Many writers suggest that churches are attractive and effective when they do simple things well.”
Twitter, the pandemic and the future
The BBC recently carried an extensive feature on some research that has tried to analyse the voice of Twitter over the period of the pandemic. That sounds like a difficult task but the themes that the research has picked up are worth reflecting on.
The first theme in the early days of the pandemic was the understandable reaction of fear. This is a frightening phenomenon. We were perhaps all afraid that we might catch the virus without knowing how or why and that frankly we might die. That is scary indeed.
The second reaction was anger. Sometimes that anger was directed towards the perceived incompetence of governments, the lack of communication, the sense that we have had our lives massively interrupted without our consent. The sense of helplessness makes us mad.
Third reaction, which was perhaps rather unexpected was one of joy. The experience of being at home, not being under so much time pressure, the discovery of friendships, of locality, of relationships, of a kind of spiritual encounter, has brought joy and wonder.
That does not mean that everyone is full of joy or that fear, and anger have totally gone. All three of these themes still exist. But that raises some interesting questions. How do we as Christian congregations respond to the sense of joy and wonder? How do we pick up on the stories and experiences of joy amongst our neighbours and in our community? I would be fascinated to know what you are experiencing…
Last week we wrote about the launching of an inter-cultural church in Birmingham. One of the training resources that the emerging leadership of this church plant is drawing on is that of a network call Ethnos.
This network has planted many churches in North America and in other parts of the world. Their particular contribution flows from an experience of inter-cultural worship -particularly music but also in terms of how social media can be used to make connections with those who are under 30 years of age.
This is what Ethnos says about themselves:
“Living in a world where it is easy to allow our differences to wall us in, music can be an effective bridge-builder. Music tells the story of people’s different life experiences as captured through the musical storytellers’ own cultural lenses. In sacred spaces around the globe where Jesus-followers gather together to express honour and devotion to God, songs of faith, hope, and healing, emerge to unite the hearts of the faithful. Those songs are especially meaningful within each cultural context because the music tells the story of the people and connects them to God on a deeper God.
Because the world around us is becoming more diverse every day, so are these sacred spaces where people gather. The purpose in putting together The Ethnos Project, a series of multi-ethnic music recordings, is to encourage and capture sounds and songs derived from these various faith communities around the globe. As each volume is created, we desire for the progression of the recordings to move listeners to do two things:
- Connect people (upward) to the God who created humans to be uniquely different.
- Connect people (outward) to one another in celebration and appreciation of our difference.
Our differences reflect the various aspects and dimensions of God who created, shaped, and formed us each individually and collectively as a diverse people. Alas, we hope this project brings honour to His name as we seek to love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and love our neighbours in this way.
Making Music That Matters
Creating music that reflects the diversity of God’s kingdom moves us closer to mirroring the description of honour and devotion (worship) found in heaven as described in Revelation 7:9:
After this I saw many people. No one could tell how many there were. There were from every nation and from every family and from every kind of people and from every language. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white clothes and they held branches in their hands.” (New Life Version)
Singing songs in different styles and languages communicate “I love you, I see you, and I stand with you” on a much deeper level beyond just saying it with words.”
Read more about Ethnos on their website: The Ethnos Project
A few days ago, The Missional Network and Forge Canada held a webinar on Leadership. It was called Exploring Leadership and it featured Martin Robinson and Cam Roxburgh. The idea was to explore what leadership might mean in a fast-changing world. Hundreds of people from many nations shared in this event. Below is a recording of the event.
News from churches
GLOBAL COMMUNITY CHURCH (GCC) Birmingham
Like the majority of churches, GCC has experimented with new forms of gatherings. Social media, for all of its faults, has provided a platform for our gatherings which has perfectly met our needs. We have seen an increase in our numbers as some people have returned to the weekly gatherings. This has been a real encouragement to those who have been keeping the ‘home fires burning’ for GCC.
The challenge of thinking through the ‘new normal’ has also seen leaders rise to the surface. This has been a very welcome development. Over the last two years we have been patiently allowing the church to adjust to life as a house church without pushing them. The Covid lock-down has provided the perfect time to challenge a few individuals to step forward and accept an increased level of influence. They already had this influence but had not been identified as leaders. Planning weekly gatherings, praying through the direction of the church and thinking about life post lock-down are our regular items for discussion.
Introducing David Fittro
We have completed our set of introductions to the Strategic Board and over the next few weeks we will profile the members of the National Council. This week it is the turn of David Fittro.
David and Teresa bring their extensive church-planting experience in England to serve as the directors of EQUIP Britain. As part of the CMF England team, they are involved in recruiting short-term workers from the U.S., Europe, ForMission College and the British Churches of Christ to work and train alongside British and ethnic church planters. David and Teresa also lead Global Community Church, which is an international church in Birmingham started by a family from Mizoram, India. This missional community also allows for support and worship for the EQUIP participants.
The Fittros previously planted a successful church in Northampton. They also developed a missional work among young people in the city of Nottingham which included partnerships with police, schools and the local community.
The Fittros are the parents of two children: Nathanael (1993), who serves in England with CMF, and Rachael Gidney (1995; married to Zach in 2019).
Till next week, Martin Robinson…