The Extra Mile
Volunteering, Church & Community Written by
Earl Storey & Robert Miller
By The Rig ht Revd K en Good Bishop of Derr y and Raphoe In The Ex tra Mile y ou will dis refreshing cover ly straigh tforward a insights in nd realist to the posi ic tive impac can have in t that chu their loca rches l commun ity. You will n ot be burd ened by co arguments mplex , but will fi nd distille backed up d wisdom by real ac counts of are makin h o w churche g a differe s nce in the ir neighbo Earl Store urhood. y and Rob ert Miller the churc remind us h must ac that cept it has in society a different ro now than le it did even century a quarter of go. They a a re also full that churc y convinc hes can st ed ill have a d vital contr istinctive ibution to and make to th e commun There are ity. foundatio nal princip churches les which need to be ar in mind plan to co as they ntribute to positive co transform mmunity ation:
• Biblical te aching
on meeting prac tical human ne ed. • Listening to the needs of the world without their own losing voice.
• Being busy doing the right things that fit in the church with ’s purpose. • Working in partnership with out sacrificing the church ’s vision or prio rities. • Avoiding th e early preoccup ation with finan first asking ce by bigger questions about vision, op potential an po rtunity, d hope. • The import ance of leadersh ip and of team whole ente s in this rprise.
My praye r is that in applying w church lea hat we rea ders and te d, ams will b to step ou e encoura t in fresh, g ed c o u ra adventure geous and s of faith in imaginati ve T ra Radiating nsforming Christ. Communit y
of the sides rd h t o b a n land H ctor o as Re urch of Ire ications d e v r n u Ch s se ty Comm of the muni ey ha l Stor ly Director Topstorey in PR, com g. r a E Rev inin mer now runs lises ip tra r. For pecia borde Project he g, which s d leadersh ficer for r f n l Gospe opstorey.o ciliation a nications O n o .t u c w m e r w w Com nt, e esan hoe. opme r of th devel es as Dioc y and Rap Recto uff & St v s r r a r e e s s e D M , rv of He lmore tly se t has iocese urren Church, Cu hoe. Rober parish, the D c r e l l Mi Rap rist le at s on obert shes of Ch erry and oung peop R v serve e i D y l R y r f t t a o n s p e e g ed on hoe ces urr Group in the Dio inistry am level. He c y and Rap h r l rc ’s r Peter volved in m minationa eam in De e local chu t o n h i n t w e been nd d egic revie eveloping t san, a dioce cesan stra mitted to d ty. o ni the di and is com ts commu i se h e t c i o i w D s ngage as it e
Copyright of this material belongs to Robert Miller and Earl Storey.
The Extra Mile 1
... s t n e ont
tion vision? Introduc e h t s i t a ne - Wh O r e t p Cha o it? d y h W Two ing it o Chapter d f i d i ra ree - Af h T r e t p y ahead a w Cha e h t g - Plottin r u o F r you are e r e h Chapte w tart from S e v i F stions e u q Chapter t h g sk the ri A x i S money? t u Chapter o b a t n - Wha e v e S r e ad this? e Chapt l I o d ow ight - H E r e t p Cha on
2 3 9 13 18 23 27 31 35 41
2 The Extra Mile
n o i t c u d o r Int
mber our n we reme e h w is t a d kipper be. Th ousers an tr ur wardro o d t re u a o fl r e a onestly we cle nts. Th miss but h It’s when ion mome to sh d o fa o g g in o in to arrass ke a barga more emb seemed li t a th op. ts sh e tfi ow ties. Ou left in th d stylish n en better e b e v a popular an h re a d t n a would a th lothes ing now ge thing. C uy someth n b e ra er W st . v e e ry e e m av arth w rs to co Fashion is r why on e eed in yea e d d n in o d w d o y a ery nm may look v randchildre lves. Our g e rs u o e ir es adm of the cloth wear it. t in terms o N s. decided to e re a h k rc e thin in chu e things w of fashion g or regards th in and out s a o g t ngs we sin u s b g so g in e h in th T , rn o se m u e y a to ks w n a Sund at is key is it’s the boo we wear o and go. Wh t. Whether e a h m g else. ld co in o s th r n o y to every ps - fashio tl u important h ro g g li ll ld a o and h ll our sm lly matter what we ca e main gs that rea in th e ain thing th th m to e n th o p e ld e o h is to k idual can main thing or an indiv e n h o ti “T a g s is y n n orga ovey sa e are doin of things a Stephen C ake sure w s m rt to so ll is a st g late thin ere are owing the important thing”. Th an just foll doing. The th e r e e m th ti th g ir ra e in g ain th e doin spend th keep the m e need