AMD

AMD - LIVING FOR GOD

Noevember 2-5th

And again we gathered in St Ives for the clergy college, Within the rythum of prayer, reflection and shared learning we explored how and why we live for God, and how and why what should be a delight and joy can become a heavy burden and a srouce of worry and aniexty for some.

My notes are below, or aviavle for down load by clicking here

AMD 3  - Living for God

Session 1                             Daniel Rubens, Living on the Front line  Pastor at an Elim church at Penzance,

LICC originally founded by John Scott, London Institute of Contemporary Christianity.   Imagine how we can reach the UK, what would it take as the church as a whole to become more effective in mission and evangelism.

About  7% regularly attend a church, 1 in 13  but look at the connections, we are connected as individuals. We need not to see ourselves as being gathered in the corner, but that we are connected to the wider community. 

We need to be a balance between scattered and gather church.

160 hours a week after sleep 120 hours left, church on Sunday, a bible study or meeting, so at a max 110 hours left.  We often value people by the number of rotas that they are on.  What if the gathered hours become a reflection of the scattered hours.

Frontline – we need to all remember that we are on the front line, minsters, and non-ministers, every Christian is on the front line.  We are all the royal priesthood.  We are all to work to please God . We are assigned a situation to live in as Christians.  God has called them to their frontline, where they are.  our job is to help them make the most of their frontline.

PC world, pastoral care world, we preach a message that we are at the centre of the gospel, (because I am worth it) we are about caring for each other,  move from PC to PE pastoral equipping, a whole life mission, making them more missional in their view of life. 

How am I…
Making good work
Modelling Godly character (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness generosity faithfulness, goodness  self-control ) Ministering grace and love
Modelling culture
a mouthpiece of truth and justice
a messenger for the gospel

Make a difference where you are!

Session 2             Philip Sourbut – Preaching a Dated Art Form? Director of Ministry and Mission in Exeter Diocese
 

Why preach and what are we aiming to do?

Authoritative, personally revealing crafted and persuasive. 

shorter attention span; relativism and rejection of absolute; how do we know anything?

unconscious questions congregations ask….
Is the preacher alive?
does the preacher care?
is the preacher wounded ?
is the preacher talking about God?

Session 1 Tuesday morning         Philip Stourbut – Hearing is everything

What helps you hear?
Story and experience, images, connections, context, a good beginning.

Look for any gap between how I am and what I say.  Try to keep to some structure and direction

What gets in the way of hearing?
Exclusive language and context, annoying habits and life.

Robert Van Harn - we need to see preaching as central to the life of the church with the congregation finishing the sermon by going into the world and living it.

Preachers are listens first, aware of their own weakness, trying to get the attitude right.

Preparation of sermons

Find the idea; write one sentence and then make the sermon.  Stand with the congregation against the text.  We need to share our convictions as well as out questions.  God doesn’t need defending but people do need help in understanding.

Get the structure
Deduction           I will being with the Bible because God is sovereign and we have to submit to what he has to say
Induction             I will being with the listener believe that God speaks to the issues and needs of people today
Affection             Will I speak to the heart feeling and passions? 
Cognition             Will I appeal to the head reason and ideas?

remember most clergy are NT   most congregations SF

Map of model preaching
Declarative model,          Start with the text and unpack the passage lawyer model 3 point sermon.
                                                Helps people know, appropriate in academic setting, doesn’t tie in with most people
Pragmatic model              about head and starting where people are, solving the mystery does it create consumer                                                              Christians?  (Rick Warren purpose centred life)
Visionary model               An artist who paints a picture with words– Rob Bell
Novelist model                 Telling a story, their story, our story and God’s story

 Writing for speech
We do not use complete sentences, and we use tone and space and focus.
It can be easier on the ear and the mind, and feel more engaging for the congregation

Tuesday Session 2                           On priests and priesthood by Roger Bush

What is the vicar for except to cheers us up?   John Betjeman
The nature of priesthood.  It is the hidden reality of priesthood, is that priesthood is for all those who are called to be followers of Christ rather than just the ‘ordained’ priests. 

We cannot detach the role from vocation, but it is a willingness to service God in preaching the word and presiding at the sacraments and serving all the people of God.  Priesthood is the gift of God himself to the people; it is an outpouring of God’s grace. It is a grace of God.

The priesthood should be a blessing to the whole of creation not just the church. 

Priests describe, interpret and engage with the nature of God, we are meant to operative in a context wider than the place, we mediate something of the grace of God to the area in which we minister. No restriction to the arena of which God works so there cannot be a limitation to the places where we then are called to minister.  It is beyond the confines of the church building and beyond the congregation.  

Wednesday session 1                    Work and rest - Lucy Larkin

Wider context of this college is about the working on the front line, living for God and the place of rest and the Sabbath.

60% of people are putting in hours of unpaid work just to get the job done.

What work does God do?
Creates, loves, heals, cares, redeems, listens, dispenses grace and mercy… is just there!!

