Author Archives: Kx Comms

  1. What if they say no?

    How reframing invitations and welcome can build life giving community relationships

    You know what it’s like. You walk into a room and everyone is already huddled into little groups, chatting and laughing together. You feel your palms get sweaty, you clear your throat and swiftly look around the room hoping to see someone you know. 

    We’ve all been there – new environments, new people, blood curdling fear. 

    That’s how most of us feel when we enter new places, and probably even more so when we enter a room where everyone else seems to know each other. Whilst we love to invite people to our missional community events, our church services and our homes we need to remind ourselves that invitation is more than just asking the question.

    That’s how most of us feel when we enter new places, and probably even more so when we enter a room where everyone else seems to know each other. Whilst we love to invite people to our MC events, our church services and our homes we need to remind ourselves that invitation is more than just asking the question.

    The Power of Invitation

    I used to hate inviting people to church things. It brought out the most insecure part of me. What if they say no? What if they think I’m weird? What if they say yes! 😱

    But really, the person receiving the invitation is the person on the spot. Do you know what they are thinking? Wow, they must really like me to want to spend time with me outside of work… I’m busy that night, I hope they’re not offended if I say no… This is great! I never get invited anywhere!

    Whilst we are busy worrying about what they think of us, the reality is that the person you invite doesn’t want to upset you. People like to get invitations, it lets you know that someone was thinking of you, that they think you are with their time and energy. It reminds us that we are worth getting to know.

    A Good Welcome

    Once you’ve started inviting people to your missional community social, out for a walk, or maybe to a church service, some of them are going to say yes. That’s a good thing. This is where people get to experience the beautiful expressive family of God as we introduce them to our wider community. How we welcome people matters, when we feel welcomed, accepted and heard, we want to spend more time with those people.

    Our missional community has been talking about a good welcome recently. Some of our youth have started secondary school and we have people who have moved to the UK from other countries join, so the topic has been on our minds. You’d be surprised at the super simple things that have made them feel welcome: 

    • When someone remembers my name 
    • Sharing phone numbers and messaging me in the week 
    • Inviting me out for a coffee or for lunch 
    • Taking time to show me around the city 
    • Sitting with me during lunch so I wasn’t on my own

    Let’s be clear, whilst all of these things made people feel welcome, they were not all done by one person. When we are part of a community, everyone has a part to play and can bring their best contributions. 

    Maybe you love having people over and feeding them, the students in your community will definitely thank you for that! Perhaps your best contribution is to help someone move some furniture, to recommend a plumber or let them borrow your lawn mower. Or maybe you’re the king of funny gifs. 

    Whatever it is, bring your best contribution as you welcome new people into God’s family.  

    Authenticity is Attractive

    If there is one thing that you can do to help people feel welcome, it’s to be yourself. Authenticity has always been and will always be attractive. When we are willing to show up as ourselves, faults and all, we open the door for others to do the same. 

    Authenticity allows us to have conversations that go beyond the surface and gives opportunities for Holy Spirit to step in and bring transformation. When we are authentic we give others the permission to do the same.

    People were drawn to Jesus not just because he had compassion for those in need, not just because he was a great teacher with wisdom and knowledge or even because he was a radical troublemaker! Jesus was authentic. He didn’t pretend to be someone else to impress people, he was honest, loving, challenging and gentle.

    Imagine what our communities would be like if each person who interacted with us was invited in and welcomed both into community and relationship. This week, find an opportunity to invite and welcome someone into what you are doing and join in with Holy Spirit on the greatest adventure.

  2. Microplanting in Sheffield

    This month Jennie caught up with Josh Cutting from The Way, Sheffield, a new missional expression of church in Sheffield 

    Many people in Kx will know you and your wife Beth from Form, Rebuild and NCS. It’s great to see you involved in something new, but how did it start? 

    The way is part of a dream we’ve had for a long time. As a younger Christian I was often dissatisfied with the way church was. I was sure that there was more that God had to give us, but I didn’t know how to access it. I was blessed to have people in my life who were active in discipling me and helping me to grow in my relationship with Jesus. 