to b w to t s a y a th s lw g a is the thin challenge shion. The trend or fa g to do . olunteerin g main thing y work - v it n e wellbein u th m r m o s and co munity e h m rc co u l n io ca ch t st lo ou of a y que So what ab ve the life ys. The ke n these da gs to impro io in sh th l be doing fa a to ic in d pract hes nee certainly rc is u It ch t l? a a u id g th of an indiv e main thin is part of th it r e th e h out is w trend. lp you work a passing rst is to he fi l e a or more of h ic T ct s. g e pra o thin volved in th ut to do tw in o ts ain ts e m g se e e h th rc rc thing ur chu This resou g the main stion. If yo e in u p eting q e e e a m k t to u a o r decide th nity are y u the answe u o y m If m ? co n l question g fashio our loca y a passin n the next needs of y b e d th e o ct d a to tr me lled eing dis through so t you are ca thing, or b you work art of wha lp p e h is l d il e w e e n urc practical ?’ This reso we do this is ‘How do ssion ical issues. dreary; pa passion is of the pract t u o h n of the it io w sh e id “Lov is the fa sa it o se h r u w ca n e Byro y disappea ything b It was Lord l eventuall . Doing an il c” w y ifi to rg rr g e o n h t thin nd e ve is is the righ . Passion a without lo tion that it short lived e ic b v passion, l n il h co w it e t w n mome without th best done g is in ty th li e ca m o so ur lo when we d l need in o g practica in rv e S . g be doin . n to serve the passio
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Chapter One What is the vision?
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Good News A number of years ago a friend organised a weekend with a difference. It was a weekend trip to the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland. What made it different was that the journey would be made across the northchannel and then up the west coast of Scotland on two ribs (Rigid Inflatable Boats). It is an exciting way to travel, albeit a twelve-hour boat journey bouncing over the waves does get tiring. Travelling on such small vessels brought home a lesson. Winds, currents and venturing into unfamiliar territory could so easily knock the boats off course. At the start of the journey, it was vital to have a clear sense of the desired destination - where the journey was meant to end up. It really is true if you don’t know where you want to get to then anywhere will do. The good news is that many churches do have a sense of where they want to get to. For a good number the setting of direction includes finding ways to practically serve the members of their local community. The trouble with good news is that it doesn’t always make the headlines. We are all guilty of being more interested in the sensational bad news stories. However, there are countless untold stories of people volunteering their time and energy doing practical things that make our community a better place to live in. Church members also contribute to the work of volunteers from every part of our community.
The Church of Ireland Diocese of Derry and Raphoe encompasses much of the northwest. It has a combined membership of 32,563 people. The diocese conducted a survey in 2009 to build a picture of what sort of activity was taking place across the diocese. It emerged that a pool of 5790 volunteers helped to run church related activities across the diocese. Such a figure is not surprising given the commitment of church members in maintaining the life of their local church. What was interesting to note was that 2035 volunteers took part in activities that not only benefited the parish but also the wider community. The number of members who took part in activities held in church premises but run by outside agencies was 1751. This included everything from
Community Associations, Age Concern to the Red Cross. Volunteering your time - it is no more than seeking to be a good neighbour. Numbers do not capture the ordinary volunteer work that takes place from week to week. These efforts are usually unheralded but their contribution to the wellbeing and health of local communities is real. The following thumbnail sketches of things that are happening in town and country are run by young and old. Their inclusion is deliberately random. Yet in another sense each story has particular lessons to teach us about how churches and church members can plot a destination volunteering to serve their own community.
