Sunday, 30 December 2007

...and a happy New Year

Please join us for a WatchNight service from 11.30pm to 12.15am if you can.

A prayer for you to reflect on what the New Year holds for you as an individual and us as a church:

Lord of the ages,
you are our beginning and our end:
we place our days within your care.
We praise you
for your faithfulness in the past
and trust you for your constant care.
We put ourselves in your safe keeping,
trusting you to guard and guide us
this day and every day;
and we offer our lives
for your service
in this church, our workplaces and community,
through Jesus Christ
your eternal Son, our Saviour.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Christmas Greetings to you all

Here's wishing you all a very peaceful Christmas and don't forget if you want to send greetings there's still plenty of time to write on the big card in the Welcome Area and donate to Project Malawi.

How do we treat people? Part Five

Here's the last one - thanks to Roy for sending them over.

Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, 'Yes I'll do it if it will save her.' As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, 'Will I start to die right away'.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

How do we treat people? Part Four

Fourth Important Lesson - The Obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

How do we treat people? Part Three

Frustrating how the posts appear backwards but you'll work it out.

Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

'How much is an ice cream sundae?' he asked.
'Fifty cents,' replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
'Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?' he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.
'Thirty-five cents,' she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins.
'I'll have the plain ice cream,' he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

How do we treat people? Part Two

Sorry for the delay in posting the other ways to think about how we treat people - children breaking up from school is my excuse - they are sooooooo excited.

Anyway here goes...

Second Important Lesson - Pick Up in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an elderly African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.
Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 60s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a
giant console colour TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..

It read:
'Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.'

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

How do we treat people? Part One

Roy sent me this which came via Colin. There are five 'lessons' in all to make us think about how we treat others. I'll post the others later...

First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

'What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?'

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

'Absolutely,' said the professor. 'In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.'

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

any question answered

I've just heard on the radio that there's a new text service called 'AQA' which stands for 'Any Question Answered.' Apparently they have around 100000 researchers on hand to answer any question that you care to text in.

And the top three questions are:
  1. How can I make a million?
  2. How do you stop global warming?
  3. Is there a God?

Friday, 14 December 2007

It's good to catch up...

Lorna dropped by the other evening to invite us to the home group social. I do miss not going on a regular basis but as all parents know 8.00pm doesn't always work. She arrived about half past nine just as we'd finished eating dinner!

It was good to catch up and especially to learn how Daniel and Sarah are doing. Many of the students are back home now or will be soon for Christmas.

Time flies so fast - apparently Daniel finishes soon and it doesn't seem five minutes ago he was deciding where to go. He's been doing journalism and Lorna kindly sent a link so you can read an article he wrote recently for the Newshopper interviewing Simon. He'd like to point out he didn't write the headline! You can read it here.

Also why not take time this Christmas to catch up with a few people you haven't seen for a while...

Monday, 3 December 2007

Project Malawi

Following on from the success of last year's goat herds, this year there will again be a single big card in the Welcome Area for everyone to send each other seasonal greetings.

You're invited to donate the money saved on cards and postage to Project Malawi, a UK registered charity that works in partnership with national agencies, bringing care for the whole person - mind, body and spirit - to remote Malawian villages.

You can read about the charity here as well as hearing more from David and Gill Mason on Sunday 16 December.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Christmas Voices

Andrew has now been missing for 10 weeks with no news.

There is a BBC1 programme on Sunday 2nd December which the family hope might bring more sightings or information called Christmas Voices about them facing Christmas without their son. It airs at 10:00am - 11:00am on BBC1. Kev (Andrew's dad) asks that we let anyone know who might be interested.

Also if you are on facebook, there is a group set up (type andrew gosden in the search box) which is updated from time to time, please spread it as the more people that see his face and are aware the better. Andrew's sister, Charlotte, has set up a similar group on bebo here - as more teenagers might see this.

And goes without saying really but please keep on praying...

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

cafe church

It's our birthday! We're 144 years old - and some of us are looking pretty good.

We're celebrating this weekend: a special all-age service in the morning (10:30 kick off) with Nick Lear and then in the evening we're having a party.

There'll be balloons, games and special party food. We'll be looking back and thanking God for his goodness over many years. And we'll be looking forward, dreaming dreams about how we can continue to earth the Kingdom in Bromley.

Everyone's welcome. No need to RSVP - just turn up.

We start at 6:30pm and will finish around 7:45pm

Monday, 19 November 2007

The Remains of the Day

It was good to hear from and be able to pray for the work Ali Davis is involved in with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) on Sunday.

There is a documentary about the persecuted church in Nigeria being shown on November 20 and 21. The Remains of the Day, a co-production by CSW, Release International, and The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada, is being broadcast on Genesis TV (Sky 772) on Tuesday November 20 at 9.00 pm. It will be followed by an hour-long studio and phone-in discussion at 10.00 pm. The documentary and discussion will be repeated the following day at 8.00 am.

The aim is raise awareness of the plight of Christians in Nigeria and to generate prayer and support. Thousands of Christians have been killed in violent persecution in Nigeria. The Remains of the Day covers the story of five Christians in Maiduguri in 2006, as a mob fanned out to torch their houses, churches and businesses – and kill 65.

This powerful hour-long documentary is also available on DVD, for a suggested donation of £10 - please call RI on 01689 823491 if you'd like a copy.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Still no news

I heard from Linda yesterday and there's still no news on Andrew. Please continue to pray. Thanks.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Pray for China

This coming Sunday 18 November is the UK's International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church. Please if you can, remember China and Chinese Christians in your prayers.

Rob Frost, Release International's president says, 'China needs our prayer. This emerging superpower, host of next year's Olympics, is home to the largest unregistered church in the world. These house churches have experienced incredible church growth over recent years - but still face many challenges ahead.'

And here's a prayer from a young Chinese believer,
'Dear Jesus Christ, we thank you so much for your miraculous movement in China. We ask you continue to give your light, and send your Holy Spirit.
We pray especially for the government, we pray that you give them wisdom, give them a godly character.
We pray that you would raise up more Chinese leaders, so they can share your gospel, that they will lead a godly life for you, so people can see Jesus through them.
Lord we pray that you continue to send your Holy Spirit and transform lives in China. Give the Chinese church your wisdom, your strength, and your faith.
We ask you to continue to be with your children in China and make them a blessing to other nations.'

If you're interested you can find more resources here and here.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Putting our ethos and values in black and white

The following statement attempts to summarise what it is the church stands for and is designed to stand alongside the covenant (which is still in the process of being agreed).