    Before we did anything else, we prayed. A few friends joined us to pray who are now part of our core team. We wanted to honour the investment other leaders have had in our lives so before we started to gather any people, we met with other Church leaders in Sheffield and shared what we were doing. We didn’t want to move Christians around the city from church to church but to focus on people who don’t yet know Jesus. 

    What does it look like to be part of The Way? 

    I think most people would look at us and think that doesn’t really look like a church. The Way is just us living our lives in the way we have always done. Our focus is on the depth of relationship with Jesus, being obedient disciples, growing in joyful generosity and raising and releasing discipling leaders. That’s what we do as a family and that what we do in The Way. 

    It can be frustrating in the waiting, what’s been difficult on the journey? 

    We started from nothing, we just had the rhythms of sabbath, worship and prayer as a family. God gave us clear instructions: don’t call or invite anyone to join in. So, we waited and prayed for a year with our core team. 

    Initially it was fine, but as people who are wired for mission there was definitely some frustration. It’s taken time for us to find the balance, we’ve had to keep trusting God, growing in patience, praising and worshiping through the frustration. 

    We’ve been holding tightly to Lamentations 3: 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him to the person who seeks him.

    What has God been doing at The Way? 

    After a year of waiting, a few weeks ago on a Monday as we were praying together, we believed God was telling us it was time to open the doors. 

    The following day we were meeting on our living room, worshipping together and there was a knock at the window. When I opened the door, she asked “Are you a church, can I come in?” She came in and we just continued worshipping together. After, we were able to chat with her and found out that she used to walk with Jesus, hadn’t for a number of years. She had been at our door earlier, knocked, and no one had answered. She had tried to walk away but couldn’t so came back and knocked om the window. 

    On Wednesday out of the blue I received a message from a guy who had been through an Alpha course with us 3 or 4 years ago but hadn’t made a decision to follow Jesus. We met up for a walk and I told him what we were doing, he asked” Can me and my mum come?’

    In the following week we received messages from 15 people, some Christians and some exploring faith who wanted to join. Once a month we meet on a Sunday in the woods with bacon butties, woodland crafts for forest church. We always do food, include the kids and use a bible passage to discuss the gospel and how it impacts our lives. 

    What’s advice would you give to someone wanting to do something similar?

    Keeping the rhythm of prayer is vital. We prayed for a year before anything happened and without prayer nothing happens. The other thing would be having some accountable relationships with people who can support you in this. We connected with a couple who were doing something similar who’ve been able to guide us, encourage and challenge us along the journey. 

    As part of the wider Kx family how can we support you? 

    • Pray that we would be a blessing the city and the other churches in Sheffield 
    • We are not taking an income and we want to use the income we have to bless those around us. Please pray for our business and that we would be wise with the decisions we make. 

    If you’d like support Josh and Beth in their business, follow them on Instagram @perringoosepress