door. It ill at the sk life. l ia r u e epren rt of daily a tr p n e r e d th n o a y agination as in ever to leave im rch based activity e v have a a h ’t n iends and iative a chu ers do fr b in t m e e e ce n m m e r ch to it Chur ch diffe e together d) is an in just as mu tizens com ly and Houseboun ci r io n will make se forty-five the Elder n onth up to lunch (Lunch for ndonderry. m a Add in a ce n O in Lo r citizens. ly luncheon LEAH io ch e r n h u se T ch . r e fo ch tr good lun something the month a city cen gustine’s, ine’s to do restaurateurs and tly enjoyed. u st u A g t u S A y t b l a desire in S lents of some loca and is gre d with a ta ears now te e y r d o th a st d tw n r H a e duced an r ov LEA uild nisers pro pily on Ladies G as been running fo a g ic r o st a e si h u T p enth . It h initiative. uld sit ha into being nding this nd A Blender wo volunteered his fu f o club came e g n a e f Board Yes Che the chall nity. Knife, A on solved magazine ack to the commu Imaginati ok to raise funds. A cer of well-known b g du kbo g somethin . sold a coo r’s shelves. The pro s his way of givin on ti ca li b u a p lle se yday any bookse and design experti professional quality their ever EAH in d ic l n h il a p sk e ra f g iv o L photo attract on make at variety is a very ave a gre skill and imaginati has brought h t a th The result le up of peop agination reneurial are made hard work, entrep oing. The use of im trepreneurialism s e ch r u h f g C o en it at skill of mbination y to keep life. The co generates the mone lunch. Bringing th d ens happen an rk to a senior citiz to the future. a sp e le v b aina in a creati work sust e th s e k a also m
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Laughter, the Best Medicine “If we do this will it mean more people come to a church Service on a Sunday morning?” Not everything that churches do has to be about getting more people through the doors for a Service. Sometimes it is just about getting people through the doors for a different kind of service … serving a need without any hope of ‘payback’. When local churches hold a fundraising event it isn’t a great source of surprise in the local community. Of course these events don’t happen by themselves. It takes a lot of hard work and a team effort. But what happens if a local parish decides to hold a fundraiser … and it’s not for their own benefit. The parishes of Stranolar, Meenglass and Kilteevogue recently held a number of successful fundraising events for parish funds. With a strong organising team and plenty of goodwill these Co Donegal parishioners were rightly pleased with the results of their efforts. It was then that someone came up with another idea. It was to run a fundraising event that was not for
their own benefit but for the good of something in the wider local community. From this idea a Comedy Night was born. The organisers had good connections with local professional comedian Conal Gallen. He was only too glad to enlist the help of two of his friends and provided the entertainment for a special Comedy Night. The event successfully raised funds for St Joseph’s Community Hospital in Stranolar. St Joseph’s provides highly valued local services for local people. Putting the effort into the special fundraiser was a way of saying thank you to all those in the hospital. It was also a way of serving the local community without looking for anything back. Not only that. It also showed that expensive facilities and complicated programmes are not always needed to serve. Sometimes it is just a case of putting your hand to whatever is possible with the skills and talents you have now.
6 The Extra Mile
Avoiding RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) There is no point in opening a new shop right beside someone who is selling the same thing. The knack is to find something the customer needs and that isn’t being provided by anyone else. Otherwise you end up duplicating a service that someone is already providing. Maghera Parish, in the foothills of The Sperrins, had a commitment to serve the practical needs of the local community. But what would be the best ways to do this? There is always the temptation of just starting to do something, or anything. The challenge is to
On The Move
do something that will be of real benefit and that is not already being done very well by some other body.
