What are your triggers for growth?

This past summer we conducted a survey of our church family, about their discipleship and growth.  Two key things came out of that survey.

Firstly people know the key triggers for their own growth, and indicated those are prayer, worship, teaching, and small groups.  They also indicated that whilst they knew those were the greatest triggers for growth, they were the ones they struggled the most to engage with regularly.

Secondly they indicated that being Christlike, have Jesus be their identity and central to how they live daily was the biggest gap in their growth.

So we have loaded the gun so to speak, for our Sunday services and small groups over the next few months, and invited people to pull the trigger on their growth.  We’ll be going through the whole book of Galatians to make that exploration.

We are going to explore why despite knowing the things that grow us we often don’t pursue them, and we are going to explore how being Christlike is key to pursuing those very things that grow us.  The two issues are related - doing what grows us and growing into Christlikeness.

The introduction to this season/series Sunday talks/teaching from Galatians are online here.

Get dressed for the adventure of a lifetime: Galatians 3 and Xbox One

Yesterday in our Sunday service I asked how can Christianity compete with the kind of adventure and experience video game platforms like Xbox One are offering people.

For Microsoft and others are spend billions to invite us at the deepest levels of human desire into experiences that also makes them a great deal of money.

The recent Xbox one advert invites us into adventure, placing us at the centre of absorbing experiences, transforming and subverting the life we are currently leading.

A Titanfall mecha beckons a businessman to take the reins and power and rampage in the business district, Zachary Quinto’s Spock beams down rescuing a commuter, a coffee drinker in a piazza is invited into a Roman battle, a student is invited to leave the zombie like life of study for a real walking dead adventure, and a football fan is chosen to enter the field of play with his team, with recognition from all the other fans.

Maybe someone needs to produce an Xbox One game for Christianity.  If they did, what might it look like?  How about total immersion where Jesus appears and invites us to join him right where we are, for the adventure of a life time? Maybe that would included experiences where;

…there is a power at work bigger than our boss and financial pressures

…instead of a zombie like existence we are recruited into the battle waging around us

….instead of being a no-body in the crowd we are centre stage for saving the world

That is the invitation already made to us by Jesus!  Yet we miss it because all to often because we reduce Christianity to experiences to support the other lives we are trying to live.  We miss out the adventure we are invited into by Jesus, and settle for a simulated adventure on a screen and console.  

In Galatians 3:27 Paul uses one of his favourite metaphors for following Jesus, the invitation to be ‘clothed in Christ’.

We all the know the power of dressing, for work, for parties, for play, and rest.  Some of us put on real uniforms for the real authority they provide us in our work.  Like the Xbox One advert which invites us to put on new clothes, armour, take up a sword, or a gun.  

Jesus invites us to get dressed for the adventure of a lifetime.  

To transform us where we are right now.  For those moments at work where I am harried and under pressures of deadlines and finance, to be clothed in him, knowing I am not a pawn in the world of business.  As I commute to work, I am not zombie marking time until I retire, I am a soldier of Jesus Christ.

And this invitation is not a console game, it’s real, and it’s right now now no matter what we are facing.

So how do we get dressed for this adventure?  

We do it with others, who remind us who we really are in Christ, who help us take off the clothes that give us false identities and put on the clothes and identity of who we really are.  

That is what worship is about and for.

For we are all worshipping already, clothing ourselves in images, materials, with  imaginations about who we are and what life is about.

Maybe we’ll hear the invitation to the adventure of following Jesus, pull the trigger on that and get dressed with him and his people instead?

(Full talk I made is available here)

Free eBook - Be Social: The Social Media Handbook for Churches

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If you want to better understand how social media and how it can be integrated with the life of your church read this great free ebook by Matt McKee.

What’s shaping you? podcast of Jason Clark ‘worship in a consumer society’ @LICCltd

Recording of my talk last night at the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity is available to view on line for free here.

My slides from the presentation are available at http://cli.gs/jasonclark.

Live online event with Jason Clark @LICC 21st October

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Our desires and dreams are framed by certain ‘stories’ about what life should be like - preferably involving a nice house, untroubled relationships, and a secure job. 


And some of today’s most persuasive cultural drivers - capitalism and consumerism - can incline us to co-opt the Christian faith and church life as convenient ‘resources’ in this quest for fulfilment.

But what if worship - in the gathered church and in everyday life - was strong enough to reorientate our desires? What would such worship look like? How might habits and practices grounded in the gospel and nurtured in relationship with others train us to live differently in the world?

Join Jason Clark live online for an exploration of how worship re-narrates our lives, forms our identity, and equips us to take part in God’s mission in the world. Jason is a senior leader of Vineyard Church, Sutton and is currently completing his PhD research on the church and consumer culture.