  3. Building Community by the Sea

    This month we caught up with one of the communities on the South Coast to find out how God has been using times of difficulty to bring breakthrough…
    I guess this a story of a “Holy Spirit set up” and an example of just being aware of what God is doing and joining in with it.
    It began back in the summer of 2016 when my husband began cold water swimming in the sea and I followed suit a year later.   It turned out that there was a bit of a community going on down on the beach , and over time we became part of its growing number. 
    Looking back I can see how we were naturally getting involved in “rhythms” of life; birthdays were celebrated (many on the beach), stories and meals were shared, carol “services” at our house and so on.  Over time conversations were naturally becoming more supernatural – people were genuinely interested in our faith and it would come up regularly as we talked.
    One of the swimmers (a doctor) hosted two sessions – one on the “health benefits of cold-water swimming” and later on “what is healthy diet?” – both were well attended.  Off the back of that we offered to share our story about spiritual wellbeing using Alpha as a vehicle – it was the longest Alpha ever in that it spanned about six months so we could flex to the 10 not-yet-believers’ availability. 
    It was hard-going – in fact I told them (jokingly) that at times I had felt at times like a “Christian punch bag”.   When Alpha finished (September last year) we handed it all to God and our friendships carried on as before.  I  needed time to just “be” as it had taken a lot out of me.
    This year has been memorable for all, and not least on the beach; two beach ladies lost their husbands very suddenly, and of course, stories of loss and struggle were plentiful.  Initially the total lockdown had us all dispersed but in the summer months the beach was a-buzzing more than ever.
    Fast forward to August when a Christian friend (not from our church) called me out of the blue and asked where I was up to with God and why wasn’t I doing anything about my calling.  After praying on the beach with my husband and another Christian swimmer friend, that Sunday we held what I loosely refer to as a “service”, working out of a generously loaned beach hut. That was the first of several meetings where we share a bible-based thought for the day, talking it through with coffee and croissants , offering prayer, sharing stories… There are about 20 folk, although we don’t come all at once.
    God has blessed us richly at these gatherings and beyond.  One of the ladies from last year’s Alpha has joined us on two occasions, listening respectfully and saying she enjoyed it (praise God) and one of the widows mentioned earlier is a regular and is “beginning her journey”.  One week we had a focus on “holding onto hurts” and one guy went on to make peace with two people for whom he’d harboured resentment for several years, sharing with them about God. I could go on…
    Let me just say it’s been a season of breakthrough, surprises and miracles.  There is really potential for growth and for God to do so much, which is both exciting and challenging.  Please pray for us as we navigate the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions, the winter weather drawing in and finding others to lead with us.  And lastly, even if you don’t know them, please pray for the people God wants to reach.

  4. The Church has left the building!

    During these times, where many of us are at home, desperately trying to figure out many things – like how to work in a house full of people, or the optimum time to book a food delivery slot!

    One thing many of us are also considering, is how to do church during this time of lockdown?

    Empty seats in a church.

    How do we make church happen when we can’t gather? 

    This question has the potential to reshape our churches long after this ‘lock down’ is over.  

    Let’s consider more closely, the two main expressions of church we talk about with our Kairos Connexion network:

    Gathered  –  Larger church meetings, in a building.

    Scattered –  Small groups or missional communities and our daily interactions with those around us.

    At the start of this year, Nic Harding was holed up (out of choice!) in a country cottage writing a chapter for his next book BRIDE…becoming the church Jesus dies for and is coming back for. 

    This is a sentence he wrote, way before Coronavirus was even on our radars in the UK. 

    ‘Until the church, and world we live in, are brought to their knees through persecution, national instability, war, disease, or economic collapse – we will not see the same type of breakthrough”

    Now we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, will this time of ‘breakthrough’ come to pass?

    As Roy Crown recently titled one of his e-mails – – The Church has left the building!

    Many of us have had experiences of ‘house church’ or some type of missional church, which was exciting, dynamic, new (for us anyway!) and one which both energised and inspired us to share the love of Jesus with many. 

    To include them in our homes, and share small church gatherings in our homes. 

    Like many of us have at some point experienced, Nic had his first experience of church in the house when he was 19 in Amsterdam:

    “We lived in community, growing as disciples and worshipping together, then going out and  accosting unexpecting bystanders to share the gospel with them. People gave their lives to Christ, it was wonderful! We met on a small canal boat in Amsterdam, that experience shaped my desire for radical church for the rest of my life”

    From there, Nic kept looking for a certain type of church – the same atmosphere, the same way of sharing life together and growing together. 

    “Those early days of church planting are so exciting, exhilarating almost. But they often then move towards larger gatherings of church, But in doing so we lost some of that zeal – as we moved to a bigger expression of church it felt like we lost some of that passion.”

    Most of us have a default as to how church should happen, even for those of us who have never been part of an emerging church movement, we still tend to gravitate towards larger types of ‘gathered church’.

    What effect has this shift to a more gathered church had?

    That missional flame, that radical lifestyle and enthusiasm has for the most part, been snuffed out.

    ‘Yesterday’s radical, Becomes today’s conventional, Becomes tomorrow’s traditional.’

    We somehow have to keep that radical burning flame alive, even as we move to a more established church. If we look to Abraham as an example, he was looking for something else, he refused to settle, he wanted to move towards the promised land. 

