Kingdom building, not Empire building
I'm sure you'll realise by now (especially if you've read this document) that Lucy and I aren't in the business of Empire Building. We're not here to spread the Salvation Army or to grow Grace Community Church. We're here exclusively to build up the Kingdom of God. We don't care about denominations or different churches (lower case 'c'). We most certainly do not care about inter- or intra-church politics.

Today we met with a couple who lead a local group of Christians called the "Looe Christian Fellowship" - they have been in Looe for over 20 years and have been praying for it all that time, and were not aware of all that God has started here the last 5 years.

It was a privilege to meet with them and tell them of all that God is doing, and to invite them to join with us on a Wednesday for prayer.

We have no intention of absorbing their fellowship into our "group", and especially not to absorb it into the Grace family. Nor do they have any intention of stealing us away. But they may well turn out to be one of many interconnected groups which form the Church (big 'C') in Looe.

Their mission is their mission, our mission is our mission; the battles may be different but it's the same war, and we're on the same team. Gradually our small band of dedicated prayer warriors are starting to reach out and build links with the other Christians in Looe, it's incredible to watch it happening.

Please pray for tomorrows prayer group as we introduce Bob and Hilary to the rest of our rag-tag band of Jesus people, it will be an important step in the building of God's Kingdom here.

Please also pray for wisdom, that as we start to reach beyond our own circle and connect with those of different backgrounds that we express on the one hand love and mercy and on the other die-hard dedication to God's word. Pray that we will become all things to all men without ever watering down the gospel!
Street Pastors and Kingdom building
Hi all

Been a while since we've updated you all on what's happening here, so thought we'd update you on all the exciting stuff!

Both of us have been involved with the Street Pastor training, I'll be becoming a Street Pastor (Commissioning on the 5th December!) and Lucy will be backing us up with prayer as a Prayer Pastor. Preparations have gone well, with the exception of the key founding member and group coordinator being struck down with cancer and passing away last week.

If you want to help financially towards the Street Pastors in Liskeard and Looe, feel free to add a pledge to and I'll chase you up for it later. Anything in excess of the £300 I need to cover my costs will be added to their funds.

Some of our friends have progressed with their plans to have a Christian coffee shop in Looe (I think I mentioned it before) and now have a property. Check out and These are exciting times, a big Christian presence right in the heart of Looe and a fabulous meeting space.

The church at Morval recently had a meeting where they revealed a plan to invest into Looe big time, so we're looking forward to working with them in that respect. Hopefully this will take the form of a network of small groups, rather than empire building. If they don't go down that road, we certainly will.

So, few quick prayer points:
  • For Hugh's family as they prepare for his funeral tomorrow
  • Protection for the Street Pastors
  • Blessing for the Street Pastors as our formal training draws to a close
  • Blessing over the Rusty Bucket initiative and all the various things that includes
  • For guidance with building the Kingdom in Looe
Becoming a body
So it's finally done! The document I've taken 6 months to write is done! Hoorah!

"Becoming a Body - Rethinking Church" is a quick introduction to my current thoughts on Church, on being Church and doing Church. It's an introduction to the way that I'm going to do my future thinking about Church. Finally, it's an invitation to others to also think differently about Church.

The content of this document is going to seriously impact what we're looking to do here in Looe.

There really isn't much to show for it, but it's been difficult to get the content and tone right. Please understand that this isn't an attack on the way things are for the sake of it, but after incendiary thoughts were planted in our lives we had no choice but to investigate and we liked what we found.

Please feel free to make constructive criticism or to comment on the content - but if you don't agree, let's be grown ups and talk about it, rather than hurling insults at each other ;-)

God bless and happy reading!
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A year on - review of mission
Hi folks

Friday just gone marked a year of us being here in Looe. I have to be honest it's been nothing that I expected! My problem is, I'm impatient - I wanted everyone to be saved in the first week...

When we came here, we had very new and developing ideas about simple (or organic) church that we felt would impact the church we felt we were sent here to plant. The existence of a strong (and large) bible-based, Jesus-centred church on the outskirts of Looe really through us (as did the fact that God had seemingly sent so many people here over the last 3-5 years).

It turns out, God really wants to start a simple church network here and He wants Grace Community Church (and all the people He called here) to be involved. It's exciting, but it raises some challenges.

