Sunday, 30 January 2011

Embarrassing Stories from an Elder, Number 1

Let's remember, don't take yourself too seriously, and we prophecy in part.

The pinnacle of my series, which still makes me almost uncontrollable with laughter when I retell the story came at an evening meeting a few years back.

A colleague of mine started to prophecy over a very senior female member of our staff team.

With a raised voice, he proclaimed loudly.

"I believe God wants you to be, A HOOKER FOR HIM!"

Stunned silence.

With his eyes closed, oblivious to the giggles which had overcome the entire congregation, He continued...

"because in the game of Rugby, the hooker is the one in the centre of the scrum, who holds people together, and who..."

for me the rest of the prophecy is lost in the mists of time.

I just remember the sheer hilarity of the situation.

An absolute pearler, but those seconds,

the silence,

the tension in the air,

who would break first?

You saw people's faces twitch, the first giggle, and then roars of laughter.

An unbelievably funny choice of wording, and my all time favourite.

My prayer for the day?

"Lord, help me, keep me, and protect me from taking number one slot in this series.


Saturday, 29 January 2011

Embarrassing Stories from an Elder, Number 2

This is a recent story, and belongs in the epic hall of fame of a close colleague of mine.

During the worship, they started to pray following the song "There is a day"

The prayer was heart felt and gathered pace as he went on. Thank you for our promise in you. Thank you for the hope we have in you. Thank you that all hurt and pain will cease, and we will see You in all your glory.

Then the gaffe...

"And we will be clothed in immorality"

An awkward silence. On he continued.

"No, that is not the word because that is wrong. We will be clothed in immortality"

You could not script it. Absolutely, jaw achingly hilarious!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Embarrassing Stories from an Elder, Number 3

What is your worst mistake you have made in ministry?

No, not bad mistake, I mean really funny mistake.

Mine still makes me break out into a cold sweat. It is not the worst I have seen though, get ready for a Countdown. This is number 3, numbers one and two will make your toes curl!

Anyhow: I was doing notices, and a scrap of paper is thrust into my hand.

It reads: "Katie & Jon Pervy - new baby..." with details of birth weight etc.

I knew this new couple, and was eager to make sure they felt welcome. They had recently had a child, and we always try to welcome babies.

But I was not sure about the name. Pervy? That can't really be right can it?

So I passed the note to my colleague Terry, "what does this say?"

"Katie and John Pervy" came the reply. "P-E-R-V-Y, yep, Pervy is their name."

So with great warmth and kindness I welcomed Mr and Mrs Pervy back after the birth of their beautiful daughter, and everyone gave them a nice round of applause and they felt genuinely welcomed to the Church.

Over coffee I made my way to the family who had a small queue of people forming excitedly wanting to see the new child.

"Hi, great to see you, what a lovely baby"

"Thanks for welcoming us so warmly" he said shaking my hand firmly.

"No worries I said, we are delighted you're here and like to welcome all new additions that way"

"Great he said. Just one thing though"

A pause.

"My name is Perry"

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Welcome to, Hope Church...

Well, Hope Church has launched in Shrewsbury, well done!

150 Christians from all sections of the Christian Church met together for what was the Churches Together in Shrewsbury United Service to mark the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and also a Mission Shrewsbury United Service.

I went too, and sat at the back. Where someone took a photo of my backside.

Interesting stuff. There is me, a newfrontiers elder, sat behind a catholic priest, up the row from the local Christian Aid co-ordinator, with a prominent local orthodox member, nestled in behind a Baptist minister and a row of funky looking Anglicans including a lady curate who is a great friend, all celebrating the merger of an FIEC Church with a Newfrontiers Church, to create a dual site Church reaching two major communities in the North of Shrewsbury, who are also working in partnership with two local Anglican / Methodist ecumencial partnerships on the ground.

If that is not enough to make your ecumenical eyes pop out, then I am not sure what is!

Sunday, 16 January 2011


I have developed the art of writing the CV.