Therefore we are called to do the same, co dispensers of care, co transformers in the world. 
Vocation is a calling to do something specific in life, but in the bible vocation is more about election, i.e. being called out of, rather than the job that is done. Ekklesia ‘the church’ are the called out.  Called out of the world at large to be the people of God.

Vocation in the early church was a renouncing of the world and the mundane and so the place of the monastic and religious gathering grew.   Luther revised this vocation call to be for everyone and not just the few, 
Biblical views of work

Genesis 2 - 1-3
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

  • Work is creative, once completed there needs to be rest, balance between working and resting, the task needs to be finished.

Genesis 2:15
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

  • work is given by God as a purpose of humankind


    Genesis 3 17-19

    To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

    “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

    It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field.

    By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken;

    For dust you are and to dust you will return.”

     

  • It is hard work,and it will not always produce what is wanted but it will produce something

Exodus 5

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”  Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”  Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”  But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labour? Get back to your work!”  Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”

That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”

Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”

Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way?  Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”

Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”

The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.”  When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

  • often the task can appear to be beyond us but still we need to do it

Exodus 35 30- 36.1

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet.  So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”

  • we should share the gifts we are given others (teach through our gifting)

Ecclesiastes 2 18-16

 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labour under the sun. 21 For a person may labour with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labour under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

  • We should take pleasure and satisfaction in our toil.Maslovs hierarchy of needs??

Matthew 20 1-16
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.  “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.  “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’  “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.  “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’  “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’   “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

  • reward does not equate to the level of work and effort, which can appear unfair but it is the way of life. in the workplace there is much space for generosity

Luke 10 38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  • There can be many distractions from what is important.

2 Thessalonians 3 6-13 
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

  • Work is honourable, and is the right way.

     

    Resting / Sabbath

Deuteronomy 5 12-15
Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.  Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
 

  • As clerics Sunday is not our Sabbath, it is not time specific but a time of commitment to enter into the wonder of the creator and his creation.

     

    Moltmann suggests the crowning delight of creation is not man but the Sabbath and we are made to honour it.

Wednesday Session 2                   How do you feel about work? -  Jeff James

  • Seeing ‘work’ regardless of what it is, as part of the service to God.It doesn’t matter what consumes your day but rather that what consumes your day is part of your offering to God as service to and for his creation.Therefore it should be edifying, and purposeful or at least completed with the understanding that in doing this we do it for God and his world and reveal something of God’s nature to those around.


Wednesday session 3                    Work and Theology  - Jeff James

What is the ultimate end of work?  What about the giveness of social arrangements are some underlying memes to consider

Biblical witness                                                           

Creation complete or continuous;   Work and the fall, 2 stories of the view of work in Genesis; Slavery and the human experience, is this a reflection of work.  Do the Gospels call us away from everyday work, abandoning our nets;  Does work have a salvation experience as taught by Paul?

 

Work in Greek thought
Mundane work is demeaning and to be avoided, it is the role of slaves.  It has no higher meaning, leisure is to be desired.  Leisure is about politics and contemplation and is highly valued. 

 

Church Fathers
2 ways of life given by the law of Christ to his church, one about nature and beyond common human living the other more humble and more human.  One life is contemplative, the other active.  The first is to be love the second is to be endured.  

 

Luther and Calvin

Luther - Peasant society is the norm, serfdom is common, guilds are significant in towns.  Justification by faith.  The duties of an office are a call though which a person is summoned to God’s service.  All offices are equally open to God’s call.  Work must serve ones neighbour not oneself alone.  Work requires honesty and fair dealing.  We are called to a life of service and all work is God’s call and pleasure that it is done.  All work is good.

Calvin – Work is itself the service of God.  Strong emphasis on activity and improvement.  Work as a means of ensuring order.  Work as a mean of transforming the corrupt present so furthering Gods will in the world.  The consequences of one’s work really matters.

 

Industrialisation and its effect

Context shifts from home, estate  and village to mill, factory and mine.   Large scale population movements from country to town.   Long working hours and dangerous conditions.  Wage labour becomes normative, Technology prompts rapid occupational change.

 

Marx Weber and Durkhiem
Marx, develops the theory of alienation as an inevitable consequence of capitalist production

Weber develops the theory of protestant work ethic to explain the rise of capitalism 

Weber develops the model of bureaucracy as ‘’idea type’’ of organisational form

Durkheim develops theory of anomie to explain the breakdown of social values in face of complex inflexible industrial organisation.   The loss of the ability to make ‘meaning’ of life and work is one outcome from this theory.

 

Barth and Chenu

Barth, work is the typical earthly and creaturely act which distinguishes man at the centre of creation.  This is its dignity In no sense is it heavenly or divine, when it tries to be it can only be demonic,

Chenu – the person is a collaborator in creation and participant in this evolution by his discovering, exploiting and spiritual nature. This dominion over Nature (work) is a divine participation.
 