We came here with no ties to a specific church to cause political issues, but we're now engaged in helping the Christians from Grace break out of their church without politically breaking away. It's not exactly fun, but we're making progress. God is good!

In the meantime, as an introduction to the concepts of simple church, I have been writing a document since March (on and off) which is finally nearly ready. I've just got a few people kindly proof-reading it for me and should be able to publish it soon.

One thing the document highlights is that as Christians, we should be careful not to set too many limits as these often limit the growth of the body - one such important limit is the uncrossable border of denominations, so in light of that I'm going to start looking at networking with as many local Christians as I can get my hands on!

On a different subject, Street Pastor training has finally started! The Liskeard and Looe Street Pastors should hit the streets shortly before Christmas!

A couple of prayer requests, if you wouldn't mind:
  • Please pray for the Street Pastor training
  • Pray for progress to continue with regards the simple church network in Looe
  • Pray for results in our networking
All quiet on the western front?
It's been a few months since our last post, and I'm really sorry about that. Does that mean nothing's been happening? Thankfully no, but not necessarily the things we were expecting to happen.

So what's been keeping us busy?

We've been doing a lot for Grace, the church that we have partnered with. We've been involved in some outdoor ministry, helping to set up a community website, learning a little about different forms of evangelism and discussing growth and development of a distinct part of the Church in Looe.

However, it has to be said that we have been distracted by those things - in the next few weeks and months hopefully we'll be able to get our focus back on our mission:
To push back the darkness and claim the land for God
To Save Souls, Grow Saints, Train Warriors and serve suffering humanity.
Every day over the next week or so I'm going to try and focus for a few moments each day to think how can I fulfil just one of those mission claims today? I hope to share something positive with you out of that!

On a similar note, there's currently a lot of talking going on with the Christians in Looe (particularly amongst the ones we know). Please pray with/for us that we'll have the courage to put our words into action!
Update on Mission/Vision
It's been a little while since I last wrote on here. Since I last wrote a lot has been going on. God's doing something very exciting in the Church here in Looe, but He's only slowly revealing that to us. What's clear, though, is that God has definitely sent Lucy and I here to be a part of that and we feel incredibly privileged!

All over the Country, in fact all over the world, God is changing the shape of His Church. The scholars can give plenty of evidence of the fact that institutional church is dying and part of me can't help but say "good riddance". For too long the system has got in the way, but God is mobilising an army.

I'm currently working on a document outlining my current understanding of what Church should be. If you've already read anything on this subject it probably won't have too much new in it, but I'm just trying to get all my thoughts and study in one place so that I can share it easily with other people.

Ultimately, I think our mission here is not to "plant" a church, but to help The Church grow. Our mission is not only:
To push back the darkness and claim the land for God
To Save Souls, Grow Saints, Train Warriors and serve suffering humanity.
Our mission is also to plant vision and mission in others, to move them beyond being recipient Sunday Christians to being participatory soldiers. I guess that expands the "Grow Saints, Train Warriors" bit in a way I had never thought about before!

May God bless His Church across the World and especially here in Looe!
Encouragement in Mission
As promised here what you might call a vision, given to me during the weekly prayer for Looe a couple of weeks ago. I shared it with that group and they were encouraged (as was I) so I hope it will help you too.

Jesus called us to be fishers of men (Mark 1:17) and also referred to us being labourers in the harvest (Matt 9:36-38) - a surprisingly revolutionary thought occurred to me regarding both those callings: What fishermen fears the fish? What harvest labourer fears the crop? Sure there are dangers in both professions, but these are related to the environment or the equipment, but not the harvest... The fishermen and the labourer go to work with faith that the work they have been appointed to is not impossible. Should we not too have the same confidence?

Equally, whilst the fishers or the labourers have no fear of what they are working to harvest, they must still be careful of other dangers. This isn't me saying it's easy, but that the fear of rejection shouldn't be stopping us from telling people what we think will change their lives (and their eternities) for the better.

I too fear how people will react to me if/when I bring up the gospel, but given the alternatives (i.e. get rejection or stand by and let them walk off the cliff into hell) the correct path suddenly becomes clear.

