Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Elders & deacons @ RFC

God's Kingdom is advancing.

Acts 14v21-23 records how Paul & Barnabus established elders in newly planted churches. The elders were both local (chosen from within the congregation) and plural (not ‘one pastor for one church’). As a church matures, two distinct leadership gifts emerge that work closely together & complement each other (Phil 1v1):

Elders: are a team of men who are set apart by God to shepherd the church, the bible refers to these men as bishops / overseers / elders / pastors. They have a biblical qualification as outlined in 1Tim3v1-7 and Titus 1v6-9.  Broadly speaking they govern, teach & guard the doctrine that the church holds to (Doctrine); they shepherd the church in the direction that God is leading them (Direction); they seek to ‘discipline in love’ wayward church members to win them back to repentance and restoration (Disciple); and they seek to display Jesus, the Good shepherd (Display).

Deacons: are a team of men and women who are set apart by God to serve alongside the elders to lead areas & ministries of church life. They also have a biblical qualification as set out in 1Tim 3v8-13, the primary qualifications centre on character and ability to carry ministry responsibility. It is important to equally honour the biblical office of deacon, as it is to honour the biblical office of elder. Whilst elder’s duties are universally constant in every church (govern & shepherd), deacon’s duties vary according to the needs of local churches.

These qualifications protect the church from the incompetent, the morally unfit, the deluded and the evildoers.

It is worth reminding ourselves that Jesus is the head of this church, not the elders or deacons. As Jesus advances His Kingdom, He gives his gifts of grace to His church … some to be apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers & evangelists.

Jesus’ flock at RFC is growing and we want to ensure they are guarded, fed, cared for and led well. Therefore, we are formally asking all at RFC to prayerfully consider if God is raising up more elders & deacons.

So over the next two months, please spend time prayerfully considering, then proposing futures elders and future deacons.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Movember

I'm 48 and have never grown a moustache... mainly because I think it would make me look ridiculous.

Anyways, Movember seems a good time to prove this theory with a bunch of guys at church.

To help bear the ridicule, I am trying to raise £100 to help mens health ... if you would like to donate, follow this link http://mobro.co/seangreenrfc

Liz and the kids find it all very amusing, I suspect there going to be a lot of laughter in our home over the coming weeks.


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Kids Church 2 weekend away

Our church is wonderfully served by our children workers... Last weekend they took those in school years 4 - 7 to Rushall Farm and this morning I received this feedback from one of the leaders:

We had a great weekend away with KC2 and the year 7 kids at Rushall Farm.  Highlights for me were

  • Creation of a new breed of "tree men" by the older boys.  Just in case you meet one they look human but have tree branches sticking out of their heads.
  • 2 campfires which we used to melt marsh mellows and generally poke to see what is and isn't flammable.  Sticks are good and marsh mellows burn well too, just in case you're interested.
  • Paddington Bear the movie - surely it was robbed of an Oscar!
  • Several "encounter" sessions - the children had words for each other, asked for prayer for spiritual gifts and prayed for each other.  It's really great to see our children owning their faith and spurring each other on.
  • The wonder and awe of being reminded that we are chosen to be part of God's family if we're Christians.
  • Communion on Sunday morning (with cake instead of bread!).
  • The amazing way the older kids looked after the younger ones.
  • The wonderful food that Lydia and Sarah managed to create!
  • The 4 mile hike that turned into a 15 min walk around the wood when we realised it was far better to climb trees and invent new breeds of human beings then risk getting lost.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

RFC Leadership Summit 2015

Throughout this year we are exposing and strengthening the prophetic foundation on which RFC has been founded. 

By that I mean, ensuring that our culture & practices reflect an understanding that God continues speaks to His people today through 'prophetic utterances'.

Whilst I have been throughly enjoying our current sermon series 'Pursuing His Presence' we do need to set time aside to help me, and all our leaders, understand and value the gift of prophecy.

As such we plan to use the Leadership Summit on Saturday 19th September to do this. 

Andy Robinson and a team from Kings Church Horsham will be with us that day, taking main sessions and leading seminars. The elders & deacons have already had two evenings with these guys, and we are the richer for it!

Venue: The Pavilion, home of Lifespring church.

Time: 9:30am - 4:30pm.

Cost: £10, includes lunch and refreshments.

If you are an existing or emerging leader at RFC, please do book into this day via eventbrite here ... 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

New Sermon Series - Pursing His Presence

Throughout 2015, albeit behind the scenes, we have been exposing and strengthening the prophetic foundations of the church.
But now, starting this Sunday, we are beginning a new sermon series looking at the Person, work, fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

We shall be looking at baptism in the Spirit, the office of prophet, the gift of prophecy, faith, healing, languages, words of knowledge and utterances of wisdom (1Cor12v4-11). 