Volf,                      The experience  of work is that we feel dehumanised by it they are not enriched by it.  Spirit led human work is thus a participation in making all things new.  Work should be seen as a part in the eschatological expectations of transformation rather than annulation.  It then makes work a social activity of communal benefit. 

Cosden,               Work is instrumental relational and ontological.  Theology needs to encompass all there dimensions particularly the ontological.  Our purpose is to bring God’s glory and thus work as an end in itself can be part of God’s glory.  Work is then worship. 
Larive                    Has a Trinitarian model, Christ makes things new, creator maintains and develops and the spirit is the nurturer.   He develops ideas of good work and good workers; good work is action that yields human and divine satisfaction.  Good workers develop gifts and are guided by the graceful collaborative cultivation of virtue.
Hughes                                Says that actually there is too much thought about tomorrow being better in relation to work, to much about the progress of work rather than thinking about the idolatry of work.  Utility is the key cultural fact of modern capitalism -everything has a price and that is the price of it.  Transcendence is the key to making work, work

Play is more proper to man than work it Is only when work is play that it is good.   All food and shelter are things to help man in his work and all work is to help man to his God.
 

Thursday session 1          Unfished Creations – Bishop Chris

In what way is the work we do as incumbents, being ordained, being priest,  distinctive?

It is sacramental, generosity, life of prayer, ontological context identity and role come together, authority, oversight, sentinel; inclusive nature; powerlessness;  personal interface; trust; stipendiary; vicarious; bridge builders;  signposts; 24/7 it is a way of life not what we do, we cannot stop being evening it we stop doing; availability. 

Philippians 1 :3
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

We are part of something in the world and in our congregations that are not yet finished, are part of it.  WE are part of something no matter how long we are in an area, we are only part of it.  Part of being a priest is always being part of the unfinished story. 

How do you know when you have done enough?  (questioned the use of the word enough, it is always enough be it nothing or everything and enough for me, is not enough for someone else)

How do you find a sense of personal satisfaction in ministry?

My response is the prayer of Oscar Romero…..
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

 

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.


Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.


No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
 

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.

 

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything,

and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

 

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

 

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.  Amen.


We are pilgrims, we are on the journey, we are unfinished, we are still becoming the person God has called us to be.  God is more interested in who we are becoming rather that who we were or who we are now.   My future plays back into my present, who am I becoming shapes who I am now.

Faithful improvisation.  John 15 ‘this is my command to love one another AS I have loved you’; AS is an invitation to faithfully improvise daily as Christ did. Our context is different but our requirement to meet others as Christ did.  Improvisation takes much practice and knowledge of the subject, but it becomes instructive when we are fully aware of the subject. 

Things to consider: -
What have you learned in the last year?
What have you discovered or rediscovered about yourself?
What do you think God is seeking to from in you?

Thursday session 2, - When it all goes wrong- Bishop Chris

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father;  we have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. 

We often do mess up and get it wrong, and it is ok for the priest to fail and how do the congregation react when we do.

Matthew 28
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The reaction to this last meeting, they worshiped Him, the dead and resurrected Christ and he accepts it, but some doubted.  You wonder what more he could do…. but the doubt they have, can be seen as doubt in what it means and what is expected in them.  They are not up to the task.  They doubt because they knew they were not up to it, but some take on the tasks. 

We do our best, but sometimes we are unable to fix things and the lack of reconciliation is probably the worst injury.

Martin Buber said  ‘’Before his death, Rabbi Zusya said "In the coming world, they will not ask me: 'Why were you not Moses?' They will ask me: 'Why were you not Zusya?”

We are called to be ourselves. We are first and foremost followers of Christ who are unique and individual.  WE cannot be what others want us to be, we need to be who God has called us to be.

Revelation2
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.

We can often forget who we are and what we are called to be, by all the pressures of parish life and the needs of those we serve. 

People ‘throw’ and say things at us as representatives of the church, the body and the institution, and God, but they do place these things on us.   We need to make sure we deal with these things appropriately we cannot give them back.  So we need to deal with them otherwise we will not be the person God has called us to be.  We need to find a way of dealing with ‘the accumulation of tears’. 

How is it different when a priest makes a mistake?
Have you admitted you have messed up?
How did that feel, and what did you learn?
How do you deal with the lousy stuff?

AMD Good News
September 14-18th

once again the AMD college is held within a rythum of morning, evening and night prayer as well as a daily Bible Study.  We explored the Good News, what it means to us as individuals and how we can share this with the wider community in which we serve.

My notes are below, or you can down load a printable version by clicking here   AMD NOTES

do not hesiste to contact me if you would like to talk about them.

Monday Session 1           Good News?      Jonathan Rowe
 

I know the one in whom I have put my trust - 2 Tim 1:12
Aim to reflect on good practice and ideas, and to think about intentional sharing of the Good News. 

Good news should be about people where they are, it is about the personal, being alongside, Jesus being where people are. 