Fear is of the devil, it's not God's plan: "I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God." (2 Timothy 1:6-8)

Many people are of the school of thought that we should become friends before sharing the gospel, but it's often harder to share with people who are closer to us. Start with the gospel, then let the friendship build! In all occasions pray that God will prepare the people you are about to speak to.

I was once told that when it comes to sharing the gospel, we should pray for COWS:
Courage - To speak when we have the chance
Opportunities - To share the gospel
Wisdom - To say the right thing
Sensitivity - To know when to shut up and listen

Let's all aim to just go for it, and "throw off everything that hinders".
Mission and Timing
As I mentioned a while ago, occasionally I'm going to want to share stuff that I/we are reading and that is having an impact on us. This is one of those occasions...

It's not all from one place though, it's a combination of Bible reading, book and blog watching. It all ties together and it impacts what we're doing here, so I thought I'd share.

First of all, let's just be clear why we need mission. Yes people are suffering, they are hurting, lost and lonely - that's an important part of our ministry. Since we should attempt to recreate Jesus' ministry, let's look to him. In Luke 4 we see Jesus at the beginning of his ministry allude to the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 61):
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
Luke 4:14-21
But this isn't it, that's not all. Hell exists. Sin is every part of ourselves that is not perfect, the bad thoughts, the bad actions, the poor decisions, those things that you try to keep so secret from everyone else. God knows our sin and because of His justice He simply cannot do otherwise than punish us ("For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity." Isaiah 61:8).

Human = Sin = Hell.

Hell isn't just eternal separation from God, it isn't just a prison, it's somewhere so bad that there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" whatever that means. Just do a quick search of to see the references Jesus makes to Hell ("Gnashing of Teeth").

To make matters worse your unsaved friends, family, neighbours, co-workers and that bloke you see on the bus every day are all headed there unless they acknowledge their sin and their inability to save themselves.

There's too much to go into, but we see Jesus use the law to convict people of their need for salvation and then offer them a solution: "repent". Repentance does not just mean saying sorry, repentance means turning your whole life around.

OK, so it's not just about making people's live's better. It's about making their eternities better. So what about timing?

Time is always running out. People die every day, sometimes it's expected and sometimes it's a surprise. All those people who came to your mind earlier have a clock and it's ticking on, running out of time.

But also, the day of judgement is coming nearer. Although we have no way of knowing when it will be, we can be sure that it is getting nearer!!

Take a look at any of the prophecies in the Old or New Testaments and you can see that the signs are all around us. I was interested to read in Joel a description of an Army that sounds very similar to the Romans (Joel 2), then you see Pentecost and the age we now live in described and suddenly the next part of Joel's prophecy jumps straight to Judgement (Joel 3).

Act now, while you can. Time is running out for us all and there is still much to be done.
Things to wait for
Hi folks

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. The good news is that I have a couple of things I'm working on.

As promised I'm going to distil some of my reading/studying into a single post - this time I'm looking at the urgency of our mission. I actually started writing this post and got distracted a few days ago, so I'll try and get it finished.

In addition I have a vision or more correctly an encouragement from God that was revealed to me during our weekly pray group last week. It's a piece of encouragement that connects well with the post relating to urgency.

With regards to the prayer group, please continue to pray with/for us (Wed 2pm-3pm). Since we've started holding this prayer group we've seen things already start to happen - events that were in the distant future are closer, and we're now praying for individuals whose lives we're touching.

There are also a few new interesting things in development. At this stage they are very much at the ideas stage, but may turn out to be quite exciting. I won't say too much until I know more, but please pray for the Looe Community Groups (house groups).

Lastly, please pray that God will continue to lead us (by which I the Christians in Looe) and that we will continue to follow.
Us and the Church
Just to keep things clear from the start. If I say Church I'm referring to the Church Universal, the Body of Christ, the collective name for all Christians; if I say church I'm referring to some particular congregation.

This is the last of three posts exploring what we're doing here, our connection to The Salvation Army and our relationship with the Church. I've already explained our vision for our mission here (which is always up for reinterpretation by God) and our ongoing (if slightly strange) connection to the "Army", so all that remains is trying to explore our place in the Church.

Without wanting to offend anyone, the majority of churches here in Cornwall (like many across the country) are very traditional in their form. They are full of people who sadly don't really understand what salvation is (or what they are saved from) and who are more interested in raising money to maintain their building than saving people from eternal damnation. I don't blame any of these people, this has been going on for years - the less personal Christianity became the less people had a need for it.

