1) The Debt Saviours – The vision and work of Christians Against Poverty (CAP) seems to be remarkable both for being unashamed of their desire to see clients introduced to Jesus Christ, and for receiving significant national praise for their work from outside the Church. This week they were the subject of an hour long documentary on BBC2, which is striking in itself. We haven’t caught the show yet, but you can watch it on iPlayer above; I’m told it’s really positive. For an introduction to the work of CAP, visit their own site here.
2) Is this the solution to our missional challenge? Ian Paul reflects on data that suggests that most numerically growing churches share one thing in common. Can you guess what it is? And in light of that, Madeleine Davies at the Church Times covers the news about a forthcoming Church of England report exploring whether clergy are becoming burdened by unrealistic job specs.
3) How to show Christ to children? – Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it”. Faith in Kids, a brilliant resource site for children’s ministry, has made available this seminar audio and handout as a way to encourage and enthuse your Sunday School team, while explaining to them how to give children the best start in life.
4) Let Your Dream Small Group Die – The vision of Christian community can sound appealing and convincing in a sermon on Sunday, but when it translates to the up-close reality of your own ‘small group’ at church, it can feel very different. How do we grow meaningful Christian community amidst our own oddities and strangeness?
5) Responding to Kavanaugh – Ugh. To say this week it’s been disturbing to see the President of the USA mocking a woman who claims to have been a victim of sexual assault is an understatement. As Monica Hesse says in her harrowing Washington Post article, there are already a whole heap of reasons that make it hard for daughters to even speak up to their own fathers. Let’s not make it even harder. That’s why listening to Senator Ben Sasse’s 18-minute speech from the US Senate floor is well worth your time and so refreshing. Relatedly, I wrote ‘Why Me Too Has Helped Me To See’.
6) Are Ethics Non-Essential? – Hugely helpful post from Andrew Wilson responding to the trending idea that says if an issue isn’t featured in the historic Christian creeds, then it also shouldn’t be allowed to define orthodoxy or divide the church. The obvious example cited when this argument is made is of course Christian ethics. But is that right? Wilson shows the folly of cutting off ethics from orthodoxy, and in doing so refers to the writing of Alastair Roberts, who has produced an insightful booklet on this issue that can be downloaded for free here.