Our sharing of the Good News, has to be about our relationship with Jesus, it cannot be about anything else, if we cannot answer the question why are you a Christian? Then how can we share what it means to anyone else. 

I am a Christian because it made sense for me. Sense about life and death, in the life death and resurrection of Jesus; I found a purpose for my life, a model for living and a reason for dying.

Part of church growth, it about wanting to grow, and that ‘mission action planning’ is real and active rather than theoretical and conceptual. 
Some things that help church growth include, better welcome, better vacancies, better connective-ness

Church growth will in the future be more focused on the ‘non churched’ rather than the ‘dechurched’ so ours and their starting place is significantly different. 
Questions people ask are about destiny, purpose, the universe, God Spiritual realm and suffering and they are asking these questions but do not see the church as a place to explore them. We need to work on changing that.

Evangelism  The 5 marks of mission….
•To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
•To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
•To respond to human need by loving service
•To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
•To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth

Evangelism should be housed very firmly within the dynamic rule of God on earth.   
It is about conversion (awaking), baptism, love for neighbour, teaching spiritual gifts and spiritual disciplines.

Conversion is an act of God, John 3 6-8, Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the spirit gives birth to spirit….
Conversion is a change from one to another, change through an encounter with Jesus a personal transformation from one thing to another. 

Message of Evangelism
Luke 10 25-28 and Luke 18 18-20, both give the instructions love your neighbour and sell all you have, they are the same in some terms, following the law, and a passionate love of God.  One is a lawyers answer and the other is a rich man, so the context is different.  The same question can have different answers, but the answers  reflect that life is complex.

Acts 26 19-29 – Paul uses his own experience and in the language that he understands; repent and turn to God, and do deeds consistent with repentance.  That the Messiah has come, and that he would need to suffer, die and be resurrected.  He has experience of Jesus, priority of preaching to the Jews, but the message will reach the gentiles, repentance, conversion, Messiah had to die, and rise from the dead and based on the OT.

We do have a message but we do need to remember our message may depend on the context,

Monday Session 2           Being a Priest today, The Priest as Evangelist - Tim Sledge
It is a given we are, as priests, called to be evangelists

God is the evangelist, and as he continually pours out his love and compassion into the world, our job is to enable that love to flow into the lives of those we serve.
In essence we are  living and being the Good News. 
A culture of invitation to others, to find the way and the life and delight of Jesus

1 Thessalonians 2:8 - share the gospel out of our weakness because those around us are very dear to us. 
Our Calling
Philip, Acts 8 5-8                               Itinerant; given a particular season;  signs and wonders; proclaimed the Good News
Timothy, 2 Timothy 4 1-5              Rooted; ‘steady Eddie’; thorough/ persistent; in season and out of season; careful and patient;  ‘do the work of an evangelist, carry out the your ministry fully’  may the little bit of God in me meet the little bit of God in you
Mary Magdalene                             Person of passion, Called from encounter, Apostle to the Apostles, I have seen the Lord

We cannot give away what we haven’t got, it is out of the deep well of encounter with God that we can share, and if we don’t meet with God we cannot share it.

Evangelism is….
A process by which people become followers of Jesus, it needs to be intentional.
We are called to be midwives; we are not responsible for conception but are part of the assistance for birth.
The art of the evangelist is about asking the right questions, like Jesus, to draw out where people are, being apt.
We accompany people on the journey, we nurture, 

Our calling, as priests, we have a particular responsibility, even if we don’t feel we have a gift is part of our vocation ir is part of our ordinal, and we have to balance niceness with direct-ness

Tuesday Session 1           Good News, Liturgy and Evangelism, Tim Sledge

We believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic church…. 3 areas
Holy:  what we do in relation to God, our communion, our worship
Catholic: what we to each other, to our community, our nurture
Apostolic: what we do in relation to others, our communication, our outreach
All held together by our Spirituality.

Worship is our chief end ‘Man’s chief end is to worship and glorify God and to enjoy him forever’. (Westminster Catechism)
Worship is central to church life, and our main shop window and entry point not to church but to an encounter with God.

When worship is interesting, attractive, enjoyable and vital,  the passing become the occasional;  the occasional become the regular and the regular become committed and involved.

Raymond Fund from the Isaiah Vision:  ‘How can we have the kind of worship to which we are not embarrassed to bring our partners and friends, indeed how can we have the kind of worship in which we can connect with God?’

The Worship Molecule
Humanity and Divinity circles which overlap but need to be in balance.

Humanity:           Welcome (what happens after hello) sitting together, use of names, celebrations, coffee, heating Divinity:                 The Lord is here! Mystery and awe; drama; disclosure moments; joy; silence
We need to make sure we are not only meeting the needs of club members, but to those who may come.

Offering a range of worship opportunities
Development of midweek opportunities and service at appropriate times of the week
 i.e.  toddler services, songs of praise, midweek Eucharist, fresh expressions, creating variety over the benefice

Worship is and event, each week s unique needs prioritisation of time, energy and resources, prioritisation means preparation.
Common prayer and common worship does not mean identical but means what works in local community and context.