Eventually Christianity became so watered down that people went one of three ways:
  1. Reject the whole thing because it's a waste of time
  2. Look deeper to see if there's something more to it
  3. Stick with it, because at least it makes me a better person and helps me meet other people
Thankfully, my Christian heritage is from the second group. A lot of the churches of the land are filled with the third group.

Grace, the church that we've connected with here, is definitely part of that second group, but unfortunately the other churches it seems are mostly toward the third group (although there are definitely some second-way Christians in Looe not connected to Grace). So in terms of our connection to a church, that's definitely Grace here, but also very much The Salvation Army (see my last post).

What we're doing here, however, may lead us to do something entirely new (at least in Looe) - not that we particularly want to start a church. I'm starting to feel that we may be called to work with that first group - people who have rejected church or can't connect with churchy-ways of doing things. Also, unfortunately, Grace has a bit of a bad rep here with 18 year old rumours still flying round - this may prevent some from being able to make a first step into church.

The theologians talk about postmodernity and postchristendom, but to sum it up briefly: people don't think and live the way they used to and old forms of church don't really work any more. Therefore we'd be looking at ways of meeting people where they're at - this probably won't involve preaching on street corners, more one-on-one conversations, but who knows?

The most important thing is that whatever we do, we will be part of the Church. The people who join us, whether or not they choose to attend or affiliate themselves with any other church, will still be a legitimate part of the body of Christ.
Our Connection to The Salvation Army
Having reiterated our vision and mission here in Looe, the next big question to address is our relationship to The Salvation Army.

This is a question we've been asked quite a few times in several forms since we first announced our plans. Are we doing this with the Army? Have we left the Army?

The short answer to both is No. We're not doing this with the Army, but neither have we left. The long answer gets a little bit more complicated, but I'll try and break it down a little.

1. We're Salvationists
First of all, we're both Salvation Soldiers. That means we're covenanted soldiers in an Army of Salvation. Our covenant is not just with The Salvation Army, but more importantly with God Himself.
Our covenant has led us to this point and is in some way guiding our actions, so is our knowledge of Army history - although we're doing stuff a lot slower than the Army pioneers worked. They would've started from day 1 and have a large corps or 2 planted by now...
One other thing, since I am called into full-time ministry as a Salvation Army officer it would be useful to maintain my status as an enrolled soldier, otherwise I will need to renew that enrolment at such a time as we return.

2. We're serving God
It's important to keep reiterating the fact that we're here because God called us. God doesn't care so much about denominations and stuff like that. We are designed to be a single Body of Christ, so He doesn't mind who we come representing, as long as it's Him!
It's not like we've abandoned God and the Church universal and have become heathens. We're not lost sheep, we've just relocated temporarily to a different flock...

3. We've not abandoned the Army
We both love the Army and although it is going through a time of strife, particularly in this country, we believe that God still has a plan, a hope and a future for The Salvation Army - but only as and when it returns to purpose.
Importantly, we both believe strongly that there is indeed "sin in the camp"1 and this must be removed and/or otherwise dealt with in order for The Salvation Army to move on - this must be done by all Soldiers and leaders!
We miss parts of the Army, but on the other hand, the freedom that has come by worshipping "out of our comfort zone" has enabled us to move closer to God and understand other Christians better.

4. Our ministry will have a Salvationist flavour
The people we reach will be "Saved to Save" and "Saved to Serve". Those that want to will be taught extensively about Salvation Army history and mission, those that don't will be drip fed Salvationist ideas...
People will be well educated in the urgency of their mission; they will be trained and disciplined using Sword and Knee drills; and they will be invited to take up covenant (perhaps even soldiership).
We'll help our converts to see "Heathen England", to become "Love Slaves" and to engage in "Aggressive Christianity".

I often think that it might be entirely possible that if the group that forms around us are willing, they may well become a "society" (a recognised group not led by an officer) and be the future of a corps here in Looe. Somehow I can't see that happening in our time, but it might.

Our Purpose Here
In the first of a few posts I want to explore our purpose here, our connection to Salvationism, the Salvation Army and the wider Church. Today we're going to start with our purpose and mission here.