Bromley Baptist Church – ethos and values

  • We are a Christ-centred community believing Jesus to be God in the flesh, believing his death and resurrection to be the source of our salvation and new life, knowing him to be Lord of our lives as individuals and as a church.
  • We are a church of the Bible holding to the evangelical Christian faith as expressed in the ancient creeds and the Evangelical Alliance basis of faith.
  • We are a church of the Spirit believing that all believers need to be filled and go on being filled with God’s Spirit, growing in his fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and being helped to discover and exercise the gifts God has given them.
  • We are a Baptist church practicing believer’s baptism on profession of faith and a desire to be a disciple of Jesus and encouraging full participation by all members in the decision-making life of the church.
  • We are a covenant community, bound together by a commitment to follow Jesus and walk together in love. Membership of our church is via agreement with our covenant and annual commitment to it at our covenant renewal service and is expressed most fully every time we break bread together.
  • We are partners in God’s mission, each sent to live out the gospel in our daily lives, making Jesus known through what we do, how we treat others and what we say. We commit our resources and those of the church to the creative and loving proclamation of the gospel in our town and across the world.

Our core values: We seek to be a community like those modeled to us in the New Testament in Acts 2:42-47, Colossians 3:1-17, Ephesians 4:11-16 and Philippians 2:1-18. In particular we are committed to:
  • Being an inclusive fellowship – all people are welcome to participate fully in the life of the church regardless of age, sex, ethnic background or educational attainment; each individual will be equally valued and enabled to participate in the life of the church to the fullest extent possible.
  • Loving one another – we aim to grow in relationships, recognizing that it is through one another that we encounter God and are strengthened to live for him a complex world.
  • Seeking the blessing of our neighbours – we want to share the good news of Jesus in such a way that many will come to faith and even more will feel the benefit; we want to do good to our neighbours because we follow a God who indiscriminately does good to everyone.
  • Caring for creation – we believe we need to be good stewards of all God’s creation. This will include creative and mission-focused use of our buildings and prayerful use of all the resources he has entrusted to us.
  • Creative and relevant expressions of community that nurture existing disciples and attract others to Jesus.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Pray for Bromley

Next Saturday 10 November is an opportunity to pray for Bromley with other churches from across the Borough.

This first borough-wide united prayer meeting will take place in the Great Hall at the Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley from 7.00pm to 9.00pm. The focus of the meeting will be the needs of the community.

Pray for Bromley have a website here and there is also a flyer advertising this event here.

Monday, 29 October 2007

A perfect son, a model family — so what made him run away?

Simon pointed out this article that he'd read in The Times last Saturday. It's a brave interview with Glenys and Kevin Gosden which is painfully honest. You can read it here and as it says Andrew's is an unusual case not merely for the length of time he has been missing, but also because there seems to be not the slightest clue explaining his decision to leave home.
If you think you have seen Andrew, call Missing People’s 24-hour, confidential Freefone service on 0500 700 700, or e-mail

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Prayer vigil for Andrew

Kevin, Andrew's dad who has commented here on a previous post, reports that sadly there is no further news about Andrew and their fears worsen as time goes by.

Their church is holding another day of fasting and prayer tomorrow with a prayer vigil from 6 to 7. He asks that if you are further afield to pray with them at that time.

So if you can, please do pray especially as Kevin describes how people's prayers and practical responses continue to encourage and touch them very much. Please also keep Linda and her family in your prayers too.

May God strengthen and bless them all at this time and bring Andrew home safely...

Youth Cafe @ Starbucks

This Friday (26th Oct) sees the next of the Youth Cafe nights at Starbucks, Bromley South.

A place for young people aged 13-19 to gather for coffee chat and a chill out time. Open 18.30-20.30

Monday, 22 October 2007

Can you help?

The church is opening its doors on Wednesday 28 November from 9.30am to 7.30pm for anyone who wants to pause and find stillness amongst the bustle of everyday life.

It's a global event and there's a dedicated website here.

There will be a sign up sheet available in the Welcome Area this coming Sunday if you are able to spare a couple of hours to help out by welcoming people and generally being around. Either that or let Simon know...

riding on the crest of a wave

Buoyed up by the response to the previous posts, I'm feeling confident to ask you for help.

As some of you may know I'm doing a bit of theology study and at the moment I'm looking at mission and the church.

For the next section I have to carry out some research in my own church. I have to ask how you respond to the following questions:
  • What is the primary task of the church?
  • What is the relationship between worship and mission?
  • Does God only work through the church to advance his mission?
  • Should we witness to people of other faiths? What challenges does this present to the church?

Please don't feel you have to answer here but I'd love to hear from you if you have any responses to any or all of the above. You can email me or grab me for a chat. I'll understand if you want to totally avoid me but any help at all would be great. It's all confidential and there are no right or wrong answers, just your opinions.


thanks for the feedback

Thanks to Lorna and Hazel for their wise and useful comments on the post about Halloween below.

It's great how these posts generate conversation. In church this week, I spoke to another mum who was concerned and suggested a party next year as an alternative. Also a home group had raised the issue and we'll probably continue the conversation in our family home group next time we meet.

The party could be along the lines of the family home group sessions where we bring food and play games on the church premises. It would certainly send out the message that Halloween's not something we celebrate (as well as getting away from the constantly ringing front door bell!)

I think it's a great idea so please keep them thoughts on this or anything else coming...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

I heard an interesting quote on Radio 2 Thought for the Day this morning, something we really could have a long hard look at. Apparently Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, "I don't like that man, I must get to know him." Could be we could make a difference if we took this on board.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Missing Andrew

This photograph is the last confirmed sighting of Andrew at Kings Cross. His family were on GMTV today to make a plea to anyone who might have seen him. You can read the full report here.

Andrew if you see this your Dad says "Please get in touch. We love you, we care about you desperately. Please let us know you are ok.''

Please continue to pray for Andrew and his family...

It's that time of year again...

"Mummy, why can't I have the pink and black witch's outfit?", "Mummy, why can't I go trick or treating? All my mates do." "Mum, are there really evil spirits?"

Yes it's Halloween time again and the questions from my three young children seem to get tougher the older they get.

Actually it's been 'Halloween' since about mid-September in every shop you could imagine. The costumes that used to terrify my kids are now only a source of amusement and evoke "Mummy, I'm going to be a werewolf." (Notice how they subtly stop asking coz they know what I'll say!)

Come November 1st it'll all be over, replaced by Christmas stuff but that's another story and a whole new set of questions.

So how should I respond to their questions and unfortunately avoidance tactics no longer work. I know there's quite a bit out there on the web (be careful what you google) to help, like from the Evangelical Alliance but from a personal point of view I find this a really tricky one. Halloween, by the way, is my birthday and I spent many a happy birthday party eating frogs' legs sandwiches and drinking purple witches' brew and later on down the local pub which always put on a great bash. Interestingly I never went trick or treating - that's a more recent and growing phenomenon or perhaps I'm older than I think?!

