Review of Watchmen

I went to see it on Sunday night and have reviewed it on my Boxed Sets blog.

For the record it is a total misrepresentation of the film to say that it encourages a socialist utopia, or that it is 'anti-American'. Those sorts of criticisms come from wanting to find a worldview clash, rather than listening to the film on its own terms.

Will video venues kill preaching?

I reckon that's going a bit too far, I'll have to read the article and see how it goes. But this discussion has to be had. Me personally, I don't like the idea of video venues as the regular staple of church preaching.

What do you think?

H/T Steve Kryger

Mars Hill College Mission

Campus ministry Seattle style.

What makes TBT unique?

The preaching. The depth, length, speed of preaching @ TBT makes regular Crossroads sermons seem like devotions.

Dan gave a great example of the archetypal TBT sermon. The sermon was on Hope, but it includes a twenty minute introduction about the relationship between church and state.

What is Christian about art?

This is such an important question, and one so little dwelled upon. We might spend a lot of time opposing what we think art should not be, but what exactly do we think art should be?

Tim Chester is blogging a contribution to a Christian view of art.

Weaknesses of ministry apprenticeships

Paul Grimmond posts some thoughts on ministry apprenticeships including:

This paradigm is limited to the vision, wisdom, skills, and creativity of the mentor. The student cannot learn more than the mentor knows.

A big warning about who we encourage to be a ministry trainer!

More on Oz29 in Melbourne

Luke posts his thoughts.

Murray has posted some of the things that Guy Mason is very keen about.

Oz29 gathers momentum in Melbourne

Who cares about Sydney, anyway?

Murray posts some thoughts on the gathering in Carlton this morning.

The problems with eating out

Justin, with tongue (light seared with rosemary and shiraz-boysenberry jus, served on a bed of rocket and preserved lemon) in cheek gives some bad reasons to go out for dinner.

Article on church planting in the Wall Street Journal


H/T Challies

Gathering supporters for a church plant

Will has some great steps.

I am more and more convinced that doing this right is one of the most important early steps of church planting and the ability to do this is one of the test of church planting ability.

One good reason why MTS apprentices should raise some of their money.

The Problem with Christianity is...

...the bad behaviour of Christians.

I sat on this second talk in the Uni Fellowship of Christians' mission. The content is engaging and well-delivered. I was greatly encouraged.

I'm going to be speaking as a part of this series the next two Tuesdays:

31/3 ... it kills rational thought
7/4 ...the Christian lifestyle

What is one of the coolest Anglican churches in the universe doing for Easter?

Find out here.

Clowney and Keller for hours and hours for free

They co-taught a course on preaching in a pomo world.

Bunch of new posts on the MTSTas blog

About prayer meetings, influential cities, individual vs corporate evangelism. Check it out.

Unis are degree factories

Gordo laments the obstacles to ministry on campus.

It seems to me that there are two options:

  1. Gradually change the shape of student ministry so that it looks more like workplace ministry.
  2. Try to be a counter-cultural force in campus life.

Lonely Planet may never publish Justin's material

But I think it's great: Ten reasons not to travel.

Check out who hasn't taken holidays

Someone wise said recently: a good auditor who comes in to check out a business will ask to see who hasn't taken leave recently. They are a problem person. They could be covering for all sorts of mistakes they've made... or they are a problem waiting to happen.

What does that say about ministers who are bad at taking days off and annual leave?

Murray from Mentone in Melbourne Meditates on Music Ministry

Sounds like a Dr Seuss book.

Two little things that came out of meeting with Jamie Munson

Jamie is the senior pastor of Mars Hill Church. He looks about fourteen years old. He's a nice guy.

Two things stuck out to me during a conversation with him while over in the USA:

  1. As your church grows, you need to have less frequent eldership meetings and more frequent staff meetings.
  2. Rather than regular job descriptions, structure them around three categories: purpose, actions, vision of success.

Twitter is somehow like wearing band T-shirts

It's fine for a lot of people and it's another way to relate to other people but it's just not something I want to take advantage of.

MTC blogroll

Michael Jensen has published a list in his sidebar.

Writers' challenge: write a negative film review

I linked to two reviews of Watchmen a few weeks ago. Ted Baehr's review got a bad rap from a lot of commenters.

But just this morning I spoke to one of my hip, culturally engaged, alternative Christian mates who went to see it. They were negative about the film because of it's distubing content.

Part of the reason for negative reactions to Ted's review, I suspect, is not the content but the style.
So here's my Writers' Challenge: choose a paragraph of Ted's review and rewrite it in a style the commenters would find less objectionable.

The Problem with Christianity is...

going really well by the sounds of things.

The vigorous campus surveying has had a huge response and the follow-up sermons begin this coming week.

Kylie mics

Stephy has just posted about them.

I don't like them so much. Guy does. All the time we were overseas he was asking everyone who could about which was the best Kylie mic to buy. Everyone said the 'countryman'.

Do you like the Kylie mic?

Three things that Oz29 should not leave behind

  1. MTS: Because, in order to plan dozens and hundred of churches we need to keep recruiting and strengthening the next mob of church planters. We need a 'ministry training strategy'. None of the problems you have with MTS are integral to MTS. Most of your problems with MTS are due to misapplication or poor application of MTS.
  2. AFES: One of the major reasons we have such a bumper crop of people passionate about church planting today is because of twenty years of hardcore student ministry in Australia. If we want to last beyond this crop, we need to keep enlisting future leaders from the uni campuses. Moreover, AFES done properly is always primarily evangelistic and we must keep our evangelistic edge.
  3. Bible Colleges: This is one of the wonderful and unique contributions that we can offer to the world evangelicalism. We should not be ashamed of our theological distinctives and acumen, but rather channel them to serve others and deepen our missionary fervour. Anyway, I am convined that neither the internet nor the emerging church will ever sideline the campus-based seminary.
We would be shortsighted and faddish if we let these things diminish because church planting is the Beyonce of the moment.

Free copy of Tribes by Seth Godin

Available here.

H/T Steve Addison


Is a big word in church circles at the moment. You connect with the community and get them to connect with one of your services where you get them to join a connect group. I even heard a pastor say a few months ago that a certain person was 'connecting well' in their church.

I personally don't like it. Do you?

PS This is not a comment on the Sydney Anglican's Connect 09 campaign. I love Connect 09.

Justin finishes his tips to young travellers

Great work, brother.

TBT sermons now online

On the Crossroads website.

First sermon is 'The Gospel-driven life - Mission' by Nathan "TivTiv" Tivendale.

Al Stewart at

Talking about the new "Oz29" network.


