Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Army

Over these last few years, around 3 years in fact,  I've been increasingly building relationship with an emerging church planting movement (emerging in the developing sense, as opposed to the theological sense) led by a guy with a clear apostolic ministry called Peter Farmer. 

Mission Britain promotes simple church, organic church planting, pioneer evangelism and training up people for the gospel.  One of Peter's key heroes is William Booth and the work of the early Army.  He is convinced that we need to see an army rise in the UK to advance the Kingdom and take the gospel to re-evangelise the nation.   I happen to agree with him.  The kind of army he is talking about is a flexible, mobile army with clear missional intentions to win the world for Jesus by utilising strategic planting tactics.  He has the UK split up into regions and he travels to encourage, train and draw together those interested in stepping out of the regular churchy culture and to galvinise around mission.  He is training up planters, trainers, pioneer evangelists, prophets and prayer warriors. 

The irony isn't lost on me. 

I thoroughly believe this nation needs a people who sense the call to arms in the sense of engaging in creative, strategic mission and to see a viral pattern of outposts on every street corner.  William Booth would have been delighted that someone is taking up his vision to have a barracks on every corner at last.  Is it really so different to seeing a simple church, a small missional community, in every viable community?  And whats more, viable here doesn't mean 'able to support an officer and fund a building' because this is a viral, organic movement...a people movement.  Its an army where everyone is commissioned for the advance, where everyone is a regular and the Lord Jesus Christ is Commander in Chief...a band of brothers and sisters united around one mission.  An army whose enemy is 'the strong man' and whose weapons are prayer, love and radical commitment to Jesus and his instructions as our King.

For all that I am still in the inherited church at the moment, my life's calling is in this direction.  Its a calling that I couldn't work out in the other Army.  Maybe its a wineskins thing, you know?  You don't put new wine in an old wineskin else the old on deteriorates.  Maybe, I don't know.  I still have hope in some places that The Salvation Army can recover significantly, and in fact I see it in some places round the world, praise God.

Meanwhile, another salvation army is rising.  Its Commander in Cheif has issued the call to arms and the warriors are taking their place in the field.  I'm watching it take shape, watching God recreate a dream and a vision and its very exciting.  There will be other warriors in your community...we can link you up, enlist and train you for the mission.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Re-Shuffle

So I've decided to round thing off over at my other blog, which is really a Salvation Army focussed blog, for the time being.  I'll be blogging more regularly here.  This blog has been host to my 'non-Sally-Army-specific' stuff for the last couple of years and charts the bumpy road of recovery since leaving the Army.  Some of it has been a bit heart-on-sleeve as I've mentally processed all that stuff but I'll be changing the pace here. 

There will be the odd personal reflection, but mainly I want to be writing about:
  • life as Jesus-centred missional discipleship
  • church as Jesus-centred missional community
  • and anything else that fits with it!

I hope you'll tune in.

Grace and peace,
Andrew

Thursday, 12 January 2012

No Frills

There are still some days that come when I'd still be quite happy to see any form of formal church a long distance away.  Thats not to say that I don't appreciate the place I work or the other people I fellowship with.  I know that churches gather their traditions over the years and a fair deal of 'stuff' gets added to the 'hairball' of the ecclesiastical protocol.

For me, the over-riding question is mission.  What serves mission and what brings us closer to the possibility of making the kingdom tangible in our day.  I have my dream, my vision of what I long for that to be and it rarely has the tangledness of the established church of any sort.  I have no hesitation to adapt my measures to any situation if it means mission can take place, even 'play the games' of any organisation I'm linked to.  Its still tiring though and every now and again you just have to sigh a big sigh and plod on.  I firgure that if I'm really committed to the principle of 'adaption of measures' then there is little I'd do to pass up the opportunity of sharing Jesus with people.  Its what I signed up for. 

But yet, some days I'd happily walk away, disappear of the map and immerse myself in a community somewhere for the rest of my days. God knows the desire of my heart and I trust him to bring it to pass.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Resolutions 2012

I found these on Shane Claiborne's facebook page and decided I liked them so much that I'd adopt them my self. 

12.  Do something really nice – that no one knows about. 
11. Spend more money on other people than I spend on my self.  Love my neighbor as I love myself.  And love myself as I love my neighbor.
10. Laugh often… especially at advertisements that try to convince me that I must buy more stuff in order to be happy. 
9. Learn a new life skill – like carpentry, pottery, or canning vegetables.  Teach someone else I life skill I know how to do. 
8.  Love a few people well, remembering that what is important is not how much we do but how much love we put into doing it.
7.  Write a letter to someone I need to say thank you to.  Write another letter to someone I need to ask to forgive me. 
6.  Track down a critic or someone I disagree with and take them to lunch.  Listen to them.
5.  Compliment someone I have a hard time complimenting… and mean it.
4.  Choose life.  Do something regularly to interrupt the patterns of death – do something to end violence, bullying, war, capital punishment and other mean and ugly things.
3.  Pause before every potential crisis and ask “will this matter in 5 years?”
2.  Get outside often and marvel at things like fireflies and shooting stars.  And regularly get my hands into the garden… so when I type on the computer I can see dirt under my fingernails.
1.  Believe in miracles.  And live in a way that might necessitate one.