The end result was a number of new initiatives taken by the parish including:
As part of Maghera Parish’s engagement with the needs of the local community the Rector did something that is very obvious in hindsight. He decided to talk to people who knew the needs of the area well. He talked to the Local Strategy Partnership of Magherafelt District Council. The questions were simple. He asked in what ways his parish could compliment the work that was been done in their local community and if there were gaps that needed filling.
• Work with men experiencing alcohol and drug dependence • Faith-based Life Skills development for young people • Parent and Toddler groups If the parish hadn’t asked they might have ended up missing what was most needed in their local community.
Fo r a wh ole lot ch u rch is n ow o f rea so n s m a n y pe op le ’s vi If ch u rch e s co m u ch m ore n eg ative th a n it e w o f fro m a cro ss th e D ioce se o f D qu ickly a su sp icm in g k n ockin g on th e d oo r on ce wa s. to g et h e r fo th io r e n, fi re ve d a y s. T h e y e rry a n d R a p h oe ca m e is a n a g e n d a – co rig ht ly or w ro n g ly th at ex wa nt ed a n opp p re ss th e ir fa it th e y h a ve m e to u s a n d h th ro u g h g si iv a e u s y ou r m on m p le a ct io n s – ortu n ity to chil d re n ’s p la y It is h a rd to d e clea n in g y! pa rk, g a rd e n in g C e nt re, st re et cl a t a a n a g e n d a . B o a n ythin g wit h out h a vi n g so C o m ea m e ls e th at loca l n u p s, g raff it i re m o va l a n d u n ity n e it h e r hid d e nut wh at if th e a g e n d a is a si m e so rt o f pe op le wa nt ed a n ythin g d on e. if th e rea so n fo n or tru m pet ed fro m th e roo m p le on e - Eve ry m or ju st to ex p re ss r d oi n g so m et hin g fo r so m e ft op s. W h at tra in in g a n in g th e y ou n g pe op le m et to n d fe llow ship. I on e e ls e is to so m e on e th g et h e r fo r a n t th G ev od e e n a lo in ft ve e g rn s s oo th th Twe nty y ou n g ns ey e m. co m m u n ity to we nt into dif fe re nt pa rt s o f tha n d clea n in g a ped pe op le spe nt a m orn in g in Ju fi e loca l n d p ra ct ica l wa y s o f se Ho sp it a l. T h e y e st ri a n u n d e rpa ss n ea r Alt n ly 2010 rv ic e. On e o rg a n is e r o f On T h e M o we ed s a n d sw scru b bed g raff it i o ff wa lls, a g e lv in w ve a s p a ut ll it a bout ex p lo ri n g h ow we cou ld li k e this. “T his M o ve, Ba sed e pt foot path s It wa s pa rt o f d u g out in ou r co m in O su rp m n G u The le n d e rm ot On T h e M o ve fi n din g p ra ct icn ity wit h th e lo ve o f God. It ri se pe op le wa s a p ilot p rojet Pa ri sh in L on d on d e rry ct - wh e n y ou n Je su s te lls u s toa l a n d si m p le wa y s o f d oi n wa s a bout g pe op le gw d o, to lo ve ou r n e ig h bou r”. h at
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New Hall, New Beginnings There was once a huge company that had a bad culture. When people weren’t coming into their shops to buy anything it was a case of ‘blame the customer’. Nobody in the company had thought to ask if there was anything the company itself could change about itself or what it sold that would attract the customers in. One of the most significant investments a church makes is in the building of a new hall. As well as being a great asset to a local congregation it is also a sign of growth and confidence for the future. When the parishioners in Bovevagh decided to build a new hall in their village they had the right idea. They wanted to find out in what ways they could best use a fine new facility for the wellbeing of the whole locality. The Rector and a small steering group from the joint parishes of Dungiven and Bovevagh got to work.