Manhattan and Seattle are awesome, dont get me wrong, but Hobart is so much better. Mars Hill and Redeemer are awesome, but Crossroads is so much better (sounds like something Mike Jolly would say!!)

There's so much that's happened over here in the US that has been incredible. The experiences we've had of people, church, the cities, as a family, with our Aussie friends here, exploring etc. Its been exciting, rewarding, beautiful and faith-inspiring. But its just not home.

I want to stuff around in the backyard with the kids in their trakkies. I want to have coffee at the Retro where they know how Xavi has his babycino, I want to go to my bible study on Wednesday and get stuck into things and talk too late with Fairlie and Shiloh, I want to walk to the foot of the mountain in Lenah Valley, I want to sing at Crossroads with the Gross's leading instead of a rockband, I want to be able to ring my friends and pop over for the morning. I miss my friends, Mike misses his friends, the kids miss their friends. I want weetbix.

For a bit we thought we'd have to stay here a bit longer till Xav and I get better (bronchitis :-( ) but we fly out tomorrow night! Thank God for ridiculously expensive grumpy fifth avenue travel doctors who drink coffee and make personal phone calls whilst talking to you.

See you all soon.

Tassie Passover anyone?

Margaret has sent out an invitation (see comments). I think it's a cool idea.

Phillip Jensen on public holidays

Another well reasoned and well written piece:

The short-term bribe of double pay only undermines decent pay rates and the freedom to work a "normal" week. Work on weekends, public holidays, and at inconvenient hours has become part of the employment package. The people who have the least bargaining power have this life pattern imposed upon them in order to have a job.
I do wonder sometimes about how these pieces 'position' Phillip. He does a lot of social ethics stuff. And so he comes across the way denominational official often do, as moralisers. What do you think?

Another post on tips for young travellers

Great stuff here, including:

It is people who make trips memorable. Meet people from other parts of the world who love the Lord. They will hold more influence for you than the view of the Grand Canyon. Seek for it, and pray for it.

Justin's first five tips for young travellers

Have just been posted.

Tony Payne is going to be nicer to fundamentalists

And he shares his resolution in his latest Sola Panel post.

Warnings to would-be travellers

Overseas travel is most dangerous when it is pursued by a form of subliminal existentialism and the Experience it gives is one of the religions of my peers. Justin shares some advice.

I'm all for black humour

But saying 'We're all drinking the same Kool Aid' to talk about vision alignment makes me feel ill.

Tuesday Crossroads has started a Facebook Profile

We actually began as a Page, but back then I felt that Groups were more powerful and more commonly used by the people we wanted to reach.

New Facebook has change all that. Become a fan today!

Keller in UK for newfrontiers

Keller has just spoken in England for the newfrontiers crew, these were the guys who came to the A29 World Summit with us last week.

Good material here I'm sure.

Dinner and discussion with Jon Tyson

It seems in some ways Jon is the heir to the Redeemer stuff. He is not just wanting to imitate Redeemer, but reflect on their ministry and values and think how to move it forward, continuing their project and solving the practical problems that he perceives from how they've implemented it.

Here's a bunch of things that came up in our discussion:

  1. The danger of video venues for church is that 'the medium is the message' and the medium communcates that the preacher is a celebrity.
  2. One of the challenges Redeemer has encountered is finding out how to really get people to live their vision.
  3. A related issue is encouraging a big view fo city renewal, while keeping the missionary edge. Jon is trying to restore the pointy edge to the holistic vision.
  4. A few book recommendations: The Spiderweb and the Starfish (great movements don't just have one head and lots of legs like a spider, but rather independant legs that regrow, like a starfish); Emotionally Healthy Spirituality; Flickering Pixels and also The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture (both by the same author, they warn of the unintended consequences of technology); A Community Called Atonement; Who's Your City? (a bo
  5. Keep learning and reading. Seek to master a new topic every year. That's the great thing about Keller: he knows more about everything and has worked out a theology about every major industry in Manhattan.
  6. To avoid encouraging people to attend several churches at once, only have appointments with those who are solely committed to your church.

Bits and pieces from Trinity Grace sermon

  1. During the sermon, Jon included three tag clouds. One that showed the priorities of the secular New Yorker, one that showed the priorities of the average evangelical and one that moved us towards what we should be: with 'justice', 'mercy' and 'faithfulness' as the biggest words.
  2. Rather that seeking a 'balanced life' we should instead rightly seize the opportunities that are put before us.
  3. 'You can't live well quickly, but slowly and carefully'
  4. 'Keep the margins in your life as sacred'.

Three basic points of mp3 etiquette

If you're gonna record and published your sermons, please observe these basic guidelines.

H/T Challies (just about the only thing I read from Challies is his weekly web digest. But it's worth subscribing just for that!)

Visit to Trinity Grace

Trinity Grace has multiple 'parish' churches, but we went to the Chelsea one, which I think is the largest. It's in an old church building on 22nd street: high ceilings, big staircases, gallery upstairs.

This congregation is especially young, mainly in their twenties. They all seemed to be pretty cool. A few piercings, bit of dyed hair, indie beards. But more generally, just arty-stylish. The place was pretty full: about 250-300 people. No kids and no kids ministry.

Here's an outline of the servie:

1. Extended reading 'call to worship', with music beginning to play in the background by the service leader.

2. Two songs that were very intense and very passionate, lots of stomping on the ground and repeated choruses that build up in that Cold Play sort of way. Synthesiser, guitar, bass, cello, drums and additional singer.

3. The musicians stay standing while the service leader gave the announcements and they also appeared up on the screen:

  • They will have a combined-congregation service (they hold this every two months I think) on a Tuesday night.
  • They will hold a 'Passover seder' dinner to see Easter in a new light. This is a full meal.
  • A new ministry 'Real Women' will begin meeting monthly. They already run 'Real Men'.
  • After the announcement deck finishes the screen returns to the generic Trinity Grace slide.
4. The offering ('for members here') is announced by the service leader with a Scriptural appeal. People are invited to go to the back of the room to place their offerings while everyone else stands and greets one another.

5. A new guy comes up and does an educative slot related to the semron. This is a pretty academic sort of thing, that refers to 'Torah' and 'Maccabean Revolt'.

6. The Scipture reading was read by a girl. They are currently in a series on Matthew 23 for Lent. This was projected on the screen. Jon said that this was not because 'we're in the technology age'. It's to encourage a shared experience. 'When you go to Redeemer, it's just you, your service outline and Tim'.

7. Sermon. During the sermon Scripture passages and the general outline was projected onto the screen on series-specific slide backgrounds. This was the first sermon I'd heard in America that was thoroughly expository. It was also the first time in America the congregation had actually been brought back to Old Testament passages to study together as part of the sermon.

