During the panel on 4 June 2023, 33 questions were asked. We were only able to answer a few in the session, and committed to give brief written answers to the questions here. Similar or overlapping questions have been combined for brevity.
In previous blogs I noted some of the really straightforward learnings from my recent trip to Bethel, as well as the first two challenges (risk-taking, and fivefold leadership) that I've had to process more.
Imagine the whole of The King's Centre alive with expectation, worship and art! That's the scale of the healing rooms at Bethel Church that run each Saturday morning. Prayer teams arrive early. They were already expectant and joyful to be there from the off. No one needed to drive the pre-event prayer meeting, but everyone knew how to engage with the Holy Spirit and get in step with him for what he wanted to do that day.
This was my first team trip to Bethel. I hadn't been in the team that visited in September 2022, but had many conversations with those who had been, and so I was expectant! As I've said before, such visits to other churches are really important for those of us that work in pastoral leadership roles - they keep us fresh and learning, and provide space for personal refreshing and encounter with God.
On Sunday 26th March, we had the second of our vision evenings. You can listen to the recording of the evening here.
We started off spending time reflecting on the feedback received from the first vision evening, where we reflected on three areas: our vision of 'Boundless Renewal', our community groups, and becoming a more intercultural church.
Proverbs 23:23 counsels us to "Buy the truth, don't sell it". This phrase has long been a principle in our family of churches, reminding us that we don't know everything; we are all learning; and we need to keep finding fresh wisdom for our churches as we seek to bring God's saving message to a fast-changing world. This posture leads us to welcome regular guest speakers, send leaders (staff and volunteers) to external conferences, as well as hosting conferences and training in-house. That's healthy for us.
Over the last few decades (mostly in my life as an adult Christian) there has been a radical and exciting transformation in church worship. The 1960s and '70s saw a move of the Holy Spirit renewing individuals, that led to a renewal of the forms of gathered worship. Expressed as it would have been in the language of the time: "the dry wineskins of formal religion were insufficient to accommodate the new life of the Spirit!"
Last night we had the first of 2 vision evenings. You can listen to the recording of the evening here.