Tuesday, October 30, 2012

shadows to the left, shadows to the right

Where do you feel the greatest threat to having a healthy and Biblically weighted Christianity comes from? Do you feel the most pressing threat is from ‘the right’ (those more conservative than you) or is the danger you feel most keenly, from ‘the left’ (those more liberal than you)? I use the word ‘feel’ deliberately, because while we would all say that any extreme would be unwelcomed – we tend to have a stronger emotional reaction to one of them than the other.

We all like to assume that ‘where we’re at’ (theologically speaking) is the best place. Indeed it’s a logical necessity of holding a viewpoint or position that you think it is right one to have. If you felt your opinion on some matter was wrong or deficient you would change it to one you felt was better – obviously! So we think that those on ‘our right’ (regarding theology & practise) would be better to move a bit to their left – i.e. to where we are! And vice versa, as regards those on our left.

But it doesn’t take long to realise that one of those (as we see it) off-balanced positions tends to arouse stronger antipathy in us than the other.  For myself feelings of emotional up-tightness and anxiety come predominantly when faced with those on my ‘left’. But that’s not because there is no-one to my ‘right’, or that I would want to be pulled in that direction. Nonetheless, the views & practises of those on my ‘right’ tend to unsettle me less psychologically. I might see extremes on my right as, ‘not helpful’, OTT, even a bit quaint – but I can engage with them feeling fairly relaxed. In contrast, when I feel pulled to the ‘left’ or sense the views and practises of those to my ‘left’ are pressing in or gaining ground, I can start to feel physically uneasy, tense and agitated. For me the theological shadows that I fear most are very much to the ‘left’ of me.

However, I observe the opposite in others - folks whose theological positions are pretty much the same as mine – that is, we would both want essentially the same kind of church and have the same general position re: our beliefs and practises. In contrast, however, the shadows they fear most are on their ‘right’. So while they can be relaxed when confronted with liberal-leaning theology and practises – they can quickly get stressed when they feel more conservative influences are knocking at the door. For them the ‘bogeymen’ they fear most come with black suits & hats as opposed to goaty-beards & toe-rings.

Past experiences will often play a big part in determining where our main fears lie. Of course, all this has implications, because even if the starting point is the same, those with an emotional aversion to the ‘right’ are more likely to get tugged over time ‘leftward’ and vice versa. Interestingly the drift of the church over past decades has generally been ‘left-ward’. Some of the reasons why ‘moving left’ theologically is much more common than ‘moving right’ are outlined HERE. In a subsequent post I’ll argue that the two directions are not equally dangerous in one key regard. But, for now, let me conclude my main point here with a final observation...

I think it’s helpful to see the part that our emotions play in how we react to different positions (at least it is for me). As noted, I personally start to feel uncomfortable when I feel the defences to the left are being slackened by those around me. This can happen in a discussion when the predominant criticism is towards more conservative thinking & practises, while liberal-leaning positions are more generously entertained. The reality though, is that often the essential beliefs of those in the discussion are the same as mine – the difference is in how individuals are reacting emotionally to alternative views. Recognising this is a big help in dissipating the social tension that can creep in at such times.

Which means that the next time you’re in a church/theological discussion, remember it may be that the tightening in your stomach is more experiential than exegetical, and that sometimes apparent differences are not so much about the light we should stand in but the shadows we fear. 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

An elder's children

Some notes I prepared a few years ago on the need for elders to be good fathers and how we assess such a requirement. 

1 Tim 3
1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

Titus 1
6An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

The requirements of elders are set high. God’s under-shepherds are to be godly, stable in character and men of the Word. It is also evident that a man’s home life is regarded as a key testing ground of his suitability to be an elder.

…the logic is plain. Parents cannot be expected to manage God’s family well if they have failed to manage their own. (Stott, BST p176)

In Timothy this requirement is expressed in terms of ‘managing’ his family, in Titus it is elaborated in terms of having believing or faithful children – who are (consequently) not open to accusations of being ‘wild and disobedient’ (variously translated: dissolute, unsalvageable, uncontrolled conduct, undisciplined, rebellious).

Thus like all of the requirements laid in Scripture for elders – we need to take these ‘family requirements’ seriously and test ourselves against it. That said, none of us will ever fulfil these characteristics perfectly – and we need to be wary of selectivity in the eldership requirements we focus on.