We shall spend time looking at how this is worked out in the every day life of a follower of Jesus ... as well as when the church gathers.

I am really looking forward to this series, I always get so much out of the preparation!  

Thursday, 28 May 2015

June: A Month of Meals

One of the things I've lost since attending three congregations, is regularly having lunch with people after church ... it was easier to do when we had just one Sunday meeting! 

And yet there is something about eating together that helps us to connect.
So throughout June we hope to encourage RFCers to eat together on a Sunday; For the 9 o'clockers to have brunch together (coffee & toast?), the 11am to have lunch (soup & rolls?) and the 6pm guys to have tea together before church (coffee & crumpets?). 

Alternatively you could eat together midweek before lifegroup or as a serving team or even have a picnic lunch after toddler group.

If we try to keep the emphasis on simple meals together (rather than fine dining!) hopefully that will make it easier to be involved.

For many of us this will be a helpful reminder to continue in something you already know & do, but for me its a provocation to get back to it.

Eating together is one of those things we want to keep front and centre as we look to get to know people into our church.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Be involved ...

The general election is upon us and I want to encourage you to be involved using the words of my friend Andrew Wilson:

 I think voting is hugely important. Just as I’m responsible for wisely stewarding my money, my time and my gifts, so I’m also responsible for stewarding the civic power with which I’ve been entrusted as a citizen of a democracy. Using the electoral power I have, which is massive when compared with the vast majority of generations who have lived on earth, is a key way in which I can love my neighbours and contribute to human flourishing. So sitting out an election because I’m confused, or because I have disagreements with every party - which presumably everyone does - is not an option. What to do?
Vote for whichever candidate will do the best job as your representative, is closest to the set of beliefs you hold, and most likely to do things that love your neighbours. All you have to do is decide between a handful of people who live in your town, answer your questions and speak to your issues.

To find out who your Parliamentary candidates are click here  and the voting record of your current MP click here.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Xenophobia and South African

In case you have missed what is going on in South Africa ... please read this written by my beloved friend Sibs Sabanda (he's Sitho's brother who leads City Hill church in Jo'burg)

South Africa is again reeling from a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks which started in Durban and at the time of writing of this blog, have spread to Johannesburg. Perhaps of greater concern than the attacks themselves is the growing xenophobic sentiment, even among educated citizens. Naturally, many issues have been stirred in the public square, and a good number of those who would consider themselves too civilized to throw a brick have found a platform to express their anger in a more dignified manner. Thankfully, amidst the fog of hatred and frustration, many South Africans are standing for unity – whether through personal morality, religious conviction or belief in an African ‘brotherhood’. In this blog I’d like to add my voice to the discussion as a Christian, a ‘foreigner,’ an African and a minister of the gospel. more here...

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Cycling in the Lakes

Last weekend 16 of us from my Tri club spent 4 days cycling in the lake district.
We stayed at the YHA hostel in Grasmere which is a perfect base for touring.
We used the '100 greatest cycling climbs' as our guide and did some shockers: Hardknott Pass with 30% incline, Wrynose Pass 25% incline, Kirkstone Pass 25% incline ... you get the picture!
Lunch in a pub was a welcome rest, but there was no escaping climbing back on the saddle.  
I'm not sure who organised it but on my arrival I was presented by the YHA staff with 24 Krispy Kreme doughnuts ... my reputation for 'despising cakes stops on training rides' truly preceded me!
  

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Goodbye beloved preaching companion

When I got baptised in 1990, I was given my first bible, it was a black leather New International Version (NIV) 1983 edition. For the past 25 years it has been in my hands when I have preached with anointing & vigour and also when I've haven't! 

Sadly, the spine of this bible is coming apart and some of the loose pages that I repaired years ago are coming adrift again ... it's like watching a beloved friend in a slow motion car crash!

So, I have taken the decision to arrest its decline and swap my preaching bible to an English Standard Version (ESV) bible that Scott & Bea bought me for my 40th birthday.

The advantages of this are many:

#1 My trusty NIV 1983 bible can now be used exclusively for my devotional times and not endure the rigours of Sundays.

#2 The ESV version has less revisions so it highly likely what I read on a Sunday will match yours AND what we project for the bible reading (It irrates me me when the bible verses on the screen don't match what's in my bible).

#3 The ESV bible is free to download on most bible apps whereas the NIV often isn't. 

#4 The ESV is also known as the Extra Smug Version ... for some reason associating with it makes me feel hip yet traditional :o)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Reading Half 2015

On Sunday I joined 16,000 others to run around our town in what was supposed to be a faster route. 

A group of us from my tri club ran together with the plan of staying ahead of the 1:30 pacer thereby ensuring we all get a Personal Best (PB). It was a good plan, in theory at least!

