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Multi-Site musings #1

Over the next few months I’ll post a number of thoughts and musings about the subject of ‘multisite’ (being one church in multiple venues or locations), and our own trajectory in that direction as a church.  Matt Hosier helpfully (& quite  provocatively!) blogged on this a while back (here)

Back in October last year we (CCK eldership +) had the privilege of listening to the wisdom of Jim Tomberlain of www.multisitesolutions.com as we press forward with our own transition to this model of doing church across a large and diverse conurbation.

Jim is THE world guru it seems, on all things multisite.  My wife Ali and I also hosted he and his lovely wife Deryl, and we drew tremendous personal encouragement from them over a proper ‘english’ (a curry of course!) on one evening.

At CCK we are launching our first new Sunday venue in the Autumn of this year in the West of the City, and the planning and prep are in full swing.

Here is a great article about the qualities required of a Site Leader (or Campus Pastor)….  Traits to look for

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Hols reading…

It’s that time of year (late, I know, but cheaper) when Ali and I get to go away for a break.

My idea of a holiday?  Well it varies, but this time around we are going for the Villa, pool and outdoor BBQ.  It’s made all the better as we are spending it with great friends too.  Can’t wait!

It also gives me tremendous thinking / planning / reading time (which can easily get pushed out with the busyness of life), so here are my book choices :

Spiritual Depression – Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones

If Christianity is such “good news” why are its followers often unhappy? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was possibly the greatest Christian preacher and teacher of the twentieth century. A medical doctor by training, Spiritual Depression draws together his professional understanding of the mind with a profound understanding of Christian teaching and the Bible. It diagnoses the causes of the ill feeling that many Christians experience. It prescribes the practical care that is needed to lift people’s spirits and bring them freedom, power and joy. Spiritual health is possible and this book explains how everyone can grasp it for themselves.

Sticky Teams – Larry Osborne

Serving as a church leader can be a tough assignment. Whatever your role, odds are you’ve known your share of the frustration, conflict, and disillusionment that comes with silly turf battles, conflicting vision, and marathon meetings. With practical and accessible wisdom, Larry Osborne exposes the hidden roadblocks, structures, and goofy thinking that sabotage even the best intentioned teams. Then with time-tested and proven strategies he shows what it takes to get (and keep) a board, staff, and congregation on the same page. Whatever your situation; from start-up phase, to mid-sized, to megachurch, Osborne has been there. As the pastor of North Coast Church he’s walked his board, staff, and congregation through the process. Now with warm encouragement and penetrating insights he shares his secrets to building and maintaining a healthy and unified ministry team that sticks together for the long haul.

Multisite Church Revolution – Surratt, Ligon & Bird

Fueled by a desire to reach people for Christ, a revolution is underway. Churches are growing beyond the limitations of a single service in one building. Expanding the traditional model, they are embracing the concept of one church with more than one site: multiple congregations sharing a common vision, budget, leadership, and board. The Multi-Site Church Revolution offers guidance, insights, and specific action steps as well as appendixes with practical leadership resources and self-diagnostic tools.  This book is part of the Leadership Network Innovation Series.

Pass me another cold one…..!

A pastor’s toil (joy!)…

If you believe that the local church is God’s agent for reaching cities & communities with the gospel (we do at CCK), then you’ll also recognise the gifts that are given to the local church to accomplish this task.  Pastoring is one of them.

My tongue is firmly in my cheek as I use the word ‘toil’ in the title of this post………because I actually mean ‘joy’.

If you are a busy pastor (paid or unpaid) there is a reality that flocks need shepherding…… and it’s hard work!  So in one sense it certainly is toil.

But the joy I speak of (or satisfaction, thrill, pleasure) is the reward of hard labour (toil).  It’s the fruit of helping people to apply the gospel to their lives in an atmosphere of grace and accountability (Christian community).

The pastors joy comes when you see men & women :

~ allowing the truth of the gospel to shape their attitude & perspective on life

~ leaning on truth (of who they actually are in Christ) rather than lies that suggest otherwise

~ turning from consumers into cultivators & producers in the context of local church

Ok, for those of you ‘toiling away’, here are some great tips for practical pastoring.  Not originally my own, but nonetheless appreciated and implemented appropriately :

  • Beware ministry stereotypes
  • Be yourself
  • Remember the goal of pastoral ministry
  • Be full of the word and full of the spirit
  • Relate to people primarily on the basis of what you have personally seen, heard or discerned
  • Set boundaries when appropriate
  • Never make a vow of secrecy
  • Help people to take responsibility
  • Help people to take action
  • Check out the basics
  • Make use of resources
  • Know when you are getting out of your depth
  • Recognise there is rarely one key to a complex situation
  • Do not make promises you cannot keep, but keep the ones you do
  • Always take a suicide threat seriously
  • Do not see women alone

Credit goes to Steve Walford (fellow CCK elder). Check him out here…

One body, many members…(Part Four)

Part Four   ‘Earnestly desire the greater gifts’  (vs.31)  (Click here if you missed part 3)

This is the final instalment of study.  Did you know that your gifts are chosen for you by the Holy Spirit?  No matter what you desire, you are not going to get it unless the Holy Spirit has already chosen it for you!

It’s important here to realise that in this verse Paul is addressing the whole church and not individuals, as if one could collect a ‘full set’ of desired gifts.  He is talking to the local Corinthian church and saying that as an assembly they should desire to have in their midst a good selection of the gifts that edify.

He’s saying that the best gifts are those that are most useful to the congregation, rather than those that are the most gratifying in a spectacular sense to you as an individual.