Do I accept it as a bit of fun or do I take a long hard look around at our country which is slowly and almost imperceptibly descending further and further into spiritual darkness and do something about it with the light of Christ that I know makes a difference and if so what?

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences about Halloween whether you have little ones or not and especially how you would respond to the tough questions they pose.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

café church

The next café church is on 21 October at 6:30pm:

Tesco ergo sum
I shop therefore I am

In a world where identities can be bought off the peg and we can change our identity as often as we change our clothes, who am I?

In a world where advertising tells us what we want and sweat shops produce it for us, who’s free?

In a world where celebrities define the good life, why are we all so anxious?

Lots to get our teeth into; come and join the conversation.
Tea, coffee, cakes, snacks, chat and provocation from 6:30pm

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


Jonathan will be leading Alternative Wednesday this week and addressing the issue of self-esteem. These new-style meetings are held at the church and offer a multiple-choice of activities aimed at deepening our life together at Bromley Baptist.

Refreshments will be served from 7.30pm.

Sunday evening will be looking at the same issue so come along to both if you can...

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Andrew Gosden missing

Andrew Gosden
Age at disappearance: 14

Andrew has been missing from Doncaster, South Yorkshire since 14 September 2007. His current whereabouts remain unknown but it is thought he may have travelled to London.

There is great concern for Andrew due to his age. He can call the Runaway Helpline on Freefone 0808 800 7070 for confidential advice and support.

Andrew is 5ft 4ins tall, of slim build with collar length, light brown hair and brown eyes. It is thought Andrew will be wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt and black trainers. Andrew is likely to be carrying with him a black canvas satchel with patches of rock/metal bands on it.

Any information 0500 700 700
24 hour confidential Freephone service

Friday, 21 September 2007

Preview of handcrafted cards

Just to remind you that Hazel is holding her sale of handcrafted cards in aid of Tear Fund on Saturday 29th September. More details on the bulletin this week.

I've put "preview" in the title because as I've mentioned before Hazel has a blog of her own which focuses on her crafty exploits. There she post photos of some of her lovely cards so check them out here.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Some very uninteresting stats for you

I know some of you will tell me after reading this post that I need to get a life but honestly the following stats are readily produced by my computer and so I thought I'd share them with you.

I've just produced the Bromley Baptist Contact List September 2007 version and you may well have been one of the lucky 78 who received it via email.

If you didn't and that's 87 of you who have an email address listed but don't receive the Contact List (and if my maths is right that's only 47% who do receive it) then I will assume one of the following:

a) you don't want your inbox clogged up with mail from me
b) your computer can't handle the rather large file
c) you are rather surprised at this post because you didn't receive it when you were expecting to
d) you have no idea of what I'm on about.

If you answered (a) that's fine; (b) I can zip the file for you on request to make it smaller - a few missionaries in far flung places take this option; (c) let me know your email address again and I'll check I've got it right; (d) get in touch here and I'll send it on.

There will be a print version available but as you'd expect that takes a little longer to produce...

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Business Meeting 9th Sept.

This is Sylvia Holt writing using Mike Windsor's account (with his permission of course) because my account has not yet been verified.
Re. the meeting of the above date.
It was of great concern to me to hear the dire forecast for the year 20o7/2008 if the fellowship does not increase their giving.
It is very upsetting to a lot of us on fixed incomes that we are unable to increase our giving and this constant pleading from the Leaders does not help. The majority of the members, are I am sure, very conscientious and give as much as they can afford. Young and old do have a struggle to manage these days. It does not take an accountant to realise that the cost of the essentials in life are spiralling and we are helpless to economise any more than we have done already. For the older members our heating, food and taxes leave very little to spare. However most of us give as much as we can already. The young families have high mortages and train fares etc. whilst the younger members, sadly nowadays, have debts when their university course ends because of the iniquitous charges imposed by the government for their courses.

These are facts that have to be recognised. Perhaps it may be that the leaders will have to recognise the fact that reductions have got to be made in the church expenditure. it is an unpalatable truth that with an income of £1 spending £1 and 1p leads to misery but spending 99p leads to happiness.

It was a great pity that I was unable to hear much of what Jonathan was saying. May I suggest that perhaps Jonathan speaks more slowly next time he is delivering information.

I do have one positive suggestion to make. Years ago there used to be an additional voluntary collection during communion. It may not bring in very much income but every little helps!

Incidentally I take issue with the statement that the older generation have been the richest generation in history. I can categorically say while that may be true for some, I am sure the majority of us had a struggle. The difference between then and now is that we were taught not to get into debt. We saved up for whatever we wanted or needed and we were encouraged to save even if it was only a few coppers whenever possible. Sadly plastics have encouraged people to spend beyond their means. I sincerely hope that this is not the attitude our leaders have in managing our church budget.


Monday, 10 September 2007

A possible church covenant

At the July church meeting it was agreed that we would explore basing membership of the church on a covenant; the idea being that people come into membership through signing the covenant rather than interview and vote at a church meeting.

At our recent away day the leaders agreed the following wording for a covenant and we now want everyone in the church to talk about whether this form of words fits the bill:

I commit myself to being a disciple of Jesus, our saviour.
In repentance and faith, I desire to walk with him,
Learn from and about him through scripture and prayer
Model my life on his
And seek to become more like him
In what I say and how I live day by day.

I commit myself to God’s people at Bromley Baptist Church.
I recognize that I cannot be a disciple alone.
So I hold myself accountable to my brothers and sisters here
For the way I live my life;
I will look to the church for support and teaching,
Correction and prayer;
I will in turn support the church through holding to its values and ethos, identifying and using my gifts to further its mission and ministry,
by giving financially to support its work both here, across the UK and overseas;
and by speaking well of and graciously to all my brothers and sisters.

I commit myself to making Jesus known in lifestyle, work and word.
By the way I live, I will seek to commend the Good News of Jesus
To those I live, work and share my life with
And I look to the church to help me in this
While I commit myself to helping others live up to this high call.

I recognize that I cannot keep this covenant alone.
Not only do I need the help and support of my brothers and sisters here,
I also depend totally on the power of the risen Christ
At work in my life through his Holy Spirit.

We'll be talking about it at Alternative Wednesday on 12 September and in the home groups the following week (so there's a copy on the website to download). It will then come to the church family meeting on 7 October for further consideration.
It is important to bear in mind that a covenant is not a creed; it does not spell out the church's understanding of particular doctrines. Rather it is a statement of intent in relation to discipleship and commitment to one another in the church. It is our intention to produce a statement of the church's ethos and values to accompany the covenant in due course
Let us know what you think....

