs to have someone/people behind it who can make it happen. Who are passionate about prayer and passionate about the vision; which is why the initial four steps are more important than anything else.