The spiritual gifts given to each person by the Holy Spirit are special abilities that are to be used to minister to the needs of the body of believers.  There are many gifts, and individuals have different gifts.  Some people have more than one gift!

It’s important to remember that one gift is not superior to another.  All the gifts come from the Holy Spirit, and their purpose is to build up Christ’s body, the church.

The gifts are given to enable us to achieve in increasing degree, by mutual exercise, the fruit of the Spirit.  It’s the fruit that God is after, and every congregation should be much more concerned with the fruit or outcome of the spiritual activity than they are with the gifts of the Spirit.

The authentic church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is vibrant and stunning!

One body, many members…(Part Three)

Part Three   ‘And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it’  (vs. 26)   (Click here if you missed Part Two)

A few years ago, I had an invasive knee operation in an attempt to repair a sports injury.  Following the operation, it swelled up and got very sore.  The rest of my body was so concerned that it sat up all night for many nights, just to keep it company!

Notice my body didn’t just say, ‘Oh, go to sleep!  Go off and hurt over in the corner and let me go to sleep.’   No, it suffered with it all night long.  That is what we as the body of Christ, the church, should do also.

The same principle is also at work with regard to honour.  If some member of the body performs an outstanding activity that opens the door for say the salvation of many people, or even a few people, and ministers the grace and the love of Christ, then everybody touched by that will be blessed by it!  It will cause them to regard the body in greater honour than before.

So the responsibility for the reputation of the body rests with every one of us, and how we act is going to determine how other people see the church at work in our culture today.  We belong together, and we suffer together.

One body, many members…(Part Two)

Part Two   ‘For the body is not one member but many’  (vs. 14)   (click here if you missed Part One)

Paul says that if your foot were to say, ‘I just can’t do all the things the hand does.  It’s so flexible, on the end of that long arm, and it is used all the time.  My toes just aren’t like those fingers; I just can’t do what the hand can do, therefore I really don’t belong in this body’,  it would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?  That does not make the foot any less a part of the body.  The foot is deceiving itself.

The apostle is saying that if you think of yourself as a member of the church, the body of Christ, and you say to yourself, ‘because I can’t stand up and preach or teach or lead a meeting, there is really nothing I can do in this church’,  you are deceiving yourself!  You are still a part of the body.  You have simply shut your eyes and ears to truth.  You need to open them to see the part God has given you.

We must remember, there are no insignificant members of the body.  We all too easily develop the wrong idea that it’s those who lead our churches that have all the gifts.

If the work of the church is to heal the broken-hearted out in the world, to bring deliverance to the captives, to open the eyes of the blind, and to preach the good news to the poor and despairing of heart, then we come to the church to get ready to fulfil it out there!  Without exception, it is clear that there is definitely a part to play for every member.

A vicar once received a letter like this……

Dear Vicar, there are 566 people in our church, 100 are elderly, leaving 466 to do all the work.  80 are youngsters in education, leaving 386 to do all the work, but 150 of these are tired business people, which leaves 236 to do all the work.  150 of these are busy with children, leaving 86 to do all the work.  15 live too far away to be regulars and 69 say they’ve done their bit, which leaves just you and me!  I’m exhausted, so good luck to you!

Everyone’s meant to be involved because God has given gifts to all of us!

One body, many members…(Part One)

Ok, this is a four-part study in 1 Corinthians 12.  I know I blogged about chips in my last post, but I was feeling peckish.

By way of intro, the church (which I love) is both a building and a body, and the aspect that buildings and bodies have in common is that they are places in which to live.  The beauty of the church is that it is both the building in which God lives and the body through which He works.  This is the theme of Chapter 12.  The church is not an organisation brought into being to operate nice meetings, but it consists of all those who are a living body, growing and developing within the world, not apart from it, in order to touch the world with the reality of the love of God.

That is what the church is.  It is unique!  No other organisation approaches it in purpose, scope, power or abilities.

Part One   ‘But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good’  (vs. 7)

When it comes to gifts, sometimes we just can’t get our heads around the wrong thinking that they are talents or skills that others have!  Another problem is that we think they all have to come through the Sunday morning service, or from the church leadership.  It’s not like that at all!

Gifts get exercised when you are with your neighbours, when you are at work; or when you are in the car; or with children or older people.  It will be an opportunity that comes on a plate for you to use the gift of teaching, or helps, or encouragement, or giving, or whatever it is that God has given you.  We get to be servants in action, with the opportunity to use our gifts!  God loves to equip His people.  This is foundational.  What has God given to you by which you can function within the body of Christ?

Notice three things about this verse.  Firstly, Paul writes ‘To each one is given…’  In other words, no one is left out!  You have one at least, and probably more, because God chooses a combination to suit just you, ideal for your personality, and puts you right where he wants you, not only in the church among the other believers, but out in the world as well.  That is where you begin to function as a member of the church.

Secondly, Paul says  ‘…the manifestation of the Spirit.’  It is not your natural abilities, as we are so quick to assume.  It’s a supernatural function!  The gifts of the Spirit are not your regular abilities or talents, like amazing musical or athletic ability.  But spiritual gifts are given for functioning in the realm of the spirit.

The function of spiritual gifts is to enable the human spirit to live as it was intended.  Natural abilities and spiritual gifts do, of course, blend together wonderfully.  Take for example an outstanding singing ability being able awaken a sense of worship!

Thirdly, Paul says gifts are given for  ‘…the common good.’  In other words, they must serve others.  It has no other purpose in being given to you except to build up and edify others.  It is for the good of all.  You are going to need others’ spiritual gifts just as much as they are going to need yours.

Look out for Part Two….