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Praying for each other

While we're studying Colossians I thought I'd share this I found the other day in The Bible Application Handbook (ed. J. I. Packer).

It centres on Paul's amazing prayer for the Colossians in 1:9-14 and suggests using this as a template for interceding for our brothers and sisters. Here are the prayer points:
  • Pray that they will know God's purpose in every part of their lives, including detailed responses and decisions that need an awareness of God's general purposes for the world (9).
  • Pray that they might have wisdom and insight into God's truth and purposes, a growing awareness of his all-embracing concerns (9).
  • Pray that they might live in ways which honour him (and which by implication 'speak' to others about him); pleasing him being more important than pleasing others (10).
  • Pray for spiritual growth and 'fruitfulness' in good works (10).
  • Pray for inner strength to endure difficulty and suffering (11).
  • Pray that the joy of knowing God may dominate their consciousness and enable them to remain thankful that they are members of God's family (12).

Amen to that...

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

what do you think?

Last night I received a joke via email from a good friend about churches so I posted it. I got cold feet this morning because I figured it might have offended some people (I hasten to add that it was clean), so I deleted it but not before another good friend spotted it, read it, went away to do something else (sleep hopefully) and when they came back it had gone.

So they asked me what had happened and I explained to them what I've just told you.

It set me thinking though - what is acceptable to post on a church blog and what is not? Very few people post anything so I really have very little to go on and I don't know of any other church doing this to compare with. The only slightly similar example I can think of is on the news section of the Scottish Baptist College - there's a great picture of our very own Simon in full flow by the way.

The posts there are also almost all from one person, who happens to be a lecturer, and seem to be mostly information and reports about events etc. Would this be a better way to use the blog? I update the church website anyway - it's much easier to update a blog with the latest information etc. than the website.

I'd love to know what anyone else thinks. Conversation on the blog in the past has been good so it'd be great if you would post again or as I'm happy to post let me know what you would like included or what would be helpful for you or other visitors (yes we do get quite a few).

Alternatively tell me why you don't post. If you don't want to post this please email me or have a chat sometime - I'd love to know.

One thing I do know - there's nothing worse than a dead blog...

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Colossians remixed

As well as his airport woes, over at his blog Simon has been discussing September's preaching series which focuses on Colossians and in particular a book called Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire by Brian J. Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat Authentic Media (Jun 2005).

It'd be worth getting hold of a copy but I wouldn't dream of linking you here to Amazon as I'm sure Dave will have a much better deal!

Friday, 31 August 2007

Extra church meeting

There's some stuff on the website here about the extra church meeting taking place after the service on the 9th September.

Refreshments and childcare will be available.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Summer in the Community

I was going to post this two days ago but I guess better late than never.

Several churches have been hosting the "Summer in the Community" event for the past two days and it will be on again tomorrow. There's free fun for kids who are almost at the end of their Summer holidays. Bouncy castles, face painting etc. are all happening outside HMV.

It's a great opportunity to provide a service, make conversation and maybe even a contact of two.

It's not too late to check it out if you're down that way and it's certainly not too late to pray...

Monday, 20 August 2007

Happy Birthday to you

Hazel let slip on her blog that not only is it her birthday today but quite a significant milestone too.

So I thought I'd share that with you all and here's wishing you, Hazel, a wonderful day.

Promised link

Just got back from a week in sunny Norfolk (most days anyway) and I've found the web evangelism link I mentioned a post or two ago. The website is here and the newsletter which you can subscribe to is here.

A lot of it is relevant to America but there are some useful points here and there...

Monday, 6 August 2007

We need to do more of this

Some time ago we were brainstorming about how to interact more with each other and with our neighbours, and I shared how I was trying to establish more contact with our care group, particularly with some young families.

Our home group had an end-of-session 'Just Desserts' evening to which we invited all our care group, but the response was very poor. Did any other groups have a better response?

On a more successful and encouraging note, however, one member of our home group who herself has young children invited Robin and myself and two other couples and their children for tea and cake one Saturday afternoon. We were blessed with good weather, and the children all played happily in the garden while the adults chatted and got to know one another better.

We need to do this more! Perhaps some people will always avoid bigger gatherings, but might respond to a more individual, less formal approach. The same format would work just as easily with our non-church-going neigbours.

Has anybody else got any experiences to share?

Thursday, 2 August 2007

a seasoned blogger

I just thought I'd alert you to a seasoned blogger in our midst.

Hazel has a wonderful blog of her own here which is dedicated to her other passion of crafting. Check it out and be prepared to be amazed at the glorious cards she makes and in particular, at the wonderful comments she always receives from fellow crafters. I've always thought it is a fantastic example of people really connecting with a shared love of doing the same thing.

Anyway today she and a team of crafty Christians (not in the sense that they are anyway sneaky you understand) from around the world have launched their own blog called the Salt Faith Challenge blog which challenges people to produce something creative and post it - I think that's right but you'll have to check it out for yourself. The first challenge is 'Praise.'

I also subscribe to an online newsletter called Web Evangelism (I've temporarily lost the link but if I find it I'll post it.) and what Hazel is doing is exactly how they suggest we should be using the web to connect with people and share with them. Just join in a conversation on a forum or set up your own blog (it suggests not a Christian one because only Christians read those!) and through that chat about life in general. I love some of the comments on Hazel's blog that ask how she manages to do it - maybe they'll catch a glimpse of that.

All this challenges me and although I can't post a card on their site (although you never know) I will certainly be praying for her and her venture - won't you join me...

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Scripture meme

Lorna, others, If you wanted to read the posts that Liz refers to then Simon's is here and Jonathan's is here

Monday, 30 July 2007

Welcome aboard

Hi Brenda

I'm really glad you made it here and look forward to hearing from you soon...

Friday, 27 July 2007

Jeremiah 11:29

It is very difficult to pick out one verse, but this one has certainly been a key one for me:

Jeremiah 11:29 'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

In 1984 my Dad gave me a New Year present of a tear-off block calendar and at the start of the year this was the verse that was given. I tore off the sheet and put it in my Bible. For me 1984 was quite a difficult one, but a year in which God blessed me so much. I felt that in many ways it was a turning point. As year followed year, this verse has kept with me and I have been very much aware of God's promises for me whatever the circumstances.

I could tell of many answers to prayer that confirmed this and certainly God's plans for me were revealed when John and I got together and married in 1991.

