Stephen

A welcoming church?

Ship of Fools: What makes a church feel welcoming to you?.

Again, this isn’t directly related to us at Greenfield, but is important and interesting.  It’s from a web forum I look at and asks other forum members what makes them welcome when they visit another church.  Food for thought – are we a welcoming church?  I’d say “yes!”, but it’s always good to see what other people think makes for a good welcome and whether we provide it.

Edited to add: People on this site don’t always pull their punches (although it is a Christian site) – so don’t be alarmed if there’s a full and frank airing of views!

Posted by Stephen in Misc., 1 comment

Discussion group on Thursday

Just a quick reminder that on Thursday, I’m hoping you’ll be able to come round to my house to take part in a discussion I’m holding as part of my studies.  We’ll be looking at the issue of how society views children and young people: are they seen as a threat, a nuisance or something more positive?  Hopefully we’ll also be thinking about how we as Christians can address these issues.

If you want to come, it’s at 8pm on Thursday at my house.  You don’t need any specialist knowledge and I won’t be judging you on your opinions: free thinking is welcome!  You’ll also be helping me (again!) in my studies – which I’ll be very grateful for!

Looking forward to seeing you then!

Posted by Stephen in events, 0 comments

BibleGateway.com's Top 100 most-read Bible verses

This isn’t really anything to do with my studies or Greenfield, but thought you might be interested.

Biblegateway.com is a site which allows you to search numerous versions of the Bible in many different languages on-line – which is very useful indeed (not least for sermon preparation).  Ralph will correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s the site he uses to get the readings for each Sunday on Powerpoint.

Anyway, they’ve just published the 100 most-read Bible verses on their site.  Have a look – no real surprise for what the top one is!  Looking through the list, I don’t think there’s any real surprises, though I’m quite intrigued as to why Philippians 4:8 is higher than Philippians 4:7!

If anyone’s reading this, and is prepared to comment, what’s your favourite/most treasured verse – what would be the one you’d search for first on that site?

Posted by Stephen in Misc., 1 comment

Baptist Assembly

Well, we’re back from the Baptist Assembly in Bournemouth – and what a fantastic time it was!  It was great meeting with so many others, sharing stories (even if only in the “how far did you come?” type) and worshipping together.  Those who spoke, both at the big events and the smaller seminars, were inspiring, encouraging and challenging.  I’ll post more throughout the week as I get my head around it.  But I was intrigued (and slightly surpised) to find an interview with Jonathan Edwards, the General Secretary of the BUGB, posted on the BBC News website on Friday.  If you want to read it, it’s here.

Posted by Stephen in events, Misc., 0 comments

Baptist Union Assembly

As we mentioned during Sharing on SUnday, we won’t be around this weekend, because we’re in Bournemouth.  Not because of a holiday (though we’re hoping for some sun…), but because it’s the Baptist Union Assembly.

And it’s an important one as well.  This year has been chosen as the year to mark the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the first Baptist congregations.  Clearly, this is a significant milestone and the whole Assembly is geared around this; the title is “Who do we think we are”, exploring our identity as Baptists, where we’ve come from and where we’re going to.

It should be a good weekend – and it’s our first BU Assembly, so we’re not quite sure what to expect.  There’s childcare for Amy in the mornings, when the main business meetings are, but none in the afternoon when the seminars are on.  Also, there’s evening worship times but we’ll need to work out childcare for those as well. But between us, we hope to sample something of the Assembly.  And no doubt it’ll be a very weary Smith family that wend their weary way back to Urmston on Bank Holiday Monday…

Please pray, not just for us, but for everyone attending that as we celebrate this important milestone, we’ll gain a new sense of what it means to be Baptist and how that affects us as we seek to serve God and each other.

I’ll make sure I report back when we return!

Posted by Stephen in Misc., 1 comment

A busy week…

This is a busy week for me.  Not only am I preparing Sunday’s service (of which more later), but I’m also in the midst of writing an essay on how early theology might relate to what we do at Greenfield.  Sounds thrilling, huh?!