Also, a distinctive of Trinity Grace among New York churches, is taking the time at the end of the sermon to work out the implications of the Sciptures for their community. Jon focuses on teaching the church how to be who they are.

8. While the preacher prays, the band comes up and sets up.

9. Communion is introduced. The band plays while we are given a time of reflection. Whenever we are ready we can go to one of the four corners of the building to take communion by intinction. This was the same as Mars Hill.

10. The band invites us to stand and sing two songs. Jon said that only one song was probably necessary at this point.

11. The service leader delivers a benediction.

12. People were invited to come forward for prayer after the service.

13. After the service, the screen invited people to 'get involved' and 'meet people' by helping the band pack up the stage area.

At two points in the service there were call-response things as well. Can't remember exactly where now.

Keller's theology of wrath and forgiveness

Both appear in Reason for God and both came up in his sermon this morning.

  1. His take on wrath is a pretty common one - wrath is not the opposite of love, indifference is. I don't think that's true, as I've posted about before. The same could be said of any strong emotion. It's like saying 'North isn't the opposite of South, the centre of the earth is'. Within the sphere of emotions wrath is the opposite of love but it is not the negation of love.
  2. His take on forgiveness is interesting. Keller argues that we mustn't be interested in vengeance at all, but rather should absorb the wrath/injustice and so make forgivenes possible. Vengeance allows evil to triumph. I don't think this is right. I think this is a place for godly vengeance and I think that this explains why God is still right to punish some people, rather than forgive everybody.

Bron meditates on the new look Facebook

And I pick a fight in the comments section. Come on over and join the fun!

The vanilla coffee and mini muffins of Redeemer

I reckon a great way to test if you have contextualised really well, is if visiting pastors from others churches don't like what you do. So New Yorkers think Driscoll is thuggish. Australians think Redeemer is rude. That's because they don't run their ministry to impress you but to reach their non-Christian neighbours!

Every time something bugs you about a thoughtful, missionary church, you should pay careful attention: this could be the most important thing to learn from them. This is where they are contextualising well.

So what's cool about Redeemer:

  • It's church does 'the ballet' or 'the opera'. It's a cultured church for high culture people.
  • For a lot of people, 'professional' means 'curt'. I can imagine many people who would find Redeemr impressively, welcomingly professional. If you often say things like 'the church shouldn't be professional it should be family' you are just showing that you're from a different context.
  • You get a lot of personal space at Redeemer. Noone tries to be your friend and make you interact. You can just come and check things out at your own pace. I reckon a lot of visitors would find this very tasteful and, ironically, very hospitable. It's the opposite of teen stores where the sales staff follow you around calling you 'babe' or 'matey'.
  • The music and service, although horrendously formal, were very good and very rousing. As someone who can read music, I thought it was nice having the sheet music to unfamiliar songs published in the service outline.
  • Keller is extraordinary to listen to online. He's even more amazing live. Great message. Who else can get away crossing their arms while they preach?
  • The vanilla coffee and mini muffins after the service were both delicious.

The grumpy ushers of Redeemer

So we went to Redeemer this morning. Generally people, and especially Australians, go visit Redeemer and diss it afterwards. Now I understand why:

  • It's a really formal presbyterian service.
  • It seems, in gross simplification, that if they have a choice between someone who is natural and someone who is 'well spoken' they go for the latter. It gives things a bit of a private school speech night feel.
  • The ushers are very professional, that is, pretty curt. They are kinda scary; they made Steve Chong mad. If there is a choice between a happy parent and a quiet auditorium, the parent loses every time.
  • It's very polished, the congregation are well dressed, a lot of people seem to just march straight out once the service is finished.
  • Tim Keller preaches well, and Aussies don't like Americans who preach well.
But I don't want to just be a player hater, so check out the next post.

The Auss-e Possie

H/T Steve

Photo op with Driscoll

I'm going to church in NYC today

At 9am it's Redeemer Presbyterian.
At 3pm it's Times Square 'Church'. This will be strange. The founder posted this last week. Crazy.
Nikki might try to sneak a kid-free 5pm Redeemer service.
At 7pm it's Trinity Grace.

Some time with Jon Tyson Part V: Evangelism

In a secular and suspicious place like NYC, you simply cannot reach out to actual New Yorkers unless you are primarily devoted to friendship evangelism. Here were some of Jon's comments on evangelism:

  • The whole 'missional' thing is simply a redisccovery of what Christians have always been trying to do in outreach.
  • Go to the same places, and act according to the appropriate level of disclosure: a) Ignore people b) Acknowledge you've seen them around and then ignore them c) Say hi d) Exchange some information and take the relationship further.
  • In Manhattan people relate in 'third places', you don't really have people around to your house for dinner.
  • The best entries into church are the church service, the missional groups and participation in community service. The church can provide non-Christians with an opportunity to serve, which assuages their guilt.

Some time with Jon Tyson Part IV: Mid-sized groups

I think this stuff is some of the most important stuff going in terms of church structure. I've been a long-term sceptic of the power for small groups to do much more than care for existing church members. I think they are too small to really provide big community and outreach. Clustering small groups together into mid-sized groups is a great option.

At Trinity Grace their missional groups approach runs as follows:

  • They meet one week in small groups and the next week these groups cluster together, with three or four others into missional groups.
  • The missional groups involve a fairly formal structure, involving things ranging from a church service to lectures and discussions.
  • In order to work, they need to not just be big small groups, nor merely small church services.
  • Those who run these groups well demonstrated the gifts to be future pastors/planters.
  • These groups are often geared towards particular niches - gender, career and so on.
  • The career and interest groups actually do succeed in gathering and supporting those who are involved in those things in the rest of their lives, not just hobbyists. That's because you don't move to NYC unless you are wanting to devote all your time to something.

Some time with Jon Tyson Part III: The workplace

He spoke about the role of the workplace and how to help Christians live out their faith in the public sphere. A major part of this is their missional groups (see next post). But here is an overall approach:

  1. Have the right motives: you are serving the Lord Jesus in your work.
  2. Be committed to evangelism: that is why God has placed us where he has.
  3. Seek to serve in your workplace: look for the redemptive edge.
  4. Work with excellence: contribute positively to your field.
  5. Always keep a sacred margin: be active in caring for the poor with your skills.

