General

Leadership and Global Perspectives - learning from Hong Kong

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This week I welcome, in Hong Kong, the new intake for the doctor of ministry program I lead out of George Fox Seminary.  Jesse Yu who made created the photo for this post, will be presenting during our time in Hong Kong. This time together is just one small part of an immersive learning experience the leaders in our program.

"Each year, incoming and current and outgoing students all meet in a global city for a face to face experience.  These face-to-face (F2F) intensives in the hybrid learning environment are called “Advances”.

These face-to-face intensives serve as a central learning experience in the program in which students will study and have experiences that ignite their imaginations, push the boundaries of their thinking, and network them with other leaders. The ultimate goal of each international Advance is to enable students to better lead in their own contexts.

Through a combination of academic seminars and field trips, students interact in-person with scholars and leaders from local churches, businesses, faith-based nonprofit organizations, government, and other entities engaged in significant ministry efforts. Students also meet with their advisors and research course instructors to discuss their customized research. Second and third-year students and advisors present their research to the entire learning community." From our Leadership and Global Perspectives D.Min Advances.

#ilovechurch - 18 years of church planting

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SVC 18th Birthday Party (2015)

Miss the #SVCParty vid this morning at church?! Fear not for here it is! Keep your eyes peeled for photos coming in the next few days and if you have photos you'd like to send for our party montage, email them to socials@suttonvineyard.org. Thanks for making it such an awesome night!!

Posted by Sutton Vineyard Church on Sunday, 14 June 2015

[/x_video_embed][fbvideo link="http://www.facebook.com/SuttonVineyardChurch/videos/1083273311686846" width="540" height="270" onlyvideo="1"] Last Saturday night, my church celebrated being 18 years old, with a party.  For the first time, I was asked not to be involved in budgets, planning and knowing what was happening.  I expected to turn up, enter quietly and party with everyone else.  Our church had other ideas however.

The limousine they booked to pick us up, and the welcome with everyone outside to great us was overwhelming for the introvert in me.  But I will never forget the look on the faces of people there, some from years past who have moved on, some who have been with us since the start of our church and then the cluster of newer and very new people.

A tableau of welcome  and celebration, and for Bev and I a moment, a unique one in 18 years, of accepting some specific attention.

The best part after the slightly embarrassing welcome was what came next.  The hugs, sharing stories of the past - good and sad, and the joy in thanking people who had made our church possible.

So at 46 and after 18 years I feel like we have just gotten started.  Church planting has been my life's investment, and I am ready to do it all again.

What are the best bits about church planting?  I think being part of sharing in the lives of others, as they engage with Jesus, the roller coaster of ups and downs, of life and the Kingdom of God writ large on my daily life.  I wouldn't swap it for anything.

The book of Philippians is my most treasured book of the bible.  When I die I want to be buried with my bible open at it's first chapter.  As I met with my church family last night, I had Phil chapter 1 in mind, and it is my prayer again for my wonderful church family today.

3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

 

Beyond Sacramentalism: The Church as the Public of the Holy Spirit (or why I am still a Pentecostal Charismatic)

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I'm looking forward to helping lead and present at the Society of Vineyard Scholars, later this week. My own paper explores and compares the two trajectories of a) post-Church ecclesiologies and b) the sacramental turn being made by many Evangelicals, as responses to critiques of Evangelicalism.  Or to put it more simply, this paper explores why I remain a Pentecostal Charismatic, instead of making the turn out of the church completely, or the sacramental turn back into the Church.

Vision: My first every sermon/preach/teach/talk - MP3 from 1993

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I had some preaching practice when I was at the London School of Theology in 1989 to 1992, but I forget what I spoke on, or at which church.  But the first time I was invited to preach/teach/speak properly was back in November of 1993, when I was 24 years old and my first child, my daughter Anna had just been born. I spoke on Vision in the evening service of the South West London Vineyard church.  I managed to get the audio tape recording into an MP3 many years ago.  I rediscovered that MP3 this morning, and uploaded it online for the first time.  Some things struck me listening to it today some 22 years later.

1.  Voice: I do sound so much younger :-)

2.  The Power of Vision:  I was speaking at a time when I had been married for 3 years, had my first baby a new full time job, and was hoping and believing that one day God would release me to church plant.  That planting didn't take place until 1997 a few years later.  That vision back them has sustained me all these years and remains key to what God has done with me and continues to do.  Vision is powerful and sustaining.

3.  Faithful:  I had no idea what I was signing up for and what I would go through, but God has been so faithful to me.  I wonder what else he has in store for me and makes me want to pursue even more.

 

 

Would this make you more likely to comment on my posts?

I've switched to using Facebook comment integration for posting comments on my blog. I'd be interested to know via the survey above what you think of that.

Main drawback is it forces people to use Facebook to comment. Benefits are, less spam, I get to interact with a real and known person, and it brings comments into Facebook - I tend to get more conversations about my posts in Facebook than on my site.

So hit the survey and let me know what you think.

How churches are changing a generation: is yours on the map?

[x_video_embed][/x_video_embed] Home for Good has a voice into approximately 15,000 churches. There are 15,000 children in the UK without a home. If one family in each of these churches chose to foster or adopt, there would be no children in the UK without a home.

Just over year ago we played catch up with what God was already doing with our church. We now have several people in our church fostering and adopting and considering fostering and adopting. Today we are celebrating and taking part with over 200 churches in the Home for Good Adoption Sunday.

We'll be playing this video, sharing our vision for fostering and adoption and praying for those fostering and adopting.

What has gripped us the most is the vision that we can all be engaged in this generation changing ministry. Here is what we are pursuing together as a church family.

