South Africa Fortnight: Carl & Michelle Waldron

South Africa fortnight continues at LFS Introducing... with another guest.

You might remember me mentioning Carl & Michelle when I asked you to pray for them last summer. I met them when I was on a team volunteering with Seed of Hope as part of Soul in the City Durban in July 2009. Today they are my guest bloggers, and share more about their journey from Canada to South Africa.

Please head over to the LFS Introducing… blog and say hello!!


South Africa Fortnight…Phil & Rachel Bowyer

South Africa fortnight continues at LFS Introducing... with another guest.

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I was in Durban, South Africa in July 2009. Well today, you get to meet the family who moved from England to South Africa to start the organisation that was behind it all!

If you have the time please head over to say hello to Phil, Rachel & Zachary Bowyer who are currently living in Durban, South Africa.

Phil & Rachel sent me so much information about how they started Soul Action South Africa, the current issues facing the communities in Durban & the surrounding region of KwaZulu Natal and some of the new intiatives that were started this year (those of you who were at any of Soul Survivor’s summer festivals last year – you helped make this happen!) so there are more details plus some photos on an ‘extra’ post here. They’ve also written a few books & resources which I’ve linked to in that post.

South Africa Fortnight…Liam & Rachel Byrnes

South Africa fortnight continues at LFS Introducing... with another guest.

Liam, who used to blog at Byrnesy’s Blabberings (and incidentally went to the best uni ever…University of Aberdeen…oh yeah!) and his lovely wife, Rachel are my guests for the second half of this week of South Africa Fortnight. Please do head over and say hello!

Last year, they went off to Hawaii to do some training with YWAM before they headed out to Masi, South Africa.

It would be WONDERFUL if you could show them your support – even if it is just by leaving them a comment.

I’m loving that so many of you are tweeting/telling/facebooking/e-mailing me to tell me that you are enjoying getting to hear people’s stories and ‘meet’ them on LFS Introducing… But I really, really would rather you left a comment on people’s posts. I know it means a lot when you do.

Be brave. I know you can do it. :)

South Africa Fortnight…the Collie Family

Today is the start of South Africa Fortnight on the LFS Introducing… blog

And we kick off by introducing some lovely ‘in-real-life’ friends of mine, the Collie Family!

They are going to be talking about the adventure they are currently embarking on in South Africa as missionaries, so do check it out. You can also leave any questions you may have for them by leaving a comment on their guest post.

Introducing some new blogs…

Earlier this week The People of The Second Chance officially launched their blog. This is a new project headed up by the writers of Deadly Viper, Jud Wilhite and Mike Foster.

What is The People of The Second Chance all about…well, I’ll quote straight from them

We challenge the common misconceptions about failure and success and stand with those who have hit rock bottom in their personal and professional lives. We are a community that is committed to stretch ourselves in the areas of relational forgiveness, personal transparency, and advocate for mercy over judgment. People of the Second Chance have experienced a second chance so we  actively support social justice organizations and advocate for the vulnerable, forgotten, and left behind.We are not ashamed of our scars, wounds, or failures and leverage them as a source of strength and character development.

We are People of the Second Chance.

You can follow their blog at http://potsc.com and follow them on Twitter @POTSC

Also, some of you might remember these photos which were posted by Bringonthejoy and myself in July 2009. I thought you might like to know about the movement which is stemming from our ideas of beach, surfing and community.

It’s Soul Surfers, and my friend TheStateThatIAmIn is going to be a catalyst for seeing how this might begin. It’s still very much in the early stages, and we’re not sure yet where it will go.

The blog has just been launched at http://thesoulsurfers.wordpress.com and you can follow Soul Surfers on Twitter @TSTIAI

And I forgot to give this one specific mention when it started I think (I’m sorry Pastor Karl!!), though it has been linked in my blogroll since it’s first week. It is taking a break over the Christmas period and will be back in the new year, but recently our pastor starting blogging, with the occasional switch from Senior Pastor to Apprentice Pastor. At the moment he’s going through Romans in bitesize chunks.

