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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Books for college 

R Warren 1995 Bukiding missionary congregations. church house publishing
Brurgemann, W 1982 Living toward a vision: biblical reflection on Shalom . United Church Press
Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? [Roland Allen]

Giles, K (1995) What on Earth is the church? A biblical and theological enquiry.spck


Warren, R. (2004) The Healthy Churches Handbook.Church House Publishing 

“Church is essentially a community of people drawn together by faith in an encounter with Jesus Christ as Lord, which leads them to take action in the whole of life, living by a different set of values from what would otherwise have been the case. This living will involve a wide range of ‘actions’ including both attitudes (such as listening or generosity) and actions (service, confrontation or care). Sometimes the most important change a church can embrace is a change of attitude rather than any organisational change”

Warren, R. (2004) The Healthy Churches Handbook.Church House Publishing


The particular way in which health is understood throughout this book is as a translation of the biblical concept of salvation, namely wholeness, balance and harmony with God and all creation. Christ frequently said to people whom he healed, 'your faith has saved you'. This is variously translated 'made you well', 'made you whole'. So a healthy church 'is one that has been touched and energized by the presence of God so it reflects something of the good news of the wholeness made possible through the knowledge of God as revealed in Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Pp15

Energized by faith seems to be a foundation characteristic. At the heart of these churches and their members is a reality about their awareness of the presence, goodness and love of God. Faith is the fuel on which these churches run.

Outward-looking focus. These churches were typified not by concentrating on their own life and concerns but by a practical care for the local context, the whole of life and the world in which we live. They are marked by a capacity to enjoy life and feel the pain of the struggles in our world.

Seeks to find out what God wants. There is a sharpness of focus and seriousness of purpose about such churches, which are carried forward by a sense of divine vocation rather than stuck in a dull repetition of past assumptions and patterns. Prayerfully they are on the move.

Faces the cost of change and growth. Individuals and groups are regularly faced with hard choices and testing circumstances. These churches evidenced the courage to face hard and painful truths and to be prepared to make real changes that were often costly.

Operates as a community. It is not just faith in God that sustains these churches but the reality and strength of generous and honest relationships that makes church 'family' for all who participate and draws out each person's gifts and contribution.

Makes room for all. Though they greatly value what they have, not least in their support of one another, these churches have found ways of making others not just welcome at services but part of the life of the church. Generosity permeates the life of these churches.

Does a few things and does them well. One of the most surprising characteristics of these churches, which results from a sense of responding to God's call on their time and effort, is the quiet purposefulness of their life. They are not rushing around madly but enjoying what they do and seeing the positive results of doing a quality job.
Pp 16-17

Churches with these characteristics are deeply attractive because their focus in not on themselves and their programmes but on God's goodness and reality and on the world around them. They are, indeed, living the two great commandments. Pp25

The Church is not only called to tell good news of the coming of God's kingdom and to share in the work of the kingdom here on earth, it is also called to embody the presence of God's reign in human society by the way it orders and expresses its life.

Having used the seven marks and worked with churches in the light of them, an intriguing question has arisen. It is this. Why are these the marks that are needed to grow a healthy church? Our conclusion has been that it has to do with the fact that they are a reflection of the life of Christ.

He was energized by faith, had an outward-looking focus in life, and sought to find out what God wanted of him. Christ lived his whole life seeking to bring about change in the lives of both individuals and social structures. He drew his disciples into a small group that operated as a community. By the way he reached out to the 'untouchables' of his day, Christ made room for all and, because of his seeking of the Father ' s will he did a few things and did them well.

So behind all these marks is the primary call of the Church to express in its own life something of the life of Christ. When the Church responds to that call people around it see something of the life of Christ and are attracted to him, in and through the church.


Growing churches were not majoring on growing , but simply on doing a good job of being church. Pp 83

So too, the angel of the church is about seeing churches as a whole and being able to discern their character, spirit, personality and feel. Walter Wink puts this concisely when he says: 'The angel of the church is the coincidence of what the church is - its personality - and what it is called to become L its vocation.` That has proved a wonderfully helpful definition to work with.

(unmasking the powers – 1986 – fortress press)
Pp 94

Mark 1: energized by faith

Study passages

Colossians 3.17

• What is special about the church?

• What kinds of change are we called to make?

• What kind of change might we need to make to be energized by faith?

Matthew 15.21-28: why did Jesus seem to be playing 'hard to get'?

Alternative passages

Luke 1.39-45: what on earth is happening here? Micah 5.2-5 (and Galatians 4.19).. what are we, as a church, meant to be pregnant with?


The church is called on to embody the life of Jesus Christ who said

The Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. (John 5.19)

Mark 2. outward-looking focus

Study passages

Luke 10.25-37 a What does it cost to be a Good Samaritan?

• Who are our 'neighbours' today?

• Who is calling out for our help in the world around us?

Isaiah 42.1-9: what is church for?


The church is called to express the life of Jesus Christ, whose whole ministry was shaped by the conviction that

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. (John 3.16)

Mark 3. seeks to find out what God wants

Study passages

Luke 10.38 - 11.13

• What is Christianity, and so the church, about?

• What place do silence and reflection have in our life and church?

• What really matters in life?

Colossians 3.1-14: what sort of church might God want to join?


The church is called to express the life of Jesus Christ who, as a child said

1 must be in my Father's house. (Luke 2.49)

Mark 4: faces the cost of change and growth

Study passages

Matthew 5.17-20

• Why do we find change so difficult?

• What needs changing?

• What helps us to change and be changed?

• Can you think of a change for the better that has taken place in
your church and what lessons can we draw from that?

Exodus 18.13-27: what helps to bring about change?


The church is called to express the life of Jesus Christ, who lived the truth that

Unless a grain of wheat fall into the earth and dies, i . t remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12.24)

Mark 5. operates as a community

Study passages

Ephesians 4.1-16 or 4.25 - 5.2
So what makes for a healthy church, Paul?

Do we all have to be the same?

What is our part in contributing to a healthy church?

Mark 10.35-45: what can we do to build a healthy community?


The church is called upon to embody the life of Jesus Christ who, having loved his own, loved them to the end and told us that

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13.35)

Mark 6. makes room for all

Study passages

Isaiah 65.17-25

• What is God's agenda?

• Who else is working on God's agenda?

• How can we join in with what they are doing?

Matthew 8.1-8 (or 1-17): what on earth did he see in them?


The church is called upon to embody the life of Jesus Christ, who told his disciples that

The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (Matthew 20.28)

Mark 7. does a few things and does them well

Study passages

Mark 1. 14-15, and 21-39 m What did Jesus see as his task and vocation?

• Why is Jesus so clear about the job to be done?

• And how can our lives, and our churches, follow that pattern?

Matthew 11.25-30: so why are we so busy?


The church is called upon to embody the life of Jesus Christ of whom it was said

He has done everything well. (Mark 7.37)


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