Some time with Jon Tyson Part II

  • The problem with Mars Hill and Redeemer is that they are strongly built around the personality and strength of the preacher. They are more preaching places than churches. He prefers having a preaching team to having a single, dominant preacher.
  • A risk with Redeemer's emphasis on redeeming the workplace is that it can provide a cop out for people - Jon reckons this is happening to a fair extent at Redeemer. You mustn't ever take mission off the radar.
  • Don't substitute hard work for power. You should focus on prayer, rather than on working ridiculous hours.
  • You need to first really care what the city thinks, so that you really understand it. Once you really understand it, you need to stop caring what the city thinks, so that you can transform it.

Some time with Jon Tyson

We met at this nice little chocolaterie on Amsterdam called Jacques Tourres.

I think I saw the girl who played Zoey Bartlett in The West Wing.

He had lots and lots to say, but here's just some:

  • The single most significant why their church has been so successful is that their people pray more than any other church.
  • To build a culture of prayer he takes his guys up onto various cities, maybe smokes some cigars, and prays over the city - this betrays his charismatic background.
  • He is trying to re-establish a form of parish system here in NYC - a family of neighbourhood churches in close partnership.
  • 'Relevance' is trying hard, 'contextualisation' is actually being.
  • Redeemer Church Planting Center waits for people to feel frustrated in trying to reach New Yorkers - then they realise the need for proper contextualisation. You can't tell people the problem, they need to realise it for themselves.
  • You gotta be fairly traditional to reach New Yorkers - they are suspicious of cults, they are Ivy League educated, they are cultured, the structure helps educate the biblically illiterate.

I'm meeting with an Aussie church planter in NYC this arvo

The Redeemer guys said he's worth getting in touch with. Strange thing is that Vision 100 and Presbyterian Church of Tasmania just employed his dad as a roving missionary in the Midlands!

His church is giving a good crack at the 'missional communties' things. Check out their website and click on 'community' for a taste.

What's the telephone experience at your church?

Steve has a great post on the mistakes we make. Isn't it cool when someone helps you think like an outsider?

God's in heaven, God's everywhere

All religious language is metaphorical, which makes life very difficult for a 3 year old trying to get a grip on Christianity.

Nikki and I had a little chat, then about what exactly heaven is and how to talk about it with Xavvy.

'Heaven' is a spacial metaphor for a spiritual state: Heaven is 'with God'.

  • Ultimately God and only God is 'in heaven'.
  • But the angels enjoy an immediacy of unhindered relationship to God that is not experienced here on earth. They are 'in heaven' while we are 'on earth'.
  • Yet in Christ, we have a greater relationship to God than even Adam and Eve enjoyed, so that we are 'seated with Christ in the heavenly realms'.
  • Nevertheless our relationship with God still lacks experiential wholeness - 'Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror'. We look forward to full experience of our relationship with God - 'then we shall see face to face... then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known'.
So how does this help us talk about heaven with a three year old? Well, I reckon by restricting the use of spatial metaphors wherever possible.

Nikki suggested that we limit the spatial metaphor to full relationship. So 'heaven is where God is'.

And rather than confusing the matter by also saying 'God is everywhere', instead use relational terms: 'God sees everything, God cares for us, God always hears us'.

Open letter from Al Stewart

Has been posted on the Sydney Anglican website:

What I mean is that Mars Hill Seattle – like other American churches I have been to – exudes a love for Jesus, a confidence about the future and a great generosity to visitors. They are generous with their resources, their hospitality (food laid on at every turn) and their encouragement. I think this is the thing we can most learn from our American brothers and sisters: they are big-hearted and understand gospel generosity, and they feel a sense of urgency about getting things done.

The Problem with Christianity Is...

The Univeristy Fellowship of Christians (UFC) here in Hobart has begun an exciting new mission:

  1. Week 3 they have began floating the mission by sticking posters around the uni that said "The problem with Christianity is...", leaving space for people to write stuff. And people have indeed written stuff...
  2. Next week they'll set up a table on campus from Monday to Thursday with a heap of Chritian and New Atheism books and again the opportunity for people to share. They'll go round the campus polling people and also doing vivox pops. On Wednesday they'll also do a fress sausage sizzle.
  3. Weeks 5 and 6 will have a series of sermons/addresses that respond to these various questions. Some of which I may be invited to give, others Sam Green, the current senior staff worker will give.
It's a great concept and sounds like it has already captured the imagination of the students, both Christian and not.

Blog poll: TBT sermons online?

I am trying to recruit someone from Crossroads' 'edgy' Tuesday night service to record and upload our sermons each week. So far, nothing's doing.

Soooo, I'd like to ask you, the internet, if you would listen to TBT sermons if they were online:

  1. Do you want it?
  2. How bad?
  3. Why?
  4. Where are you from?
If there's lots of people from lots of places who want this, I reckon that could well inspire someone to take on the job.

*TBT Facebook group
** TBT website

Spent some time talking to Joel Brown about Christians in the indie music scene

And he shared his experiences from the early days of Mars Hill, when they had heaps of cred and heaps of ties with the scene. (dyk that in the early days he was in bands with guys from Deathcab for Cutie?) A few things:

  1. He says there is a danger of being so keen on having credibility in the scene that you never actually speak up about your faith.
  2. He agreed that trying to weasel Christian themes into bands that play the local venues and other infiltration techniques are lame.
  3. Providing resources to the music scene can be good. For example, Mars Hill provided an all-ages venue, no strings attached. He recognised that the TBT cinema plans was another good approach.
  4. He said that loving, genuine relationships have great power.
  5. Mars Hill has grown larger and so lost its niche indie appeal, but still there are many links to the scene. The relational credibility is the far more powerful thing now, rather than niche appeal for the church itself.
  6. The hardcore scene is particularly accessibile for Christians because they are often pretty messed up people, they don't care what anyone else thinks and they are deeply into works-righteousness. More art-punk scenes are too pretentious, worried about what others think and middle-class. They are harder to connect with.
  7. He said that Sojourn Music's stuff really helped him see how church music could serve to lead the church in repentance and brokenness, or something like that. (Shout out to Sojourn!).

Matt Jensen on 'College' ministry

Mars Hill have recently put a full-time staff member on to reach out to 'U Dub' (Uni of Washington). I spoke with him on the Boot Camp and he laid out some of their approach. Here are some things:

  1. Work in close partnership with local churches. They provide the proclamation, community, mentoring of older people. College converts don't need to just spend all their time with other college age people. They need the opportunity to learn from those up ahead of them.
  2. Don't try to reach and gather every Christian on campus. Then you will spend your precious time with each 3-year group trying to please the already-churched.. Therefore don't spend lots of time advertising publically.
  3. Don't meet on campus, instead meet and gather in the social hubs, the 'third places'.
  4. Find the evangelists and train them. Send them out to do evangelism and train them in that work.
  5. What Mars Hill is doing is starting lots and lots of small groups (the 'missional teams') concept. They find that these teams are actually being active evangelistically because of the strong proclamation at the church and because of clear gospel-centred team training.
  6. One focus was to make sure that they have a servant-hearted mindset in relation to the student community, caring for them in major struggles as well as helping them out when they get maggoted on Saturday night and are falling asleep in a gutter somewhere.
There were the sorts of things I was beginning to think, as I look towards ministry on campus in Hobart in 2010, so it was nice to hear how it's going with kindred spirits.

