Category Archives: New ideas

Do we need to move the bums off pews?

Now I saw the date of this article, but also the time of it, so I’m taking it is not an April Fools. However when Andrew Brown in the Guardian comes out with “How do churches get new bums on seats? Get rid of the boring old ones” it got me thinking is it true.

Well yes you do find some closed minds in the pew, but I’ve found as many young congregation members filling seats or pews and not being willing to change. In the article the example of Holy Trinity Brompton is used, as a place with many young people. But does this simply show that this place is taking in people from a wide area. It is a common feature that some people will travel to somewhere that is stylistically or theologically in line with them, or that provides the resources they need.

Then comes the idea of those “ladies of the church” who are 70+ and have served well. Having led worship with many of these, they are often more open to new ideas than some others (and much younger) I know.

It is not a case of simple shifting the existing group to a new slot, and bring in something new (though at times that many be what every one wants). It can be a gradual process, that draws people from where they are to where they need to be.

The Church is not about bums on pews it is about community, it is about being many ages together. What might be needed more is that this becomes not only the Sunday School heading out, but having some time together and then several different options available, that can be taken up by those who wish to. Before coming back together over coffee and such.

We really should not be looking to push any out, as I’ve said before.


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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Ministry, New ideas, Seen by the outside


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The church and the Church

This is partly in response to a BBC news report

One thing I think we need to separate in our speaking is the church (the building) from the Church (the people) (O for the use of the word chapel for the building but that’s another thread).

One of the Methodist churches where I have pastoral care celebrated it’s 200 anniversary last year and the 20th of the current building this year; another is about to reach its 10th anniversary and has never had a building in its current incarnation (though the site of the old chapel is now a public garden and had shut 10 to 20 years at least I think before the re-establishment).

What all this is saying in a long-winded form is our buildings serve the church, not the church serving our buildings. If our buildings are no longer fit for purpose, in the places where there are no longer communities, taking all the energy of the Church to maintain and acting as a liability. Well I say close the building. But this is not closing the Church – for some the meetings in that place may come to an end and the preaching place will cease to be a place where the people called Methodist meet. However the congregation the church may as outlined by some examples posted here move to new buildings and new places.

Our forefathers and mothers in the faith built chapels and meeting places where they where needed – often when congregations had grown and developed in a place – many where put up to serve the purpose of the time. Should we not do likewise?



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Young to be a Minister

While at an event, that was not related to the church, I was asked what I do for a living. When I explained that I was a minister, one person remarked that I was to young to be a minister, because they are all near the age to draw their pensions.

Well this has got me thinking about age in some roles. I avoided going into the ministry till I was in my late twenties so that I could get some life experience. Also along side this there is the whole debate around the missing generation. Being in the grouping that is been looked at, and knowing many others who are, I would say a disproportionate amount of those who are within the church are active in some role. This is interesting as many express the fact that they are called to the role and ministry which they do, so one conclusion is that they would have stayed any way.

Thus this has me thinking about the public perception of the church membership and those who are called to representative ministry. Does a young(er) minister portray a church as being younger, and on the back of this does the minister need to act young?



Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Ministry, New ideas


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Shadow of the cross

The image of the shadow of the cross is often used, and on Palm Sunday I used it in my sermon, that the joy and celebration of that day is tinged with the shadow of the cross. And that this spreads across holy week. However also that all shadows need a light source, and that this source is Easter and the light of the world returning.

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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Mystery, New ideas


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New Blog ideas

Right this is me setting up my blog, in this I have a few ideas, and am planing to use this blog to put some of my ideas together, and engage with others over what I am writing and thinking.

So here is a list of the ideas that I plan to develop:

  • Can different levels of participation in the Mystery be sustained along side each other?
  • Along side this are different levels of participation in the Mystery equally valid expression of faith?
  • Has the “Protestant” drive towards equality pushed more to the margins?
  • Do we need support from a self sustaining core, that then supports wider work? (cf “Celtic Monastic Missions”; “Minsters”; “Town Church & Village Chapel”; “Society & Class”)
  • Does a sense of awe need to be brought back, to develop the idea of Mystery as a metaphor for understanding faith, and recapturing the historical meaning of mystery.
  • Who’s hope, who gives it and who pronounces it? (cf committal prayer and how it works with those who are unchurched)
  • Granting a language to articulate the spiritual and supernatural, where the church lost it’s and “Oc-culture” stepped in

So I plan to develop my thinking around these questions and other. There is an underlying theme of these being theological and in part tied to the role of Christian Faith, as this is where I am coming from, and make a deliberate choice to discus from there. However ideas from others sources are more than welcome.

Also all the views here are mine, and many of the ideas are underdevelopment


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