I have not applied for a job in over 10 years.

I did the graduate milk round job aplications and was quite successful at the time, even though the good Lord had other ideas and I never took up a job.

But now, increasingly, I am being asked by young men to help with their CVs. It started with me seeing they were struggling to get a job and offering to help. Now apparently I have gained something of a reputation of being able to make a CV look and sound quite good while maintaining its truthfulness.

To the point that other people from the same work as one person who I helped now want me to help them. Someone's brother is interested.

The base level pastoral care for those guys is to encourage and help them get a job. If that means being alongside them helping their CV to stand out then frankly, I can't think of a much more important level of pastoral support.

Would Jesus have helped write CVs? I think so.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Gathering to worship

Last night 42 members of 4 "Young adults" small groups gathered for a worship evening.

We sung.

Prophecy was shared.

Testimony was given.

We prayed: for our friends and families, or workplaces, our Church, our town, our nation and the persecuted Church.

Then we worshipped some more.

Then we had cake, and chatting, and laughter.

It feels great to be part of a peer group and a generation of people who want to spend time together in worship, hear from God together, pray for things, remembering believers under pressure all over the world, and then just hang out.

I like it.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

2010 review

Well 2010 has been and gone and so I have an opportunity to reflect on what has gone before.

The two most profound experiences of this year were climbing the Welsh 3000s in the hardest physical challenge I have ever undertaken, and facing a miscarriage in the hardest emotional challenge I have ever faced.

I don't really want to do either of them again, and yet found God in both, in fact, they actually worked together for me.

I officiated my first wedding, conquered Crib Goch, preached my hardest sermon, got the Christian version of a visit from Ofsted, arranged the biggest event of my church life so far, and shared the love with the Vineyard, Steve Chalke, Rob Bell and those loveable Baptists.

Our Frontedge conference and Sunday meeting went brilliantly, and a bunch of new people decided they want to join our Church.

I preached on 10 Sundays here, and led the meeting on a further 18 Sundays, with one guest preach at a local Church. I also preached on two Alpha courses and two Freedom in Christ Courses.

This year has been pretty epic really, a real rollercoaster, and with an overwhelming sense of remembering sadness. The kind of sadness that takes the glow out of the wonderful bits and takes the urgency out of the difficult bits because it just rests over everything and takes the colour out of the world. I can now see the colours again.

The news I am going to be a Daddy was a great way to end the year.

I have learned a lot about myself, and a lot about my wife, a lot about my friends and a lot about my Church. What I knew already about God has stood firm through pressure and been proved true.

I am in faith for 2011 but what that looks like is not going to be in a box because it really is up to Him, because no matter what it is He'll be there with us.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

2010: How did I get on?

Back in 2010 I set some goals.

How did I get on?

1) To read the whole bible, cover to cover

Well, I am in the midst of Isaiah so just over half way. The format started off strongly, then tailed off a bit, and now I am back in the groove. In the meantime I did my own thing for a little while. The repetition in Chronicles / Kings / Samuel etc bogged me down last time I read right the way through again and I found myself wandering again.

2) To do the 3 peak challenge

Nope, failed.

4) To use this blog to be loving towards more things. To talk up the kingdom. And to be real.
5) I would like to do more to please the heart of my God, my wife, my family and my Church.

I guess they are the ones to be the judge of that. If you see them, ask them!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Back to the desk...

Time to close the door on the festive season for another year.

Time to open 3 weeks of emails.

Time to wonder why I never get letters any more that aren't junk mail?

Time to plan: leaders meetings, elders meetings, cell group overseers meetings, pastoral meetings.

Time to think about what went well this Christmas, the guests we had, the visitors.

Time to consider the sadness of the Church member who sadly died over Christmas.

Time to consider the ladies day at the end of the month, the launch of Freedom in Christ and the launch of the Alpha Course.

Time to contact speakers for mission events later this year.

Time to think.

What an exciting time ahead!