Salt Live Event: Is Faith Irrational?

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In a secular age, many regard faith as an irrational leap in the dark. Religion is increasingly seen as out of place in public life, and often exiled to the private domain. So, while many might think of themselves as ‘spiritual’ it is often viewed as eccentric to hold strong religious beliefs. But can we so easily dismiss religion?

Our next Salt Live event (on 29th November) aims to tackle these kinds of questions in a relaxed and informal environment. You are very welcome to come and enjoy a beer or a glass of wine, hear a talk, and engage with the subject in open Q&A.

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Our speaker, Dr Tanya Walker, is the Dean of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, and an Apologist for RZIM (Zacharias Trust).  Having completed her undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Christ Church, Oxford University, Tanya worked in various political roles before returning to postgraduate research.  She holds an MA in Near and Middle Eastern (Islamic) Studies, and a Political Science PhD.  Tanya speaks internationally addressing questions around faith, philosophy, and life.

When? Wednesday 29th November, 7.30pm
Where? 
Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, SE1 9NH

Link to the Facebook event page
Link to the Eventbrite event page

School of Faith

On Wednesday 25th we are starting a new School of Faith course. It is three weeks long, hosted in a home in Pimlico. The course is aimed at those who want to explore some of the basics of the faith, with questions like Who is God? What do Christians believe? How can I have faith? Jeremy Moses will be leading the course, and each week will begin with a meal leading into discussion.

Are you interested in going, or in bringing a friend? Contact Jeremy directly.

When? 7.30pm on Wednesday 25th Oct, 1st Nov, and 8th Nov
Where? Pimlico

Leadership at Grace London

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I gave a pretty big announcement on Sunday, and I’m sure that not everyone heard it, so what follows is the gist of what I said.

When does a church plant become a church? I believe it is when elders have been appointed (or ‘ordained’) through prayer, and given responsibility to shepherd the church. 

After Paul and Barnabas had finished their first missionary journey, they made a return visit to some of the young church plants and Luke tells us:

When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconic and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14.21-23)

Similarly, after Paul had planted some churches on the island of Crete he had to leave before the job was done. But he left his protégé, Titus, to complete the work, telling him:

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you… (Titus 1.5)

Elders are massively important to church life, because of their function as pastor-shepherds. They exercise a kind of fatherly role, making sure things are healthy in the church. A lot of people have summed up their role as Guard, Guide, a Govern. They guard, which means they are concerned to protect the church from harm and make sure the teaching is on point. They guide, which means they are always listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit and seeking to obey him as they set a direction for the church. And they govern, which means they make sure things are run skilfully and everyone in the church is given opportunity to serve.

So, how are we going to get elders at Grace? The first step is to form a kind of proto-leadership team, seeking to work with some guys to figure out if they are called and gifted for eldership. The second step will then be to call in some help from our wider family in Advance to help assess our guys, and ultimately (God-willing) pray them into service.

As of last week a team has been formed. They are myself, Danny Hutton, Eugene Chiam, Luke Boardman, and Jeremy Moses. I have huge respect for each of these guys, and consider them to be among the best men I’ve ever known. 

This team is not set in stone. It is possible that at any point one of these guys might step down, or another may join (or three others, for that matter). Neither does it necessarily mean that all five would be appointed elders at the same time. But it’s a start, and as such it’s one of the most important things that’s happened in the life of this young church.

What can you do? Please pray for this team to grow in love and wisdom, godliness and Spirit-filled anointing for the task. And please also offer these men the respect and honour that leadership ought to hold as they seek to serve the church with their time and talents.

No More Sermon Notes, I'm Afraid

'Headphones' by Jake Bellucci, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jakescreations/69953132/

'Headphones' by Jake Bellucci, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jakescreations/69953132/

For the first 16 months of Grace I have been spending time on Mondays typing up the gist of what I preached the day before and posting these written summaries. The main purpose was to help our parents, who often could not listen to the message because of fidgety little ones. Now that we have our podcast reliably updated, I no longer see a need to write up these sermon notes. We may get back to something like this in the future, but no promises.