    In Psalm 84 – it says ‘blessed are those whose heart is set on pilgrimage

    It’s human nature to settle, and right now we don’t have that, it’s making many of us anxious.

    During these times, as church leaders we must take time to listen to the prophetic voices among our number, where is God directing us, where is he taking us as his people?

    So, the question hangs in the air;

    How do we create that balance between those large gathered expressions of church, and the ‘scattered’ – which seem to keep that passion and radical discipleship alive?

    Our gathered element of church, scripturally has its place, it is biblical. However, we often find that growth and making disciples happens in it’s scattered form. We have to keep asking ourselves why we still place so much emphasis on our larger gatherings? 

    The question we have to keep asking is: How does our gathered function serve our core purpose as a church? 

    One very quick and easy way of seeing where our priorities as a church lie, is where we direct our resources. Both people/time resources, and financial resources. If we take the time to sit down, and really consider where our resources are used most, this often shows where our priorities are. Many of us spend up to 90% of our people resources and financial resources on our gathered meetings – which happen ONCE per week. This leaves a mere 10% for the other 6 days of the week! 

    What would it look like if 50% of your resources went into ‘the scattered’ church?

    It would be a game changer!

    How would you use those resources to support the scattered? Many of us wouldn’t even know where to begin with this. It’s difficult to fathom, as we are all very hardwired to consider our gathered expressions of church, as the main event! 

    So what questions can we be asking ourselves during this time of being unable to meet in our gathered form?

     – What is your vision? Be specific!

     – Does this vision involve multiplication?

     – How can you rekindle that radical way of following Jesus and grow your scattered expressions of church, in an effective, sustainable way?

    We also need to consider why multiplication is  important and what multiplication looks like?

    • It’s rooted in scripture – talked about in Acts 6:7 and Acts 9:31 – ‘ The gospel of the Lord continues to grow and be multiplied.’
    • Everyone is talking about Jesus in the workplace, how Jesus has influenced their lives!
    • New expressions of church being planted.
    • Ultimately – the gospel going viral!

    We also need to ask ourselves, very honestly – how are we personally making disciples?

    It comes down to each one of us making disciples, with the expectation that they will also become a disciple maker. It can’t be one generational. It needs to carry on for multiplication to happen.

    By shifting from gathered to scattered – we could see that happen again!

    If we want to see this change, we need to make those decisions now. 

    Many people are either captivated by Sunday gatherings, OR held captive by them. Many people we talk to, feel held captive by gathered expressions of church, but are unsure how to move forward. 

    Now is the time to consider what we actually want! We have a unique moment in time right now, where we can think about how the church would look with a focus on the scattered.

    What ideas do you have?

    • Figure out what you want to change
    • Pray lots, both individually and as a community
    • Contact your leaders and let them know the change you want to see

    To listen to the podcast this blog entry was based on, click here

  5. What is courage and how do we cultivate it?

    What is courage?

    We want to explore what courage is, and how we can encourage others in their leadership journey.

    Courage comes in all different shapes and sizes, and looks like different things for different people.

    The bible is full of words and phrases which focus on courage.

    ” Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. “

    Deuteronomy 31:6

    Nic Harding tells a story of his friend, and her ability to show great courage in the face of adversity, (You can read it below) Her story highlights when we respond with courage, it can have a kingdom impact.  

    ” Every day we can choose to make courageous decisions. to step into our callings in our gifts, into the place that God sends us to have influence for the kingdom of God.”

    How can we encourage people when we see leadership potential?

    Sometimes you may have seen the potential in someone, only to encourage them in this, and get a response that they don’t want to take that opportunity up, sound familiar?

    So how do we help those people where we see leadership potential in them and then not really that keen to take it up?

    We can start to help people step into leadership, by giving them really small first steps of initiative and responsibility. Sometimes it’s making suggestions in our missional communities, maybe encourage them in their workplace. Just by looking for ways in which we could encourage them. And of course the word encourage means step into courage to actually fulfill some of the things that they’d be good at. 