Tim Keller on church size transitions Part III

But it is not just that the laity must cede power to the leaders. The lay leaders must also cede power to the staff and volunteer leaders.

In a smaller church it is usually the lay leaders who know more about the members than the pastor.  The lay leaders have been there longer and thus have more knowledge of the past, more trust from the members, and more knowledge of the member's abilities, capacities, interests, opinions, etc.

But once a church gets beyond 200 it is the staff that knows more about the church members than the lay leaders and increasingly the new members (in particular) take cues from the pastor(s) rather than from the lay leaders.

Increasingly the lay officer board (elders, etc.) will not be able to sign off on absolutely everything and will have to let the staff and individual volunteer leaders make decisions on their own.

Tim Keller on church size transitions Part II

Here's one of the interesting changes that needs to happen to break past the '200 barrier':

In the small church approach to decision-making it is considered impossible to proceed with a change if any member if strongly opposed or especially if it appears that a change will actually result in some people leaving the church.  2) As a church nears the 200 barrier, there now is almost always someone who experiences a change as a loss. So 3) therefore no changes ever can occur unless many decisions that used to involved the whole membership shift to the leaders and staff.

Tim Keller on church size transitions Part I

The '200 barrier' is a very significant church size barrier. Most churches are unable to make changes to their community style and leadership style to go beyond this point.

Keller observes that the '200 barrier' may differ for cultures, communities and pastors. For example, white collar people tend to have higher demands of specialised resources, and so for centre-city churches, it may be the '100 barrier'. I suspect it's 7-100 for most places in Australia.

TIME: Ideas that are shaping the world - Calvinism

Check it out.

H/T Craig.

1800 hits today

I'll have to post photos of nude celebrities to keep the hit counter this high ever again.

A29 just gave all the Aussies a little present

The Logos Scholar's Library!

Thanks very much guys.

What do we need? What can we give?

  1. A new Australian network needs access to all the screening, assessing and coaching resources.
  2. A new Australian network can give the freshness of a movement in startup mode. "We are just hoping the bungee cord is tied on" (Al Stewart).
  3. But Al made of a point of saying that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. We are reaping the harvest of keen, young men, because of a culture of loving God's Scriptures.
There was a huge list of other things we talked about, including the need for things like leadership development best practices and the gift of theological rigour.

Centralizing/Decentralizing huddle groups

"This is it," Scott Thomas says and he's scary-looking so you do whatever he says. We're about to split up into our national network groups to make plans:

  1. What is the gift we can give?
  2. What is the gift we need?
Will post back in twenty minutes.

Al Barth from Redeemer CPC at World Church Planters Summit Part VIII

Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas, the older, best and brightest, not just the younger guys.

This is what has worked more in the Tassie scene and has almost become received wisdom. But in A29 it seems to me like the opposite is the case. Of course there's no one way to do things.

Al Barth from Redeemer CPC at World Church Planters Summit Part VII

We need to get guys who are between 45-65 years old, to go around as 'apostles' in the literal sense of 'those who are sent to care'. They have credibility and wisdom to care for and coach the planters out on the field.

Al Barth from Redeemer CPC at World Church Planters Summit Part VI

Even someone exceptional like Tim Keller works his tail off to keep contextualising his minsitry because New York is changing all the time... otherwise he'll be Redeemr 1993 instead of Redeemer 2013.

Al Barth from Redeemer CPC at World Church Planters Summit Part V

Problems made in some early minsitry startups:

  1. Under-financed, so people who can't live near those they were ministering to.
  2. None of the core group live near the target area.
  3. The external elements of the ministry were not suitable for the target area.
So the ministry plateaus.

Al Barth from Redeemer CPC at World Church Planters Summit Part IV

When I heard Allen Thompson say 'cognitive download' and 'mental constipation', I thought, that's contextualising. I've never heard him be that rough before :-)

Al Barth from Redeemer CPC at World Church Planters Summit Part III

The best person to read the culture is someone who is raised in a culture, and the moves away for a time. Culture is all about nuance. They understand that, but they have some distance.

Al Barth from Redeemer CPC at World Church Planters Summit Part II

In Manhattan 'city centre' means something, because people live there. But in Europe 'city centre' is just a business district - noone lives there. London is just a group of villages, it doesn't matter if you are in the centre of the geographical city. We now use 'urban centre'.

Al Barth from Redeemer CPC at World Church Planters Summit Part I

There are dangers inherent in sending a guy outside of his context and into some institution and fill his mind with categories and ideas that aren't at all like the culture he needs to go to.... and ideally we would want to say that if it were possible, all theological training should be done within the church.... AS you are dealing with the realities out there, you get a much better understanding.

No more TBT

At St Andrew's Cathedral! City Night Church is the new name. That's a good move, I never liked those dull as a spoon ministry names.

H/T Craig.

600 hits already today.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad to help share this stuff across the Pacific!

J. Allen Thompson concludes

Picture a fairly old American guy, with immaculately combed grey hair, glasses, shirt and pullover:

I'm sorry I had to go through that kinda quick. That was a cognitive dump, I hope you don't get mental constipation.

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part IX

Roadmap to setting up local church planting assessment:

  1. Measure current church planting momentum
  2. Determin local leadership availability (trainers, coaches, assessors)
  3. Estimate funding capacities
  4. Select assessment elements
  5. Acquire materials
  6. Train team
  7. Conduct first assessment and begin tweaking.
This is exactly what we need.

See for yourself

Blogging away with Driscoll twittering in the background. H/T Steve for the photo.

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part VIII

Church planter assessment hotel ratings (my metaphor):

* Dive: Self-directed process with resumes, references and interviews
*** Motel: Phased interviews across two or three months. Including something like Ridley's 13 Competencies.
**** Resort: Streamlined assessment, using screening tests, 360* interview and recommendations.
***** Penthouse: Assessment centre process with simulations, multiple assessors, recruitment filter, application references and tests.

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part VII

You have to develop your own surveys and exercises. You cannot indiscriminately borrow stuff from other contexts.

