|Following the Government and Church of England Guidance we are stopping Kairos Gatherings and Communities, at least physically. We have also closed Resurrection Bikes and Westcliffe Hall to bookings. |
We are not stopping Kairos, worship or prayer! We are not stopping our efforts to share with everyone the good news that the Kingdom of God is near. We are not stopping loving God or building community. There has been lots of talk in the last few days of a new kind of church emerging. We have been exploring these things for a number of years. and are very grateful to God that the way He has been leading us to form relationships and build community could fit well with the situation we currently find ourselves in.
We appreciate that this is a challenging and worrying time and we want to make ourselves available to help. If there is anything we can do (e.g. pop to the shops for you, pick up a prescription, or just be available to chat + pray over the phone), then please just get in touch. We can’t promise we’ll be able to help in every situation, but we do promise to do our best. We will be checking the office phone and emails every day Mon – Fri, so you can contact us there: email@example.com, 01423 560558.
The next few weeks will be challenging for us, we will need to continue to find new forms for our love and worship. I am starting to have a number of conversations with Kairos Community Leaders about how we can do that well. We’ll also find ways that Kairos Kids and Blaze can connect and spend time together too. Kairos Network Church has an active presence. Our facebook and instagram pages are the best ways to keep up with what is going on.
“Though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.”
God bless you!
“One generation will tell your works to another.” Psalm 145
We are continuing to look at our third Rhythm of GRACE – Asking questions and telling stories. John McGinley, who came up with the idea of a rhythm of grace (great book here) describes this rhythm as recovering “the art of a loving conversation”. We do seem to have found ourselves in a world where there are many voices, emails, text messages that are issuing instructions: what to do, what to buy, how to live. There are far fewer that invite us into a conversation. I don’t know about you, but I find I am far more drawn to questions and stories than I am to instructions.
Asking questions and telling stories is about learning to use empathy and curiosity to have loving conversations with one another and with those around us; as we build these kind of conversations we will find we develop close friends and we will see those friends drawn to Jesus. A few weeks back I encouraged you to find ways to immerse yourself in God’s story. As we continue to do that, and also look to make good use of questions and stories in all our relationships, we will find that our ability to share God’s love with those around us will increase.
Let’s think for a moment about asking questions. How do we learn to practice loving curiosity? For a while our approach to discipleship has been based on questions. We ask one another “What is God saying and what am I going to do about it?” When we gather round the bible lots of us use the Discovery Bible Study Questions to increase the impact of God’s story on our lives. When we think about our own growth, or walking on a journey with people of peace we ask “What next Lord?” We know a bit about how to ask questions to develop disciples.
Practicing this rhythm starts with taking that same approach into all of our relationships and thinking of good questions that might open up conversation and friendship. It also means not asking a question and then rushing on to give an answer, but taking the time to listen, to pay attention to people, to learn what they are really saying.
A great way to take a next step with this rhythm is to start asking God questions about people in your life. Did you start praying for five people during Thy Kingdom Come? Why don’t you continue to pray for them and ask God:
“What do you love about this person?”
“What are you wanting to do in this person’s life?”
“How can I serve this person Lord?”
One of the things that I love to do in these weeks after Easter is read again the stories of the risen Jesus appearing to his disciples. In Luke 24 and John 20 and 21 we get to look in on conversations between Jesus, groups of his followers and individual friends after the resurrection.
Before Easter we had started thinking about our rhythm of Receiving and Releasing God’s presence (I’ll write a bit more on that again next week). As I’ve read the resurrection stories this year I’ve noticed four ways in which Jesus enables his friends to receive and release the news of his resurrection.
Surprise – the stories often have an element of shock, a sudden realisation. Mary doesn’t recognise Jesus at first. Thomas won’t accept he’s alive, the disciples on the road to Emmaus don’t realise Jesus is with them until just before he’s gone. This is quite normal – imagine the shock of realising Jesus is really with you after you had witnessed him die. This is shocking news!
