Friday, 30 September 2011


It has been quiet on here this week because we are away on holiday.

A family affair with 9 of us across three generations in a Herefordshire cottage.

And what great weather!

This time 2 years so we were in Lanzarote.

This week it is warmer in Herefordshire than it is in Lanzarote!

Friday, 23 September 2011


God has been really speaking powerfully to our Church recently and opening up a new vision for the future.

Last night was our "Church Together" meeting, where we gather to worship and pray.

You know God is doing something exciting when you are not far off 150 adults for a Church prayer meeting.

There are ten key areas we are looking to develop in. These were displayed right the way around our main hall for people to go and choose which to pray for.

The results of where people went were fascinating!

1) By far the biggest contingent went to "Spirit level": that we would experience a greater empowerment of the Holy Spirit for all the things God is laying before us and that our worship would be in His presence.

2) Next up Social Action gathered many people praying for the Church expressing the love of God to the hurt and vulnerable locally and nationally.

3) Third in terms of number were people seeking God for healings and miracles: that the gospel be proven through signs and wonders.

All the other stuff is really important too! And many people moved around and everything was thoroughly prayed for! It was so humbling to see people kneeling and quietly praying, or standing and shouting out, whatever, however, calling on God for the future of the Church and ultimately for the glory of Christ; that the Gospel goes forth and people come to Him, become disciples and join His bride.

It was interesting in the three areas mentioned that above all else the desire was for more of God in our hearts and lives, to see more of God demonstrated in power, and express more of God to a hurting world.

That is my kind of Church.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

New Media Awards

This blog has been shortlisted by Premier Christian Radio for their New Media Awards within the "Most inspiring Leadership Blog" category.

I am chuffed with that.

Simply because if this blog is a blessing to people then it is doing what I set out to do.

Looking at the shortlist in my category I can see different Christians from around the country all using blogging to encourage others. In doing so we all make a small contribution.

It is interesting to see the different styles: some of us are blogging about preaching specifically, others, like this one, is more a diary entry/things going around in my head kind of effort.

Last year people like Dave Gilpin and Adrian Warnock were shortlisted, which kind of makes this blog look like a primary school kid scribbling on a scrap of paper, but there you go!

There is an awards ceremony in London for the top two in each section which sounds quite exciting.

Whatever happens moving forwards it has been a real encouragement.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Reading my blog

A lady came up to me on Sunday morning who has been living abroad.

I did not know her that well, but she seemed to know me!

It turns out she reads this blog, and has read it, pretty well all of it while being away.

And has recommended it to friends.

Yet again my series on miscarriage appears to have been a blessing, and has been shared with others.

I set out writing this blog in the hope of allowing people in our Sunday congregation of 300 or so to see inside my mind a little bit more and get an impression of who I really am.

I also wanted to chart my ups and downs in my journey in Church leadership for some of my peers who know me across the country.

And to blow away some of the misconceptions by being as open and down to earth as I possibly can.

It is a real priviledge when a real person with a real life comes up and says reading this blog was a real blessing to them.

The great danger of blogging is that either you are talking to yourself, or you are trying to stir up a debate to get readers.

Hopefully I do neither, but just for the record, why are you reading this post today?

I can see my blog statistics and can see almost everyone who reads it does not comment.

But on this post alone, please reply!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Henry Olonga, Blood, Sweat and Treason

Something is happening in Shrewsbury.

On Wednesday night over 300 people attended an event at Shrewsbury Abbey, the thousand year old Church building just around the corner from our Church centre.

Five Churches had chipped in some money to invite Henry Olonga to Shrewsbury, for a joint event that was a pre-alpha social.

He was outstanding. He shared his story of how his faith encouraged him to stand up to Robert Mugabe by wearing a balck armband in the cricket world cup.

He was funny, engaging, humble, honest, and my goodness the man can sing.

Guests were invited to receive an Alpha invitation to one of the courses at one of seven participating Churches, who are running courses this Autumn.

One of those courses is a joint course between Shrewsbury Baptist Church and Shrewsbury Abbey's sister Church St Peter's, the first such collaboration between the two Churches.

The vicar of the Abbey made that point in his welcome on the night to spontaneous applause.

Joint events. Joint publicity. Joint introductory courses.

In Psalm 133 King David asserts

" 1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore. "
There is still further to travel on this journey, but step by step we will reach our town with one voice.

I am excited!

And if you ever get the chance to go and hear Henry Olonga, grab it with both hands.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The way to end a meeting...

Members meetings are often billed as the scourge of ministers, especially amongst friends of mine who serve in different Church groups around the country.

I have heard of some full on disagreement, slanging matches, and generally really horrible stuff coming out in members meetings.

I have never been to a members meeting like that and never want to.

Tonight we had a members meeting.

And it was one of the most profound experiences of my life as God opened a new chapter in the life of our Church.

Everything changes, as God laid a huge challenge before us as a people, as a family.

And there was such togetherness.

Such positivity.

Such kindness in the things said, especially towards us as three elders.

And then we sung a worship song to close.

After the closing song there was a spontaneous outbreak of people just praying out in the spirit and in tongues. There was too much momentum and excitement in the Spirit to stop there, something overflowed.

Then after a concluding prayer by our lead elder Martin Charlesworth there was a spontaneous round of applause.

Spontaneous prayer, and spontaneous applause. Beautiful.

Things will never be the same again.