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Monday, November 9, 2015

My House Will Be Called A House of.... Announcements?


For any worship leader the place for announcements in the weekly worship gathering can be difficult to fit in. You want to ensure people are as informed as possible, but if left unchecked they can become simply another “commercial break” in people’s lives, or go on for an unnecessary amount of time. Alternatively, they can disrupt the flow of a meeting or cause people to switch off.

Constance Cherry, the author of The WorshipArchitect, conducted a little experiment around this very issue. Having the opportunity to visit a number of different churches over an extended period of time, and with a keen interest in the place of public scripture reading and prayer in corporate worship, Cherry’s experiment was to calculate the amount of time, as a percentage, devoted to different aspects of worship in a variety of churches. The details of the experiment and the results can be found here. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive analysis and so the results should only be treated as indicative. However, whilst they don’t say everything, they do indeed say something. The name of the article gives much away; “My House Shall Be Called a House of…. Announcements.” 

Friday, August 21, 2015

General Booth - I Salute You!

Come with me on a journey. A journey outside the box.

This year is a year of significant anniversaries. For The Salvation Army the most significant was celebrated last month in London at the Boundless Congress; our 150th anniversary. There is another one coming, though, that I think is worthy of note. October 4 this year will be 125 years since the death of Catherine Booth.
When choosing your career: think outside the box

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thriving not just Surviving

Today is a day I’ve been looking forward to for a number of months. On this day, fifteen years ago, I was lying in a bed in the emergency ward of a Balinese hospital in a desperate state when a doctor whispered in my ear “We think you might have diabetes” (read the full story here) A lot has happened since then. Somewhere in the vicinity of 13,000 needles, 25,000 finger pricks, and 1,000 infusion set changes for my insulin pump. But my life is much more than numbers, needles and insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is a diagnosis but it does not define who I am.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sermon: Who wants to be Left Behind?

This was a sermon I preached on Sunday 9 November, 2014 at Gosford Salvation Army. We follow the Revised Common Lectionary. One of the passages for that day was 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, a passage which is frequently suggested to make reference to the so-called "Rapture". This is a very pervasive, and I think incorrect, theology that many people take for granted and so I decided to challenge it.
I've had more conversations about this sermon than any other I've preached before.  I apologise for the very low volume in the videos. I've included the full text underneath so you can read it if listening becomes too difficult. I'd welcome your comments on this one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Sacraments and the Handbook of Doctrine

I recently sent this to the President and Vice-President of the International Doctrine Council. I have received a response (which I won't publish because it's not my place to). Rather, I publish my letter here to continue the discussion with others who may be interested.


The issue of the sacraments and sacramentality in The Salvation Army is one that has interested me for a number of years. When given the opportunity to choose a topic for my honours dissertation in 2007 it was a relatively easy choice to make. At the time I wanted to consider the often asked question “Why don’t we practise that?” alongside its rarely asked correlate “But why do we practise this?”  The conclusion of my research was that we are indeed a sacramental people, something that was affirmed well in Salvation Story,[1] but our expression of this sacramentality was new in terms of church history. I used the term “neosacramentality” to describe this.[2] Whilst I would suggest we employ new sacraments of our own creation, the question of the validity of such a decision remains unanswered.