Is our worship ?
Authority friendly            or local people friendly
Tradition friendly             or culture friendly
Chancel friendly               or nave friendly
insider friendly                  or outside friendly

Worship should be said and done if it is the first, the last, and the only time!

Tuesday Session 2           Good News, Occasional services Tim Sledge                      ….the chores of grace

We still have significant contact with our communities. 

The occasional services offer just one stepping stone on the journey of faith.
Weddings , in 2003 over 80% of the population attended a church for some reason, the vast majority for pastoral services of baptism, wedding or funeral.  21% of couples are married in church, but of those who got married, 64% would have been interested in getting married in church, but thought they couldn’t.  
Pray by name for the couple in services.  
Follow up with the families, who are more likely to stay in the area.

Baptism, good practice can include anniversary cards, candle services, tea party.

Funerals, maintain a relationship with undertakers which is very important; ‘GraveTalk’ web site to talk about death dying and funerals.  Suggestions for follow up: All Souls services, bereavement / anniversary cards.

Tuesday Session 3           Occasional Offices, being human.            David Elkington and Alan Bashforth

We are the front door of the church, so, BE NICE. 
Psalm 8 3-5, high view of humanity
Romans 5 12-21, a lower view of humanity, original sin

Biblical passages for inform our idea of humanity; Genesis, we are made in the image of God; Prodigal son being reunited with God; John, the word made flesh.

Max Weber, sources of authority, the rational / legal authority, due to our position we have authority.  Traditional authority, by our place in society we have authority.  Due to the way we behave, we have charismatic authority. 

Power, is the ability to influence somebody to do something that they would not have done.  Jesus 8 6b-10 Jesus exercises power to stop the stoning of the woman caught in adultery,

Creating a culture of welcome
Why do we not invite people to church?
Not welcome, not invited, not warm, service pitched at the wrong level.
People do not necessarily come because they believe but you only get one chance to make a first impression. Welcome is what happens after you say hello. 

Look at the connections we have and find ways to connect them with us.  Gardening club, invite to be part of harvest, Community carol services, invite others to come.

Wednesday session 1    The Christian Hope  Jonathan Rowe

What is our hope?
The hope proclaimed in the life, death and resurrection of Christ
Faith sure of what we hope for and certain what we cannot see.
We will be holy and blameless before him – Zachariah
my plans for you are for good and not evil – Jeremiah
John 3 :16 and Frank Sinatra ‘high hopes’
An anchor for the soul,- Hebrews 6
With you always, - end of Matthew
All our hope on God is founded
My hope is in God alone

What is our hope? Know because whatever it is, it will shape our ministry. 
Nicene Creed, we look for the resurrection of dead and the life of the world to come – how do we do this?

Ephesians 1 8-10                               transformation of all things to be united with Christ
Colossians 1 19-20                            reconciliation with God, all things,
1 Thessalonians 4 13-14,                future without grief, a future for those who have died and an understanding for those who are left behind
1 Peter 1 3-5                                       Personal passage about Jesus dying for us, security of being in heaven with Jesus

Our conception of hope needs to incorporate the individual, the corporate and the cosmic if we are to be true to the whole biblical view of hope.

1 Corinthians 15 42-50    A passage about new life after death, we cannot get it until we die, we need to wait, it is beyond, and in due course it will happen, death is the process that allows this to happen so we should not be scared or fearful. Also, not all is of heaven, remember the Spanish Inquisition, killed the earthly body for the sake of the eternal body.

Set this passage in Paul’s thought about life and life after death 1Tess, 4 13 – 5-11 about AD 49 and 20 years after Jesus’ death.  and it is about what happens to those before Jesus returns.  Some will raise from the dead, just like Jesus, bodily resurrection of Pharisees carried to his Christian faith.  Life after death is not the same as resurrection, and resurrection life. 
Resurrection life is the life, after, the life after death.  That is why we look for the resurrection of the dead, and life of the world to come.

Not resurrection of corpses.  It is a body driven by the spirit, present we are driven but human psyche and the future driving by Gods spirit. 
Dust we are and to dust we shall return, but God can do new things with dust – NT Wright, surprised by hope.

Wednesday,      Session 2             Practising   Evangelism Dave Elkington

1 Peter 3 : Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
Evangelism is more like sailing not proof reading, questing than archery, acting than cobbling, medicine than parallel parking;  it is experiential, self-involving, self-checking. 
Evangelism – ‘anything worth doing is worth doing badly until one can do it better’, Brad Kallenberg Time to Tell

The Church of England is the ‘bland leading the bland’ – Eddie Izzard,
Acts 17 22-34 Paul in Athens the 4 p’s in action and context
Prayer, presence, proclamation, persuasion 

Building Teams Ian Gulland

Building good teams,  beware of the types of people you have in your meetings, too many shapers and no completer finishers will lead to a great idea that never comes to fruition - Belbin team types.