As with all characteristics – they actually need to be characteristics! That is, persistant and recurrent – the stuff of reputations. Kent Hughes expresses it well…

While standing firmly for this parenting standard, we must ensure that we are operating Biblically and not on first impressions alone. A number of distinctions are important to note in the apostle’s terminology. First the term for children is tekna, and it generally relates to children in the home, under parent’s authority. We should not hold leaders as accountable for the actions of independent children as we do for children under their care and supervision.

Second the word for children is plural. We are not necessarily looking at the beliefs and actions of one child but at the character of the family as a whole… our assessment is to be based on observations of children’s conduct and convictions made over time, not on isolated statements or actions….

We should all recognise that there are periods of life when raising children is more difficult and when beliefs of parents are naturally questioned… We are to make an assessment of leadership appropriateness on the basis of overall patterns, not exceptions. The parallel passage in 1 Tim 3 enriches our understanding of this standard. There Paul says that an elder should ‘manage his own family well’ (v4). How could this be determined if there were never any struggles in the family? Good leadership is not determined by the absence of difficulty but in the prudent discipline and handling of problems when difficulties come. Patterns of disbelief and unruliness in a man’s household should cause questions about his aptitude for church leadership, but occasional or exceptional difficulties well handled should not disqualify. Rather, they are precisely what do qualify.  (p296/297)

I would further add that the injunction to children ‘to obey parents’ (Col 3:20) means that the Bible doesn’t take it for granted that they will.  

In Greenview we have a young eldership and consequently some elders have younger children – this means that we are appointing elders in some instances before their ‘family management skills’ are able to be fully assessed. However, even with younger children, who can often be quite wild and unruly by nature, it is possible to observe ‘good parenting’ by observing how such behaviour is approached or dealt with. That is, it would not be ‘encouraging’ to see a potential elder allowing their children (of any age) to go unchecked when behaving in a disruptive or inconsiderate manner.

Elders because of their profile are subject to greater scrutiny in the church – hence the need to avoid being a source of disrepute. Clearly if patterns of disreputable family behaviour persist over an extended period of time or if there is a clear negligence on the part of an elder in addressing such issues – then an elder’s position can become a hindrance to ministry and thus need reviewed.

However, we need to recognise that elders are especially vulnerable to unfair criticisms, accusations and indeed the attacks of the devil. Therefore, elders need to take special care of each other in the inevitable times of adversity that come in life – family problems being a classic example. Difficulties arise and recede in life over the years – the crises of past years can quickly feel very distant. Ministry is always long term. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


This winter SNAG looks at six aspects 
of the Cross 

OCT 13th
A Needed Cross
(sin, its nature & effects, hell)
Alan Gamble
NOV 10th
An Ironic Cross
(theologia crucis –  what the Cross reveals about how God works)

Andy Hunter
DEC 8th
A Penal Cross
(the controversy & logic around Penal Substitution)

Ian Shaw
JAN 12th
A Victorious Cross
(Christus Victor - the defeat of the devil & the death of death)

Mark Davis
FEB 9th
A Living Cross
(Christus Exemplar, Discipleship, Resurrection & new life)

John Thomson
MAR 16th
A Sufficient Cross
(grace, works and ‘other gospels’)

Scott Kirkland

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More G43 reformation...

Another corner of Pollokshaws becomes a slightly nicer place to live thanks to the G43 Reform clean-up team...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sawing off the branch...

I like Nicky Campbell. He is one of an increasingly rare number of BBC journalists who seems able to deal with issues reasonably objectively. Nicky Campbell, like us all, has his biases which emerge at times - but he at least seems to try to interrogate all views with some vigour - rather than the soft-soap deference of so many of his colleagues to their liberal-secular fellows.

This morning (14th Sept 2012) NC was interviewing a spokesman from the Muslim Brotherhood over the violent reaction of many in the Arab World to a video that mocks the Prophet Mohammed. In doing so NC asked some very penetrating questions - all the more penetrating, I would suggest, because the premise of many of them was based on an essentially Christian world-view rather than on a liberal-secular one (e.g. doing good & loving others being at the heart of expressing true faith, and the issue of leaving judgement to God).