This verse starts with 'For I know ...' and many of my favourite verses start with either this or 'For we know ...' (look them up - there are many). When things are difficult and it's hard to see what God's plans are it has been a comfort and encouragement to me that He knows. One of the most famous 'And we know ...' verses is Romans 8:28. These three words are so important, because sometimes we quote the verse without them - for me, they are vital.

Encouragement indeed

Thanks for your comment, Roy and I'm putting the verses up here in full because they are encouragement indeed...

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.
Philippians 1:5-6

By the way if you've yet to discover Biblegateway where this came from, it really is worth checking out for loads of Bible translations and increasingly more commentaries too. In fact I quote 'The Bible Gateway is a tool for reading and researching scripture online -- all in the language or translation of your choice! It provides advanced searching capabilities, which allow readers to find and compare particular passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.'

So there you go...

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Scripture meme

Jonathan and Simon have both posted (admittedly a while back) a verse or story of Scripture which is important to them, which they find themselves re-visiting time after time.

They make for really interesting reading and it set me thinking about what Bible verses have particular meaning for me. Loads, I'm afraid, and it's hard to pick one. However that's a bit of a cop out so I'd have to say a verse that has strengthened me, particularly at difficult times is Isaiah 40:31
'...but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.'

It's a reminder to me to be patient and to trust in the One who is unchanging and to draw on his divine strength for everything - usually easier said than done!

Anyway the way is works is this, I tag you lot, that's Linda, Karen, Phil, pixie, Hazel, Mike, Bob, Ruth and David, Anthony, Roy, Lorna, Dave and Michelle and anyone else who reads this - to do the same...

I therefore look forward to reading your posts about a verse or story which has particular meaning to you!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Sunday's church meeting

I thought we had a very useful discussion at our lunch time church meeting today and that this format is very suitable for discussing these kinds of issues. However, we clearly ran out of time and were unable to cover other important matters.

Maybe we need to have a rethink about the frequency of these meetings as it is not practical to make them longer. Perhaps we could have some occasional Wednesday evening meetings as well to cover more routine matters and use the lunch time meetings for issues that need more in-depth discussion. This would allow people who can't be there Sunday lunch time the opportunity also to be involved.

What do others think?


If you read this week's bulletin you'll notice the church blog was mentioned on the back page. So if you're responding to that and reading this for the very first time - a very warm welcome to you.

Now you're here you can check out what people have been saying and feel free to comment on anything. If you'd like to post your own views, thoughts or ideas then email me and I'll send you an invite.

So why not give it a go?

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Ministry roles in the church

Thanks to Mike for his post about Glenis. It's always good to be able to clarify things.

Last summer we talked about changing Glenis' job title to 'minister for discipleship and Christian education' in recognition of the fact that she was already playing a significant role in the ministry team - not only doing schools and drugs education in the community, but also increasingly being responsible for all-age services and taking a role in other services too. Since I arrived in the church - over 3 years ago - I always saw her as a key part of my team.

The church decided not to give her the title but did vote to recognise her both as an elder and as a member of the team responsible for ministry in the church.

There was never any financial issue in this - Glenis is still paid in the same way as she was before last summer. Talk to Bob if you want clarification of that.

We wanted as a leadership - and hopefully as a church - to recognise how her role has developed in recent years and to acknowledge the fruits of her training - she has been studying for an Mth which, when she gets it in a year or two's time, will make her the most qualified member of the ministry team! This the church was glad to do, although it felt that giving her the title 'minister' was a step too far.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Great to use the church blog for things like this. Let's have more of it....

Ministry Team

I have been wondering about something for a couple of months now. A few months ago a church meeting was asked if Glenis could become a fully paid up member of the ministry team. If I understand the result correctly, the meeting declined. At the last meeting concern was expressed about our ability to afford the three man team that we then had.

I see from the last couple of issues of "In Touch" that Glenis is now listed as a member of the ministry team. This appears to go against both my previous points, or am I missing something? Has her status changed? Can anyone explain the apparent discrepancy?

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

a little light reading

Ahead of the Church Family meeting this coming Sunday, there are some notes now available for you to look at.

They include all the feedback from the various groups and plenary sessions from April's conference on belonging, membership and discipleship.

They are on display in the Welcome Area and also accessible from the homepage of the website.

Whether you get a chance to read them or not, it'd be great to share lunch with you on Sunday as well as discuss the proposals at the meeting that follows.

Monday, 2 July 2007

making connections

One interesting fact I stumbled across in my research was the following:

A recent study by Cartwright (2004) on the mission potential of Parent and Toddler Groups found that the most significant factor which encouraged transition into other church activities was the involvement of Christian parents helping or attending the group. Also that Alpha-style courses and parenting groups had little or no effect.

You can read the whole report here but it raises interesting questions about how we go about reaching people.

Gibbs and Bolger in Emerging Churches say that we should journey with people, engage them in open discussion, having hospitality as central, creating a safe place for them to dwell and allowing God to do the rest.

And as Simon commented earlier, both Jesus and Paul had evangelistic strategies that involved 'going' and 'waiting' (Drane). Their conversations, such as Jesus with the woman at the well, are two-way, open-ended and people are left to make up their own minds.

Anyway that's enough from me but if you have any thoughts...

finished at last

Just thought I'd let you know I've finished the theological reflection assignment and want to say a huge thank you for all those comments that shaped my thinking.

It's been a really tough assignment - the issue I wrote about is one that I had battled with for ages and just allowing the voices of the Bible, Tradition, contemporary thinking, which includes you guys, enabled me to draw really valuable conclusions and hear from God in some really surprising and unexpected ways.

The particular reflection I used was straightforward enough (there are loads of different kinds):
  • Describe your experience
  • Identify the issues
  • Make connections with those issues and the faith of the Christian church
  • Develop new insights
  • Consider the practical implications (that's the action bit) for the way we live as Christian disciples in the world today

Bouncing ideas off people really helps - why not give it a go...

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

discipleship part one

Following on from the conference in April, there will be a Power Point meeting focusing on peer-to-peer mentoring with the very lovely Jonathan - please be there if you can...

Thursday, 21 June 2007

up and running

I much appreciate Jonathan responding to my request for help. It's amazing how a comment, an idea can trigger other thoughts.

I've decided to focus on the issue of how we can make more links between our active midweek programme and the wider church meeting on Sunday. Are there ways we can be church for them on a Tuesday or Wednesday rather than waiting in the vain hope (quote from Stuart Murray Church after Christendom) that they might come on a Sunday? Should we just keep on loving and serving, actions rather than words or should we be more 'evangelistic' in our approach offering Alpha-style courses or parenting forums? Can the two approaches sit side by side?

