Friday, June 26, 2009

Outreach in Kosovo

New Life Church and Higher Vibe is going to Kosovo soon.
We are very grateful for the invitation we have been given from Kosovo, and for the funding that New Life Church Roehampton has provided by God's grace.

Romans 7:5-7 How can we use the Law in Evangelism?

Romans 7:5-7 'How can we use the Law in Evangelism?' from New Life Roehampton on Vimeo.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Council Estate Christians 22: Indigenous Leaders

Rather than write from my perspective about the importance of raising up Council Estate Christians as leaders, I shall quote Harvie Conn here:

"Leaders who do emerge from an indigenous upbringing are extremely valuable assets to a long-term ministry in that part of the city. They will eventually become the contextualist walking in the community filled with the Spirit of God. They are able to contextualize the gospel and bring to the neighborhood [sic] a Messiah who speaks the language of the people and who understands their needs. We believe that this kind of urban leadership is living and surviving in those pockets of the city. Finding and developing indigenous leaders is the most important thing we can do to grow the church in our urban centres. Yet for various reasons indigenous leaders are often ignored by church planters and denominational missionary groups.

Denominations are having difficulty finding this kind of leadership. They wonder where they will find urban leaders. Denominations also are finding the city resistant to their outreach. This is because they are not contextualized into the urban multicultural reality and are working out of a culture that is repellent to many of our city leaders. They do not realize that institutions are not neutral. Institutions have been formed by culture and continue to reinforce that culture within their ranks. The relocated leaders may have been formed in that settings and, therefore, finds it difficult to make headway in the urban area designated to start a church. We believe that denominations would do well to take seriously and seek to develop indigenous leaders."

Harvie M. Conn & Manuel Ortiz "Urban Ministry" p.382

Twynholm Baptist Church in Fulham is a great example of this. They prayed for a family to be saved. A family on a nearby estate got saved, one of youth in that family was Dean Dryden. Dean grew up to be an elder in the church.
If anyone knows more stories like this, please contact me through

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Coucil Estate Christians 21: Indigenous Christians

Something that I think has been overlooked a lot (in conferences and blogs) is that there are a good number of indigenous Christians living on Council Estates. By indigenous I mean those who were born and raised on council estates, and still live on them.

The reformed community in the UK is presently trying to work out how to cross culturally reach council estates. This is very good news for us.

However, these discussions rarely involve indigenous council estate Christians. I don't know why - we wouldn't have blogs and conferences of white people discussing black people. I don't mean to be rude, I'm sure the intention is good, perhaps people genuinely think that there aren't any indigenous Christians on estates.

In my mind, it seems that one of the best things the reformed churches can do in the UK is to make links with us (council estate Christians from all over the UK). This is something that both Co-mission and Cornhill have done with us (sorry for any others I've missed out). Its something that I hope more groups will do.

Here are some of the benefits of such an approach:

1. Forming symbiotic relationships. Where we recognise that we need each other, and we learn from each other. It doesn't become the mc helping the wc, or the wc helping the mc - instead we have both at the same time.

2. Indigenous theologising - I'll write more on this in a future post.

3. Indigenous leadership - I'll write more on this in a future post.

4. Avoids ethnocentric mission - I think that a lot of well meaning people can sometimes approach mission the wrong way because they are wrongly viewing the people they want to reach. It helps to have some inside people who can tell you, "I don't think that would work," or "that stereotype isn't really accurate."

5. It taps into a (much larger than imagined) number of people who are totally disconnected from the reformed community. For example, I didn't know there were reformed churches in London until Mark Dever did a one day conference in London Sept 2007. I knew there were Pentecostal churches, but didn't know of any reformed ones.

Romans 6:15-23 What kind of slavery do you want?

Romans 6:15-23 'What kind of slavery do you want?' on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Council Estate Christians 20: Please make sure what you say about us is true

I recently wrote as a comment on Tim Chester's blog, and thought I should also post it here. Its an appeal to all Christians, rather than being aimed at Tim.

'I grew up in the so called “underclass” although I didn’t know that until I read a Christian book on urban ministry. The first time I heard the word ‘chav’ out loud was from a Christian who had been to a ‘chav’ party who then described how she dressed up as a pregnant single mum. The first time I heard the idea that people in the benefit culture have disorderly lives and chaotic homes was today when someone pointed me to your blog [Tim Chester's blog]. No offence meant ;)

My experience of growing up in the ‘underclass’ seems so different to what I often hear Christians say about us. I think that a lot of ‘helpful generalisations’, are not generalisations at all, but merely minority cases that stand out and are then treated as the norm.

Here are my suggestions for how we can be cautious in this matter::

1) We can write and talk as if the people we are talking about are sitting in the same room, or at least they’re gonna read it later on the internet.

2) We can make sure our general statements are backed by reliable evidence.

3) We can seek more input from the people we are writing about, and see what they have to say.'