‘Kiss The Son’

Some may argue that to look to God is foolishness, unnecessary even. It doesn’t matter though. God is on the Throne and He has set His King over His chosen people. Accept that or reject that, it doesn’t change that it is still true.

To be walking with God is to stay connected to God, to not be distracted by the many voices of the world or just the mutterings of well-meaning friends and instead to recognise His place in our lives, His headship, that we are His possession.

Do not disconnect from the right King in your life. Do not dismiss the Lord as something that isn’t required in your life. When we break the cord between ourself and God we lose more than we could imagine. So, as the Psalmist wrote, be instructed. [Psalm 2:10-12]

Stay connected. 
Protect that connection. Strengthen it with all your focus, determination and energy. 
Serve Jesus. With reverence.
Rejoice. In awe of Him. 
‘Kiss the Son’. This is to worship Him. To kneel before Him. To come not in fear but in faith. As a sign of covenant relationship with Him who is over all.
Understand that in this connection is life, the abundant life that Jesus said could be ours. That we are blessed as we trust Him and that in asking we will receive, far more than we could ever give God.

Life as a Pastor…

Had the Connect Group [CG] leaders round last night. They brought loads of food, lots of conversation. We squeezed them in.

Spent a lot of the day putting the final pieces in the CG puzzle as we make some changes to the structure. Change is never easy. It has to be for the right reasons not just because we can. CGs have been a huge success for Xcel this year, growing by nearly 20% in attendance. From our perspective they are how we measure the health of the church. People connecting, doing life together, sharing the journey, caring for one another, encouraging, supporting and praying – it’s priceless. It’s church at its very best.

As we talk vision, it’s important to recognise those things that work in accomplishing that vision. CGs help us do this. As we grow larger, the community of CGs grows in importance. I’ve never been great with names and with new people joining Xcel all the time, I don’t suppose it will get any easier. CGs provide a way for people to belong to Xcel and find their place. To feel, connected.

We are excited about the future of CGs.
Changing the structure will facilitate growth.
Changing the structure will grow those who are part of a CG.
Changing the structure will help us focus on equipping the leaders
, pastoring people on their journey with God. This is a culture shift for many church-goers who only count a visit or prayer from the Pastors as genuine pastoral care. (Doesn’t mean we don’t do this – just in case you were concerned)
Love that the leaders embrace it wholeheartedly. That certainly makes the change easy.

Begs the question why some people who could be part of a CG aren’t. Don’t get me wrong – that’s not a criticism, just a question. We can only encourage everyone to get involved – the choice then is up to you.

[What do you think?]

Book Review: No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke

Some books come across your path at just the right timer and this is definitely one of those books. As someone who holds the role of Service Pastor for Xcel Darlington, how to connect, create growth and love people has taken on a new level of meaning. This book then was very challenging and thought-provoking.

Occasionally you read statements and the simplicity of what you are reading is like ‘WOW’. Taking on board the real-life stories just adds the right dimension, proving a convincing point.

Challenging thoughts: My focus needs to change!
‘Our responsibility is not to make people grow or change. Our task (as Church leaders) is to create the right soil, a rich healthy environment, in which people can grow up in faith…’ ‘God is responsible for the growth, for changed hearts, but the soil is the responsibilty of the leader and Christ-followers who make up the Church.’

To give someone the chance to grow spiritually, they must be given the right food. That’s one of the roles of being their Pastor. That’s a continuous challenge.

To be honest I enjoyed the journey that John Burke took me on through this book – helping to build a picture of what it takes to reach the emerging generation. Building trust, answering the right questions, creating an environment of acceptance and a culture of growth. The chapter on creating a culture of family was read at just the right time, reminding me that life in Church is about people, not about programmes. Being part of the family can help change someones life.

Difficult to express how this book impacted me, except to say ‘Thanks’ to the author for putting pen to paper and being ready to share honestly what it takes to grow a life-changing, hope bringing church in the 21st Century. I would recommend this to Pastors and Church leaders. Get your copy here