Intimacy – Risen Jesus invites people close. Often there is touch involved, often he shares a meal. This isn’t a distant experience but an up-close intimate one. As he comes close with his friends Jesus does some deep work with them, helping them experience forgiveness, challenging them about their unbelief.
Belief – There comes a moment when we’re told these disciples believe. They accept Jesus is alive. Thomas, for example, declares – “My Lord and my God.”
Commission – Jesus gives these friends jobs to do. Mary is sent off to the others, Peter is called to “feed my sheep”, all the disciples are commissioned to go into all the world. I
imagine though these followers are still dazed and struggling to make sense of things; even so, Jesus hands out tasks and helps them become participants and leaders.
As we’ve been praying about growth and provision together I’ve found myself thinking about these four themes. I think God wants to work in us in these ways too.
Over the next 40 days between Easter and Pentecost we are going to be praying together for growth and provision for our Church. These are both areas where as a church, we want to see breakthrough.
The stories of Easter, Ascension and Pentecost remind us again and again that God brings breakthrough and does so through people like us. So I’d like to invite you to join in and pray for growth and provision every day. You can do this in your home, with communities and at our gatherings. Pray in whatever way you feel led, one of the simplest ways would be to say the two prayers below each day. As the 40 days go on I’m excited to see what God does in us and through us to answer these prayers.
Prayer for Growth
Father, you have called our church and communities to be places where people are being discipled, faith is growing and lives are being transformed. Give us greater increase and breakthrough every day, so that disciples are growing and multiplying. Amen.
‘Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.’ Matthew 13:8
Prayer for Provision
Lord, give us vision, strategy, strength and finance to do the work you’ve called us to. We are a family of joyful workers, and your harvest is huge! We won’t shrink back but trust you to give us all we need. Amen.
‘May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.’ Hebrews 13:21
It’s been great to talk with some of you about your experiences of blessing others. I’ve enjoyed hearing stories of encouraging texts, answers to prayer and blessing adventures.
One thing that a few people have said to me is that the simple discipline of blessing is actually quite hard. It’s tricky to remember to pray for someone each day. It’s sometimes tough to respond generously to people. It’s hard when we do something we think will be a blessing and it is not received as such by others. It can be challenging to keep practising generosity when we’re not sure about our own resources. To keep doing these things we will need to draw on God’s generosity.
All this moves us nicely onto our second Rhythm: Receive and Release. We want to be people who receive God’s presence in our everyday lives and who are able to share it with others. Jesus called his disciples to come to him and rest, and he sent them to go into all the world. If we want to be a blessing to others, we will need to learn how to let God bless us.
This second rhythm encourages us to make space in our lives to worship, pray and draw near to God. And it encourages us to share the things that God is saying and doing with others.
As we start to think about this rhythm consider this: Which things most help you encounter God in your day-to-day life? Is it prayer in the morning, reading your bible, worshiping with others? At the start of Lent how can you make sure you have space to receive from God each day and week? And how can you release what he is giving you to others?
We’re going to keep going deeper with our first rhythm, generous blessing.
This week I want us to try an experiment together that involves a challenge to declare and demonstrate blessing. Are you up for that? Good.
First of all, picture the network of relationships you are part of: friends, family members, colleagues and neighbours. Try and think of all the people you are in regular contact with. If it helps, write names out on a piece of paper and map the network out.
Now choose three people from that group that seem to get your attention.
The challenge is to go on a journey of blessing with them. There are two parts to that journey.
Part One – Speak Blessing
Pray a blessing over each of these people every day this week. By that I mean spend a little bit of time on your own declaring God’s love, goodness and care for them. Feel free to come up with your own words but if you are stuck why not use these words based on the blessing God taught Moses and the priests of Israel and say for each person in turn.
“Name, the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May you sense God looking towards you and giving you peace.”
Part Two – Be a Blessing
After you have prayed for each person ask God: How can I be a blessing to these people this week?
I’d love to hear what God does in you as you do this, and any stories of blessing encounters you end up with. I’d also love to hear what else is stirring in us as we engage with this rhythm…if you have a story, let me know so we can encourage each other.
