Seeds and embers

By Andy O'Connell

At last night's student night and Bunch combined prayer evening it was a privilege to hear from Jack (an overseas worker, sent and supported by OCC) about his team's work in Central Africa, with the Muslim refugee tribe they are seeking to connect with and serve. Alongside schooling and home-schooling their 4 children, Jack and Claire lead a team of 10 committed to learning the local tribal language, developing a dictionary, developing media in the local language, Bible translation, and drilling water wells.

Balls of fire!?

By Andy O'Connell

Last Sunday, former student Adam Walton, who is moving on work with YWAM, mentioned a prophetic word about 'balls of fire'. What was all that about, I hear some of you asking!?

The prophetic words that God gives us as we pray and seek him is an important part of catching a vision of what is on his agenda for us. Biblically, God speaks through dreams, visions, pictures, and men and women of God. As we have met together, over the years, to pray for Oxford, God has given us a number of these prophetic pointers, which we  weigh together.

Introducing: Sam Saunderson

By Sam Saunderson

Hello, I am Sam Saunderson and I have just started as the new OCC apprentice, following on from Jo last year. I have been a part of the OCC community for the last 3 years as a student studying History at St John’s College. 

Six guests and no theories!

By Andy O'Connell

The old quip goes: “Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children. Now I have six children – and no theories.” The point being made is that every child is an individual. A good parent listens, and then considers the right response to that child and their questions. There is no one system or approach.

Church: for the world, not (just) our parish

By Andy O'Connell

A quick read of the New Testament shows us a picture of a mobile and dynamic church. A church committed to each other, but also to making an impact in their towns and cities, and to the task of reaching the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. 

Church: a Spirit-filled community, not (just) organised

By Andy O'Connell

When I started full-time employment in Oxfordshire Community Churches in 1995, I was taken on as effectively an Operations Director (although we didn't use that term then). We talked instead about the gift of 'steersman' or 'pilot' - a word with nautical roots that appears in 1 Co 12.28 and is variously translated leadership, administration, guidance and governing.

Church: a place to belong, not (just) attend

By Andy O'Connell and Elizabeth Clayton

The idea of belonging to a church - or any other organisation for that matter - is increasingly alien in the world today. Tim Keller tweets: "Everyone says they want community and friendship. But mention accountability or commitment to people, and they run the other way." Krish Kandiah discerns a movement "towards a more eclectic individualistic spirituality.”

Why then does OCC hold to a habit of 'formal church membership'?

Church: a family, not (just) an event

By Andy O'Connell

Recently I came across this tweet, which could sum up pretty much all that needs saying on this topic: "Church is a Spirit-filled family, not a weekly experience."

Assistant Pastor Sanjay Mahtani often puts it this way: "OCC: Community is our middle name!" And I can sometimes be heard to complain, "We don't go to church, we are the church!"

Church: a community for others, not (just) for me

By Andy O'Connell

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to one of the leaders in our sister church Lifehouse (Bicester and Banbury) about the opportunities presented in Bicester as the town undergoes planned growth from 30,000 to 80,000 people, with 18,500 new jobs, by 2031.

We were talking about the sort of church we needed to be to respond to what God was doing in the town. In our conversation one phrase stood out starkly: "A church for those not yet there." 

Church: a place of growth, not (just) a place of worship

By Andy O'Connell

A few years back I was talking to a friend about a particular city in the UK. We both knew undergraduate students in this city, and we were lamenting the lack of churches who were willing to nurture, train and disciple students. While churches in the city were happy for students to serve on rotas, there was a 'glass ceiling' in terms of their development as disciples and as leader.