However, there was one assertion by NC that, as a Christian, I would want to challenge. It arose in response to the interviewee stating that The West was inconsistent in objecting to the Muslim reaction when some its governments imprison people for denying the Holocaust. In other words Western Governments are hypocritical in denying free speech when they feel offended while telling Muslims just to put up being offended elsewhere (a point many Christians will have some sympathy with).

In response NC stated that the difference was that 'religion was a matter of conjecture' while the Holocaust was a matter of 'historical fact'. That is, while the former is just subjective opinion the latter is objective truth.

It is a premise that underpins liberal-secular thinking (albeit there is the self-refuting irony of even talking about 'objective' right and wrong in a godless universe where any moral standard could never be more than just human opinion). But it's a premise that won't stand in the face of Christianity.

Why? Because Christianity is founded upon historical events. The New Testament is at pains to stress it's eyewitness sources and reliability (Luke 1:1-4). The life, claims and actions of Jesus are attested by historical documents written by those alive at the time. The authenticity of the New Testament accounts of Jesus stand up equally to that of any historical records of the period. Christians do not base their beliefs about Jesus on 'conjecture' but on historical evidence.

Now, the reason many reject that evidence is not because the records aren't historical but simply because they refuse to believe their contents. Holocaust-deniers refuse to accept documentary or eyewitness evidence about the Holocaust, not because the documents or witnesses don't exist, but because they simply refuse to believe what they say. Many refuse to believe that men went to the moon - not because evidence is lacking, but they just don't think it could have been possible and therefore the evidence, in their minds, can't be reliable.

The reason Christians don't (shouldn't) react with violence or hostility to their faith being ridiculed (as it is incessantly on the BBC and elsewhere), is not that their beliefs and sensibilities are inferior or less credible than those of liberal-secularists or other religions - but because Jesus taught His followers to 'turn the other cheek', do good to those that harm you, and leave judgement to God.

The problem with liberal-secularism is that it wants Christian behaviour while denying the basis on which it rests.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hear heaven's anthem ring

The British summer of 2012 has been a succession of celebrations. First the Jubilee - the pagent down the Thames and the concert on the Mall. Then the Olympic & Para-Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. And as an added extra there was the Last Night of the Proms which had a extra edge of patriotic fevour set against the above. Each one, for most Brits, had an uplifting and inspiring  quality to it. The combination of the huge crowds, the dramatic settings & music, along with the sense of marking something extra-ordinary couldn't fail to stiffen the sinews and stir the heart.

There is something in the human psyche that responds to these occasions - moments of significance when the hairs on the back our necks stand up and we feel part of something great & significant.

Thus my own thoughts, while watching the Last Night of the Proms, turned to the great ceremony that will honour the King of Kings & celebrate God's Kingdom and achievements in all their fullness.  The day Christians are given a preview of in Revelation ch.5 - and what a day! The day when God's people are finally gathered together as one. Not just the vast sea of bodies that filled the Mall, Hyde Park & the Olympic stadium - but a multitude beyond numbering: thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand (v11). Just imagine the scene as every Christian throughout the centuries is gathered together - who knows maybe in an incoming procession...

The Christians of ancient Rome, some who lived all their life in catacombs to escape the persecution above;
The medieval Christians who kept the faith alive in days of dark superstition  when the Gospel seemed to be a barely flickering light;
The Reformers who rediscovered the power of the Gospel and proclaimed it in the face of fierce opposition; 
The 19th Century Missionaries who left famiiy, homes, language, comforts and never came back; 
The 20th Century Christians we never heard of who perished in gulags and concentration camps;
The Nigerian, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, Indonesian & Indian Christians of the early 21st Century who were hounded, burnt out of their homes and churches because of their faith;

...in and in they come, men & women from every people group, language & nation. And all around that vast meeting place shakes as their voices joined by those of angels thunder God's praise. This is the Day of Salvation and Vindication - the end of sin and the beginning of endless peace & joy.

And the climax comes not in hosting a flag or lighting a flame but when all eyes look to the throne at the centre - and there they see a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain (v6). Jesus - the one in whom, and through whom and for whom all things were created (Col 1:15-20). The reason that they are there. A moment of joy that will last forever.

Imagine there's a heaven
It's easy if you try
A day of peace before us
Above us Jesus lifted high
Imagine all the people living for that day

Eat your heart out Danny Boyle!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Marriage Refreshment Day

Saturday 1st September
with Sandy & Gwen Purdie 

£20 per couple
includes refreshments, lunch & book.

