The Rabbit and The Elephant

I mentioned this book in my last post (which was a while ago now) I’m about half way through and it is encouraging and challenging. It’s got some very practical ideas about how to develop ‘simple church’ and one of which is regarding bible study and I’ve typed up a passage below to stimulate thinking and hopefully discussion!

Over the years, we have come back repeatedly to two or three different patterns of bible study. The method is not the vital issue, but what is important is that the method leads to participatory discussion.

The pattern that we use to teach most often is based on three symbols: a question mark, a lightbulb and an arrow. We begin with a passage of Scripture, and one person in the group reads aloud a verse or a sentence. Occasionally (for example, with one of the parables or a gospel story), it may be appropriate to read the whole passage before going back to explore it verse by verse. The group then looks for things that correspond to the symbols. The question mark obviously signifies something we don’t understand. A person might say, “I have a question mark on this verse. What does it mean when it says…?”

The lightbulb is used to represent something that sheds light on that passage of Scripture or something going on in a person’s life. So one person in the group might say, “I have a lightbulb on this verse. This describes a situation that happened to me at work last week…”

The arrow represents God piercing a person’s heart – he or she has heard from God and needs to do something about it. A participant in the group might say, “God has been speaking to me about this for a while, but I’ve been ignoring it. I’m going to have to change….This is an arrow for me!” Or, “I’ve just realised from this verse that God wants me to…”

Once a verse or a thought has been covered, then we move on to the next one.
We have frequently used this method to start churches, especially when working with unbelievers. With our group of not-yet-Christian business people, we studied the book of Proverbs in this fashion, looking at principles relating to business and wealth. Although it began as a business-focused study, over time, every person in the group became a Christian! The seed of the Kingdom is the Word of God, which is living and active and life changing (Luke 8:11; Hebrews 4:12)

Another pattern we use in simple church is to read a verse and then ask everyone to comment on it, answering three questions: What does it say? What does it mean? What difference does it make in my life? We used this pattern with a group of new believers in a low-income housing project…..It is also important that people pass on what they are learning to others: “Who do you know who needs to hear what we have just discussed? Share with them about this over the next few days and let us know next week how it went.”


Why Church Planting Movements Don’t Happen in Christianized Lands – So Far

It’s not exactly the snappiest title but Floyd McClung has written a great article on this subject here It again throws out the challenge of how we create a reproducible and simple Church.

Continuing the Simple Church theme I came across this review of   The Rabbit and the Elephant 978-1-4143-2553-8that may also provide some encouragement for us as we press on Following God’s Call to Adventurous Living!

Emerging Churches

I was recently reminded of the  headings in Eddie Gibbs & Ryan Bolgers book Emerging Churches of the trends that they saw developing in Churches that were seeking to engage more relevantly with those who don’t got to Church. I’m not going to comment on the headings just list them, however if you’re interested in finding out more I’d recommend the book – and if I knew who’d borrowed my copy I’d be happy to lend it out…

Identifying with Jesus

Transforming Secular Space

Living as Community

Welcoming the Stranger

Serving with Generosity

Participating as Producers

Creating as Created Beings

Leading as A Body

Merging Ancient and Contemporary Spiritualities

Weekly Round Up

Not much to review this week however I was quite heartened by a couple of articles from Christine Sine about the spiritual lessons from gardening including her long awaited book Gardening with God and How do we build healthy Disciples?. If any of you are feeling your spiritual life needs some help maybe you should join us down the allotment alternatively if you want to pay for me to go out to her course in Seattle let me know!

Also on the Mustard Seed associates site is this inspiring story of a micro business in Brazil From Grease to Gospel it’s well worth a watch.

I don’t know if you’ve had any discussions about the God Delusion or other recent humanist and atheist publications. At school at the moment we’ve got quite an interesting creation/evolution debate going on.

I recently came across some articles by Melanie Philips writing in the Spectator about Creation & Intelligent design here and here I’m not a regular reader of the Spectator and she obviously comes with her own political outlook however she raises some interesting arguments and she’s also written this article about Richard Dawkins The truth delusion of Richard Dawkins

If you’re interested in this subject you might want to read the book Atheist Delusions that Jason Clarke reviews

Fun in the Sun

This is  a post just to link to the campsite that we’re hoping to visit in August and to James & Rachel’s new surf business that we want to make the most of while we’re there!

Interesting Articles

Just a quick round up of a few articles that I’ve founded interesting. First let’s hear it for George who has been quoted on the Times newspapers website. Actually he’s been quoted by Ruth Gledhill the religious correspondent in her blog quoting Andrew White Vicar of Baghdad, who was quoting J John, who was using research from his current number one researcher Georgey. To see the article head here and read to the bottom.

I’ve mentioned Floyd McClung before and enjoyed this article about leadership.

The Divine Commodity is a new book by Skye Jethani that’s creating a stir in the Christian blogosphere as its subtitle is “Discovering a faith beyond consumer Christianity”. I haven’t read it yet but as part of the publicity tour (oops isn’t that a bit consumption driven) he visited a number of blogs and interacted with various Christian leaders Alan Hirsch has a load of links to the tour here.  I enjoyed reading Neil Cole’s interaction to the tour here.

Todd Hunter has written a thought here about Christianity from the Margins,that’s quite encouraging when you look at what we’re doing with ENC.

Finally a couple of slightly more controversial posts about worship here and here. I think they ask some important questions and would particularly want the challenge of creativity in our worship to be something we take seriously.

Resource Websites

A couple of websites with links to free resources about Church planting, leadership and mentoring. A lot of Mike Breen’s resources can be found on the 3dministries website. Another resource packed website is the Shapevine website, do have a browse of both if you have time.