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part VI

Some best practices for church planter assessment:

  1. Simulations
  2. 360* surveys - what do peers, leaders and juniors have to say about the person?
  3. Behaviour based interviews
  4. Personality inventories

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part V

Assessment does three things:

  1. Confirms potential
  2. Targets pdevelopment
  3. Guides placement
And so it should be designed accordingly.

It also depends on three things:
  1. Good referee who have seen the applicant in ministry
  2. Gifted assessors who conduct the screening
  3. Very capable administrators

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part IV

Some derailers:

  1. Fails to build teams
  2. Fails to staff effectively
  3. Unable to adapt
  4. Betrays trust

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part III

Couple of competencies a church planter needs that I liked the sound of:

  1. Learning agility
  2. Managerial courage

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part II

Four types of information needed to describe planters:

  1. Job challenges (what you have to do?)
  2. Competencies (what are you capable of?)
  3. Church knowledge (what do you have to know?)
  4. Derailers (what are you?)

J. Allen Thompson on Assessing Church Planters Part I

This is the guy who co-wrote Redeemer Church Planter Manual.

Four questions to ask of potential leaders:

  1. Can I trust you? (Character)
  2. Do you know where you are going? (Vision)
  3. Can you take me there? (Leadership)
  4. What's my job? (Empowerment)

Driscoll's comments on church planting movements at World Summit Part V

14. Final point: on dealing with critics. Sometimes they are those who used to be friends. Sometimes they are friends of your friends and your friends get caught up in it.

a) There are theological critics that don't agree with you and never will.

b) There's success jealousy people, whom you need to serve, to defuse their enmity.

c) Then there's the misinformed who need to be informed. Call them so that it's not taken out of context yet again and so they can hear the tone of your voice.

d) Next, personal dislike critics, whom you should ignore.

e) Next, critics with legitimate criticism should lead you to repentance. The leaders you trust the most are the ones who repent.

f) Finally, critics can take up an offence for someone else. This is a hostage situation. You need to rebuke them, rather than accomodate them.

Driscoll's comments on church planting movements at World Summit Part IV

11. What out for 'not invented here' syndrome. Denominations do it all the time... until the first church within their denomination does it. Steal it, modify it, redeem it. Take whatever you can and make it your own. And so make your network and theology a home and not a prison. As a movement leader you outgrow your tribe and your team. You need to both discern and listen. In fact you can influence the other people who are different to you!

12. Embed the value of influence, not control. Influence has to happen up close. You can't control a movement. You can control 'yes men', but you can't control entrepreneurs.

13. The pivotal point is succession. You always need a contingency plan, even when you're young. Don't be 'all windshield no rearviewmirror'. Will the movement outlive one leader. What will you honour - the founder or the future? How do you make sure that you do both? [that's exactly what we need to do in Australia!]. When a new movement leader rises up, the whole board should resign and allow the new guy to choose a new team! Sometimes the plan is to shut down the movement and disperse into tribes, that's fine, it just takes a huge amount of humility. The worst is to try to hold it together without a clear leader, for then it gets ugly.

Driscoll's comments on church planting movements at World Summit Part III

8. [I'm already out of synch with his numbering] Be careful about planning too far ahead and becoming too organisationally tight. eg if you made plans in 1994, then the internet boom would have killed everything! Write plans in pencil. You do need to write things down at some point. Can't all depend on preaching on stage and talking at a cafe. Think about how to use technology organisationally. If you don't allow that, they'll either become relationally distant, or else bombard the senior leader. Let them naturally coach one another.

9. Beware of confusing principle and method. For example, A29 had to make room both for Mars Hill styles and Crowded House styles. Make sure there is no implicit condemnation between styles. For example, Calvary Chapel, making book-by-book exposition and the rapture become defining issues. Learn from innovators who are different.

10. Avoid becoming an ageing leader who talks about 'tape ministry' (may as well be 'smoke signal ministry'!). Movement leaders get pulled to the best and the worst - leaders and adulterers. Miss out on everyone in the middle. The average person.

Driscoll's comments on church planting movements at World Summit Part II

5. Founders and friends take the places at the top and then there's no place for the young guys and the new guys. It's easier to have the founders and friends there - you get on well and you talk in shorthand. But to encourage growth, you need to let the young guys 'ascend' when suitable.

6. Be very careful that everything is performance based for everyone, job descriptions, reviews. There must be no assumption that founders will stay around forever. Better leaders can come in later. Those left behind can feel betrayed and need to pastored through that. You need to talk in advance that long-term involvement is not assumed. [my question - doesn't this silence unwanted prophetic voices in the team?].

7. There's three types of guys - positives, negatives and neutrals. Positives bring strong energy. Negatives are suspicious, have to be in the ear of the senior leader, for they only trust themselves and those they appoint. Neutrals will go with either influence. Replace the negatives with positives and the neutrals will change. All the complainers will go straight to the negative guys - he becomes the rep of the faction. Can't afford to have a neutral in senior leadership.

Driscoll's comments on church planting movements at World Summit Part I

  1. Contend and contextualise. Movements tend to only do one or the other.
  2. Doctrinally define what you will and won't fight over. Keep a distinction between state and national borders within the movement. Young guys tend to be the best planters but theor theology is still 'in process'. As Don Carson says: 'It's not just what you believe, it's what you emphasise'.
  3. Look out for the sin of Diotrephes [Don't let, as someone said to me, 'A29 = Arrogant 29 year olds'].
  4. Relationship is the beginning of the movement. But it gets too big. The 'priests' begin the movement relationally (bibliographic note: David Fairchild is the origin of this metaphor), but then either the movment reduces back to the size the original leader can relate to, or else it goes to multiple leaders and multiple model churches. This is the shift from 'network' to 'movement'. Watch out when the movement leader starts to use the word 'family'. Then he become 'dad'. And those who don't follow him perfectly they become 'bad sons'.

Guy Mason and Steve Chong live commenting

While I live blog the A29 World Church Planters Summit.

Welcome guys.

Wherever you get English, South Africans and Australians in a room

Something horrible happens:

Now the Brazilian and the Ugandan are speaking

And everyone is silenced. The suffering. The challenges. Even though there have been big Pentecostal revivals, there has often been no real change of culture. That's what's really needed - true spiritual revival, heart and mind reformation.

The Aussies just shared our future plans at the Summit

And all the charos burst into spontaneous prayer for us all, laying on hands and praying for strength in the Lord and for blessing on the new movement. Nice moment.

World Church Planters Summit: blogging live

 Has just begun in Mars Hill's 1960s church building in Lakeside. We're currently introducing ourselves and our various movements.

1000 hits in one day

A new record!