Open to all - church going or not.

A great day of expert lead seminars with time for discussion & reflection.

Contact the Church office to book (0141 636 1581)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Evenings in Greenview

Summer Evening Series in Greenview - note amended starting time of 6pm (click on image to enlarge). 
Services will be followed by Cafe Fellowship time at 7pm. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Strawberry Tea

Strawberry Tea at Greenview yesterday - what a class idea (and lots of funds raised for the Children's Centre in Tanzania). Thanks to Linda and the team. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pollokshaws Community Carnival

The Saturday before mid-summer's eve in Scotland - 8oc, wet & windy! But the Greenview Gazebo didn't blow away and there was plenty of fun with face painting, games, free cake provided by the Greenview Cafe, and even hand massage. Thanks to all who made a pretty foul day so enjoyable. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Evening Times Awards

Congratulations to the G43 Reform team who were finalists at the Evening Times  'Streets Ahead' awards for all the work cleaning up Pollokshaws over the past year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Love the Litterbug - Hate the Litter

The great Pollokshaws clean-up continues - great turnout from Greenview folks. Thanks to Graeme McKerracher at Pollokshaws CofS for organising these.

More great pics at G43 FB PAGE

Friday, June 08, 2012

Lessons in Leadership

Below are my notes from a conference I attended on Church Leadership. There are a few things I'm not  100% convinced by - but overall I think it's pretty sage advice. I've not mentioned where the conf was just in case I've inadvertently misrepresented anything they said.

Pastoral Care
Had debated splitting membership into Alphabetical Blocks – but decided to leave PC as a general/organic thing – to let relationships form and be managed naturally across the fellowship.

Elders’ Meeting Chairmen
Rotate Chair – as no-one to everyone’s taste & all have different emphasis.

Term Times
All non-staff elders have 3 years terms. Staff elders take Sabbatical time to get breaks.

Elders need to be meeting with other elders regularly, e.g. lunches - to strengthen relationships / understanding.

Pastor left in charge of teaching as long as doing a decent job. Other elders /  staff given similar remits.

No glamour in eldership – too difficult / painful when dealing with real lives & issues. Not a calling for those looking for prestige or position. Focus is on strugglers / difficult cases. Like being the ER department of church – constant trauma / stress.

Big challenge for elders = discouragement. Sometimes best you get is being personally faithful while others reject truth.

Elders should be people you would naturally turn to with Bible questions or life issues.

Teaching (Pastor) is what attracts people to church – community is what keeps them there.

Young Men
Young men are stupid. Sharpness of Vision – little Depth of Perception.

Need eldership unity on...
n  On Gospel (sin – redemption – personal salvation)
n  On Doctrine (e.g. authority of Scripture)
n  On ‘Hot Buttons’ (e.g. Complimentarianism)

New Pastors want to change stuff – but they ‘make purchases they don’t know the price of’- e.g. they upset people much more than they realise over small things and lose long-term goodwill.

Lasting change comes from the pulpit – only God’s Word changes hearts.

Moved Services away from ‘19th Century Evangelical Variety Show’ format.

Mission Statements / Vision Days
Don’t have these.

Focus Days
Have elder’s days to discuss particular issues / topics, e.g. care of members.

Membership Meetings
Have 6x per year – include information updates and votes. Like Annual Business Meeting but more emphasis on being a family.

Report to elders individually. Don’t meet as a group - avoids conflict & confusion.

Have tried to de-emphasise music quality – focus on singing together whatever quality of music. ‘Keep music mere’ – don’t let band dominate / don’t be lead by it.

Best growth is steady & long term.
If you are committed long term you don’t have to do things in a hurry. Long term ministries don’t need to be hasty or pushy.
You over-estimate what you can do in 1 year and under-estimate what you can do in 5.

What would you think about a Maths teacher who taught Maths but never corrected mistakes?

Have no formal programme for producing elders.
Rather seek to recognise those who are already acting as ‘elders’ – not ‘an office’ but a manner of life / godliness.

Avoid Professionalisation of Church
Oz Guiness: ‘When I meet a Buddhist monk I meet a holy man; when I meet a Christian Minister I meet a manager’.