Our mission is summed up well in the mission statement at the top of the blog:
To push back the darkness and claim the land for God
To Save Souls, Grow Saints, Train Warriors and serve suffering humanity.
I took a quick look over the posts I've made and I was really surprised to see that in the initial rush I never posted anything about our original vision, so let's start there:

We need to go back to about 6 months-1 year before Lucy and I were married. At that point when we were planning our future (where we were going to live, what jobs we were going to do) and were undertaking marriage preparation classes a word was given to us.

I was living in Reading where I was finishing my degree but we didn't really have any intention of staying there. Lucy was from the country and I prefer the country having grown up there, that's what we wanted to go to when we married. Lucy particularly likes the South West but as a realist I was also looking north for a good combination of jobs and low cost of living. I was looking for (and applying) for graduate jobs in Cornwall, Reading (and surrounding areas) and Leeds.

The word was this: "Take St. Martin's road"

It came from a very respected friend of ours. We truly believed this was from God! So I looked for St. Martin's roads in all 3 areas, but due to the lack of jobs in Cornwall didn't really pay much attention to that part of the search.

Anyway, strangely I got a job in none of those places but close enough to Reading to commute (if you like commuting). 6 months later things appear to be going well and we're starting to settle, living the life that everyone else was living (spending all your time getting to/from work and never having time to enjoy the great money you're earning).

Not long after we had moved there the true meaning of the "rat race" started to dawn on me and it was particularly depressing for someone who feels their true vocation in life is full-time ministry. I started to beg God:
"Call me now. Please? If not Officership yet, how about envoy-ship?" (Envoys are non-ordained lay leaders who give 3 years of their life at a time to full-time ministry)

Then a recurring dream and day-dream started to happen (at least to me): quite simply it was Lucy and I standing on a street corner in Salvation Army uniform. Between us we usually had a flag, a drum and a brass instrument of some type. The street corner was in a quaint sea-side village. The calling seemed pretty clear so we started to pray about it, we prayed over maps of Cornwall and we asked a few trusted other people to also pray for this decision.

We eventually found a St. Martin's road in Looe which was our route in. In order to get into Looe we'd have to take "St. Martin's Road". We prayed more, but it seemed clear that this was the place (this has definitely been confirmed since we arrived).

Once we decided that we were going to follow God's call, we had to make some decisions. Our rental contract was up for renewal in August, rather than sign up for another 6 months it seemed like this was the opportune time to go. Why waste time when God is calling?

We didn't think anyone would understand. We hated the thought of having to explain this to our parents. Would they understand? 3 of them are Christian, but we still weren't sure. We prayed that God would tell them for us... He didn't do quite that, but He did prepare the way and most people we told were excited and encouraged us.

Lots of things happened on the way, but we ended up here. First and foremost our mission, as stated in the first post, is to fulfil the great commission to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded you." So that's the "Save Souls" bit of our mission statement.

We think it's possible that we may end up starting a new congregation or network of congregations along the lines of organic church/simple church/informal church. That covers the "Grow Saints" and "Train Warriors".

We also both feel very strongly about actual spiritual warfare and facing some stuff head on, so we may get involved in some of that if/when necessary. That's the first line "To push back the darkness and claim the land for God".

There's also the serving of suffering humanity, which we'll do as and when.

Finally it's worth mentioning that we're not here to compete with or clash with any of the established church congregations here. If someone else is doing something better we'll work with them and point people in their direction. There's no point duplicating and fighting with other Christians. But I guess this leads nicely into my next post about our relationship with The Salvation Army and the Church universal...
Sorry for the silence
Hey folks!

Sorry for the recent silence! Let me just say that it's not because nothing is happening!

The prayer group meeting in our home every Wednesday 2-3pm is growing and is really exciting. We're able to hear a lot of what God is doing here in Looe, which is great.

We've had a few people asking what we're doing here and what our relationship is to The Salvation Army (importantly whether we've turned our back on it). Short answer(s): we're still trying to determine what we're here for exactly and we haven't turned our back on the "Army". Over the next few weeks I want to explore what we're here for and our relationship to the Army - hopefully make it clearer for you and us ;-)

One other thing, I'm reading some interesting stuff at the moment, so I'd like to distil (sp?) some of the interesting and relevant stuff onto this blog.

Happy new year to you all!