Nov 26, 2013
neil

What we have to learn from the ‘next generation’ of church leaders

Here’s a summary of Brad Lomenick’s take on the next generation of leaders in the church and his reasons for optimism.

  1. Passion for God
  2. Willing to work together
  3. Don’t care who gets the credit
  4. Generosity and sharing are the new currencies
  5. They understand the holistic responsibility of influence
  6. Authenticity wins
  7. Not willing to wait
  8. See social justice as the norm
  9. Seeking wisdom and mentors
  10. A change the world mentality
Many of these same values are shaping our 2020birmingham network.  A partnership of now 10 congregations committed to working together in church planting across Birmingham works because rivalry and self-interest are giving way to gospel-hearted collaboration. There is much to give thanks for and many reasons to be encouraged about the future of the church in the next generation.
What’s of greatest encouragement is that these values seem to be instinctive to our younger leaders and result in an energy and vitality that isn’t  manufactured.

(HT: Matt Perman)

Nov 22, 2013
neil

On the 50th anniversary of their deaths, what JFK & CS Lewis thought of human nature

Justin Taylor & Joe Rigney remember the day JFK and CS Lewis died in this piece for Religion News Service

 

Nov 15, 2013
neil

Christians ‘face extinction’ says Government minister

At last, someone from the Government is speaking out against the systematic assault on Christianity in parts of our world today.

Oct 30, 2013
neil

Birmingham instead of London says New York Magazine

Want a few good reasons to take pride in the city of Birmingham? New York Magazine offer a few . . .

Oct 23, 2013
neil

Our vision for 20 churches over 10 years in 6 minutes

We hope you like our new 2020birmingham video setting out our vision for 20 churches over 10 years told in 6 minutes.

 

Oct 19, 2013
neil

10 extraordinary truths about our extraordinary city of Birmingham

1. 4.3 million people live within an hour’s commute of Birmingham centre

2. Birmingham has the youngest population of any city in Europe with 38% under the age of 25

3. Birmingham has twice the working age population of Manchester (638,200 as against 329,900)

4. 10,000 people are added the population of Birmingham every year

5. In 2011 census, for the first time ever, less than half the city’s population self-defined as Christian.  46.1% of Birmingham  residents said they were Christian, 21.8% Muslim and 19.3% had no religion.

6. Between 2001 and 201 the population has increased by almost 90,000 – a growth of 9.1%. That’s 200 people a week!

7. Birmingham has the largest student population outside of London at 65,000.

8. Only 6% of the population of Birmingham ever go to church

9. 57% of the Birmingham’s under 11’s are from a variety of ethnic minorities

10. Birmingham has the highest unemployment rate of any major UK city – 10.3%

Oct 11, 2013
neil

David Mitchell on why atheism isn’t the answer

(HT: Ben Desmond)

Oct 9, 2013
neil

On living as a porn-free family

Tim Challies offers wise advice to parents on protecting yourself and your family from the dangers of pornography.

 

Oct 4, 2013
neil

Can We Finally Start Talking About The Global Persecution Of Christians? Two chilling articles

Two recent articles highlighting both the desperate plight facing Christians in many parts of the world and also the shocking silence of the world’s leaders on the issues.

John Allen in the Spectator writes:

According to the Pew Forum, between 2006 and 2010 Christians faced some form of discrimination, either de jure or de facto, in a staggering total of 139 nations, which is almost three-quarters of all the countries on earth. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, an average of 100,000 Christians have been killed in what the centre calls a ‘situation of witness’ each year for the past decade. That works out to 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour, seven days a week and 365 days a year, for reasons related to their faith.

In effect, the world is witnessing the rise of an entire new generation of Christian martyrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this article by Mollie Hemingway in the Federalist (not a site known to me before now) in which she quotes from a book by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea entitled Persecuted the Global Assault on Christians

Christians are the single most widely persecuted religious group in the world today. This is confirmed in studies by sources as diverse as the Vatican, Open Doors, the Pew Research Center, Commentary, Newsweek and the Economist. According to one estimate, by the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, 75 percent of acts of religious intolerance are directed against Christians.”

(HT: Yvonne Nickerson & Helen Ogbourn)

Oct 1, 2013
neil

Three atheists who think the world needs Christianity

Former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Dominic Lawson, recently reviewed a book by Harvard Professor, Niall Ferguson entitled Civilisation: The West and the Rest.  In his review Lawson includes a remarkable quote from a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (which describes itself as  ‘the highest academic research organization in the fields of philosophy and social sciences as well as a national center for comprehensive studies in the People’s Republic of China‘). Here is what the Chinese have discovered:

One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful.

Why?

The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.

Now the Chinese are not alone in reaching this conclusion.  Bruce Sheiman in his book An Atheist Defends Religion writes about the impact of Jesus on our world. Christianity he says introduced:

A commitment to human dignity, personal liberty, and individual equality did not previously appear in ANY other culture.

What you and I take for granted, living as we do in the UK, has its origins in Christianity and the Christian worldview.

Matthew Parris writing in the Times talked of his own return to Africa after 45 years away and concluded;

travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

Christianity has made a massive difference to our world.

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