We are one of four families and a couple of singles who are team together. We are in four locations: Nottingham, Rugby, Shirley (Solihull), and Worcester. We met up this week to pray together and have a Thanksgiving Meal — all the traditional American fixin’s were present, but I am looking forward to the jointly hosted thethirdplace / Dickens Heath Village Church Messy Thanksgiving later this month when we’ll have English foods represented like roast parsnips and brussel sprouts. Our families are engaged in starting new and simple communities of faith with very different approaches and strategies. A privilege to be family with them; most of us have been in the UK over 18 years!
Last month we held our first Newforms Level 1 training in Pioneer Mission. Our friend Peter Farmer led the training, which Tim observed with a view to be c0-delivering the training locally next year. The training focuses on 7 Pioneer Practices to make disciples that reproduce and plant simple churches that reproduce. It’s a contextualized version of DMM/CPM (Disciple Making Movement / Church Planting Movements) principles that we have been working to implement locally and regionally. We are now following up in coaching relationships with some of these participants.
It is Remembrance Sunday. In a few hours I will be taking part in a service recalling the sacrifices of our veterans and current service personnel to protect the freedoms we enjoy but too often take for granted.
I am using WordPress as my blogging platform. I found a three column theme which seemed to have most of the elements I wanted to include. However, I had no easy way to create a header, so a google search helped me find bigbluelabs that helps one create a header from your own photograph. After a bit of playing around, I was able to create this header which features Tam’s dad’s military memorabilia, including his army identity photo and dogtags. Marvin died earlier this year, and this header is partly my tribute to him and to his daughter whom I love deeply and without reservation.
It also reflects my values. One of my core Bible passages comes from John 1.14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. One of the characteristics of the Jesus whom I follow is his ability to measure out to each person and each situation the exact proportion of grace and truth that is needed. I confess I am not very good at it, but it is my desire to bring grace and truth into all my relationships with a generous sprinkling of humor and humility.
Finally, those best values of patriotism and duty to country which the memorabilia in the header bring to mind are also seen in one who follows Jesus, a disciple. At the end of the day, a disciple is a person who lovingly obeys all that Jesus asks in living life as and in being a citizen of the Kingdom of God. It’s an upside-down kingdom, where the first are last and the master the servant. Lord, in your mercy, please grant me this kind of life and presence with others.
My friend Aaron Lincoln loves to read books and create outlines of them for his personal development. He recently shared his outline of Journeying Out by Ann Morisy. I loved this quote: “We have to find a way of trusting the promise of the cascade of grace that will follow when we are prepared to do what Jesus tells us.”
I spent some time today with a hub meeting of Growing Shoots, listening and observing their conversations about planting new churches across the Black Country, a region to the west and northwest of Birmingham. I heard their hopes for churches that could be simpler and reproducible that demonstrate the present reality of the Kingdom of God.
I have now stopped writing at SkinnersBlog and thethirdplace and made this my central location for reflecting on life and ministry.