    What about people who don’t think they have any skills which they can bring into leadership?

    We believe that every single person has the potential to be part of and contribute to God’s kingdom. We are all agents of His!

    In our experience when people don’t see their own skills it’s down to lack of self confidence.

    They don’t really believe God’s made them to be of significance. So I think we start by helping people understand who they are in the light of how God’s made them! 

    Once they see aspects of their own personality, character, even abilities that reflect God’s nature, they can begin to move into their giftings. 

    These might be a caring heart, creativity, seeing those in need, once they begin to see that these are reflections of the nature and character of God, from that comes an understanding of identity as children of God. This in turn will give confidence to people enabling them to take those little first steps of courage.

    How can we help people do that?

    We can encourage people to take those first little steps of initiative and responsibility in the light of their giftings. And the other one I love to use with people is the Gallup questionnaire called strength finder. (link)

    Strength finder is a really simple tool to help people see their top five strengths. Once people can see what they can do, it can give them courage to take steps in contributing to their missional communities, or church community. And also, gives those of us in leadership around them the reference point to know which areas to move them into. 

    How do we include people who were not in the room?

    It’s very easy, as a leader, to fall into the trap of mostly giving opportunity, or connecting with, people like us! It’s easier to spend time with, and train people who are similar to us in terms of demographic, skill set and gifting. 

    But we need to include all people, to cast our nets a bit wider and include those voices who aren’t normally heard. 

    We want to encourage you to actively consider who isn’t represented. It takes time and effort to include a wider range of people in our leadership teams, but it’s vital that we do.

    How do we model good leadership?

    We need to model a well balanced life to those we are training. People replicate both the strengths and weaknesses of those who they are learning from. It’s important we take rest, we maintain our own health and wellbeing as we model leadership to those around us. 

    We also need to be encouragers.

    The word encouragement obviously has the word courage right in the middle of it! 

    Encouragement is a simple thing we can do. Barnabas encouraged Paul, he was ‘ the son of encouragement’ if you’re not a natural encourager, (and we aren’t all like that!) then make sure you take time to look for the good. 

    Tell someone they did an awesome job, be specific in your words. ‘You did an awesome job there. I watched the way you handle that person. You did it so well.’

    How can you build courage in those around you this week?

    If you have a story of someone you know who has displayed immense courage, drop us a line – [email protected] 

  6. A Story of Courage.

    In our latest podcast, ( which you can listen to here )

    Nic shares a story of one inspiring woman who has shown courage in the face of great adversity. She is a great example of a real outworking of what it means to be courageous in your faith and actions. 

    This is her wonderful story, as told by Nic Harding:

    ‘My wife and I have known this amazing woman for almost 40 years.

    She was with us in Bristol. She didn’t have the most easy upbringing and she had some mental health issues. She had alcohol issues, but she came to God and she found a new life in him. 

    But she continued to struggle with many of these issues over the years. She eventually got married and had three fabulous children, but life wasn’t easy for her and those issues continued to cause her problems. 

    Eventually the marriage broke up. 

    She went through a painful divorce and one of the things she’d always wanted to do in the years previously, was to be a teacher. She had tried to get qualified on more than one occasion, but all the stuff that was going on just prevented her from being able to do that. 

    But after the divorce she thought; ‘okay, well I’m a bit free and now less responsibility so let’s have another go.’ 

    And she actually got qualified as a teacher and I just looked at her life and I think, wow, you had so much courage to keep going. She never lost sight of God in it through all the ups and downs through all the the struggles with alcohol and family issues. 

    She never lost sight of her faith – she is a woman of courage.

    Her story may sound fairly simple, but she kept going through years of struggle and ended up as a teacher, in a position of leadership.

    She went on to get a job in a CofE primary school. She became a class teacher in a shared class. But within a few years, she had some real opposition in the school. 

    One particular parent helper made a false accusation against her. They’d heard a child screaming and they’d assume that our friend was doing something she shouldn’t be doing, which was entirely not the case. But that false accusation, led to months and months of misery for her. 

