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...