Resources to check out:
* This new Christmas song from Sovereign Grace Music and the story behind it. Wow! Check out ‘O Come, All You Unfaithful’.
* A new podcast (I know, another one) – The Art of Pastoring with Jared Wilson and Ronnie Martin.
* Glen Scrivener has been having some fascinating conversations in a series called RESET.
* Hot off her NHS/Easter rainbows, Sophie Killingley has produced a great remembrance colouring sheet.
* FIEC have published a new booklet to help churches appoint a new pastor.
* Watch the Faith in Kids Big Day Out on Making it a cracking (COVID) Christmas – How to celebrate Christmas with our families in grand style – despite Covid-19.
* Another album of Christmas Carols for use at services, this time from Reawaken Hymns.
* The Ugly Christmas Jumpers are back from Missional Wear and I like the new John Calvin one.
Some things to reflect on:
* Rachel Kleppen: “High-speed internet, airplanes, and cellphones have given those of us who have left our lives and loved ones behind an unprecedented ability to stay connected to that world. But these technological advances have also inhibited missionaries’ ability to be present and engaged in the work they believe God has called them to.” This led to a challenging follow-up comment from Medhurst Ministries: “A similar problem occurs in the local (UK) church. When pastors/gospel workers spend all their free time and holidays leaving the community to return “home” you get similar results.”
* Chris Hatch passes on a great observation from Jimmy Dodd’s book ’Survive or Thrive’ about the apostle Paul. He notes the development of Paul’s self-understanding:
1. 1st letter – “Paul, an apostle… through Jesus” (Gal 1);
2. 6 years later – “I am the least of the apostles” (1 Cor 15);
3. 7 years later – “I am the very least of all the saints” (Eph 3);
4. End of life – “I am the worst of them” (1 Tim 1).
* Adrian Reynolds remarks that “Transfer growth is not kingdom growth but it can lead to it. We shouldn’t demonise it. Mature Christian leaves larger church, joins us and gets stuck right in. Can be a catalyst for local conversion growth. In fact this is exactly what some smaller churches need.” But I wonder if the problem is that too often, the transfer is from a smaller church to a larger church, and this stops the smaller church from being able to build any ministry momentum.
* Neil Todman is right. “On Zoom most pastors’ favourite background is their library. It would be easy to look at all the books and draw the wrong conclusions: he must be clever, he must be an expert, etc. Not at all! The pastor is out of his depth. Like a child learning to swim, the books are his floats.”
* Bobby Jamieson: “Rejoice in being saved more than you rejoice in being significant.”