    She was suspended for a total of six months. And one of the things you told me when I was discussing a story with her was that if it wasn’t for the fact that God had spoken to her before all this happened, she would have really struggled.

    It reminded me just how important it is that we are listening to God’s word for our lives. Not only because it’s a source of nourishment for us, it can really prepare us for the enemy’s attacks. 

    And you know, the enemy really came at her strong and hard to try and knock her. I think he could see her potential in this school and was trying to knock her off course. She had this scripture from revelation chapter three. It was about the church in Philadelphia. The little phrase  

    ‘I know you have little power and yet you kept my word and not denied my name’  

    The passage goes on to say that people will learn that I have loved you because you’ve kept my word about patient endurance.

    And this was probably a key phrase for her where it says, and ‘I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming’. 

    What she didn’t realise at the time, what the significance of what this was. 

    But very soon after that she went into this six months of suspension where she had no idea whether her job would be kept, whether she’d be sacked. But that word just kept her going, that God was going to hold it, even though she had little faith, little power, just a small amount. It was enough that got her. That’s enough to keep you going in the most difficult circumstances. And so she went through that six months and during that time she got to volunteer in a charity shop that was run by Christians. 

    She’s always been amazing at sharing our faith with people, so as the customers came into the shop, she never held back, she never felt sorry for herself. She thought, well, I’m here now. I can make the most of this opportunity. Every day was a courageous decision for her to step into her calling her gifts and the opportunities that God was giving him. 

    After six months, they eventually completely exonerated her, found no basis to bring any disciplinary proceedings and she was given her job back. 

    The thing is that that parent helper eventually became a member of staff at that school. So you can imagine that my friend had to really work through issues of forgiveness and sometimes forgiveness is costly, isn’t it? It’s it requires courage to forgive and you know, sometimes we think courage is all about the big exploits, but just it’s those little everyday choices where we, which takes courage to do the right thing.”

    This story of Nic’s friend, highlights when we respond with courage, it can have a kingdom impact.  

    Every day we can choose to make courageous decisions. to step into our callings in our gifts, into the place that God sends us to have influence for the kingdom of God.

  7. It’s all happening in Blacon!

    As part of the Kairos Connexion network, we have missional communities spread across the UK. Every month, we aim to share a story from one of our network churches.

    It’s wonderful to hear what is going on around the country!

    This month’s story comes from Blacon near Chester. They have two missional communities and a thriving kids club being run by the team there.

    They recently multiplied Blacon central into two missional communities. Here is a quick update from one of their leaders, Ed Green.

    ‘Here in Blacon, we have two thriving missional communities.

    In the original ‘Blacon Central’ missional community, we are currently reshaping what we are doing specifically focussed around the children and families who attend Shout Kids Club. The children are mostly from the school where our own children attend.

    Shout kids club, is run by one of the core team. She runs a team in partnership with another church and it’s going really well!  It has grown to over 30 children and right now we feel that we wanted to connect more with the families. Some of them we already know well and have good connections through school.

    With this in mind, we recently invited families to come to our house for lunch and to hear from their kids about what they have been learning about Jesus, it was a bit of a squeeze – but we had a great time! 

    We then invited them to join us every month for lunch and to know more about Jesus – wonderful. 

    The second Missional community is called ‘Open House’ and has a group of families meeting regularly and focusing their energy towards the school where their children attend at the top end of their estate. Life is busy, and we have seen the need to incorporate missional living with our everyday lives involving our children and their school communities.

    We feel that we are on the brink of something very exciting in Blacon, we have seen people come to faith, be baptised and continue to grow as followers of Jesus.  

    We are hoping and praying that this will grow and we will see more and more people choose to follow Jesus and as a result have many more missional communities develop – watch this space! 

    Pray with us that we can continue to see where God is leading us, and seek his wisdom as we expand. 

  8. Forest Church

    “If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise”… particularly if you happen to be venturing out on a Sunday afternoon into the woodlands between Bidborough and Southborough!

    One church which is part of our Kent Hub has shaping their missional community by starting a Forest Church!

    Clare Masters shares her story, here.

