About Ben Askew
Posts by Ben Askew:
It’s not your job or my job to make new Christians. It’s none of our jobs to ensure that Kairos or your MSCs grow. Paul explained this when he was reflecting on the work of the Gospel in Corinth. “I planted”, he says, “Appollos watered, but God brings the growth.”
God brings the growth. He brings people to faith, he blesses groups with extra people, he deepens his work in lives. He is really good at it too! He has been doing it successfully for a number of years, he even managed to save you.
But good as he is, he invites you to participate. That is pretty cool: the church growth master, the discipleship expert invite you to play. He makes space for you to plant and water.
Plant – How can you bless people around you? Who can you tell about your story – why are you still a Christian, what is God doing in your life? Who could you offer to pray for (my experience is people love it when you do this). How could you connect with more people and see something started.
Water – Who is leaning in to you and paying attention to Jesus through you. How could you take that further: Bring them to a gathering? Invite them to your MSC? Encourage them to do alpha?
The pressure’s off, God brings the growth.
The opportunity is open, how can you plant and water?
We’ve celebrated and rested over Christmas, we’ve launched into the year with 3 days of prayer and now here we are, in 2017. As we’ve prepared, partied and prayed over the last few weeks I’ve become increasingly convinced that God has things he wants to teach us about identity.
Who is God? Who are we becoming? These are questions I think we should be seeking answers for right now. Not because we are completely uncertain about our identity or our calling, but because God wants to deepen our certainty, renew our purpose, inspire us for more.
Who is God? What is the Father really like – the God we can’t see but are shown perfectly in Jesus? How would a greater revelation of God’s love and power affect the way we saw ourselves, affect the pressures and plans we put on our lives? Over the last year I’ve learned this summary of God’s nature from some other people planting communities of discipleship and mission. It’s called the 4Gs.
God is great, so we don’t have to be in control.
God is good, so we don’t have to look elsewhere for satisfaction.
God is glorious, so we don’t have to fear others.
God is gracious, so we don’t have to prove ourselves.
Perhaps there is one of those phrases that the Lord particularly wants to do some work on with you right now. I believe God has much more to show us about this question of identity. Over the next term our preaching at central gatherings will be digging deep into this whole theme.
We find the answer to every question about identity as we look at Jesus. He is the one who reveals God to us, he also shows us what we can become. We are communities of followers committed to his mission. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Let’s get together in gatherings and communities to seek Jesus. Let’s keep sharing Jesus with as many people as will listen!
You can find out a little more about the 4Gs here.
Happy New Year! We are increasing the amount of time we gather as a church to worship and pray in 2017.
From the 4th -6th January there will be prayer at 7am, 9am, 12noon, 4pm and 8pm each day. Do join us for Launch Week! We’ll finish the three days with prayer from 8pm – midnight on the 6th.
We are also increasing our Central Gatherings to 2 a month. In January these will be on the 8th and 22nd, in the following months they will be on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month.
Of course you can also join us for 9am Communion every week, at our Ups once a month (29th in Jan then the 4th Sunday from then on) or for 9am and 12noon prayers Monday to Friday each week.
You can find out more about our Gatherings, and the other things we do as a church, here.
I’m now a few weeks into my new role, leading MSC development at Kairos. It has obviously not been the start to the new role I’d expected. Nevertheless, it is great to be working with a team of other leaders who are committed to living out the Kairos vision and values. I have been struck several times by the encouragement we have received from others to press on with the vision of making disciples who make disciples in a community of communities. It has been good to see how we have done this in both our gathered and scattered modes of meeting over the last few weeks.
One of the ways in which we live out being disciples who make disciples is looking out for our people of peace; those who welcome us, appear willing to share life with us and are open to the Kingdom. These are the people that Jesus encouraged His disciples to spend time with. When Jesus sends his disciples out to the surrounding towns, part of his instructions are, “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.”( Luke 10:5-7). In the same way Jesus is willing to let people go who are not ready to hear what he has to say or to follow him. This is clear in the way in which Jesus allows the rich young ruler to walk away. (Mark 10:17-27).
We all have connections with different people, sometimes we find it difficult to know which of these are our people of peace and to move on from natural to spiritual conversations. However, doing this will often help us to discover if someone is in fact a person of peace. A couple of Sundays back we saw our Christmas publicity for the first time – the cards look fabulous if you haven’t seen one yet, there are plenty at the resource base so do grab some. They are a way to invite people into our Christmas activities, but I think they can also be used to help us to move our conversations on from the natural to spiritual level. I know this is how we plan to use them within the context of LINKS and I would encourage you to do the same in your context. I’m praying for some significant conversations over the next few weeks that enable us to identify our people of peace and encourage them to make steps into a discipleship journey.
It was brilliant to be able to welcome Bishop James to The Feast, our annual birthday celebration, yesterday.
Here is his sermon, he was speaking on Nehemiah 2: 1 – 10.