Volunteering is an essential element on the part of the church otherwise none of this can happen anyway.

I'm off to look at Scripture today to see what it has to say - if you have any thoughts or comments or any examples in Scripture that you think might be of use I'd be really grateful.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

looking after the little ones

I've just spoken to someone asking if I knew of anyone who could babysit for her so she could go out to her home group tomorrow night. Unfortunately I can't, having three wee ones of my own and a hubby who works late. I did come up with one or two suggestions but it got me thinking - the reason I no longer go to a home group is for the very same reason and I particularly miss the fellowship, Bible study and prayer support. For a while they kindly hosted it at our house but even that's not always that practical and the children are rarely in bed by 8.00pm these days!

The family home group I attend monthly certainly helps with fellowship and sharing but meeting again on a Sunday doesn't suit everyone. Also if you happen to miss one there can be quite a gap.

I did suggest the women's bible study but childcare would need to be thought out.

Are there any other ways we could maybe support one another in situations like these?

Monday, 18 June 2007

cafe church

Cafe church, last night, had a river running through it. It was centred on Romans 6 and Paul's reminder that our baptism into Christ means we have moved to a new location where he is Lord. Check out The Message translation which has wonderful vocabulary to express this. There was lots about locations and where we live and an opportunity at the end to respond by packing up your burdens in a suitcase, crossing the river and joining with everyone else to sign a covenant for the journey, as a reminder that we do not make this journey alone.

From the comments we had afterwards I think it went down well with lots of thought-provoking conversation during musical chairs and refreshments. It was great to hear about Bob's new job with Missioncare and pray for him.

It's a year since I did the last cafe church and I had forgotten how much work is involved but one of the strengths, it seems to me, is that they are great for getting to know one another and sharing. So thanks to Jonathan, Simon and the hard-working refreshment, chair removal teams and everyone else involved in making these happen every month.

Friday, 15 June 2007

can you help?

Anthony commented a while back about asking for help.

I know this is not quite the same thing but I'm going to stick my neck out and share something which I have been struggling with and maybe you guys could help me.

I need help with my theology study because I study at home alone (aahhh!) and sometimes I'd love to have other people's input. For example, my next assignment involves a theological reflection based on an issue in our local church.

Simon has a fantastic example of one going on over at his blog at the moment on discipleship, membership and baptism. Check it out if you haven't done so already because it has its roots in what is happening at Bromley Baptist and involves what was addressed at the conference.

The hardest part for me is deciding what issue to write it on. I had thought of basing it on the membership issue but I've only got 1500 words, which isn't a lot and if you read Simon's posts/comments you'll see what a massive topic it is.

It occurred to me that some of you might have some ideas about an issue facing our church that it might be useful for me (and hopefully you) to work through using our collective experiences and Scripture with a view to looking at it through God's eyes.

I'd love to hear any suggestions...

Sunday, 27 May 2007

how about this as an idea

In response to Lorna and Simon's ideas which are certainly worth pondering - I'll throw another one in.

This one is really simple - you just invite people to whatever you had already planned to do.

Here's an example of how it would work. I let everyone and anyone I can think of that me and my children are going for a picnic in a local park and to invite them to join us and bring their own lunch. That's it - the beauty of this is if thousands turn up to the picnic we have a great time and if no one turns up we still have a great time.

This idea could work for lots of outings and events where you don't have to pre-book and numbers don't matter, so for example I could tell people I'm going to the Tate Modern, or the cinema, or Adventure Kingdom or swimming or Godstone Farm etc. All you need is to let people know what you were doing anyway and invite them along.

At my children's school we do this a lot, we meet up in the local park on the way home and the kids play football for half an hour or so and it works well. It is great for getting to know people and all you have to do is let people know and be there...

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Parties and fun days

Following the previous comments on the family fun day and Simon's suggestion about parties, we thought it might be useful to do some brainstorming...

Perhaps we could try again some of the things that worked well in the past, eg barn dances/Scottish dancing, sports days (held in the past at the Vincents' place in Downe and at Bullers Wood School playing field), even the missionary sale which was successful in bringing people in.

People make careers out of organising events - do we know if there are people in our church with such a gift?

On a smaller scale, what about barbecues, coffee mornings, house to house meals, picnics (in gardens or High Elms, Library Gardens), mince pies (at Christmas!), etc.

All these could be useful both as a tool for mission and to help create a sense of belonging.

At the family fun day, Robin found the football and the Scalextric particularly good talking points. Don't know whether you'd get the dads to come on their own?

Please let us know your ideas!

Monday, 21 May 2007

what images would you choose?

I was recently asked to select five or six photos to go onto the new website that would together say something about Bromley Baptist and the image we want to portray to the watching Internet audience - piece of cake then!! I was given literally thousands to choose from courtesy of Brian. Here's one I chose from cafe church. So to add some colour to the blog and for a bit of fun (coz I've sent them already - unless you come up with something much better - then I'm all ears) - I wonder what sort of images you would have chosen and what they say about us?

Sunday, 20 May 2007

are we asking the right questions?

I took my three to the Family Fun Day yesterday, not really knowing what to expect and wondering if I would be making up numbers. How wrong I was - the placed was packed and with so many familiar faces.

I'm not meaning the church family, although they were there in the droves (thanks for making it such a good afternoon out), but families from Contact and Dad's Pop-in that I've known over the years my three have been going. It was wonderful to catch up with so many old friends.

I know we've been talking in the church about how to engage with those in our community and share the gospel with them and how we can get them to come to church and the services we offer. Well it seems to me that these families already come to church on a regular basis, they feel at home here and we already offer what they want to come to - it just doesn't happen to be on a Sunday.

The question remains then how do we show Jesus to those already coming through our doors? Perhaps we ask the wrong question first - instead of how can we make Sundays attractive, perhaps it should be how can we as individuals and a church be changed so that others will find our lives attractive?

I don't know - what does anyone else think?

Friday, 18 May 2007

hello everybody

Robin and I weren't very enthusiastic about joining this at first as we think we already spend too much time at the computer, but having read some of the contributions so far I think it could be a useful vehicle for discussion.

Not everyone is able to be at church meetings and those who do don't always feel able to voice their opinions. Also, it's good to carry on the discussion afterwards.

I only discovered the blog on the church website by chance, so presumably a lot of other people don't know it's available to look at even if, like me, they didn't want to take part.