The 6 hats concepts of team meetings, best team leaders make sure that all are wearing the same hat at the same time and make sure that time is given to each type of ‘hat’

Wednesday After dinner Tim Gibson  Good News for Rural Churches    Systemic Fragmentation of Self/ Community

We are part of the narrative / story of our place and need to find ways of including the story of Jesus in our own
We are part of our community / relationship and it is about where we are in relation to others and God
We are part of the place / context and goes beyond our own area

and these 3 areas are part of our full understanding of our Theology

There is a systemic Fragmentation of self / community and this can be seen in the rise of the selfie stick, once you asked someone to take your photo, now we are able to do it ourselves, without the need of others,

Our need to interact with others has been reduced we are self-sufficient take Postman Pat. First part of the community at Greendale, worked with others, to solve the problem, Peter Fogg the Farmer  Mrs Goggins,

The next series we see that the community of Greendale now looks toward Pencaster for many of its needs, and some people from Pencaster have moved into Greendale, Pat has a new van and often help comes from Pencaster rather than being from the community of Greendale

Finally in the latest service, Post Man Pat Special Delivery service, Pat can deal with anything on his own, he has been given all the resources to deal with his problems, and even has a helicopter, No problem is too large for Pat
Relationships with others are minimal, Pat can cope on his own, his relationships are not what deals with the problems, He is self-sufficient.  Just like we are, arbiters of our own meaning of right and yet….

in all this Revd Timms is still present, ever present, pointing back to a time when it was community that found ways of dealing with issues and supporting the other.

Descarte,’ I think therefore I am’, but there is more than this, we are only fully human when we are in relationship with others, and the church can offer this when we are most in need and in the worship of God we can find the true essence of community

Thursday Session 1         Preaching the Good News (Evangelistically)       Dave Elkington

Billy Connally – Wildebeast  sketch
It is the story, and the drama of the story that engages the listener, making it human and relational
                He sets the scene and returns to it during the telling and energises it.

Preaching, always have the final point clear in your mind to start with.

Ambiguous Evangelism, understated evangelism, playful (people respond better to this rather than challenge) and in dialogue, (people are more likely to engage if this is the case as they have a purpose in the process)   

Lowry ‘The Homiletical plot’, stories have a plot, so should our sermons.  The Lowry Loop

Upsetting the equilibrium            the whoops moment, say something in the frist minute to engage the listening
Analysing the discrepancy            Yuck, don’t just say what the problem is say why it is a problem
Disclosing a clue to resolution     Aha moment, give the clue to the answer but don’t tell then
Experiencing the gospel                                Wheeee, apply the good news
Anticipating the consequences  Yeah what does this all mean

Don’t push people to act, allow God to remove the barriers and leave them to make the movement

Augustine   ‘God sent us a story rather than a philosophical treatise’

Thursday Session 2         Enabling others in Evangelism -  Angela Butler

Why we don’t do it -
Not our job
Faith is private
Many belong but not believe
Have faith but not sure where they stand and lack confidence
Struggling in their own faith
Afraid of standing up and be counted, not sure what to say
I have no friends outside church
Don’t see the need

Moltmann, ‘the church does not have a mission but the missionary God has a church….’

Types of Evangelism,
Peter                     breakdown down the barrier and heals the sick and drives out demons
Paul                       challenging, why are you not doing what I told you?
Jesus                     meets people where they are and moves from there

How can we be ourselves with God for others?..  and help others to discover their natural God given way to evangelise.

Personality type can communicate the gospel, collecting information by sensing or intuition

Sensing                                Step by step, factual, detailed precise, simple and down to earth. 
                                Practical, needs examples of how it worked in the past. 
Aim                        to show how the gospel is historically based makes sense and how it is to be lived out in daily life.
Gospel                  Mark’s, and Celtic spiritually may resonate here.

Intuition              Big Picture, general terms, point out the benefit and opportunities, confident and enthusiastic,                                                creative and imaginative, visionary. Make the message sound fresh, talk about possibilities

Aim                        To adapt the way we present the message to a person’s needs and concerns. 
                                To be a catalyst and inspire others to take the risk of faith.
Gospel                  John, mystics and contemplatives.

What we do with the info is either Thinking or Feeling

Thinking              Logical, objective, well organised, engage in debate, be prepared to the question and work at the ideas
Aim        show the truth justice and with authenticity of  the gospel faith is not blife but to have integrity, it must involve struggle and intellectual questioning .
Gospel                  Matthew

Feeling                 Relationship, friendly and personably, implications on people’s lives, talk about Gospel values, warm sympathy and tactful.  Use personal testimonies

Aim                        to show how the gospel is a message of love that demands a heartfelt response of self-giving love to our Lord and Saviour
Gospel                                 Luke

 

AMD God's People

AMD 1 God’s People 15th-18th June

The whole of the AMD College is held in a rhythm of morning, evening and night prayer, and also daily bible study within the learning action group.

