Volume 1 – Issue 21

“The crucified God as personified in Jesus revealed that God is always on the side of suffering wherever it is found…”

Richard Rohr

It’s good to talk!

Many people, both leaders and members of congregations tell us that there are more opportunities to talk to those outside of the church than ever before. The pandemic has at least been a blessing in bringing us into contact with many people that we would not normally speak to.

Strange to say, it’s not always easy to have those kinds of conversations. Some of us are naturally able to talk to others, but of course, conversation is about more than talking. Others of us are a bit more reticent to begin a conversation with someone who we don’t really know.

The organisation, Together for the Common Good, has produced a resource to help every church member to take advantage of the opportunities that come our way. It’s a simple but effective set of suggestions which you can read below.


People often ask, if there is one thing I can do, what would it be? Well, if you want to build the Common Good, try to have a one-to-one conversation at least a couple of times a week.



We believe the Common Good happens when we cultivate relationships of mutual respect across our differences.

Any type of friendly conversation is valuable to start with. But an intentional one-to-one has the potential to lead to transformative relationships.

This kind of conversation is a different from a meeting with an agenda or a goal to get something. Instead, we meet with people we don’t normally encounter, especially those who may be excluded.

It might require you to hear different viewpoints from those you are used to. but when we do this we begin to overcome polarisation and estrangement. Relationships like this help to immunise against tribalism and make us less vulnerable to ideologies.

The tendency of political correctness has a counter-productive effect of causing people to self-censor, which can lead to resentment and entrenchment. Echo chambers are a barrier to building the Common Good which relies on our freedom to think and express.

Our conversations need to be places where people feel able to talk about difficult things. Rather than starting with where you think people should be, you start where people are.

Above all, you listen. You have the humility to listen first. If you are a person of faith, allow yourself to be moved by the privilege of being with another human being made in the image of God, knowing that God is present in all things.

When you have the honour of hearing someone’s story, you receive a gift and they find recognition. This is a simple and powerful way in which human beings find meaning.



Look around your neighbourhood and workplace

  • •  Who don’t you know?
  • •  Who in your community is excluded?
  • •  Who potentially knows things that are in your blind spot?
  • •  How many people do you know from a different background or with a different viewpoint or educational experience?
  • •  Who is part of a community or institution you would like to build links with?

Set up a conversation with someone you would like to meet

  • •  Suggest meeting up for tea or coffee, agree a place and time
  • •  Choose an informal setting where you both feel comfortable (such as a quiet café)
  • •  Keep the conversation to under an hour, being mindful of the tried and tested guidelines over the page


  • An interview or a chat Prying
  • You talking too much
  • Selling a product or an idea
  • To show off
  • To make your points
  • To recruit for your campaign or project
  • To gather more followers Let’s plant these bulbs! To impose your great idea
  • Cut to the chase – get them to do something or extract information
  • Where one person dominates Is driving towards a conclusion


  • A focused conversation
  • To hear each other’s stories and to understand each other’s different interests
  • 70% Listening
  • To find areas of mutual interest or concern
  • To share your story, your vulnerability, to tell the truth
  • To receive the gift of the other
  • To share what you are involved with, saying how others can get involved, being open to new people and insights
  • To give respect and foster potential for leadership “I love this place”
  • To build your experience and learn about your community
  • About patience, waiting to hear what someone wants to do that is meaningful for them. Trust that a way forward will come.
  • About reciprocity and sharing
  • A conversation that ends with gratitude and agreement to stay in touch and any steps for shared purpose


You may find that something emerges in the one-to-one conversation which you want to pursue, however first and foremost feel the sense of gratitude for the opportunity to connect and to learn from each other. Stay in touch and see what happens.

You may find the seeds of your conversation bear fruit in subsequent weeks and months. Or, you may straightaway see something you can do now, or you may arrange to meet again, or meet with others, or perhaps take steps together to foster a relationship that has become estranged. You may want to meet again for another one-to-one in a few months.

If those involved have a shared faith, it is good to pray together briefly at the end, asking for God’s blessing on each other. If not, be sensitive and express gratitude for the time together.

It may take time, but have faith, things will grow when you step forward in this way.



You may recognise the ‘one-to-one’ from community organising ….although our purpose is different, we draw from the same roots

You may like to read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Without meaning, human beings find it difficult to thrive: Frankl observed that even if people’s preservation needs are taken care of, life can be meaningless

See also Matthew 4.4

Explore Common Good Thinking and find out more at

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© T4CG 2019 Resource Sheet #1 02/19



Resources recommended by Rowheath Pavilion ministry team

The ministry team at Rowheath Pavilion Church recently shared the following information with their congregation. The short videos from Fuller, introducing some of the books of the Bible are particularly good. Great as discussion starters for small groups – even on Zoom. We share it more widely with you…

Couple of resources below to help your faith to be encouraged.  (you need to be quick with the first resource as it runs out soon.)

Firstly, Radio 4 Sunday Worship released on 9th August so you’ve only got a couple of weeks to listen to this. The theme is the cross and black liberation which is so important as we continue to think about Black Lives Matter. Whilst the message of the cross relates to black liberation the themes of suffering and reconciliation impact all areas of life. If you want to be reminded or deepened in your understanding of the cross, then this message will certainly help your faith so please do have a listen. The worship is powerful and uplifting too! 


Secondly, below is a really helpful resource if you want an introduction to each of the books of the Bible. Short presentations, wise teaching from Fuller Theological Seminary and can be used on your own or in small groups. 


Reaching out to Indian friends

FCC has strong links with local churches in India. One of the churches that hosted the World Convention of Churches of Christ a few years ago, is a large congregation – several thousand people, who are active in church planting. The leader is Dr Ajai Lall. They produce a wonderful weekly worship service in Hindi – the main language for those who live in North India.

Perhaps you know of people whose first language is Hindi. You can share this resource with them. People can watch good quality worship in Hindi and also receive sound Bible teaching from a great communicator. Even if you don’t speak Hindi yourself, you might enjoy experiencing what one of our Indian congregations looks like and sounds like.

This resource is reaching 800,000 people every week in India.

Here is the link to Hindi Church Online:



Introducing Sami Asgodom

Continuing our series on introducing members of the National Council, this week we feature Sami Asgodom. Sami is a Pastor with Rhema Faith ministries. The mother congregation is based in Birmingham and is a member of FCC. Rhema is active in church planting both in the UK and in other lands. Sami is married with two children. He studied at ForMission College (Springdale at the time) and was awarded a B.Th in Theology and Mission.

Till next week, Martin Robinson…

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