Psalm 144:4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

Church (part 1) – Prologue

Prior to the Old Trafford Fellowship Weekend 2011, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about ‘Church’.

What is church?
What is church for?
What purpose does it serve?
What and how should the church be involved and engaged in people’s lives with reference to individual relationships, community integration, local presence and action.

We are, if it is God’s will, to have Tim Genders to speak to us. As one of the key people invloved in the ‘2010 Preaching‘ and ‘Ignite 2020‘ projects in South Africa, Tim has great experience in planting, growing and developing community churches, church activities and extra-church projects.

He is sharing some of his experiences with us and also working around some specific points.

The general approach is to show how Jesus used a community outreach approach to preaching, bringing out the following principles:

  1. Committed to growth
  2. Touch and teach
  3. God in control
  4. Need for labourers using their God given skill
  5. Single clear message – ‘The Good News of the Kingdom of God’
  6. Cast your net on the other side – do things differently
  7. Diverse approach for diverse market
  8. Long term plan – 3 1/2 years for Jesus

I’ve been invited to be part of the worship co-ordination team for the fellowship weekend this year and, Without knowing exactly what Tim is going to say, and without stealing any of his thunder, this blog series is a window into the conversation(s) that we, as a team are having about the thread and journey of our worship experience on the weekend. In honesty, there isn’t much of the dialogue going to be in here, mostly just the things I have been sharing with the rest of the team from my role as ‘Ideas man’.

It will give a significant amount of background, thought processes, ideas and developments that we have been working through to finally deliver something we pray will be uplifting to all the people attending the weekend.
Don’t worry, just by reading this won’t mean that you get everything that we are doing and therefore don’t need to attend the weekend, just think of it as a pre-weekend taster.

I pray it will be something that helps you get more from the weekend when you attend because you have been able to follow with us and go deeper prior to the event and really experience some of the thinking and progression of our ideas that provide the back-room to the worshipful journey of the weekend.

This series of posts is also influenced by a number of other people, notably Shane Claiborne of ‘The Simple Way‘ Francis Chan formerly of Cornerstone Church Simi Valley, Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church, Gerard Kelly of bless (formerly of Crossroads International Church, Steve Chalke of Church.co.uk / Oasis Trust, Rob Bell and Shane Hipps of Mars Hill Church, Dr Tony Campolo a well known Christian pastor and speaker and John Perkins of the Christian Communities Development Association. (There are probably some others too, but those are all that I can specifically name)
Some of the inspiration is from books, some from sermons, some from panel discussions. The boundaries of who influenced what ideas and where they are my own is very blurred, but I want to give credit where it is due and these people have influenced a lot of the following thinking.

My prayer is that you will find it uplifting, encouraging, inspiring and compelling and that it will whet your appetite and increase your desire to spend Old Trafford Fellowship Weekend 2011 with us in Old Trafford, praising God together in song, word and action.

Here’s a short breakdown of my planned posts:

1. Prologue – describing the purpose and background to the series (hope this has done that)
2. ‘Commuter or Community
3. ‘Consumer or Contributor
4. ‘Community Involvement Overview
5. ‘What is Church for?
6. ‘Entertainment or Engagement
7. ‘Exclusive or Embracing
8. ‘Inclusion Overview
9. ‘Outreach – A natural response
10. ‘Epilogue

Grace & Peace and hopefully, see you in April!


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