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Jonny, I'm with you on this point made by Tom. I have been in touch with him recently and would like to deepen the conversation we've begun which could lead to how the Episcopal church is - and needs to - reinvent itself . . primarily through the nurturing of environments where creative, adventuresome, innovative, big faith (risky) leaders can develop as well as the discipling of the leaders themselves.

Here in the Church of Ireland we're faced with this same reality as we look to our sister, the Church of England, and where it currently is with the fostering of the above mentioned environments and the leaders (Pioneers) it currently is training and releasing. Fortunately, we can learn from much of what's happening on either side of this island (US/UK) and hopefully build that learning into the way forward for the Celtic/catholic flavoured Anglican expression in this land.

Blessings friend!


ouch now that feels slightly close to the bone.
Since leaving school, taking a gap year and doing youth work and christian stuff many years started with big idea's and ended in apparent failure, it always seemed natural to keep moving on to the next idea - dream, i think YFC was good at recycling in that way and enabling continuation

Over a year has passed since I left full time christian work and I'm not sure I've fully processed the four years that lead up to it or completely sure what's next.

Tom Brackett

matybigfro (love the handle!)

The questions we need to be asking you about the "interim" time in your life are questions not usually asked in institutional settings where we are in the habit of valuing individuals based on their apparent utility. 'Feels like the response to your post might be Q's like, "How has this time away from paid service offered you clarity about where you find 'life' these days?" or, "Where would you go and offer your gifts if you were set free to serve in any context?"

I'm hoping . . . hoping that you've got mates around you that are pressing the point because it may be that the Public Church actually needs you more now than before, precisely because of this time away . . .


David Derbyshire

I am wrestling with a similar question: Why is it that people don't show up? It doesn't seem that many resources deal much with this perhaps because they are written by people who have fantastically growing church groups.

From my viewpoint we organise some great meals, have some great conversations and do some interesting activities. Well, at least on all those fronts I think we are getting there. But still only a few people join us most weeks but there are more that we keep inviting of which a few come occasionally and some we no longer expect to turn up.

We do keep moving things round to keep it fresh and find where people are at and we get some enthusiasm. Then it dies down again.

Sometimes I don't think people give things a chance. A lot of people have so much going on in there lives that driving over to another Christian’s home or to a pub or anywhere really to engage with God moves down on their priorities. I think that we've just got keep faithfully plugging on and keep switching things about to meet people when we can. Ultimately it's up to God.

This is a common frustration a lot are asking ‘what are we doing wrong?’ and drawing a blank. We need to hear more about why church groups stay small or dwindle to nothing even when they are apparently doing all the right things.

Tom Brackett


Lately I've noticed an odd phenomenon . . . vital and lively gatherings of Jesus followers have (at least) three characteristics in common:

Infectious death-defying Joy

Compassionate Covenants modeled on many levels;

Fresh Stories of Encounter that shape local behaviors, immediately and in the long-term . . . even if the Gathered look more like a house church than a bricks and mortar expression of "Church." In fact, I'm finding that many little churches actually feel a sense of release when it's suggested that they might be better off without the buildings and property -- that it might set them free to be a multi-site home group that shares Eucharist once a month and meals every week.

David, I like your perspective. I hope I've continued the thread as you left it, with a little hope and wonder.


Yeah reading it was a jolt. In terms of church planting, sometimes I think we confuse the world's definition of success with God's definition of success. The world tells us that success is about getting results whether that be how many people we lead to Jesus or how much money or how much possessions we acquire, etc. Success in God's eyes is measured by obedience. If we look at the heroes of faith chapter in the book of Hebrews we can see how everyone listed in that chapter was considered to be a hero of faith even though some of them never lived to see what they worked towards, etc. If we look at Jesus life, one could argue that his life and mission was not a success because many people to this day refuse to acknowledge him as Lord. But Jesus was successful not because of numbers but because of his obedience to do the Father's will even unto death.

While it makes me sad when I hear about churches or new efforts not succeeding, I am coming to that place in my life where I don't care if my efforts succeed or not but care about being obedient to what God has told me or called me to do no matter the outcome. It reminds me how a seed must die in order for a tree to come forth.

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