we have an open day tomorrow for cms pioneer training - it's not too late to sign up...
we have an open day tomorrow for cms pioneer training - it's not too late to sign up...
i have written a short reflection on the church growth research on the pioneer blog -
good news from the upper room who have realigned with a bishop's mission order (a piece of legislation to enable a community to be part of the church of england if they don't fit the parish model).
we have an open day for the pioneer course this tues
thanks to everyone who came to the day of research presentations and conversation about pioneering mission. it was a wonderful day - really buzzing! there is a write up and some photos here. it was such a treat to have doug gay, beth keith, gerald arbuckle, anna thompson, andrea campanale, and jim barker involved. we'll be adding a few video interviews online with them and there will be a book next summer with some of the papers and some others. and we will be back with another day next year. to be honest i am still on something of a high. next week i'm off here - tough life eh?!
organisations who kill their rebels gain peace but lose their future
so said gerald arbuckle at yesterday's day on pioneering mission. it was such a great day! thanks to everyone who came and who presented. as we said we will be publishing the papers and a series of others in a book some time next year. and we will be back with another day next year...
i stumbled across an article by graham cray on not knowing the end at the beginning which i rather liked. it probably didn't tell me a lot i didn't know but there is so much anxiety in the church about wanting to know outcomes and results (often in a short space of time) that this sense of not having a blueprint as people pioneer into the future really needs re-iterating. i also like the naming of the tension between contextual approaches to mission and being rooted in a living tradition. see what you think...
it's from the journal of mission practice which has had two issues so far online. this article by babatunde adedibu and this response on mission and black majority churches opens up some extremely interesting themes in mission in britain today.
not sure where the time goes but september's upload on proost was a wonderful resource which i meant to blog at the time but it's now october and i haven't got round to it until now! how did that happen? anyway...
come and see is a guide for beginning and sustaining a missional venture downloadable as a pdf. it's written by ian adams and contains 20 steps, all restricted to one page alongside ian's photography. it's simple, clear and you feel when you read it that anyone could start one. it's the kind of thing that's ideal to discuss round the meal table for a newly formed group distilling down what it is they are about and how to function together as a community. pick a step a week...
proost willbe creating a collection of resources for pioneers - last month's news was in praise of pioneers
i know i will get some stick from those who accuse me of being in gerald arbuckle's fan club but i am excited to say he happens to be in oxford when we are hosting our first ever conversations on pioneering day and has agreed to present on the subject of dissent!
the day is on november 12. pioneering mission and ministry is relatively new language of late in the church as the term pioneer ministry was introduced after the mission shaped church report less than ten years ago in the church of england at least (and of course it's extremely old as a practice and gift in other ways!) and whilst space has been created for it, it is still very early days. so we are keen to encourage reflection and conversation on what is happening. this day is part of that and we intend to make it an annual day of conversations, reflections and research. we have seven people who we have invited to present their reflections or research for this first one - three by way of a plenary session and four in workshops. the plenary sessions are presented by doug gay, liz sercombe and gerald arbuckle, and workshops by beth keith, jim barker, andrea campanale and anna thompson. details are on this flyer (see below) and on this page. the day costs £15. you can book here.
ian adams latest book running over rocks came out over the summer. i read it on holiday (our holiday started out sharing a meal with ian and gail before cycling from south to north devon so it was nice to catch up with ian as well). it's a lovely book of spiritual practices.
there are a number of reasons i like the book.
the first is that i think i have become more and more interested in how to live a life. that is perhaps a glaringly obvious thing to say. is there any other option? in the summer john drane was reflecting with some of our pioneer students that the old adage believe-belong-behave had been reconstructed some years back as belong-believe-behave but now the front foot is perhaps on behave-belong-believe. i can think of a thousand argumenst to have with that phrase anyway which is not the point - the point is that it reminded me that lifestyle or how to live out a life as a human, as a person, in community, following christ, that somehow makes a difference in the world is what many people are seeking after. in other words its a life that is embodied, lived, practised. i certainly am interested in a life of faith that enables me to live in a more christlike, prayerful way, paying attention to the world, god, others.
the second is that i think ian has a great way with language - he seems to talk about faith in a way that is open and welcoming and accessible and creative. i am sure he has thought hard and worked carefully on this. it's no mean feat.
the third is that the practices are really good and helpful. there are 52 in total and they are organised into sections - like earth and body, stillness and movement, possibility and so on. you can dive into any section or any practice. you could pick a practice each week of the year. i think it would make a good book for a community to go through in a season like lent. the practices are also a good mix of ancient tried and tested along with creative and fresh ideas. here's how ian describes practices in the intro
Practices are the earthy business of encountering ideas, then working out how they might take shape in us. They help us move from aspiration to reality. They work slowly over time. We shouldn't expect immediate results, but we can expect that through them the change for good that we seek will come, gradually forming something new within us.
the fourth is that ian has great wisdom. he has soaked himself in much of the understandings of those who have navigated the religious life and draws on it in a way that is accessible but has depth. the section of practices of descent is a good example.
the fifth is that ian has written a poem for each practice so there are over 50 poems which is a delightful addition.