    In November 2018 we began a new monthly “Forest Church” service on Sunday afternoons, alternating between the two churches in our parish, St Lawrence’s Bidborough and St Peter’s Southborough. The significant difference to our regular services is that most of Forest Church happens outdoors!

    We begin in church with a short time of praise and worship, lasting about 15 minutes, and then everyone tumbles outside into the fresh air for adventures in God’s wonderful world.

    Forest Church is open to all ages, but seeks to give a special welcome to families, as we know that Sunday morning diaries are often problematic, especially for those with children involved in sports. (My own three children are grown up now, but Sunday morning football matches have been a complication for us for many years.)

    But 2018 saw a steady stream of families bringing their children for baptism, which led to many conversations about the difficulties of getting to church regularly on Sunday mornings. And as we prayed for these families taking first steps along the journey of faith, the idea of Forest Church began to grow.

    Rural ministry may bring challenges, but there are also special advantages. We may not have spectacular premises, but our premises are set in spectacular surroundings, a real gift from God!

    Around 40 – 50 people have been coming each month. The “service” component of our Forest Church is intentionally very simple, but we include a worship song (often sung unaccompanied), some confessional liturgy, Bible reading, short talk with lots of “audience participation” and interactive prayers. Although it’s only brief, it’s a significant opportunity to tell the good story of God’s love to a new cohort of families. And then we head outside for fun and fellowship.

    We’ve done different activities each month, with a mix of action and creative options to suit various ages and energies. November involved a fire bowl set up in the churchyard, cooking breadsticks and marshmallows on whittled sticks, making a giant hedgehog collage on the ground from twigs and different leaves, and finishing with sparklers and prayers in a big circle.

    In December (early Advent) we focused on Joseph the Carpenter and the surprises that unfolded for him. We went on a woodland walk imagining the journey to Bethlehem, stopping en route to create mud portraits of Mary and Joseph on tree trunks, played “hunt the donkey”, and also enjoyed a cake break in the woods and a mad game of passing a rugby ball round a circle of leaping children. In January, being Epiphany season, we thought about the wise men bringing treasures, and Jesus being the best treasure; and the activities included a challenging team treasure hunt (with chocolate prizes) and making winter bouquets from twigs and berries, to give to someone you treasure.

    What has been particularly wonderful has been the help we have received from some of the families who have come along. Two of the families have enthusiastically taken on organising the crafts and refreshments. Forest Church has also strengthened links with three of our local farming families (who we already knew through our toddler group and the primary school), and they have invited Forest Church to celebrate on their farms!

    In May we went to Four Winds Farm, a local sheep farm (Theme – the Lost Sheep!); in October we held our Harvest celebrations at Juddwood Farm; and we’ve been invited back to Four Winds for our nativity service this December.

    God is very good.

    If you have a story to share of what missional living, and church life looks for you, do send it through to us to [email protected] .

  9. 5 Tips for Growing in Confidence as a Leader.

    At the end of August, we have the privilege of having Helen and Ben Askew hosting a Facebook live over in our community group. They shared with us their Top 5 tips for growing in confidence as a leader. 

    Below is a summary of the wisdom and insight they shared from 20 years on the coal face of missional living and leadership!

    Quick intro –

    Helen and Ben lead Kairos Network Church in Harrogate. Ben is ordained in the Anglican church and Helen spins a few plates working with The Order of Mission , teaching piano and overseeing missional communities.

    The church they lead is a family member church, they love being part of Kairos Connexion and enjoy the training and relationships. The also rescue guinea pigs occasionally. 

    So lets get down to it!

    How to grow in confidence as a leader.

    Ben starts by pointing us to 1Timothy 1 v7 – ‘For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’

    Come back to God and ask the Lord to grow courage within you

    Know who God has made you in leadership.

    Who you are, and who God made you is good – don’t fall into comparison. Comparison is the thief of Joy – and confident in leadership! 

    We need to walk in who we are ourselves. 