Day 1  15th June

Archdeacon Audrey Elkington led a thought provoking opening session on the nature of the Eucharist and its relationship with the calling that all Christians accept when they live a life of faith.

The modern Eucharist follows a fourfold pattern on Offertory, Consecration, Fraction, Communion – which are the basic elements of the worship, but these elements are much better referred to as Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given and in many ways it reflects our life of faith.

Taken
We are taken by God, despite ourselves, we are cracked earthenware vessels that through which the light of Christ may shine.  We have no choice, we are taken, like the bread to be part of God in action.

Blessed
At Baptism we are received into His blessing, ‘this is my child in whom I am well pleased’  the Blessing is to God, though our being taken, God is blessed, we are his blessing for others. Note,  it is not us who are blessed, but God and others.

Broken
Self needs to be broken, the needs of self must be overruled, self-reliance, self-confidence, need to be broken.  We are no longer to be about self but about God.  We are to be waiting and watching alongside others or on our own.  To be a conduit for God both in sorrow and in joy, in difficult situations and in easy ones, God is at work.

Given
God gives us to minister, all of us minister, not just the clergy.  We are all a small part of the coming Kingdom.  We are given as God’s gift and given to serve Him.

This pattern is found not just at the last supper but also in the feeding of the 5000 and in the Road to Emmaus story. 

It should also be the foundation of the way of life that we have as Christians.

Day 2  16th June

Jonathan Rowe asked Who are we? , What do we do?

Using 1 Peter 2:9 and Exodus 19 4-6 we explored the questions. 

We are God’s people, and we are part of his mission in his world. 

We are to proclaim the mighty acts, of the God who has called us out of darkness into the light

He also spoke about the Letter to Lulu.  Lulu aged 6 asked the question of her Dad, who invented God, and he thought it was a really good question so he wrote to many church leaders. 
At the time the Archbishop was Rowan Williams and this was his response

Dear Lulu,
Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It's a difficult one!
But I think God might reply a bit like this –
'Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised.
 They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from.
They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn't expected.
Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I'm really like. But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!'
And then he'd send you lots of love and sign off.

I know he doesn't usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf.
Lots of love from me too.
+Archbishop Rowan

We also explored Church Stories, our stories and how they reflect both something of the nature of God.  The fact that they are ongoing and that we hear only part of them, we need to remember that there are other voices in the story and that ours may not be any more ‘right’ than any others.  Only God sees the whole picture we are always seeing from our point of view, others may be just as right. God uses many people and our prospective may not always be right for everyone. 

Day 2/3  16th / 17th June

Neville Emslie lead 3 sessions, Undefended Spirituality, Undefended Communities and Undefended Leadership

In Undefended Spirituality, using a passage from The Song of The Bird by Anthony de Mello

A explorer returned to his people, who were eager to know about the Amazon. But how could he ever put into words the feelings that flooded his heart when he saw exotic flowers and heard the night-sounds of the forests; when he sensed the danger of wild beasts or paddled his canoe over treacherous rapids?

He said, “Go and find out for yourselves.” To guide them he drew a map of the river.

They pounced upon the map. They framed it in their Town Hall. They made copies of it for themselves. And all who had a copy considered themselves experts on the river, for did they not know its every turn and bend, how broad it was, how deep, where the rapids were and where the waterfalls?

 

We far too often want to bind the faith of Christ and try to keep it without having experience it for ourselves.  The people did not want to face the danger of seeing the Amazon, sometimes people want to come to ‘church’ as it is safe but don’t want to live it because it is scary.

Undefended means being open, open to and for God and also open to and for others, but in church we tend to defend ourselves and our positions, building barriers and protections, fortifying our positions, but in the end all that happens is we reinforce our prejudices and entrench our thinking  not only this but in the end we prevent others getting in, and even prevent them getting to God.   Being undefended means allowing others to reach us, allows us to reach other and maybe in all of that gain an insight into the nature of God. 

Allowing barriers to fall requires trust.  Trust that God is with us, trust that although we are vulnerable and we will be hurt it is nothing that God will not be able to handle with the help of God

He spoke about centring prayer,   as promoted by Thomas Keating,

Centering Prayer is a receptive method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer - verbal, mental or affective prayer - into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ.

Lay on the floor, do not worry about the clatter of life around you, it is what life is about traffic, sounds from outside.  After a while it will disappear.  Then you will hear the symphony of life in the smaller noises, nearer to you bird song, the tick of the clock, the whine of the dishwasher after a while they will fade.  The ask God for a word, just one, and then offer that into the life you live.  It may take time but it will energise you. 

The idea of undefended is about being open to change, and challenge, not to put up barriers and to be open to the idea that we are as much part of the problem in the church as part of the solution. 

Martin Luther, the reformer, said ‘security is the greatest idol’ we need to be vulnerable for God if we are to reach beyond ourselves.