practice takes practise - in other words this is not a book to read like i did - in a week! it's one to try out and practise. in my defence i have kept the book with my journal having read it so that i will come back to many of the practices. it reminds me a little bit of anthony de mello's book sadhana a way to god - which is a book i have come back to so many times with its spiritual exercises.
ian and gail are leading a retreat in may which looks like an absolute bargain if you would like a weekend to be introduced to some of the ideas.
if you are interested download a copy of the annual report for the cms pioneer training course i lead. the idea of an annual report may not sound that exciting but I really like writing it as it's a chance to look back and reflect. it's now 3 years since we started which is hard to believe. it's been both hard work and fantastic in equal measure. people say that it takes 3 years for a start up to get established so i think we have made it - it feels like it. we have a new year of students starting the week after next. at this point we have 13 or 14 new who will be doing either an MA or Foundation Degree - which is a really nice number. the will be joining the other two year groups and on top of that we will have people doing individual modules. it never seems to stand still...
if any of you reading are pioneering, into mission, or whatever way you want to describe it, check out what we are doing. a couple of good ways in are ReSource weekends , and we also have a day in november conversations on pioneering presenting research around pioneering mission with a number of speakers that is going to be a really good day. i will blog about that separately in the next couple of weeks.
i have written three articles on pioneering for youthwork magazine. the first is in the current (sept) issue and the next two will be in the following two months. i decided to write for youthwork because a lot of pioneers begin in youth ministry, i learned about mission and pioneering while doing youth ministry and youth ministry is the back door to renewing the church - what happens there happens in the church about 10 or 15 years later! i'd love to know what anyone thinks if you see the articles. give me a shout. at cms pioneer mission leadership training we have a few people who have done training with cym over the years who are joining us for modules or to do an MA. so if you are in youth ministry and excited about the notion of pioneering give me a shout. in oxford we actually have a great combination going on because oxford cym and cms pioneer training are in the same building so there is lots of opportunity for collaborating. the articles are not online - you have to get the magazine...
there is also a grove book on pioneer youth ministry out written by richard passmore and jo dolby which is excellent.
just back from two weeks holiday which was wonderful including cycling from the south to north coast of devon, visiting friends en route and then staying in n devon which is an amazing part of the world. i took a few photos which i'll add at some point. but it's back into work and getting ready for greenbelt. hope to see a load of you there!
cms are hosting the kitchen venue this year. this is a space deisgned for conversation rather than long presentations or talks. cms began with the clapham sect gathered around a teapot in clapham planning the abolition of slavery and the founding of cms amongst other things. so we hope in the same way that conversation around a teapot today can be equally as catalytic and infused.
saturday, sunday and monday are themed on community, pioneering and justice - this all ties in with greenbelt's theme of new beginnings. i am hosting the sunday on pioneering with andrea campanale. the overall programme for the kitchen is here and sunday's programme is below. it's deliberately not named full of high profile people to draw crowds - the idea is that it is converstion about practice of mission. do come and join in.
for those of you who are pioneers - sunday is the day though i think you'll like the rest. sunday evening we are having a party/gatrhering for pioneers at 9pm - drinks and nibbles will be provided so do come to that - we want to pack the place and catch up with pioneers far and near. you can download a flyer here which doubles up as a driinks voucher.
if you are interested in pioneer training with cms i will be around all weekend - head to the cms tent or stand and they can arrange a time if i am not there. believe it or not, it's not too late to sign up for the year ahead.
looking forward to it...
there is no better way than wrapping your head round mission in today's culture(s) than attending ReSource. you get to visit four different places in britain, hear from the people involved, and experience what they are up to. you can also pick individual weekends but the best is to do the lot. if you are interested in pioneer training this is a great way in. there are details on the weekends here, you can download a flyer here and you can book here
two years ago at greenbelt i chatted with sarah roberts about pioneering. she had felt restless and was giving up her job teaching to venture into something new. i asked her 'what's the dream?' - she answered that the dream was to support young people who had parents in prison and somehow link them up better. nobody seemed to be offering this. her own experience in teaching had highlighted how difficult it was for those families. unknown to me that was the first time sarah had articulated out loud what it was she wanted to do. well a bit less than two years on and she has been researching, exploring, offering support, connecting with others working in that field, gaining experience, doing some training with the cms pioneer course... and she starts work today with families outside in a role that they are creating to support this dream. and it is a charity based in her home city of edinburgh. it's amazing how this has come together! she is now a mission associate with cms.
if you haven't seen it this video she created reversible thinking is brilliant. congrats sarah and we look forward to seeing how your prioneering develops!
what's your dream?
beth keith has published a piece of research looking at fresh expressions of church amongst young adults. i always love beth's work - she has a knack of lifting the lid off things that then seem obvious in hindsight. the report is called authentic faith and you can buy it here - i am hoping a couple of our younger pioneers might review it for the pioneer site but meantime here's a piece by beth that gives a few headlines and here are some comments in response by young adults.
she identifies 5 different types of church - church planting hubs, youth church grown up, deconstructed church, church on the margins, context shaped church
the most interesting part for me is around groups are are connecting with those outside of church. she says
The churches managing to reach young adults with no prior faith or church experience - and from a broader socio-economic background - exhibit very different traits and practices. Meeting more often around the dining table than the church building; eating together is the new 'Sunday service'.
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