After a robust and challenging process we, as reps for Kairos Network Church, have the pleasure of announcing that Ben Askew has been appointed new Pioneer Minister. At the start of this new season for us we pray for courage and unity across all gatherings that form Kairos Church. Please be praying for the Askews; Ben, Helen, Callum and Bethan, as they enter a new phase of their life and ministry, for the church Vision Team, Trustees and Resource Base as they embed new leadership. We want to reassure you that we have reached this decision with the full confidence that God has a good and prosperous plan for this Church and for Harrogate.
The Church leadership want to thank you for your love and prayers over this period of vacancy and we pray we can move ahead into all the new plans God has for us. There is both excitement and challenge to be found in periods of change and we want to encourage you to be honest and gracious about these experiences.
As St Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesus: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
The licensing of Ben will take place here on the 10th April, details to be announced.
Sarah Allison and Clive Dresner – Church Representatives
Meanwhile, the Askews have sent the following message:
We are so delighted to be the given the privilege of leading Kairos. We love all of you and are looking forward to (re)joining and leading the church.
Over the last few months we have been taking some time out to visit other innovative churches and learn a bit more about what God is doing around the North right now. We’ll share some of that with you in the future but if you’d like a cheeky preview then go have a look at Ben’s blog: askewben.wordpress.com.
Over the next month or so we will be getting the house on Harlow Oval ready and moving. Do feel free to say hello, we may even hand you a paint brush! We’ll be back at Kairos after Ben’s licensing and will want to listen to you and to God together, to find out what has been going on over the last term and to set a course for the next stage of the Kairos journey.
This is one of the verses that has kept coming to mind as we’ve been praying for you.
“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.” Ephesians 3: 20 + 21
God loves this church! He is proud of you and he has many more exciting adventures for Kairos.
See you soon! Love Ben, Helen, Callum and Bethan.
We believe in training and releasing leaders!
As we approach the summer holidays, we are already planning the leaders‘ programme for the Autumn and Spring. This newsletter contains some key dates for your diary. To help put these dates and events into context, I’ve attached a reminder of our training approach for leaders that we believe is lightweight but robust, and is made up of four key elements.
1. Huddle. A monthly commitment of 1.5 hours where we look at issues of discipleship, leadership and life. This is the key forum we have to keep connected and be a place where you get to chew over the values and tools we use as a church, apply them to your own life and get sharpened in leadership and mission. The commitment is to the huddle leader, to the other huddle members (if you’re not there others miss out!) and to a life of discipleship. Please do make sure you’re prioritising this commitment as much as possible.
2. Community of Practice. A twice-yearly Friday evening/Saturday daytime for MSC Leaders where we get a chance to stop, take notice and reflect on how our MSC is going; what God might be saying about future direction and then to plan for the next 6 months. We try to plan these dates to give you enough notice about when the next one is so you can aim to be there.
3. Leaders‘ training evenings. These usually happen once a term and are designed to give us a little boost in-between the Community of Practice to keep us effective as missional leaders.
4. MSC Coaches. All MSCs have a coach who is there to offer 1-1 support and encouragement to each MSC. They are available however often you wish to meet with them but we recommend having a chat with them at least once a term. They can visit you at a core team meeting or just pop along to an MSC gathering to join in.
If you’ve not managed to make it to your huddle very much recently, then now is a great time to ensure that you prioritize these from the Autumn. We don’t want you to miss out on the training that is there for all leaders. If you are having trouble committing to the day or time of your current huddle, then have a chat to your huddle leader, as we may be making some changes to the days and times next term. We want to make this work as well as possible for everyone.
Thank you for all you do, we really appreciate you. Kairos just wouldn’t exist without you!! We recognise that not all of you are leading a specific thing within Kairos, some of you are leading in other contexts but we want to invest in and release leaders in all sorts of settings – if you have any ideas of how we could do that better please let us know!
Helen and Chris