Key Eldership Virtues
Self Control / Faithfulness / Reputation – example of godliness to flock.

Core theology
Sovereignty of God / Atonement (Penal Substitution) / Authority of Scripture / Exclusivity of Christ

Not – harsh / judgemental / shockable / performance orientated
Rather – gentle / humble / Cross-centred

Shared Distinctives
Ecclesiology / Baptism / Complementarian / Expositional / Word not Programme Driven.

Love for Congregation (not just theology)
n  Regular attendance at church
n  Wants to be with ‘his family’.
n  Track record of faithful service.
n  Not quarrelsome / conflicting.

Do they relate/serve across the congregation (are they cliquey / partisan)?

Elders nominate potential elders
n  They have best insight into demands / reality of eldership
n  They should have the best knowledge of potential candidates (avoid embarrassment of unsuitable people being proposed).

Ask for members feedback privately – keep congregation involved.
If people object – they must say why (if good reason elders must know about it).

Don’t Raise the Bar
Watch that elders don’t raise qualifications once they’re in.
Avoid an ‘inner circle’ mentality.

Make your church a difficult place for nominal Christians to attend.

Structural fixes won’t make your church friendly
Change personality of church to ‘all member care’
Make it normal for Christians to care for others without programmes or permissions.
When someone is in trouble do members respond or just leave it to the staff/elders.

Pastoral` Groups – not a substitute for natural relationships
Elders should know members across the church.

Meaningful Membership
Resist consumer culture
Want members who are committed to whole congregation
Avoid members who want to go to SG’s but not services.

Don’t just be a ‘pulpiteer’ but a discipler.
Encourage growing Christians to invest in others – reproducible fruit.

5% of members will take up 90% of eldership time (neglect of 95%?)
Don’t be lead by members who have no concern to make your eldership a joy (Heb 13:17).

Pray for humility in leadership
Avoid culture of criticism / second guessing.

Be bold – ask for trust.
Give authority away - let others lead.

‘Church’ is the best programme for discipleship & evangelism.
It should be the display of God’s goodness & character. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Holding Together

My sermon notes from Sunday night.

Last week at the GV Communion service – I shared a few thoughts from Eph
n  I was thinking particularly of the theme of UNITY – that runs through the letter
n  It is a focus on Unity – that starts in ch 1:9-10
n  We see that God’s great Gospel plan – is to bring all things together in Christ
n  That at the end of all things – the whole universe will be unified under Jesus

It’s an amazing thought – an amazing hope
n  That our divided world – with all its conflicts – will one day be united
n  No more segregation / competition / rivalry – but cooperation & peace
n  Because – everything & everyone will be under one King / one Head – Jesus

So at the heart of the Gospel – is bringing people together
n  The book of Ephesians – is concerned that, as Christians, we don’t forget that
n  In ch.2 P reminds the Eph’ Christians – of how they have been brought together
n  Eph church was made up of people from a Jewish background – along with those from pagan / Gentile backgrounds
n  So in the Church - you have this coming together – of very different people

A coming together of people – who humanly might have very little in common
n  People who previously - may have distrusted & looked down on each other
n  But P reminds them – that in J those barriers have been taken away

Ch.2:14-22: J allows people to make peace, be reconciled & be joined together
n  Because their identity now – is not being Jewish or Gentile or any such thing
  – but being a follower of Jesus Christ – a Christian

And this idea – of Christians being ‘TOGETHER’ – comes up time & time again
n  Ch.2v21 – ‘joined together’ / v22 –built together’ / ch.3v6 ‘heirs together’; ‘members together’; ‘sharers together’ / ch.3v18 power together’ / ch.4:16 ‘held together’
n  The Bible is very clear – that being a Christian is to be joined with other Christians – Together!