Murray reflects on nascent Oz29

And he asks good questions a Melbourne man should ask.

Three little thoughts

  1. I find the ESV clumsy.
  2. I don't like projecting the Bible passages up on the screens. I want people to have the Bible in their hands.
  3. I'm really hanging out to get a boring, simple, expository sermon working its way through a single passage of the Bible.

The Mars Hill AV booth

This is where they manage all the slides and recordings and broadcasting of video sermons. You could plant a church in here.
They'll be launching their space program soon.

Jake Bevan preached at TBT last night

On Mark 8. I'm told more than 30 people were there. Thanks JB.

*TBT Facebook group
** TBT website

Folk and hymns at boot camp this morning

Very nice. Violin, piano and guitar. How Great Thou Art and stuff like that. They even kept the thees and thous.

People sang louder and, fwiw, more hands were raised during the hymns than in any other A29 singsong so far.

Two very different Christian reviews of Watchmen

Possibly displaying two different approaches to the Christian and Culture issue?

  1. Gospel and Culture project
  2. Movieguide

FOCUS kicks off for 2009

Luke reports on the first public meeting of the Fellowship of Overseas Christian University Students. It's so exciting to see this buildling momentum. Great idea to include music in the mix (thanks to Jolly for that one).

No big deal.

But a small group of us got to have pizza for dinner with Mark Driscoll and Matt Chanlder. Matt Chandler looks like a little like Crispin Glover when he preaches. Mark Driscoll answered a few of Guy and my questions about current issues in ministry.

It's no big deal. Whatever :-)

After 3 hours in Andrew Heard's hotel room

Room 338, Hotel Nexus, Seattle. It's 12:20am Tuesday morning here. We've settled on something. Something that may, possibly, under God's sovereign hand, define the next few decades of evangelical Christianity in Australia.

We will lead an independent, Australian church planting network, with warm friendship and support from Acts 29. We are building to a launch in Melbourne and Sydney in late November 2009. We're agreed to move ahead with it and Acts 29 are keen to give their support to us.

It's big and scary stuff. Next time we meet back in Australia, we've asked Al Stewart to lead a devotion with us on the topic of right, godly fear.

Womens track part 1

Hi! Nikki here.

You know that feeling you get when you've eaten too much spaghetti bolognese?  I'm a bit like that at the moment with spiritual food, I'm stuffed to the brim and could blog about a billion things, but I'll just tell you about the womens session today at the Acts 29 Boot Camp in Seattle.

Two speakers 
One of them was Susan Swan a few years into a church plant, who gave alot of practical wisdom about being a church planters wife. 

The other was a planters wife who has been on the job for 35 years and has planted 7 churches across Northern America and moved house 35 times.  She was the last thing I was expecting!!  A gutsy, honest, funny lady who told it like it is and reminded me heaps of jewish comedians.  Her funniest comment: "everything I did in ministry I was pushed into by my husband", he made her learn how to play the piano because the current pianist at church was a non-believer, every time her zucchini's were ready to harvest or the renos on the house were done he'd up and move them again.

One of the biggest things I learned from her, which struck a chord with me today was "if you're going to be in ministry, you'd better toughen up and feed yourself.  No more milk and honey for you, you have to get the discipline to feed yourself everyday.  Your husband aint going to do it, no person is going to do it, its between you and the Lord."

After the two speakers was a question and answer session with Susan Swan (speaker 1), Hilary Tomkins (Mars Hill Shoreline campus pastors wife) and Grace Driscoll about church planting and being the wife of a planter. Some of the most vulnerable and personal things came up from the group (about 100), there were tears and lots of godly advice.

Some of the big teaching points that struck me were (and I'm going to just list them in a simplistic way coz its 9pm) that as a pastors wife I/you/they must:
Feed yourself - learn the discipline of daily bible reading and prayer
Bring everything to the Lord - go to him first for guidance, help, forgiveness, approval, love.
Be discerning about the information you divulge to others - people in your church give very personal information to you and you must use it well.  Refrain.
Be discerning about the information you share about your family - be careful not to place stumbling blocks in anyones way, overburden your friends in your church etc (I'm still trying to figure out what I think of this)
Don't have exclusive friendships
You aren't the Holy Spirit - its not your job to change your husband or convict his heart.  Dont be a critic, he's got plenty.
Depression is a God thing if it convicts you about a specific sin to repent of.  Depression is a satan thing (not necessarily your fault!) if its general and is just there to wear you down.

All up I've been so surprised about the tone of everything today.  I was expecting cheesy American, simplistic pastors wifey stuff.  It was all open, honest, humble, centred passionately on scripture and all spoken with kindness and love.    The leaders we've met have all been humble and lovely, not acting in the least like rockstars.

Shouts out to Mike, Guy and Steve for making it possible for us gals to go along today (the kids all slept in the creche while they had a quiet meeting).

Love and peace to you all.

Thai worship at Mars Hill

Before I went to Seattle, Dan said I'd end up finding some lesser-known pastor who'd take me out to a nice local resaturant. Well anyway, Dan may not be a prophet, but he loves sycamore figs... he was right. Steve arranged for us to go out to lunch with Tim and Joel, two of the 'worship arts' guys @ Mars Hill. This is Tim Smith here, being passionate about Thai:

He took us to the best Thai in Seattle. And ordered for us. And hung out. He even invited us back to his house to smoke cigars and drink beers tonight. Nice times.

Driscoll on the possibility of singelness and church planting

If you are still single it is probably not the right time.
Planting churches as a single guy is not impossible, but it's exceptional. Unless you're called to singleness, like John Stott, you shouldn't do it. Driscoll said he knows one single guy who's planted a church and not disqualified himself in the end through immorality.

Great to hear 1Corinthians 7 get some airtime from Driscoll.