1. Kids experience: that the kids experience life in a church family and as part of a church family whether that's for a few weeks, or a few years

2. It takes a church to raise a child: All our church members are able to support parents and families with skills and support resource needs (i.e accounting services, house alterations, child care etc)

3. Culture of Normal and Consideration: That it would be normal for people in our church to consider fostering and adoption and want to be involved

4. Home for Good with Local Authority: Engage our local authority with us and other churches to address the local need for fostering and adoption

4 steps to better leadership communication: lessons from a church planter #2

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Leading involves communication. But who to communicate to and when is one of the greatest challenges to communication. On the one hand communicating ideas too early and with the wrong people can be premature and result in confusion. On the other hand leaving communication too late, without involving people can lead to a lack of participation and frustration.

A friend introduced me to a project management tool, to aid communication called RACI. It’s a tool that has a variety of versions and in the hands of project managers can be very complex. But it can be reduced to a simple process to aid communication. That process can help with knowing who to communicate to, when to communicate and how.

1. The Communication Process

Responsible Who is responsible for this idea, program, activity, initiative, ministry? Who does the buck stop with and who is ultimately accountable for making things happen, come to life and work? The person/s responsible make the key decisions, allocate resources and allocate actions to themselves and others.

Assisting Who is helping the person/s responsible, by making actions in support? These people assist with actions but ultimately are not responsible for the outcome or decisions.

Collaborating Who needs to input, ideas, questions, coaching, suggestions? Collaborators aren’t responsible and they often don’t assist, i.e have actions to make. They also don’t make decisions or hold responsibility for outcomes.

Information Who needs information, and updates? People who are not responsible, collaborating or assisting, but need to know understand things you are leading.

Now of course people can be involved in all four areas, but the idea is to figure out who key to each of these processes. So how does this work in practice? We’ll work backwards through RACI to show how.

2. The Communication process in action

Information The key question to ask is, who needs to know about this and when?

Some people in church think they should now about everything. That is isn’t the case and that approach often leads to a bottle neck of inaction and stifling control. On the other hand you find some leaders who think others don’t need any communication, they never stop to think who needs to be updated and are then surprised when people upset and frustrated. Both these approaches are wrong.

So the first step is to ask who needs information, so that information can be planned and then take place. The second step is to let people know you are communicating information and not asking for collaboration etc. Sometimes that needs to be spelt out, i.e this is for information only. People can assume information is a request for them to collaborate, or help make decisions.

Collaboration This is usually more focused, and involves gathering people together in person or online and asking them for their input ideas, and suggestions. Again people can mistake collaboration as authority to make decisions. When collaborating make clear it’s about getting ideas and advice, but not about making decisions. Unless you want to make the people doing this responsible for things with you.

Assisting People assisting, need extra communication and information. They need to know they are not making decisions or responsible for what they are assisting with. People assisting can assume they are responsible for things that they are not. Also leaders can move the goal posts and expect people assisting them to be responsible. If that is the expectation then communicate it.

3. Some real ministry examples in action Let’s imagine you initiate a new ministry, a community project, small groups, youth work, leadership training program etc. You need to involve some other people to help think through what you are doing. Rather than announce to the whole church what you are thinking through, you get some people you trust who have the experience to input on your ideas. As a good leader you let your collaborators know what is being asked of them, collaboration only. That avoids other people taking over the leadership of what you are leading. Also people are often used to being asked for collaboration and then being left by leaders to do all the actions and take responsibility. So you’ll often find people more willing to collaborate with you when you communicate you want their advice not their time for actions actions or for them to be responsible for outcomes.

Collaboration can lead to your ideas coming alive, and into a strategy and plan. Something that now has the potential to take place and shape. After collaborating, you have a better idea of what you need to do, and you form a team around you. People who will assist you in making those plans and strategy come to life. You make clear to those assisting what they are responsible for and what they are not. You also make sure they have communication from you and from them to you. People assisting need ongoing and regular communication with you.

Then there are the people you wan to know about your knew ministry, to take part, to pray for it, to support it, or just as church family to know that it is happening. Planning that communication and communicating information is an opportunity to a) let people know the process you went through to get to the stage of communicating i.e develop a culture of people understanding good communication processes, and b) most importantly to let people know the information you need to communicate.

When people know the process you went through as well as the content of your communication, you’ll find people feel more involved. It also helps them to know why they weren’t asked their opinion, or to make a decision on what is taking place.

Conclusion This is not a linear process, and the activities of RACI are dynamic and overlapping. They are domains for consideration to help plan, strategise and communicate. Also when things go wrong it can help in conflicts and learning to be better at communication.

Sometimes you’ll realise you didn’t communicate information to people you should have and can then apologise instead of being defensive. Sometimes you’ll have to explain to people that although they gave you their ideas, you were responsible for the decisions not them. Some times you’ll realise there are people you should have collaborated with and didn’t.

So next time to start something, lead something, develop something and want to communicate well, try RACI and see how you get on.

Exciting! Dr Krish Kandiah appointed president of London School of Theology

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I’m thrilled that my friend Krish Kandiah has been announced as the new President of the London School of Theology.  This is wonderful for Krish and exciting for the future of LST. "LST and the Evangelical Alliance announced the news today as Krish becomes the latest in a number of distinguished Christian leaders to take up the post: most recently former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey.

While previously the President role was largely outward facing, Krish in addition will be responsible for the overall academic and spiritual leadership of LST. As President, Krish will play an active role in the day-to-day life of the school, as a member of the teaching staff and as a key member of the Senior Leadership Team, working alongside LST’s Executive Director Laura Nairn, who is responsible for the overall management of the college. A key objective will be to promote the value of theological education across the wider evangelical world.”

You can read more about it here.