But of course there are challenges to that
After all - it’s not just religious backgrounds that can divide people
n  In early church – people became Christians who were rich, poor, rough, refined
n  Christian slave-owners found themselves in fellowship with slaves
n  Rich Christian members found themselves - being taught by poor Christian elders

Jews & Gentiles – didn’t just have different faiths – but different ways of life
n  Jewish Christians – might expect to worship in a way they were used to
n  After-all Jesus was Jewish – their Messiah – the Old Testament still the Bible

n  So they might expect people to dress in a Jewish way – or men to have a beard
n  They might expect a certain type of music – that they felt was ‘appropriate’
n  And when it came to the fellowship meal – the thought of eating pork might have made them feel physically sick

The Christians from a Gentile background – on the other hand
n  Might have been very relaxed about what they wore to church
n  They might have started making up hymns to old pagan tunes
n  They might have suggested having a BBQ on the old Sabbath day

Very easily the tensions & emotions between these two groups could rise
n  People could get upset / angry – start to feel offended
n  There was a situation like this in the church at Rome – over food
n  Paul wrote to the Christians there about it - in Romans ch.14

He could have said – rather than risk getting upset or being offended...
n  You should split – have a Jewish Church & a separate Gentile Church
n  Then everyone can have the music they like / the food they like / the church they like – even the leaders they like
n  But of course, he doesn’t – he urges them to stay ‘together’ – to hold together

Why? Why ask people to put-up with things and people – they find so difficult?
n  Because – God’s plan is to bring people together – not to divide them up
n  The Gospel – is a plan to bring unity among people – all types of people
n  Jesus very clear in desiring not just theoretical unity – i.e. the kind of unity that we speak about but never put into practise

But Jn 17:21: J wants people to see this unity – that they might believe in Him
n  Because when Christians hold together despite their differences – it’s a powerful way of showing that we believe the Gospel & that the Gospel works!
n  That we really believe – that we are going to be united in Christ forever 
n  That we really believe – that as Christians we are all part of one body & share the same Spirit, hope, Lord, Faith, and God & Father of all (4:4)

Because there’s nothing impressive about holding together with people – just like yourself
n  Non-Christians do that
n  The Gospel is real when it holds people together who are not the same

And when we don’t hold together – it sends an equally powerful message
n  The message - that the Gospel doesn’t really work
n  The message - that Christians think how they do things is more important than who they do them for
n  The message – that the church is just like every other human organisation – it exists to suit people – not to be what Jesus wants it to be

‘The church of Andy Hunter’ – as attractive as that might sound to me
n  Would probably – literally be the church of just ‘Andy Hunter’
n  I might attract a few other socially awkward Winston Churchill fans
n  But the Church of Jesus Christ - is not some glorified Star Trek Convention
n  In contrast the church of Andy Macdonald, Andy Cumming & Andi Watson – that puts up with, and values and includes Andy Hunter – now that’s a powerful thing

But the Bible doesn’t assume that Unity will just happen
Why– we are called to make every effort to achieve it (ch.4v3)
n  4:2 – that effort is involves being – humble, gentle, patient, putting up with others
n  It means – not getting everything your way

Putting up with some things - you personally would do differently
n  Not doing some things that would be ok - because you know - they are likely to upset or cause problems for others – all of which is a '2 Way Street', of course.

It means loving people – who aren’t always easy to get on with
n  Being gentle when you feel annoyed / being patient when others are holding u up

Because only when God’s people are together – do God’s people work
n  Human body works – not because all the parts are the same – but precisely because they’re different
n  It’s the different bits that means the whole thing works - is healthy

In a car a clutch doesn’t have much in common with a steering wheel 
n  But you’re not going to getting very far – sitting on a clutch
n  So not holding together – actually weakens us – even if it might feel easier at the time

So in our fellowships – and together as fellowships
n  We need each other – we are stronger together – we live and demonstrate the Gospel better – when we stay together

Jesus – prayed that His people might be One
And He paid the greatest price of all – to make that possible
n  Laying down His life – for people who weren’t like Him –
n  People Eph says - were foreigners to God’s Promises – far away from God 
n  So they could be brought together with Him forever

Our call is pursue the same goal – to show the same love & commitment
n  To, as much we’re able, see God’s great plan - to bring all things together under Christ – become true in our churches today.
n  So our churches – can be living examples of what Jesus will do completely – when He comes again.  
n  ‘to bring all things together under one head, even Christ’ (1:10)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

remember the poor

Had a great day at the Christians Against Poverty Pastor's Conference in sunny Bradford (it was actually sunny!). To hear of the work CAP is doing nationally was truly humbling and inspiring. 
  • £2.25million of debt is being paid back or written off every month through CAP;
  • Every 23mins - a new client (family, single parent, student...) is registering with CAP.
  • 54 new CAP centres were opened in the UK in the past year - there are now 190 in total. 
  • The vision is to see 500 opened covering the whole country. 
John Kirby (Founder) giving the tour of the CAP offices 

We heard from a single mum who now doesn't need to eat her children's leftovers to feed herself, and who doesn't have to make excuses as to why her kids can't go to friend's birthday parties - because she couldn't afford to buy them a present to take.
We heard of the amazing transformation in people's lives as they have come to faith in Christ through contact with CAP.
We even heard from Prince Charles (ok, it was a DVD) praising the wonderful work CAP is doing throughout the UK.