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Monday 21 October 2013, 6:30pm-8:30pm GMT
Hosted by LICC at ustream.tv/channel/licc-ltd
A nominal fee is charged to bring you an ad-free stream
Want to see it live?

Join Jason in London
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My church movement in the UK have a new worship album on release 29th October.  I’m excited about it and it’s been a long time since I was excited about a worship album.

I love the way songs were sought out from across our church movement, how those song writers were then invested in for their development and then how this album was recorded and produced.

It really seem to embody a process of documenting the worship of our movement and the sharing of that with each other by each other.

There is also the most wonderful song from a 16 year old girl who is a member of my church on the album (“When I Stand’). Then again I would think that.

You can preview the album and buy it here from Vineyard Records UK.

Christian New Media Conference 9th November London: Reimagining Church

Date: Saturday 9th November 2013

Venue: The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 4SD
Conference ticket: £35
Awards & Conference ticket: £89

What does the digital revolution mean for the way we do Church?

Old certainties and ways of operating have disappeared across business, education, entertainment and government. Those organisations that wish to thrive must reimagine how they serve and connect with people - or they lose relevance. The Church is no exception.

Through a mix of thought-provoking and practical sessions, together we are going to reimagine what it means to be the Church in a digital world. That’s Church with a big ‘C’, so if you represent a local congregation or denomination, are a blogger, work for a charity or are active online in any Christian context, this event is designed for you.

Join a host of 30+ expert speakers, including Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Katharine Welby, Kate Bottley and many more. Whether your interest is the theological issues involved, or a desire for practical advice, you’ll find sessions that reflect your needs. The conference caters for both beginners and the more experienced, so don’t miss out!

Book Now!


"Excellent value for money, and a ‘must’ attend event. Networking opportunities excellent. Love it. Thank you so much!"

"Really excellent, will be recommending it becomes a compulsory staff training day for my team and I!"

"Excellent - well worth a 400 mile round trip"

"An opportunity to meet, discuss and receive new ideas. In a place where tweeting is not a hanging offence!"

"Thought provoking, challenging, educational and motivational

- See more here

Free monthly download from Christian Audio

Each month christianaudio gives away one premium audiobook download absolutely FREE. Available only during that month and only free once.  See more here.

The end of American Protestantism - Stanley Hauerwas

A provocative (as you’d expect) article by Stanley Hauerwas.  It explores the history and make of protestantism in the USA and propose why it is dying.

"…Americans continue to maintain a stubborn belief in a god, but the god they believe in turns out to be the American god. To know or worship that god does not require that a church exist because that god is known through the providential establishment of a free people. This is a presumption shared by the religious right as well as the religious left in America. Both assume that America is the church….

I love America and I love being an American. The energy of Americans - their ability to hew out lives often in unforgiving land, their natural generosity - I cherish. But I am a Christian. I cannot avoid the reality that American Christianity has been less than it should have been just to the extent that the church has failed to make clear that America’s god is not the God we worship as Christians.”

Live online event - Jason Clark @LICC 21st October

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Our desires and dreams are framed by certain ‘stories’ about what life should be like - preferably involving a nice house, untroubled relationships, and a secure job. 


And some of today’s most persuasive cultural drivers - capitalism and consumerism - can incline us to co-opt the Christian faith and church life as convenient ‘resources’ in this quest for fulfilment.

But what if worship - in the gathered church and in everyday life - was strong enough to reorientate our desires? What would such worship look like? How might habits and practices grounded in the gospel and nurtured in relationship with others train us to live differently in the world?

Join Jason Clark live online for an exploration of how worship re-narrates our lives, forms our identity, and equips us to take part in God’s mission in the world. Jason is a senior leader of Vineyard Church, Sutton and is currently completing his PhD research on the church and consumer culture.

image

Monday 21 October 2013, 6:30pm-8:30pm GMT
Hosted by LICC 
at ustream.tv/channel/licc-ltd
A nominal fee is charged to bring you an ad-free stream
Want to see it live?

Join Jason in London
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7 tips for sharing your faith

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Talk I made last sunday about 7 way to engage in sharing our faith, that help us to grow in our faith too, is online here and my notes here.

Social Imaginaries: Why Generation Y Are Unhappy

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Generation Y were born between the late 1970s and the mid to late 1990s.  This generation have a new moniker, Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies or GYPSYs.  And according to the Huffington Post, GYPSYs are generally not very happy, for a few key reasons.

GYPSYs are the offspring of a previous generation who prosperity is unprecedented in human history.   GYPSYs have been brought up with the stories and expectations of their parents and developed their own.  Those stories are the cause of their unhappiness.

Ambition:  GYPSYs expect the same prosperity as their parents, now.  And along with that expect something else/more, i.e intense personal fulfilment.

Delusional:  GYPSYs according to the article are also delusional, brought up on the mantra that ‘they are special’. This breeds a sense of entitlement in GYPSYs, the world owes them because they are special.

