Archive for December, 2009

Change is Here to Stay

December 1st, 2009

As I think back over our history together as a church, two things have always remained constant: JESUS and CHANGE. Jesus, who is the head of the church, continues to grow his church… and more people mean more changes! These changes come in all kinds of different ways. They come in the form of new Christians, new leadership, new facilities, new strategies and new mission opportunities. Although the growth can certainly be challenging at times, it’s a good thing that forces us to rely more closely on Jesus and his leading.
Over the last year it’s fair to say we’ve seen more change than usual. Among other things, we’ve moved to two meetings on a Sunday, started a new Alpha Course in Bearwood, launched a Life Group for Senior Citizens and taken on two new members of staff (Russ and Steve)! And then, of course, from 17th January we’ll be meeting every Sunday in both Lordswood Boys’ School (at 9.45am) and King Edward’s (at 11.15am). When we take a step back and look at all that’s going on it becomes apparent that Jesus is doing something quite remarkable. Churchcentral is definitely an exciting place to be at the moment!
As we look forward to the busy Christmas programme, let’s do so with a growing sense of faith and expectation. We’ve got two Carol Services (on the 6th and 20th December) and once again we’re joining forces with other churches in Birmingham for the Carols in the City event in the middle of the city centre (on 12th December). These are going to be fantastic Jesus-centred events… who knows what they will lead to?!!?

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Olly Thorp

December 1st, 2009

CP: How are you involved in 61:4?

OT: In August I started full-time work with a Salvation Army team as part of what’s called a ‘61:4 Project’. Having worked part-time for the project for eighteen months beforehand, it has been an exciting step to be fully immersed in the vision and the work there.

CP: Tell us more about 61:4 and the vision behind it?

OT: There are a number of 61:4 projects throughout the country and in fact the world. The vision comes from the scripture in Isaiah chapter 61 verse 4:

‘They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.’

In basic terms, those involved look to take on a lifestyle through which they work to live out lives in the community that are Christ-like, accessible and relevant to those around them. By living this way and contributing to change in the community, we hope to see the good news of Jesus spread through action as well as through word.

CP: So what does the Aston project do?

OT: The project in Aston is essentially a youth provision looking to support the local community through open youth groups, a mentoring scheme, support to local schools, running holiday schemes, sports teams, residentials and community days. This is part of the broader incarnational lifestyle vision through which we look to serve the entire community.

CP: What effect have you seen this project have?

OT: Much of the effect that a project like this has, especially in terms of youth and children’s work, will often only be seen in the long term. The day by day influence on people’s lives means gradual  change and sometimes a retracing of those steps many times over. God’s provision has meant that we have been able to get to know a huge variety of people from the community and have seen some  of those develop and grow deeper in their relationships with Jesus. We are passionate and excited about this continuing and seeing God transform this community into one of His image.

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Feature: Totzcentral and Creche

December 1st, 2009

Totzcentral forms part of our Sunday morning programme for 2½ – 4 year olds. Our aim is for these children to discover God’s love for them, know they are part of God’s family and get to know Jesus for themselves. We also want them to have loads of fun! Each Sunday is themed, with craft activities, singing, reading a bible story – or maybe acting it out! We pray and play games based on the theme too. Earlier this term we all had fun learning about Noah’s Ark and made elephants out of plastic milk bottles, cardboard arks and binoculars.

Younger children are also made very welcome at Churchcentral and parents can accompany their children younger than 2½ to Totzcentral where there are age appropriate toys for them to play with. They can watch the older children and even join in with parents’ help. Alternatively, there is a TV/Quiet Room where parents can take their younger children and still be able to listen to the talk via video link while the children play.

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Feature: Kidzcentral

December 1st, 2009

How many cabbages do you reckon you could hold? Could you lasso the lion and return him safely to the cage? Have you ever drawn in brown sauce with your nose or made an elephant from a plastic milk bottle? More to the point, where do all these activities take place …and why!? The rumours are that the Kidzcentral and Totzcentral teams know, so Central Point went to find out more.

Yes, it’s true! Sunday mornings at Kidzcentral are where at least some of these surreal activities are taking place. This term the kids from Reception to Year 6 have been following the adventures of Daniel and his friends as they join the King’s elite team, interpret dreams, are saved miraculously by God from certain death in the fiery furnace, and much, much more. What amazing exploits these guys had! Our morning in Kidzcentral kicks off with a lively time of singing worship to God. The children will often pray their thanks and praise in between the songs, and a fair bit of dancing and air guitar takes place while we sing! There is plenty of opportunity for fun and mess in the ‘Challenges’ section of the morning, and then we explore the bible stories in our ‘Know What?’ slot. We also want to learn how the bible relates to our lives and so our brilliant team uses games, drama, stories and real life examples in the ‘So What?!’ time of the morning to bring the meaning of the stories alive. ‘Now What?’ gives us time in groups to pray for each other, talk about the bible story or about how they are doing at home or school right now. Add into the morning the hotly contested Star of the Week and the Hot Seat prizes and it’s a fun and power-filled hour.

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