What a privilege to have a CAP Centre operating from Greenview and to be part of this amazing work of God.

putting your finger on it

Great perceptive piece from Kevin De Young which brings some light to that feeling that you just couldn't put your finger on!

If We Believe All the Same Things, Why Do Our Churches Seem So Different?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Loving your Neighbour

Thanks to 'Team Greenview' who helped in the local Community Clean-up today - making one corner of Eastwood a nicer place to live. 

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Monday, April 02, 2012

Notes for Chairing Church Services

Below are some guidance notes we prepared for Chairmen at Greenview...


Please take a few minutes to read this.

These points may seem very obvious – but experience has shown that they are not obvious to everyone. We all like to think our way of chairing is fine but the reality is we all have our ‘blind spots’ – so these points are designed not to straight-jacket but to help keep us all aware of areas we can sometimes slip-up in.


It is expected that chairmen will take the time to find out who the speaker is and what their subject will be – for outside speakers such info can usually be obtained from XXX. It is helpful to reflect on the planned subject/passage when choosing hymns (esp. closing ones).

The musicians are happy to give guidance & help regarding choice of songs.

The chairman should make it a priority to meet with the preacher for a few minutes before the service commences to pray and have a final check on the programme.

Time Keeping

Once a service begins and others start participating it can be difficult to keep control over the timekeeping. However, Chairmen do have control of the start time and every effort should be made to adhere to this – don’t let late-comers put pressure on you to delay the start, put the pressure on them to be in on time!

As the service progresses have the awareness & confidence to adjust the programme to avoid excessive overrun – e.g. missing out a song/verses.

The service should ideally be handed over to the speaker no later than: Morning 12.00pm & Evening 7.15pm.

The trick with chairing is to make the service feel unhurried – i.e. to keep it moving without feeling rushed. This is 99% achieved by thoughtful preparation of the programme.

If the service (speaker!) overruns – avoid communicating to the congregation any sense of aggravation or disapproval you may feel. Unless exceptionally late it is usually worth taking the extra 2/3 minutes to finish with a song (perhaps with some verses omitted).

Hymn No.s

Chairmen should anounce the relevant book numbers when introducing hymns for the benefit of those who find the screen hard to read.


The Chairman’s job is to welcome the congregation and lead them through the service in a helpful and God-honouring way. While avoiding the temptation to ‘build-up your part’ - it is helpful to think about how you will introduce each item in a way that is informative for visitors and keeps a focus on the worship of God. At the end of the service it is helpful to to allow for & encourage a few moments silence for reflection.


Like preachers, chairmen should avoid using jargon and in-house references when speaking & praying. Don’t assume everyone knows the Greenview set-up, so avoid unexplained references to CIA, Moshi, The Hub etc – much more helpful to say ‘Moshi in Tanzania where two of our members work as Missionaries’ or ‘the CIA young teens group’. Otherwise visitors may be made to feel they are very much outsiders.

Again avoid referring to people (e.g. your wife) as if it will be obvious to everyone who you are talking about. In most cases one extra sentence is all that is required to clarify such things.


Jokes and comments about sectarian religion, party politics and football teams are generally not welcome.


Be aware that while an event may be of little interest to yourself is it important to others – so announce it clearly and with enthusiasm – reading the notices through beforehand will help ensure you spot any points needing clarification. Also don’t embellish notices with your own comments or assumptions: e.g. ‘I’m sure lunch will be provided’ – you’ll probably get it wrong!

Special features

Chairmen should be given good notice of extra items such as DVD clips, sketches, interviews etc – if these are ‘sprung on you’ at the last minute you are entitled to say ‘no’ if it would have a negative impact on the planned programme.

Having spoken to all participants in the course of a week, please email a timed Order of Service to everyone (including the AV Team) by the Friday evening.