Thursday, 31 October 2013

Philosophy of Leadership @ RFC #3

CIRCLES: From rows to circles
Whilst our Sunday meetings require us to sit in rows to maximise our seating capacity, this does not reflect our end goal. As leaders, we want to be world class at moving people from sitting in rows on a Sunday to sitting in circles midweek. 

Sitting in rows on a Sunday can speak of attendance whereas sitting in circles midweek speaks of community. Sitting in rows suggests hierarchy whereas sitting in circles suggests equality. 

Sitting in a circle helps us to see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices and feel part of one another’s lives. Helping people get into groups makes it easier for them to build friendship, community, belonging & discipleship. 

These circles are to be interlinked; interdependent on one another. Even our serving teams and pastoral care pursue this ethos of valuing circles of community. 

More to follow ...

Monday, 28 October 2013

Philosophy of Leadership @ RFC #2

DOOR: Sundays our Front Door 
The biggest door into the life of our church is still our Sunday meetings. We have to be honest and acknowledge we have grown primarily through new people coming on a Sunday and not Alpha or mid week activities. Our Sunday meetings are disproportionately important for our mission / growth.

First impressions count far more than they should; yet a great building & location count for less than a friendly welcome & authentic faith on display. Again, first impressions count more than they should, so we pursue excellence in welcome, worship, preaching & kids works. 

We endeavour to have enough seats & space at the right time & place; we ensure our front door stays open and says welcome; we try to think like a newcomer and remove as many hurdles as possible (jargon, etc).

More to follow ...

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Philosophy of Leadership @ RFC #1

A few people have asked for my session notes from the RFC Leadership Summit. I thought it easier to post them as a series over the coming weeks... 

With so many new people joining our community we want to ensure we develop men & women with a common & agreed ‘Philosophy of Leadership’. By this I mean a system of thought & assumptions; a set of ideas & beliefs through which we pass all our leadership decisions. To help communicate this, we will use the following images:

SHEEP: Mission as our bias:
When Jesus spoke about ‘His sheep’ in Jn10, He includes both existing believers AND those yet to found. He moved easily between these two sheep folds, and so must we. Clearly there is a spectrum between focusing exclusively on feeding ‘believing sheep’ and finding ‘lost sheep’. Our starting point/emphasis/bias at RFC is towards finding lost sheep. 

This is a profound distinction to make; tension in church life can arise because we are not agreed on this. Pastoral & Missional can be viewed as a spectrum, both extremes being unhelpful, but our bias at RFC is already agreed, Mission. 

This demands we need to work hard at feeding & caring for ‘found sheep’, lost sheep need to be added into a healthy sheepfold! But to be clear, the bias of eldership team at RFC is to first orientate our thinking & activity to those not yet in the sheepfold.

More to follow next week

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Most improved ...

As many will know, I am an active member of our local Triathlon Club. At the awards dinner a few weeks ago I was recognised as the Most Improved Male Triathlete for 2013.

I was genuinely surprised and am still really chuffed, I have never won a trophy in my life! 

Inevitably, the post dinner banter was all about how rubbish I was in 2012 and that any improvement would have made a dramatic impact ... you gotta love these guys!

Nevertheless, I am pleased to be recognised by my fellow 'athletes'. 

If you are ever in my study, I will be more than happy to show you my name engraved on this roll call of honour :o)


Thursday, 10 October 2013

News from the campus

Here is an email I received from Lydia Burnham who is on the CU exec at Reading Uni

Hi Sean, We had such an amazing week last week with the Christian Union, meeting loads of new Christian students and also having various non-christians come along to evangelistic events. 

Some of the highlights for me were: 

  • Really encouraging numbers of students engaging with the events, more than I had hoped for. 
  • Great prayer meetings every morning, sharing blessings from the day before and praying for the day ahead.
  • Great team work within the CU with lots of the older students really getting involved and working very hard all week without complaining A couple of non-christians who are interested in finding out more (we are having an Alpha Launch tonight so hopefully they will come to that)
  • Large numbers of international students at our international welcome meal (80) and at the first 'Small World Cafe' which runs weekly (60)
  • Really exciting first main meeting, room was packed out with about 120 students of which more than half were new. 
  • Great gospel message by Dan Dwelly and lots of new friendships forming. 
  • 150 new students signing up who want to join CU or find out more about Christianity 
  • Some of the first years already getting involved giving out flyers or helping at events. 
Thank you so much for the support that RFC gives to the CU. We really appreciate the effort which is made to involve students in church life so that they can be a part of church family and be discipled. And thank you for praying for us last week, God more than answered our prayers for the week and as a team of leaders we are so excited to see what Jesus will do on campus this year. 