Taunted:  GYPSYs are taunted through social media by their friends and by the phenomena of Image Crafting i.e people flaunting their ambitions and delusions.

Some practical advice follows, stay ambitious, stop thinking you’re special, and don’t measure yourself by everyone else.

The article had a ring of validity about it, in terms of what I see day to day with people’s unhappiness and malaise.  It reminded me of Charles Taylor’s social imaginaries.  Social Imaginaries are ‘the creative and symbolic dimension of the social world, the dimension through which human beings create their ways of living together and their ways of representing their collective life’.

It also made me think how we Christians have approached worship, and advice to our kids.  How we share stories, the social imaginaries, for what life is about that we pray into for our kids.  What do our kids get prayer for, around what story and narrative?

How much of Christian parents stories and prayers for their kids are centred on the GYPSY social imaginary - personal fulfilment and being special.  Is this the kind of story and worship that centres our kids in an understanding of who they are in Jesus, and his calling on them for life and living?

Maybe generation Y, along with their parents need to re-imagine what prosperity within the Kingdom is and what fulfilment of a life lived for the Gospel is.

For our aspirations for our kids, and our prayers, aren’t that our kids aren’t special, or can’t be fulfilled.  Rather they need to be focused around who our kids are in Christ, and the fulfilment he has for them in a life lived for him.  

Surely that would be a life not centred on a wellbeing measured by economic wealth and the money for endless self expression.  But life measured and ordered around satisfaction in knowing and living for Christ.

How many parents run around making endless investments of their time for the GYPSY story.  Endless clubs/leisure/holidays etc, the pursuit of personal fulfilment and happiness within the mantra that we want our kids to be ‘happy and fulfilled’.  

Not until parents find a new imagination for their kids, will they receive a new imagination for their lives and living.

Piers Morgan Live: 1st interview by @RickWarren & @KayWarren1 since their son’s suicide .

Rick Warren and his wife Kay are giving their first public interview since their son’s suicide. It’s tonight on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live.

Piers Morgan said it was the most moving interview he’s ever done. They discuss depression, raising a mentally ill child, guns, grief, God, faith, and hope. If you can’t watch it at 6:00 or 9:00 p.m., I hope you can record it.

We believe in institutions: superb new magazine “Comment” with James K.A. Smith

I’ve just subscribed to the superb new Comment magazine, whose tag line is “Theology for the Public Good’.  You can preview the magazine here.

James K.A Smith is very involved with the magazine which was enough to get my interest in the first place.  There is a great piece by him in the first issue out now, titled “We believe in institutions”.

I’ve placed an excerpt below that speaks for itself.  I’ll be blogging myself about institutions and the aspect of cultural agency in capitalism of anti-institutionalism.  This anti-institutionalism springs from a previous cultural agency that gave ordinary people within capitalism the ability to create Christian identity and lives, that now masquerades as ‘authentic self expression’ destroying any ability to participate with others for the gospel.

—-

"So Christians who are eager to be progressive, hip, relevant, and creative tend to buy into such anti-institutionalism, thus mirroring and mimicking wider cultural trends (which, ironically, are often parasitic upon institutions!).

And yet those same Christians are rightly concerned about “the common good.” They are newly convinced that the Gospel has implications for all of life and that being a Christian should mean something for this world. Jesus calls us not only to ensure our own salvation in some privatized religious ghetto; he calls us to seek the welfare of the city and its inhabitants all around us. We love God by loving our neighbours; we glorify God by caring for the poor; we exhibit the goodness of God by promoting the common good.

But here’s the thing: if you’re really passionate about fostering the common good, then you should resist anti-institutionalism. Because institutions are ways to love our neighbours. Institutions are durable, concrete structures that—when functioning well—cultivate all of creation’s potential toward what God desires: shalom, peace, goodness, justice, flourishing, delight. Institutions are the way we get a handle on concrete realities and address different aspects of creaturely existence. Institutions will sometimes be scaffolds to support the weak; sometimes they function as fences to protect the vulnerable; in other cases, institutions are the springboards that enable us to pursue new innovation. Even though they can become corrupt and stand in need of reform, institutions themselves are not the enemy.: James K.A Smith

IDEA magazine: great resource from the EA UK

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The Evangelical Alliance UK have a great magazine IDEA available free online.

The latest September/October issue covers adoption of children, women in leadership, responding to corruption in the workplace, cultural events and worship, mission, abortion, same sex marriage, poverty relief, developing world faith, domestic violence, celebrity, learning communities, celebrating black history, denominations and Christmas, access to worship for deaf people, book reviews and more!

There is an article on page 24 of the latest issue, on the Lead Academy learning community that my church is taking part in.  There is a piece about my church along with quote from me.

About me

trying to make safe spaces for diverse and healthy conversations about church, culture, mission, theology and motorbikes

Ask me anything