Blogging live: thirteen things for a planting call

Driscoll spoke at the first session of the Seattle boot camp. He spoke about the unique gift of 'lower case "a" apostleship'. Then he said that to have the this gift, you need the first of these and at least one other:

  1. Have you responded to the gospel call and received the Holy Spirit?
  2. Is the Holy Spirit out ahead of you planting the church? (You don't plant a church for God, you plant a church with God). When people, places and money begin to show up, these may be signs that this is happening.
  3. Is it obvious to other leaders? The best assessors of church planters are succesful practitioners, not theoreticians.
  4. Has God confirmed things with miraculous power? For example the rapid, unusual growth of Matt Chandler's church.
  5. Am I reaching lost people? Not just turning Arminians into Calvinists or something.
  6. Has Jesus just told you to plant?
  7. Has God called you to plant through a vision? This only happens sometimes. This needs to be tested by others. But it can happen.
  8. Has God providentially relocated you to plant?
  9. Does your current church not need you?
  10. Are you wasting your time in a toxic place? Be careful that you're not just young, angry and impatient.
  11. Is God calling you to be a catalytics planter or founding a movement church? Mark suspects that it will be a new trend for young pastors to stay in one place and build a church planting centre.
  12. Has God given you a deep burden for a people or place?
  13. Has God given you a core group?
A few thoughts:
  1. How does this relate to the MTS movement's approach to calling? In the first place, it's a matter of semantics. If Driscoll had used the word 'gift' rather than 'calling' then this would make it clearer. He's asking 'How do I discern the 'gift' of church planting?'
  2. The examples taken from the book of Acts felt more like proof-texting than anything else. I'd rather the Bible not be quoted, to be honest. What authority was the Bible giving in this address? Simply permissive authority, really. The logic, if analysed, is 'this happened in the Bible, therefore it is legitimate for this to happen.'
  3. His treatment of miraculous revelation was attractive because of its restraint. He acknowledged that it can happen, without saying that it will happen, and with many warnings about how it must be tested.
  4. Somewhere along the line he said 'I like bacon. My naturopathic friends tell me, "If you keep eating your bacon, you'll die." But that's not much incentive. Then I'll go to heaven full of bacon. Jesus. Bacon. Great.'
  5. In passing, he mentioned that he sees himself as more the British form of charismatic, rather than the American form. The British charismatics believe the Bible, while 'The American charismatics lost theirs'. He went on to say that Bible-believing and charismatic are synonymous in Britain. It is a shame that he has completely passed over the Proclamation Trust movement.

Went to Mars Hill yesterday Part II

Some random reflections about Mars Hill:
1. The music is terrific. Really rockin'. But... they don't sing very loud. Hmmm. Also, I find it hard to sing that 'Greater Things' song. It feels too vague, and too positive thinking. But the music was terrific.

2. The service was very simple. Couple of songs. A preach. The Lord's supper was served in the isles during a couple more songs. Done. Only about two announcements and two prayers. I liked it that the majority of the service was after the sermon - so that it's all in response to the word preached.

3. The different campuses do have different vibes. Downtown is more grungy and the music was more emo. But lots of other little things, too, give them different character.

4. The majority of other delegates at this conference are charismatics, many from Vineyard or Newfrontiers churches in the UK. Trippin.

5. I find the video preaching thing weird. If I were a campus pastor, I'd wanna preach more. I see one of the primary ways of leading is through preaching and teaching. The video preaching feels a little yuck to me.

6. A lot of their staff are only 30. They look about 16. It's pretty funny.

7. The coffee was awful.

Went to Mars Hill yesterday Part I

I have special powers and secret knowledge now. I even went to Mark Driscoll's toilet:

We went to the 11am Ballard service. Here's Guy outside:

Mark only preached at 9am today, cause he was sick. So we watched the video, which is more authentic for 50% of Mars Hill's members anyway. The rest of the day we spent in meetings with various Mars Hill staff that Steve organised. In the evening we went to the Downtown campus.

Caught up wth Steve Timmis there. He's trying very hard to be smiley and happy, perhaps especially while in America. Still, he found it hard to get into the 'worship':

The Aussies

Imagine seeing the world through my eyes, everything has the strange quality of bad mobile phone photos.

Let me introduce you to the Aussie crew. These photos were taken on Saturday night out on a Seattle waterfront pier, waiting for seafood meal.

Here's the boyz, Steve Chong and Guy Mason:

And here's the girls (from left) Nikki, Vanessa Mason, Naomi Chong:

I also drank a couple of glasses of local Amber Ale too, which was delicious.

The Aussies cooked dinner in the house of a Mars Hill pastor

And only the men were in the kitchen. Subversive stuff...

Integrating kids into smallgroup life

Here's Sojourn's list of suggestions. Beautiful stuff. Love how darn holistic it is. Most smallgroup ministries are so program driven they wouldn't ask the question. But church structures should reinforce natural structures, not ignore or undermine them.

Annoyingly vague post

In Seattle. It's raining. Reminds me of a lame literary joke

Why did Ernest Hemmingway cross the road?
To die. Alone. In the rain.

Anyway, there' s a bit of politicking involved in this USA trip and it seems like there'll be lots of Serious Conversations at strange times, perhaps even in hallways. Circled page numbers in newspapers. Underground carpark meetings. Messages in matchbooks.

Please pray for me and everyone involved in this stuff, including Driscoll and his team. Please pray that we are concerned with being gentle and loving and Christian before being 'strategic' or 'playing hardball' or whatever.

Great post

About spin in Christian ministry. Leave the reader a little quiet and embarrassed.

Ridiculous Generosity

We're like on the other side of the world.  

We've just spent the last 26 hours travelling to Seattle, Washington in the US and the biggest thing I've been thinking about hasnt been "I'm never doing this again" or "Eeek, hows this going to work"....I just keep on getting struck by peoples ridiculous generosity to us.

Firstly, God has given us this cool opportunity to sit in on something huge, to meet pastors from around the world and to learn from people we respect face to face.  God has given us the means to do this and the heart.  That is totally ridiculous, I dont really know why he picks us for the crazy stuff, but I love it.

Secondly, our christian friends and brothers and sisters have shown us ridiculous generosity in giving us the money to do this.  Its meant so much to us that you're all behind us in our goal of bringing the gospel to Hobart, training pastors and planting churches.  The incredible sacrifice in giving us your money and prayers to do something like this keeps blowing us out heaps.

Thirdly, our brothers and sisters that we've recently met on the phone or online or face to face - the ridiculous generosity of wanting to hook up with us and talk big, to work together with us for the gospel in Australia.  This shows me so powerfully that God is the Lord of all the earth and he is at work everywhere.

Fourthly, our little children have been ridiculously awesome through the adventure so far.  They've been patient and kind and polite and fun and refreshing to us. They've made new friends in airport lounges, looked after eachother, traipsed around everywhere, carried bags, forgiven me for losing nounours (Xavi's special teddy) and taken away from their home and friends to do something big and weird.  They're so exhausted but are still happy!

I hope that makes sense, I've had like 3 hours sleep in the last few days.  Love to you all.


Preaching on the sacrements tonight

As a part of a seven-week series on the basics of the Christian faith. My text is Isaiah 1:10-20.

Tuesday Crossroads now has its own page on the Xrds website

Which is nice. Tuesday sermons will start going up in a month, starting with the Mystics series.

Tim Chester's top 5 books on evangelism

He's probably right.