Alright, it might not be that exciting, but it is quite interesting.  I’m looking at the early creeds (the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed) and how they relate to the sorts of things we ask people to profess their belief in before being baptised or being welcomed into church membership.  This is quite hard, because we don’t say the “historical creeds” at all; the traditional Baptist rallying cry has been “no creed but Christ”, or “no creed but the Bible”.  Yet what’s interesting is the number of similarities between the Creeds and the promises we ask people to make.  Not just in terms of what they say butt hey way they were used: the Creeds were originally drawn up, it seems, as a way for people to profess their faith before being baptised – just as the promises we might ask people to make were.  So perhaps we owe more to these documents than we might care to admit.

Our sermon this week continues our ongoing series looking at Ephesians; this week the text is Ephesians 4:17-5:2; if you want a sneak peek, you can find it here (this will open a new window).  I don’t want to give the game away, but this sermon is titled “How to imitate God”.  And what’s interesting is that all the ways Paul tells us we can imitate God are ways of behaving towards each other.  We’re to be good neighbours, to speak the truth to each other, not to steal, not be bitter towards each other and so on.  It seems that one of the best ways we can imitate God is by loving each other – not just by trying to be good on our own.

Posted by Stephen in Studies, Sunday services, 2 comments

Walk of witness

The Good Friday Walk of Witness today was a great event.  I don’t know how many turned up, but I think there could’ve been around about 100 (perhaps more – I’m no good at estimating numbers!).  The atmosphere was great as was the opportunity to witness in public something of what this weekend is really all about – so much more than chocolate eggs and hot cross buns (nice as those are!).  We finished up at church and, from what I heard, people really appreciated the refreshments, including the hot cross buns, at the end.  So thank you to all those who helped get all that ready!

Now we’re turning our attention to Easter Sunday itself when we celebrate the great truth of Jesus’ resurrection.  Please join us for the Communion at 9:30, which Ralph will be leading.  It’ll be followed by breakfast, with bread baked by Joy which is a good enough reason in itself to turn up!  Finally, we’ll have a family celebration service at 10:45 with all sorts of things going on, including a new way of singing one of the songs – you’ll have to wait and see.

While Easter is a great day, however, we can’t forget Good Friday entirely.  As someone said at the end of the walk today, Good Friday is as much the victory as Easter Sunday.  Why?  Because on the cross, Jesus defeated the powers of sin to cut us from God.  It seemed they’d won, but the truth was very different – it was Christ who was victorious.  And that victory was completed and confirmed by His resurrection on Easter Sunday.

So have a happy, Christ-filled Easter!

Posted by Stephen in Greenfield Events, 0 comments

We're back…

Well, we’re back from a very nice weekend away – it was really nice to see (part of) our family and Amy loved it. Sadly, I’ve come back with conjunctivitis and Joy’s got a rotten sore throat, but apart from that it was good (honest!)

However, having just got back, I’m going to be away again tomorrow and Wednesday, at Northern Baptist College’s annual staff-student retreat. This is taking place in Morley, just outside Derby, at a retreat centre there. It’s being led by David Warrington, who’s Chair of NBC’s Governors and (I think) was once president of the Yorkshire Baptist Association. If it’s anything like last year’s event, it promises to be good.

Either side of that, it’s going to be fairly busy for me, getting ready for Sunday’s service and the prayer event in the afternoon. So, I’d probably best go and get on with it!

See you soon

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Absent minister…

As I said last week, we’re not here this weekend. Instead, we shall be in Oundle, Northamptonshire, for my uncle’s 60th birthday. We’re at a murder mystery tomorrow, hope it’s not me!!

Have a great weekend and a fun Mother’s Day and we’ll see you next week!

Posted by Stephen in Misc., 0 comments

Welcome…

Hi!  I’m Stephen, Minister-In-Training at Greenfield Church and welcome to my blog!  I hope to keep this up-to-date with all my news (or at least the bits that you’ll find interesting and/or useful), thoughts about the passages I’ll be preaching on and anything else that crosses my mind as being interesting.  As you can tell from this, it may well get a bit rambling, but I’ll tryand keep my thoughts in check!

At the moment, I’m preparing for the session we’re having on March 29th on “Using the Bible to enhance your prayer life”.  This comes out of oneof the modules I’m studying on “Encountering and Responding to Christ”, but I hope it’ll be something that catches people’s imaginations and helps to enhance and enrich their prayer lives.  So if you’ve nothing on that afternoon, then please join us – it’ll definitely be a good Sunday afternoon!

Posted by Stephen in Greenfield Events, 0 comments