Sunday, 27 March 2011


"Missional" is the new buzzword. We do well to pay this word some heavyweight respect. It's a good word and implies every believer moving towards the lost and moving the lost towards Jesus. Every believer being a missionary here and now, learning their culture and its language. Just like missionaries to any other culture. [Christendom is over in the first world and I say "Hoorah". I sometimes wonder about the huff and puff amongst Christians at the discrimination against Christian hoteliers or foster parents, and as unfortunate as that is for the people concerned and those they could serve, I am saying bring it on. Let's make the difference between true Christianity and paganism more and more clear. Enough of a rant from me!]
However, missional is also a dangerous word. It could kill your church. You cannot bolt "missional" onto your church like you could bolt cells onto your church or any other structure. Missional goes to the heart of the church. It will kill our church but it won't kill the church of Jesus Christ. It should and probably will kill centralised, over-led churches, consumer Christianity, passivity in the pews etc. By "kill" I mean these people will in all likelihood, leave your church. However, at the end of the day we are looking for churches that are:
Less leadership driven and more every person driven. Although leadership still has a key role to play.
Every saint is aware of holding the DNA of Jesus and the seeds of the church within them.
Every saint furthers the vision of making disciples.
Lowering the bar of permission to do Jesus ministry yet raising the bar of connectedness with leadership.

This is risky, exciting church! 

Thursday, 24 March 2011


The shift in the continental plates off Japan and the resulting tsunami could be taken as a physical representation of what I think God is doing in His church at this time. The charismatic "schmooz" of the 80's and 90's  - the soft rock, stage focused, celebrity minister, zhoozhy church, congregant focused, consumer oriented ministries - has been perpetuated by us well into the 2010's in a consummately self-indulgent way. We are more interested in what the church can do for us than we are about the estimated 91% of the population (UK figures) that are staying away from church in their droves on any given Sunday. I think God is putting a tsunami in the hearts of many leaders to wash away the old habitual ruts that we are barely conscious of any more, and replace them with a church that is freshly conscious of reaching the lost.
A great exercise in this regard is to try and see your church through the eyes of any self-respecting pagan; from parking in your car park until they return to their car after the meeting. I have tried to remember what it was like for me as an unsaved young man. I can remember feeling sweaty with unease as I entered an environment where I had no clue of what was going on and what I was supposed to do when.
We have got to make our meetings friendly to the 91%. We don't have to dumb down the spirituality of our meetings, just explain it better and give the 91% the feeling that they are thought of and can find our meetings acccessable. e.g. before prophetic words are given we could preface them by saying, "The Bible describes how God impresses on people something that He wants to communicate to His gathered church. The Bible calls this prophecy. Here's Joe and he would like to share with us what God has impressed on him to communicate to us all."
Every one of us in the church should be missional every day. To me, the best definition of being missional comes from Allan Scott, Causeway Vineyard, Ireland - "moving towards the lost and moving the lost towards Jesus."
More to come on the subject....!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


"Hurry sickness". It's a condition that Nick Cuthbert writes about in his book, "How to survive (and thrive) in ministry". In our culture, busyness equates to success. We love to give the impression, even subconsciously to ourselves, that we have importance and significance because of our busyness.
John Piper says that the words "busy" and "pastor" put together should shock us as much as putting "banker" and "fraud" together, or "spouse" and "adultery".
Cuthbert adopted the habit of driving in the slow lane on the motorway, and deliberately standing in the slowest queu in the supermarket. Sound crazy? Try it. When you undertand why you're doing it, it is a wonderfully liberating thing! In fact you begin to feel a compassion for the people flying past you as you realise they are probably chasing after the illusive holy grail of significance and importance.
The wonder is that when we abandon hurry-sickness in favour of the identity, significance and security that we have in God our Father, we enter into that rest which He promised us. Your and my being reconciled to God through Jesus is totally by His initiative, totally His doing, is even maintained solely by Him - so we have nothing to boast of and nothing to prove. Kick hurry-sickness into touch.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


There were 17 couples sitting in a large circle in the education centre in Dubai. Along with the warm friendship sustained over more than two decades for most present, there was quite a bit of angst in the room. People expressing genuine and legitimate fears of anyone attempting to form an "uber" church planting movement. Was there a need for any structure at all? Could the Eph 4 ministries present not just get on with their own sphere of influence and connect organically and naturally? I think some may have been concerned that Chris Wienand was possibly hoping to form an uber group. Having talked quite a bit with Chris, nothing could be further from his heart! He is very clear that he does not have anything like the apostolic gifting that is on Dudley Daniel and sees the hope of the future in the multiplication of apostolic ministries that were raised up, equipped and envisioned under Dudley. The multiplication of apostles is the fruit and crown and legacy of Dudley's ministry.
We had two days together mingled with eating together and much laughter and catching up. We even celebrated Jan Howard-Brown's 50th birthday dinner! On the third day Terry Virgo and some of the Newfrontiers guys from the Middle East region joined us for the day. It was a very special day. Terry told us his story from salvation to the present and his hope for the future. Newfrontiers are recognising and releasing eight (I think it is) apostles to get on with their own spheres yet remain under the overall title of "Newfrontiers". There will no longer be a single leader of Newfrontiers, as Terry has been, but a group of apostles that will gather from time to time to keep their history and their future connected.
A particularly poignant moment was when Terry wept as he was talking about Dudley Daniel. Terry expressed such an admiration and love for Dudley and all that he has meant to Terry over the years. A number of us wept along with Terry. I think the emotion of the moment caught us all by surprise, including Terry himself.
At the end of the day Terry prayed for us all. He began by saying "If it is of any help to you..." and proceeded to say some very life giving things over us all. He said that he did not detect a whiff of rebellion and independence in the room. He said that he saw us as people trying our best to be true to the dream that Dudley had put in our hearts many years ago. Somehow Terry's ministry was affirming and healing. There were once again many moist eyes in the room. Terry was somehow uniquely able connect together love for Dudley, and love for us, into what was a healing moment.
What was the outcome of the Dubai time then? Nothing really! Except the genesis of an idea that apostles get on with their own spheres and gather together from time to time to connect relationally and to keep their spheres of influence connected to each other. To keep our deep, rich history connected into the future, rather than just letting it bombshell into nothingness. I reckon there were probably four or five apostles in the room - Pete Howard-Brown, Tony Johnson, Mike Eltringham, Chris Wienand (and possibly Andrew Selley as an apostle in the making?). Just my opinion mind. I think that just about every other man in the room was some other Eph 4:11 ministry.
I left feeling affirmed, encouraged and motivated to get on with my calling to be a local church pastor and an Eph 4 teacher. Chris Wienand is the apostle that I mostly serve with. Yet I feel complete freedom to work with any other apostle e.g. Tony Johnson invited us to come and minister in India. I also feel a great freedom to exercise and pursue my calling and gifting without having to check with Chris every 5 minutes. I want to walk that fine line of fully discharging my gifting to the best of my conscience and yet also working in team with an apostle.
I think we'll look back on the time in Dubai as the time of the genesis of a wonderful future.