 

Undefended leader

We listened to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Neville suggested that as good undefended leaders we should be the deep resounding underlying base of the music above which the melody is played.  We hold together the piece bringing a calm, studying influence, he suggested that far to many leaders want to play the melody.  He related this to the Genesis 1 were the underlying message of God in creation is, it was good.  We should hold our communities with an un-anxious presence.

As undefended leaders we need to be mature in our response rather than reactive.  we need to reflect, act on principle rather than instinct, to stand back from the ’scrum’  Problems are often caused by a lack of trust rather than the problem itself.

We are called to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable .

Keep calm and carry on. 
Biblical references :-       Jesus and the storm,
                                                Nehemiah  and rebuilding of the wall,

                                                Do not be anxious,

                                                Do not be afraid.

 

 

Jesus is here is Spirit is with us – ALWAYS, get on with it

 

Undefended Communities

 

We need to be theological reflectors so that our communities can encounter God.  We seek to help those in our communities, both in and outside the church to have an encounter with God, to have an experience of Him.

We act as agents of discernment, helping others discern the presence of God and Christ’s love in the world

Too many Christians are asleep, we need them to wake up and see

Matthew 13 23-25 
Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.  52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”  53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.

Sharing the old and the new with the community some things are left behind and some are carried forward and shared. 

The undefended community is not one that is vulnerable and insecure, it knows where it is and what it is doing, it understands it place and history but also is willing to be open to newness and learning

We need to develop a learning environment with an interaction with the scriptures.  We are called to be good learner, good disciples. 

Ministers lead learning, and we need to understand who we are and where we are going.

Trinitarian approach to problems / issues

Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer

Creator,  -  what is the creative approach here?  Where is God the Father in this?

Redeemer – What needs redeeming / reconciling in this situation?  Where is Christ at work?

Sustainer – what or who needs to be sustained?  Where is the Spirit working ?

Matthew 13, a single seed is planted by the farmer, he is confident not anxious, he trusts that all will be well and so should we, if we are aligned with God

 

Day 3v17th June Evening

Lindsey Morgan-Lundy, Can Contemporary Art help the Church?

Lindsey is a Christian Artist who are part of her fine art degree, produces works that for her embodied both a reflection on the world and the God who created it.

She talked about art as a ways of seeking the transcendent nature of God and that art can ‘ go beyond or exceed the limits of human experience’ She asked the question ‘what stirs us?’ and went on to say that like our spiritual life, art can help us access a relationship with God.

‘The object of the artistic and spiritual life is to dig for this sunrise of wonder’ CK Chesterton.

‘Transcendence is a move of the spirit which takes us beyond rational experience’

She aslo as part of the Truro Arts Festival arrange a art pilgrimage entitled Diskudha  which means uncover ; discover; reveal.  it was held in Old Kea Church included all types of art, including film, voice, music as well as paining, installations and sculpture .  It told the story of St Kea and the history of the place. 

‘art is born with the contemporary touches the eternal. 

The best way for Christians to change culture is to make culture’

 

Day 4 18th June

Project Management – Ian Gulland

Ian was the a project manager before becoming an ordinand and spoke about the need to manage any project.

He said that many problems within the church are caused by lack of project management and the lack of understanding that all projects can benefit from a understanding of the need to structure work and set clear achievable goals.

He gave the story on Nehemiah as an ideal basis for good project management

Initiation and planning     Nehemiah 1-2

Execution                           Nehemiah 3

Risk Management            Nehemiah  4-6 7 1-5  70-73, 8 1-18   9-13, 38   10 28-39   11 1-2   12 44-47 

Close out                           Nehemiah 12 27-43

Evaluation                        Nehemiah 13                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                 

finally a team from the previous AMD cohort came and gave their views of the process, if anything this was the least helpful as most disjointed of the sessions. 

There were also 2 meetings of what is call the Learning Action Groups, these are made up of 6 clergy and a facilitator.  Their primarily role is a peer support group.  All discussions are confidential and held within the group, but it is hoped that this group which will remain constant thought out the AMD sessions will be a forum for open conversations between the participants about the challenges and joys of AMD and wider parish and personal life of the clergy involved.

 

These notes are no way entire but are a snap shot of what struck me at the time as important or relevant, but will hopefully help us work out what we are to carry forward to the parishes in the way of exploring the topic of being God’s People

Anne Brown June 19th 2015. 

Click here to down load the above notes

AMD - Accompanied Ministry Development

AMD is a process developed by the Diocese of Truro for developing parishes.  Its central theme is about working in parishes to discover God at work and join in.

The parishes of the Three Rivers team are about to embark on the process

All members of the PCC's and congregations were invited to Commbeshead, for a evening of to listen to Bishop Chris as he explained with this meant for the parishes and to discuss hopes and fears with each other, over refreshments and then to question the Bishop.

Our thanks to Bill and Tamsin for their wonderful welcome and hospitality

more details about AMD will appear here over the coming weeks, so keep watch yes

 

 


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