msm video diary - part three

Monday, 20 May, 2013

Nick Warren, of St Helen's Church, Hastings, continues his monthly msm video diary as he shares what he has learned on the course weekend away and how it is helping him to develop 'boot fair church'.

Duration: 5:50   | Download Download video (flv) | Download Download video (wmv) | View on YouTube


Nick Warren: Ok well we're here at Ashburnham for the weekend which is fantastic, great place to come away to and to be able to listen to what God is saying to us and we started off last night looking at spirituality in fresh expressions and it's so easy isn't it, whether it's traditional church or fresh expressions of church to just end up doing things. And here we were looking at how we ensure that spirituality is still there and to me the whole session just screamed prayer, prayer, prayer all the way through. Everything has to be based on prayer, everything has to be underlined by prayer, but prayer needs to be there all the way through everything that we're doing and if it isn't then it's so easy that we end up going off on a wrong course.

Then after a very pleasant night here we met again this morning. First of all we looked at small-size… small group churches and we looked at the hows and whys of small group churches – why small group churches work, going right back to why Jesus only appointed twelve disciples in the first place. Why he did that and what the effects of doing that were, rather than  appointing say 200 disciples straight off.

We then went on to look at different types of small group church, whether the traditional structure of church with home groups, house groups, whatever you want to call them which a lot of us are familiar with, or the more modern type of structure that's been emerging over recent years – cell groups, base groups – and how they're led, how they differ from  the existing groups, how they bring people together and what might work best for the various ministries that we're involved in. So that was quite interesting to be able to look at that and not make assumptions about how any ministries that we're involved in would go forward but seeing that there are options that God can use different ministries in different ways.

We also looked at how we then make sure that those groups develop as a church and obviously relationship was again very very important in that in terms of making sure that we share our stories with each other, making sure that there's empathy in the group, making sure that we're able to deal with any conflicts in the group and making sure that there's trust in the group and confidentiality. And that basically then took us through to halfway through the morning.

In terms of where we're going with Boot Fair Church I don't know what type of small group will come into it. It may go into a traditional church home group, it may go into a cell group type structure, I think the important thing is that we remain open to where God's leading the group and where the people that are in that group feel… will serve their needs in terms of learning about Jesus Christ and learning about becoming Christians.

We then went on to looking at a very important subject, handling opposition, handling setbacks and failures. After an initial introduction we went through a whole long list of possible problems that might occur and were asked to see whether any of those related to the ministries that we were involved in and to add anything else that we thought of. Three main things jumped out at me immediately that I was sort of aware were there but I hadn't yet really given time to think about how we were going to deal with them. One of those was my own – as so many of us are – ability if I'm not careful to overdo things, to get exhausted, take on too much and just to make sure that in taking this forward and all the other things we're involved in, that life remains balanced. The second thing was to deal with a potential conflict in the group between two personalities that's emerging. It's only emerged over the last week – two very different characters and it became clear that needed to be looked at and dealt with and prayed over. And the final thing that came out, and I guess this again is so true for so many fresh expressions of church, is the tension with existing church structure, existing things that the church does. So for instance Boot Fair Church will be happening on a Sunday morning and that will pull people away who are involved from church and there's a need there both to understand that there may be concerns within the existing church about that and to keep those people who are getting involved firmly rooted in the church structure and being fed by that structure. So getting that balance right as well was a potential conflict that can be dealt with, we just need to be aware of.

What became clear from that session was that we needed at all times to stay true to God's call. So not to be put off when these things are there but to have around you a good network, a support team of people that you know, who you can trust, perhaps more senior people, more experienced people, but equally friends and your own spouses is a very important part of that – all these people that can provide a support when the going gets tough – because it will get tough, we will get challenged. I think if we're not being challenged then we're probably not doing God's work at the end of the day so we should perhaps rejoice in the fact we're being challenged but making sure we've got the right structures around to support us.


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