Reaching the Unreached – Session 4 – Change is possible

Here are my notes from last week’s Reaching the Unreached conference, probably the best Christian conference I’ve been on.   If you weren’t there, the videos will be posted on the RTU blog.  As with all my conference notes, these are not verbatim, so what I write might not be what Andy Mason, Jane Casey or Dai Hankey actually said.

Gospel Centred Change – What does it look like?

Andy Mason – Multicultural Church Planting with Blokes.

London – multicultural. 35% born outside UK. To plant a church and not be multicultural would be almost impossible. 40 different languages on World End Estate.

What you project from the front is very important. Who is up the front? What image do you project? Who is in positions of responsibility? Who you have and what you say reflects who is welcome. What culture. Old people deal better with youth culture, than youth with old. White people deal better with black cultural than black with white. Women deal better with male culture than men do with female culture. If we put up a black rap video at church people will deal with that well.

The church has no kids group but has a gym because they want to reach men. We have no hug culture. You can be compassionate and warm whilst being straight. Men want to know you are on their sin, “I am on your side, but you are a sinner.” Teach but don’t patronise. Speak intelligently, but use plain language. Stick in, there and be patient.

Jane Casey – Casual friendships into gospel focused friendships.

Women will hang out together and talk about the kids, the school, problems with neighbours. Often more women than men in church who need discipleship. Lot’s of churches start a women’s group. The model assumes that the women who attend will take truth and apply it to life.  This does not always happen. Women interested in the gospel but not necessarily fit into the women’s group. Reliability in one culture might mean, turning up at a meeting on time.  But for many women in the estate, reliability means sticking with family, being there for them in an emotional crisis. Gossip and unforgiveness can spread like wildfire and undermine months or years of ministry. Unforgiveness is not hidden, it is out there, very visible. When disagreement is fuelled by gossip, women’s group did not work. The group can be important, but Jesus taught in the midst of real life situations, woman at the well, death of Lazarus, Mary and Marth in kitchen.

1-2-1 study times, informal, reactive, hanging out, speak the gospel in the midst of life. Not starting with scripture and applying it to life, but living life and applying the gospel to life. Less sermon on the mount and more teaching on the hoof.

Women are more likely to be busy and on the go. We need informal reactive ministry and to train people to do it. The pastor can’t do it, but the women can.

How do you teach people to do that? Instruments in the Redeemer’s hand. You can change. 15 week training course in church. Irony – a formal course teaching us to be informal.

Coffee, breakfast, regular slots, shopping together. Make it normal to talk about Jesus in everyday life. Women learn to do this naturally and pass it on much better than the pastor and his wife.

Will Facebook work? How?

Many planned, organised, sorted women, but also many reactive, unplanned. Gospel friendship speaking the truth in love will teach the lessons in a powerful, natural, helpful way.

Dai Hankey – realistic expectations in ministry.

Discipleship is hard in whatever situation because you are dealing with people. The battle is with sin, we all sin, just in different ways.

How do you get people to see discipleship as a long-term thing when people don’t see a mobile phone contract or a council house tenancy as long-term?

We need to expect to see people being brought from death to life, as Lazarus was raised from the dead. Jesus neatly folded his grave-clothes and then set off to sort the world, but Lazarus was still bound in manky bandages, still smelly, stumbling around, and Jesus says “welcome to discipleship.” Jesus wakes us up and then takes off our manky bandages.

Do you have an apologetic for gossip on Facebook, smoking dope, sex before marriage, bringing up kids? People don’t lose their manky bandages the moment they are dunked in a baptism pool. They need a gospel community to help take the manky bandages off. They will not be able to walk if they still have bandages tied around their feet. We need to get our sleeves rolled up and to bear with the smell and help them to get their bandages off as we are helped to get ours off.

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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