I've never blogged before so I'm just experimenting here to see how it works!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

There's a first time for everything

Well here I am blogging for the first time ever - good to join you all. I'm not sure how freqently I shall do this but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the evening service on Sunday, too. I agree with Michelle that we should be using people's gifts more to bless one another. The one thing that would have made it even better would be for people to pray with one another after the service. I'd be interested to hear how you think we might encourage this as it would be a great way to start the week.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Faith not fear

Wasn't last nights service just amazing, Gill Russell Smith has such an amazing gift for leading within a service, I really can't get my head around why her gift isn't used and celebrated more within the life of our church. It makes me wonder how many we have within our family who are gifted and we are not enjoying their gifting within our own ministry. Gill leads quite regularly during her prison ministry and I'm sure many are blessed by it, well last night it was a real privilege to be blessed by Our God through Gill and the rest of the team last night.....More please!!!!!!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

reverse mentoring

Michelle says that getting involved with JusB is a great way to get alongside Bromley teenagers and make a real difference in their lives.

Here's a suggestion - I've been reading "Off-Road Disciplines" by Earl Creps which is about figuring out what is going on in contemporary culture and how the church can engage with people, particularly those under 30 - great book but I digress.

There's a fantastic chapter on Reverse Mentoring which says things like, 'by the time you're in your forties and fifties, you're not in touch with the future in the same way as the young twenty-somethings. They come with fresh eyes, open minds, and instant links to the technology of our future.' Ouch!

The reality for me anyway is I don't get a lot of this new fast-changing culture and I know I will get it less and less as the years go by. Depressing thought - how am I ever going to engage with the very people who so desperately need to hear the gospel but are not coming into our churches?

Simple, says Creps, check your attitude in at the door, admit you don't know everything and go and find youngsters who do, talk to them, ask them questions, take an interest in them and above all listen to what they have to say. That's reverse mentoring.

Believe me from years of teaching teenagers the rudiments of geography, they're great people and I know they taught me far more than I ever taught them!!!

Why not give it a go with any teenager you come into contact with. Like any relationship it takes time but if it doesn't work, don't force it, just chill and move on.

If you don't know any teenagers - JusB sounds like a great place to start...

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Bromley teenagers in need

I attended the JusB prayer meeting this week and I felt that the needs of JusB should be circulated as much as possible. I have been a centre volunteer at the youth project know as JusB ever since our church took part in Soul in the city a couple of years ago. I help out at the younger session because this best fits in with our family life although there is a later/older session which I know that Becky Bilson helps out with. We only are on the rota to help 2 weeks out of every 6 , which really equates to me committing to 5 hours over 2 evenings once every 6 weeks, and that level of commitment I find is quite easy to accommodate within my busy life. The reason why I'm explaining this is we have the unusual position of having more non Christian volunteers than Christian and we would very much like this to become more balanced. Is there anyone out there who thinks they can give 5 hours of time every 6 weeks, you would be trained in all you need to know, and there is even a choice of times and age ranges you could work with. It's a great opportunity to get along side Bromley teenagers and make a real difference in their lives.

We are also in need of trustees. JusB is launching the 24hour campaign. This campaign is about asking our churches if there are some of us with skills they could share and who could give on average 24 hours in time, spread over one year, to becoming a trustee for JusB.

The third and final area we are desperate for is the area of youth mentors. JusB have always operated a youth mentor scheme at the earlier session for the younger kids. This has been so rewarding for both the kids and the youth mentors. We need teenagers between the ages of 16 & 19 to be trained by JusB and then commit to coming along to the younger sessions on a Tuesday between 5.30pm and 7pm and be a older teenage friend to these younger kids all school aged between 11 and 14. If any of us have contact with teenagers who you think would like to consider this could you ask them to get in touch with me.

It would be lovely if JusB was encouraged in such practical ways by our family at Park Road. For more information on any of these points I've raised just get in touch with me.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

A night out with the family

Sorry to hear that some of you were unable to attend what I found to be a very interesting church family meeting. The evening was a very busy one with lots for us to pray, think and discuss about.
During the evening some of what was looked at during the church conference was discussed again, i.e the urgent need to address the lack of potential leaders coming forward. It was brought to our attention that time and time again we have struggled to nominate enough people for election into leadership, consequently we now find ourselves in the position of not fulfilling the required number of leaders as set out in our own church rules. We discussed various reasons why this has been a problem and suggestions were made as to how we can try and address this. One of the encouraging points that was put forward was the need for potential leaders to be equipped and helped in the task that they were being asked to take on.

We also discussed the poor attendance at church family meetings and how very important decisions were being made by only about 20% of the church. I felt that this is an area that really needs to be taken seriously because it has such a huge knock on affect for the rest of the church. How can we expect such a small group to represent the commitment and thoughts of the whole family? Yet the outcome of all discussions in one way of another impact the whole church family. An example of this is our alarming financial position. As a church 20% of us have voted on issues of spending on behalf of the rest, as a result it appears that responsiblilty to meet our budgeted commitments have not been grasped by all. How sad it was to hear last night that this has been an ongoing problem for the last six years.

It was put forward that we should trial a different way of doing church family meetings. Following on from the Sunday lunch and family meeting we had a while back and the encouraging turn out, we voted to trial for a year church family meetings held on a Sunday over lunch and also perhaps in the hall as apposed to moving into the church. This was in response to a number of brothers and sisters commenting on how when we moved from the hall area to the church the feeling of freedom to speak out was somehow lost.

The number of meetings held like this would change to three a year which meant that the meeting wouldn't clash with other groups which need to use the hall on a Sunday. If there was a need to call an extra meeting for urgent business that could not wait then special church meetings would still be called just as they always have been. I have to admit that I was overjoyed with these suggestions because they were a clear indication that as a church we long to be inclusive. I sat and wondered how many of our family had for years felt excluded from an important part of our family life because they were unable to make church in the evening. With the discussions that we had had on belonging during the church conference I have to admit it did put a smile on my face. So I look forward to bringing my packed lunch to share with others while we worship Our Father in another aspect of our church life.

We were asked if we had any more thoughts on clusters following on from our conference, and if we did what sort of shape they may take. It was an interesting discussion but one that made just so much sense. We have to grasp that we are a large church and that brings it's joys and it's problems. One of the major problems we have is the sense of responsibility. The larger the group the easier it is not to take personal responsibility for what goes on in the life of the church and the phrase "someone, somewhere, will do something" if we are not careful, can become a large church motto.

It is impossible for such a huge family to really get to know everyone, therefore the sense of belonging becomes harder. However, for groups ranging between 50-70 in number, who meet on a regular basis, the sense of belonging is stronger which in turn leads to all taking seriously their role within that group. Apathy is so much harder in a small group, but, accountability and involvement is so much easier. This is a discussion that will continue and we were encouraged to continue thinking and praying on this topic.

