Monday, 10 December 2007
I'm still not sure how to define Stephen. It was like one of those SuperMan moments... is it a bird, is it a plane? Is he a pastor, a leader, a businessman, visionary, comedian, kids tv show host..what is he? Perhaps Stephen is best left as an undefinable entity advancing the Kingdom in a fresh and dynamic way.
At True in December, we had the privilege of hearing the inspiring story of Stephen Smith, Pastor (although he prefers Team Leader) of North Down CFC. A self funded, porsche driving minister of the Gospel, he owns a Caravan Park, a property development business, he sells hot tubs, owns a sweety shop, oh and he leads and pastors a thriving church in Newtownards.
The guy is a legend, he inspired us to find out how God has wired us and live in response to that. He is wired as a business man, as he said 'it is in my dna.' Stephen is a 3rd Generation business man, who enjoyed being a full time pastor and teacher but came to a place of missing the 'marketplace'
The evening was inspiring and motivating and also emotional as we finished by using a timeline activity, to explore a little bit more personally how God has wired us and some of the dreams we have and how God is already giving us permission to go after these.
On a personal level, I have always wanted to own a pub. I don't know why! I guess I always thought they would be an amazing way of connecting with people and communities. Not sure how to take this forward to be honest. Any ideas? Maybe some of you could post on here what Go d was stirring in your hearts at True?!
NEXT FRIDAY NIGHT @ EMMANUEL, if you are free get along.
Sunday, 18 November 2007
For those of you wanting to take this Missional stuff to another level. Great teaching by Michael Frost.
Thursday, 8 November 2007
Changing the way we think is often more difficult than changing the way we act, but when we change the way we think, we begin to act differently.
It's not where you live but how you live!
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Brian came out with this phrase tonight as he spoke. I think it is helpful as we seek to discover more of what it means to live missionaly. We want to see new forms of mission spring out from our community and we do want to 'send' people to wherever God calls them, but ultimately it is about how we live - being captured by the kingdom of God and its radical call so that it effects our lives and the lives of those around us in the here and now. This is a fundamental shift in our thinking that has to happen if we are to embrace this kindom/missional/Jesus way of living....
'It is not about where you live but how you live.'
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
22 When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw this proof of God's favor, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. 24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And large numbers of people were brought to the Lord.
Some of the missional principles from this passage are listed below. Please feel free to contribute other aspects that you notice:
Life isn't necessarily smooth for those who follow Jesus.
Sometimes, persecution provides missional opportunity.
A missional church remains focused on sharing Jesus no matter the circumstances.
A missional church crosses geography, ethnicity and religious backgrounds.
A missional church is networked and encouraged by other missional communities.
The power of the Lord is upon missional people.
Resulted in large numbers of people believing and turning to Jesus.
Missional leaders, like Barnabas, are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Missional leaders, like Barnabas, are sent to discern, teach and serve within missional communities.
Missional churches reveal God's favor and produce joy in missional people.
Missional leaders encourage others to stay true to Jesus.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Saturday 1st December 2007
Brian Houston is playing at a World AIDS Day fund and awareness raising concert at Willowfield Church (corner of My Lady’s Rd and Woodstock Road in East Belfast.)
Christian Aid will also have one of their partners from Zimbabwe who will briefly talk about their work with people living with HIV.
Tickets will go on sale soon – they will probably be £12.
Let me know if you want one.
An example of a missional church from the Bible is the mega-congregation of Antioch in Syria. Here's a community of Jesus Followers who 2,000 years ago intentionally shaped themselves into a hub of activity for Jesus. There are several passages in Acts and one in Galatians that give us a glimpse into the missional-mindedness of this early church. I want to highlight some of the key components of what took place among the people of this church so that we can learn today how to shape and structure ourselves as a church. I'll start with the first introduction of the church in the book of Acts:
Acts 6:5-7 They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Nicolas is the first name we are given of a Jesus Follower from Antioch. He was a Gentile (non-Jew) who had converted at some point to Judiasm and had recently then given his life over to Jesus Christ. He must have impressed the apostles like Peter and John, for Nicolas was chosen as one of seven men to help lead and serve the growing number of people who were turning to Jesus. It's said that these men were "full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." The apostles commissioned these guys as valuable servant leaders by praying for them and blessing them by putting their hands on them while they prayed. And it clearly was a significant group that Nicolas was a part of- as Stephen and Philip are two of the heroes of the early Church. Nicolas became immersed in the missional culture of the early believers in Jerusalem. He listened to the apostles, he taught the Good News to others, he cared for the poor, and he served widows. He was instrumental in spreading the word of God. And as a result he participated in large numbers of people coming to know Jesus. It's also interesting to note that he would have seen many priests in Israel recognizing Jesus as the Messiah and becoming obedient to him.
Though we don't know for sure whether Nicolas made it back to Antioch to help start a community of Jesus Followers there, it can be assumed that he played a strategic role in the identity and shaping of their future missional identity.
So, below is a list of some of the key aspects about a missional church that can be pulled from Acts 6:5-7. I suspect that some of these aspects will be universal and some will be contextual. Please feel free to add a comment if you see some more aspects that I've missed:
Leadership teams made up of people full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit.
Leadership teams also consist of diversity of ethnicities and background faith.
Leadership teams are based upon servant-hood.
Initiating happens through prayer and commissioning.
Sustaining happens through serving others.
Practicing happens through spreading the word of God.
Living this out results in seeing Jesus change many lives.
Future missional churches are birthed through existing missional leaders.
from a great friend Pastor Ken Castor http://www.brentviewbaptist.com/ in Calgary, Canada
Monday, 8 October 2007
"Jesus told us to go into all the world and be his ambassadors, but many churches today have inadvertently changed the "go and be" command to a "come and see" appeal. We have grown attached to buildings, programs, staff and a wide variety of goods and services designed to attract and entertain people.
"Missional is a helpful term used to describe what happens when you and I replace the "come to us" invitations with a "go to them" life. A life where "the way of Jesus" informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for him and others and where we adopt a missionary stance in relation to our culture. It speaks of the very nature of the Jesus follower."
Sunday, 7 October 2007
Thursday, 4 October 2007
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