It was glorious running weather and the new route  / staggered start made for less congestion which was helpful. Sadly the 1:30 pacer went past us at 5 miles and we then chased him all the way to the Madejski Stadium.

The support outside the church offices was superb, a wall of noise! It lifted many runners, we even got an email from one (see below).

My time was 1:30:31, not a PB but good enough. There's always next year.
Hiya,

I just wanted to say it was so great to see you guys out on the street as I
ran the 1/2 marathon this morning. I noticed you guys last year too!

As I ran past you, I felt the Holy Spirit amongst you. There was quite an
overwhelming sense of His presence upon you (as a church) and I feel like He wants to remind you of your calling to your community. I feel like He is
going to use you as a mighty force within your town and that people will
begin to turn up on a Sunday because God is dwelling amongst you. I feel
like He wants you to expect a significant increase of his presence in your
meetings and that He will meet and surpass your expectations.

I hope you don't mind me writing this, and obviously weigh it up but I
believe God wants to bless you significantly!

Once again, thanks so much for being out there today!

Amy 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Excellent weekly leadership resource

This year, as part of my leadership development, I am watching the weekly 3 minute video out of Willow Creek. You can subscribe here.

This week's is both timely and releasing for me ... Date Strategies, Marry Results.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Newbury Church plant

Yesterday I travelled to Newbury to have lunch with Mark Landreth-Smith. Mark & Bev moved there in December '14 to plant Bridge Church Newbury.
We walked around the town centre and visited their two Sunday venues: the historic town hall (complete with heraldic flags) and the Water Side Centre (literally on the banks of the Kennet Canal).

We ate Cornish pasties and swapped stories on the joys & pressures of church leadership. He planted and led the Beacon church in Camberley for 20 years. He got their ministry hub built & paid off, and then sold his home to church plant all over again.

It's his birthday today and although I'm not sure how old he is (he must have a year or two on me) I do know he has a hunger for God and a great love for people. 

It does me good to connect to brothers pursuing their calling.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Buildings update

I have had a few conversations about our various venues over the past week and thought I'd captured them here: 

London Street Offices: Overall they are working well and the current lease expires October 2015. Plan A is to stay however the building next door is being redeveloped into residential units. This is potentially a significant problem as some of our out-of-hours admin/training meetings are noisy and we want to be good neighbours. 

South Street Arts Centre: Again, overall this venue is working well but is starting to fill up, we were at 70% capacity last Sunday night and parking can be tricky. 

Reading Girls' School - the work on the new school building starts this Easter, at the other end of the playing field. During this period we shall be sharing the back carpark with the Sunday football parents so it will get very busy. The new school building is scheduled to be opened in Sept 2016 and they are planning that we can hire it. We still have questions around storage, classroom availability and the main hall seating capacity but that will all be worked out over the next 12 months. We have been told that we wont have use of either building for the school summer holidays in 2016.

Our first home: As explained at the Members Meeting, we have decided to no longer explore purchasing 4 Acre Road. The Buildings team has continued to be active, looking and rejecting two other buildings since then. Our Vision Fund is growing and we are on track for raising another £100k in this round of fund raising. We believe having a substantial deposit will be really helpful when we finally get to buy our first home!  

What next? This Sunday we have thanksgivings at both our 9 & 11am meetings and it is going to be VERY busy. Halls, rooms and carparks will be full. It feels like we are being squeezed from all sides, but we shall keep on keeping on. Sunday's come and go and Jesus continues to build His church.

Please join me in praying for our first home and also for our excellent Buildings Team as they lead us into it.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

5th anniversary @ South St

Five years ago fifty 'morning RFC people' started to double shift on a Sunday to help us launch an evening congregation in the town centre. Last Sunday evening we celebrated with helium balloons, an epic birthday cake and we reminded ourselves of what Jesus has been doing.
As I listened to people and watched the videos sent in by those who've since moved away, I was struck by how many lives have been touched by this congregation. So many people have felt part of Gods family & have had their faith rekindled or strengthen. Whilst it is true to say we haven't seen many saved, we have had some and joyfully baptised them!

My three children have all made the 6pm meeting at South St their home, something I didn't anticipate but am delighted with. The meeting really has a special vibe, why don't you get along one Sunday and experience it.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

RFC Vision Satement

I am really looking to this Sunday as we set up camp at the Madejski Stadium and gather all three congregations to celebrate being one church.
Dave Devenish will be the main speaker but I will also be giving a brief update on a few things ... one being a change to our Vision Statement:

To become a growing, Jesus centred community; bringing God's Kingdom to Reading and beyond. 

Did you spot a change? I hope so! If not, I will explain more this Sunday.