    ‘I’ve spent too much time trying to imitate other people’s style and skills, rather than looking to imitate their character’

    Develop your own skills confidently and inhabit your own personality. We often don’t see many different types of leaders, we need to see a variety of leadership types, i.e. not everyone is confident alpha male! You can be free to lead from the personality and gifts God has given YOU – not someone else.

    Lead as YOU not your best impression of someone else.

    Deal with your junk!

    We all have different things which have got in the way of us growing; sins, habits, disappointment, family or relationships. 

    Deal with your junk, or these things will pop up and undermine your confidence. We need to grow, practice repentance and belief. Turn towards the truth about what Jesus says about you. If you pay attention to things, they will weigh you down.

    Have people around you who are going to encourage you, invest in you, and help you grow.

    We need people around us on a few different levels, 

    Mentor level – to guide you.

    Peer level – to cheer you on.

    We are made to learn and to grow within community. We need other people around us to enable this growth.


    Who are the cheerleaders in your life? 

    Who can you go to for encouragement and some help?

    Accept your limitations

    You don’t have to be Jesus – that’s his job! 

    You don’t have to do everything. 

    It’s really healthy to get to know what you’re not so great at, what you find difficult. What are the aspects of your personality which you need to work on? 

    Know yourself and work out what costs you more than other things. Then you can empower others in your team to do these things, and to work collaboratively to build team which is whole and means you don’t have to be the star of every show.

    STOP! Have good periods of rest.

    Invest in yourself – know when you need rest or training. 

    You are worth investing in. 

    Good leadership is not about keeping on going and going and going, until you can’t do any more. That isn’t good leadership – that’s often pride. 

    You have to rest! 

    You are not so important that you can’t rest. God is much bigger than that. Invest in your health, your emotional wellbeing, have fun. Invest in your mental health, seek counselling if you are struggling, take time out to restore and rest.

    You may have times of self-doubt, this is normal, be honest with those around you.

    When we talk about growing in confidence in leadership, it is growing in confidence in who God is. When we trust in Him, in His ability.

    Keep asking God what is next, trust Him for the outcome.

    Thanks to Ben and Helen for these wise words of encouragement.

    If you want to watch the full video head to our community facebook group, here.

  10. Missional Community – Family, Litter Picking and Community Action.

    One of our Missional Communities is full of families who love to hang out, feast together and encourage each other in their parenting.

    We are a real mix of people and ages and we love being an extended family to each other. Recently, in a number of discussions the area of helping raise children who understand the importance of ‘looking after God’s world’ and being a bright positive light for Jesus in our neighbourhoods was raised.

    The children in the group seem to grasp this instinctively whilst us adults seem to always find the challenges in this. So we decided to get out and do something really practical- litter picking the neighbourhood around our church building. 

    We have been litter picking a couple of times now and we have had some really interesting moments. Firstly it has been brilliant for us as a community to be out together serving in such a practical way.

    We have had some giggles and the kids have loved dressing up in the high viz like Bob the Builder!

    Secondly we have had some great conversations with our local council and they have given us all the equipment we need to litter pick in exchange for a few social media posts. These relationships have already been significant and we sense some ‘places or people of peace here’. Thirdly we have had some brilliant conversations with those in the neighbourhood. It is a mixed community around us in terms of age and ethnicity.

    It is an area which really needs to know the light only God can bring. Rich and Paul (two of the group) have especially had some significant conversations with some of the neighbourhood around why would a family group like us litter pick this community.

    “The amazement and welcome we receive from those we meet whilst out and about is certainly sowing seeds of hope and God’s love. 

    Finally though it has impact our wider church community. Over this summer we have been sharing in a video teaching programme called ‘It’s a wonderful world’ which has got us all engaging with practical ways we can ’tread lightly’ on the world God has given us.

    Do head to Burlington’s Facebook page to see the teaching or here

    Together as a whole church we are considering how we can steward the world God has given us well and in doing so be a light to others in our communities.

    The area of plastic pollution and zero waste challenges are hot topics at the moment and the church have a significant voice in this area. We are having brilliant and easy discussions with people of peace around this and our prayer is that these will turn into positive views of God’s family growing. 

    Do you have a story to share of life as part of a missional community? Do let us know!

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