We touched on mentoring and as a result of the conference those that would like to mentor others will be helped with this and a day has been set aside for this so check out those dates on Sunday because I didn't write them down

Well I hope this has given a small insight into last night for those who were unable to attend. There's lots I haven't mentioned so if you were there last night and want to add more or want to add your thought on what was discussed why not add a comment.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Tonight's church meeting

I thought that if I took it easy today I would feel up to coming along this evening - but it wasn't to be. I'm thinking of you all and praying that it will be a good evening. I look forward to hearing about it, particularly following on the recent conference.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

did you get an invite?

Apparently, according to Karen (good to see you here by the way), her invitation to join the blog ended up in the junk mailbox! I'm not offended honestly.

Anyway I sent everyone an explanatory email with a link to here and also an invitation email. So if you didn't get an invite to respond to it might be worth checking through your junk. If it vanished completely into cyberspace let me know and I'll invite you again.

Anyway we'd love to hear any of your news, views, thoughts, encouragement, moans and groans, anything at all really...

Saturday, 5 May 2007

welcome aboard

It's great to see some of you have joined the blog and thanks for your comments.

Mike - your reading of the alphabet is fine. I just managed to invite the rest of the church after I'd posted. That's about 116 invites that have gone out.

Look forward to hearing from you again soon.

Friday, 4 May 2007

opening up the blog to all

Well as blog administrator, I'm finally getting round to inviting everyone in the church enabling you to post if you want to. I'm afraid it takes a while as each person has to be invited individually - still I think that's a nice way to do it.

So far I've invited 32 people. That's up to D in the alphabet so I'm apologising to all you Ws out there. My maiden name began with W so I know what it feels like. I'll try and get them done as soon as I can. If you are champing at the bit and just can't wait then drop me an email and I'll put you to the top of the list!

Anyway hope to hear from some of you soon...

Monday, 30 April 2007

continuing the conversation

Over at Simon's blog he's written a good summary of the church conference last Saturday. No doubt he'll be adding to it at a later date.

In the meantime it's fallen to me to type up the discussions and reports that were generated by the small groups and the plenary sessions. A quick glance (through the clear plastic wallet - I haven't been brave enough to open it yet) reveals a lot of discussion that has been faithfully recorded. That's fantastic and will generate material for future discussions and ways forward. While I'm processing that, it'd be great to hear your thoughts here...

If you'd like to post rather than just comment then please email me and I'll get an invite sent out to you - just bear with me if it takes a few days!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Picking and choosing

In preparation for this weekend's conference which is entitled 'missionary journeys...' we have been reading through 1 Corinthians 3 - it's the chapter entitled 'On divisions of the Corinthian Church' in the NRSV which is a tad disconcerting.

Notwithstanding I have found it useful, challenging, thought-provoking as well as forcing me to look at what I'm doing to build God's temple, dare I say even correcting and reproving me? Sounds like another well known Bible passage? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that 'All Scripture is inspired by God' and is useful for all the above. Some commentators manage to translate this phrase 'Every inspired Scripture' which insinuates that not all Scripture is inspired or at least some is more inspiring than the rest and hence not all Scripture is useful.

It is tempting when faced with a challenging passage like 1 Corinthians 3 to pick out the comfortable bits and ignore bits like 'If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person.' But I believe we do this at our peril - the final bit of 2 Tim reminds us what it's all about - that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for God's work.

Now that's God's word so I'll leave it there.

Monday, 23 April 2007

where's God taking us?

I know both Simon and Jonathan have blogged about Kate Coleman's word to us as a church yesterday but I wanted to add my voice as I too was challenged by her.

In her introduction, she talked about how she visits many churches around the country in her role as President of the Baptist Union to get a feel of what is happening. On the positive front she talked about a spiritual hunger not only in churches but in the wider community but that on the negative side she felt churches seemed to have lost a sense of the power of the gospel, instead being content to just be 'nice'. The gospel has the power to transform lives - that's what we need to share with our friends and neighbours.

She went on to challenge us to be prepared to get out of our comfort zone. She warned that is possible to fail and miss what God wants to do - that is really frightening. Many of the barriers to growth come from within and she said we need to seek God and deal with the issues both individually and as a church. She also warned to expect criticism but to be heartened rather than threatened as it is evidence that God is moving.

We've got our church conference this coming Saturday and I believe God wants to move the church to the next level - that's really exciting and we need to be open to hear him and expect change.

Pray for us...

Friday, 16 March 2007

A challenge for chocolate eaters

Following on Jonathan's Stop the Traffik video, I've been looking again at their website.

It really concerns me that as a nation we consume a large amount of chocolate and yet there is so little fairtrade choccie on sale. I always try to buy fairtrade, but have found that there are several high street shops that give little or no opportunity to do so (not that I should eat much of it because of my high cholesterol, but I am rather fond of good quality dark chocolate).

For more info about chocolate visit

Friday, 9 March 2007

window display

I took some flyers about the event on Freedom Day to Wesley Owen today becauses Dave had agreed to put them in customers' bags which is great. They've got a good display there with lots of resources which will go into the window for two weeks during the run up. As well as the campaign for Stop the Traffik, there's info about the film, Amazing Grace which comes out on March 23. Dave gave me a freebie DVD with the trailer, some clips and other bits and pieces on it (I'm not sure if that's just because I'm a good customer?!)

Anyway part of the trailer has the Clapham Sect meeting together and the line spoken to Wilberforce was...

"We understand you're having difficulty choosing whether to do the work of God or the work of a political activist. We humbly suggest you can do both."

That challenged me as did Rev David Isherwood who is minister at the church where this group were based who said that Jesus was a political activist and as Christians we need to be involved and know how to use the politics of the country in which we live...

Please don't be shy

I think it's a great idea to have this blog, but it will only be as good as the contributions made.

It would be great to see others from our team joining in.

Nevermind if you haven't blogged before (I had been a reader of other people's for quite some time but have recently strayed into doing my own and it's great fun) - just go for it!! And Liz has already done the work of setting it up.

Let's make use of this facility.

I look forward to seeing you here.

Thursday, 1 March 2007


Hello everyone and welcome to the Bromley Baptist Blog - has a certain ring to it. Please do post on the site once you are a member or leave a comment if you find us.

Monday, 26 February 2007

great idea

This is a great idea - let's invite everyone to join and see if we can get a conversation going about how we be and do church better in Bromley

Sunday, 25 February 2007

What do you think?

Hi Simon, what do you think of this as an idea? Team members could include anyone in church with an email address who wants to join. It could be an online community sharing news, views, information, anything really - a bit like In Touch.

Stop the Traffik

A reminder that Freedom Day is on the 25th March. Read about it here