You can follow the Pastor’s blog here. You can now follow our church on Twitter @MBCTweets

Romans 12:1

No Flower of Scotland Friday post today….because this is what is on my heart just now…

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship”

Romans 12:1

Earlier this year, I started a new blog – Grace Note Showers – as I had a few people asking me to talk more about worship. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve failed on that front!

Worshipping God has been something that I became interested in when I started on Alpha Couse…way back in January 2002, and ended up being invited to sing in the church worship band (they didn’t realise I wasn’t a Christian yet).

I used to get really self conscious when people told me they liked to listen in to me singing if they were standing near me in church. There was a bit of a journey to getting me singing and leading worship. What did it mean to be a worship leader anyway?

So I studied it a lot.

Not just the music stuff, but what it meant to worship God individually, with others and with all our heart, mind, body and soul.

I’m still learning.

But recently I’ve been pondering a couple of things…

1. Worshipping God when it hurts

2. Worshipping God with all our lives

So once again, I’m asking for your feedback. I want to hear your stories, particularly on the second one.

I’d love to get some guest bloggers willing to chat about their journey in living out their faith wherever God has called them to be.

You see, we’re all disciples. We’re all missionaries.

Whether we’re pastors, working for Christian organisations, teachers, doctors, community education workers, secretaries, outdoor education instructors, stay-at-home parents, architects, surveyors, filmmakers, shop assistants, regular hospital patients, accountants or IT consultants…

I really believe God is in all that stuff. Do you believe it too?

Are we open to the opportunities it can bring?

And what challenges does it bring, and how can we as your brothers and sisters support you and pray for you?

Something that got stuck in my mind recently…

A couple of weeks ago, we were chatting about the upcoming restructuring in our church and where each of us were at with it. It was probably one of the toughest nights with our smallgroup that I can remember.

The purpose is to get us to be more focused on being missional.

I have my concerns and my worries, but you know…I’m not in leadership at our church, God’s placed our leaders, to be well, uh, leaders. And I guess you know, you’ve got to go with the flow, get stuck in unless God tells you otherwise.

But I had a very interesting conversation afterwards driving a couple of folks back home.

You see this summer, I heard a lot of teaching and took part in some discussion about how the church has started haemorrhaging people in their 20s and 30s. A while ago we realised we were losing teenagers, so we got our act together and put lots of resources and training into youth ministry. Well, now I’m a minority in ‘the church’.

People in our age group are getting married older, having children later, are more transient in terms of moving around, and a lot of church ‘ministries’ are based on vulnerable groups, children, youth, university students, parents, married couples…

And over the recent months I’ve discovered many of my friends in my age group gradually go to church less and less after graduating because the majority of the ‘inward’ ministry is completely irrelevant to them. And a number of them have done so because they felt that the church only wanted them so they could ‘use them’. They’re young, they’re single…so they have time to do all these various things that need doing.

And it’s not that they don’t want to serve. It’s that all that they do is serve, and they end up wondering…if I wasn’t someone who was doing all this stuff, would anyone care if I was here?

I’ll fully admit that I, myself, have pondered that a time or two.

You might say we’ve all got to stop whining and just get on with it. That’s life.

Hmmm…

And then someone said this (actually a few people have said this in different ways recently).

Being single in church is lonely. When something big is happening in church which means you lose the community you’ve built up, if you’re married you naturally have someone to face it with together. But you don’t necessarily have that if you’re single.”

Now.

I’m not married, but I know that marriage is NOT easy. No rose tinted glasses for me.

BUT.

I do think there is some truth in that statement.

I don’t write this to be like ‘pity us’ or anything.

But I do think this is something that we…the church…need to address.

I just wonder how we can fix that. How can we truly be community when we’re all so different? And how do we be more inclusive?

And what happens if we become so focused on being missional that we forget the importance of being pastoral?

How do we find the balance?