Would I be able to give some sort of short testimony about some of the points above so that the church can hear a bit of how God is working on campus? Thanks, Lydia

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

'Our Home' prayer meetings

At RFC, we are believing God to give us 'Our Home', a building we can call our own. We haven't yet found that building (to buy or lease) but we are saving up for it, so far we have raised £210,000 towards it.

Next week we want to start regularly praying for 'our home' by having two prayer meetings:

  • Guys on Thursday 17th Oct 6-7am
  • Girls on Friday 18th Oct 6-7am

We have chosen to pray by gender as we have many families in RFC and we think this will enable both mum & dad to get to an early morning prayer meeting.

The first Gift Day for our Vision Fund is the following Sunday, so the timing works really well. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Vision Sunday - sermon summary

The reason we have a Vision Sunday twice is a year is three fold: to create a moment give thanks to God; to remind regulars of what we believe God has called us to; and to inform newcomers of our distinct contribution.

Read Isaiah 54v1-5
The woman who was barren is to rejoice and shout for joy, for God has promised to supernaturally give her many children. In faith, she is to enlarge the place of her tent, to spread out to the right & left, believing God will add to her household. She was to do this with confidence because God Himself was to be her husband.

Incredibly, when the apostle Paul used this passage he said the desolate woman is the church and Jesus is her husband (Gal4v26)! Once we were spiritually barren, we were not a people. But with Jesus as our husband/redeemer we a supernatural people with a God given vision: to become a growing, Jesus-centred community; serving the town of Reading and beyond.

In 12 years we have grown from 27 adults & 7 children to over 400 people. We now have three meetings on a Sunday; over 100 people have been added to us in the past two years.

But this growth & momentum has come with challenges, we have stretched our tent curtains wide but now we need to hold them in place! We can do this in at least three ways:
·         Rows to Circles: we need to keep moving people from sitting in rows to sitting in circles (Lifegroups & Serving teams).
·         Create Moments: we need to meet with each other, as we meet with God.
·         Serve the town: we need to continue in our new initiatives such as the Job-Club and Starting Point Reading.

An invitation to regulars:
·         9am – arrive at 8:45 & welcome people warmly; Pray; Get in a circle; Review your giving; Give on the Vision Fund gift days (20 & 27 Oct).
·         11am – Consider moving to 9am or 6:30pm meetings; Pray; Get in a circle; Review your giving; Give on the Vision Fund gift days (20 & 27 Oct).
·         6:30pm – arrive at 6:15pm & welcome people warmly. Pray; Get in a circle; Review your giving; Give on the Vision Fund gift days (20 & 27 Oct)

An invitation to newcomers: Come and help us fulfil this God given Vision.

Vision Sunday - another prophetic word

We asked several RFCers who have an established prophetic gift, to bring something on Vision Sunday. Here's one that didn't get spoken out but is so encouraging ...

I felt God gave me a picture last night of a football match and the commentators saying the words 'its not over yet, a football match is a game of two halves'. I felt God might say to the church not to rest on her laurels. That they may feel they've served, that they've financially given over this last season. They may be reminded of how many people have come to Christ and of how the church has grown. All amazing stuff. But God says its not time to sit back and think 'job done'. It's time to go again into 'the second half' and face new changes, 'new tactics' that need to be made and to go for it again. And for those who feel it hasn't been a great 'first half', that what God has in store isn't over yet... there's another half. And God says go for it! - Love Lois xx

Thursday, 3 October 2013

RFC Job Club in the news

Today's Reading Post:

MP's praise for jobseekers club set up by Reading Family Church. 

A new club for jobseekers set up by a Reading church has been given the seal of approval by MP Alok Sharma. ... full article here

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Life in 6 words

In case you haven't seen this yet ... 4 minutes that stirs your soul. Thanks Barry for putting me onto this.