They began the process by asking themselves some very fundamental questions. These included asking ‘Why do we exist as a local church and what are our strengths’. To help them on the way they went for advice from the Churches Community Work Alliance. These parishes already do things that serve and benefit all parts of their local community. Rather than imagine what further needs they could meet they decided to conduct a Community Audit. This is simply a process of looking at the social and economic make-up of a local community to identify what interventions can be most helpful. Using the services of an experienced consultant, provided by the Diocesan Volunteering Programme, the parishes are soon to receive the results of this audit. It will help them use their facilities, talents and goodwill in the best way for the benefit of the local community. Bovevagh and Dungiven have decided to do more than just open the doors of a lovely new hall and wonder if the local people will come in.
8 The Extra Mile
Caring By Association We all remember our first piggybank as a child. It was the place we would keep our money. Unless we were budding billionaires there was probably nothing very complicated about keeping an eye on the cash. Pocket money in - sweets and presents money out. There are few of us that still keep our money in a money box. The older we get and the more complex life becomes we have to find different ways of managing things. What happens when the community work of a local church grows and managing everything becomes that bit more complicated? As Maghera Parish became more involved in the needs of the local community so the work grew.
Everything from Senior Citizens lunch clubs to Mumâ€™s and Toddlers, work with substance abuse and training in life skills. As the work grew it became obvious that the existing church hall would have to be significantly redeveloped to meet the pressures of new initiatives. Providing the best local services meant receiving external funding. But how was it all to be managed? Setting up a Parish Caring Association is one way of meeting a complex challenge. This is a separate legal entity from a local church. It can be used to manage funding for large projects that are a lot more complicated that the money in
p u t i sum
and money out of our piggybank. Doing it this way also reassures external funders that their grants are not going towards the regular upkeep of a local church or the promotion of religion. The establishment of Maghera Parish Caring Association shows how a church can find a way to manage the business of serving its local community. As the work grows so does the need for good stewardship - taking care of the money in â€Ś and money out.
ey ts as th curren d ry is n o a it s r ater d ter w e t in lt r a u c h unc diffi hurch ce of c y. The vigate r a la o n p it l e o r t a r m n e so io d te es hav n that e tradit charte Church hen th stinatio into un e w ing of e d e e s b e r ll h u im co e we in a t rt of t h t a h P g c plot a . r in g u serv ngin e time be a ch ays of h of th ast cha w f c u d how to is n m y fi t a to munit is is th ified is the com ty of th e ident li v ers. a a e e t h r n s e e of volu ity. Th t n church a u a local h t m ill be eds of l com e a w c n n lo e tion to e h e th estina ed in t fort giv d f t lv e h o d v ig n g in able to the r given a s gettin s being ? Is it I a g . t n re in n o io e d t gem ues ake su o be egs a q is to m s mana thing t e t ip ib h to h r s s ig c r It all b r s d de de he nee Covey all. Lea unity t hurch n w C e e e h al h h c p t e T comm t lo St ins all. eir ing at? er aga ight w s of th r d d d e e e h la t n e l t be aim th ins tica tly put e prac ing aga all. efficien is lean ving th r r e e right w s d e f d o h t la s t e y s a h t in w ga that finding dder a e that g the la in t t be sur u p unity is comm
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Chapter Two Why do it?
10 The Extra Mile
Swimming When the Tide Goes Out? “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked”. Warren Buffett, famous for being one of the world’s most successful investors, is saying something powerful here. His point is obvious. Anyone can give the illusion of success. Whether or not that success has any substance will be seen when the testing times come - when the tide goes out. Churches and Christians are like everyone else - we are tempted to go for what looks good or is the latest fad. The challenge is to do things that have substance and longevity. More than that the challenge is to make sure that what we spend out time and energy on is the right thing -
Famous Las t
to make sure that the ladder is against the right wall. Buffett has put his finger on something - that there comes a time when the substance of what we build is tested. He might be surprised to see his observation echoed in the Bible:
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his
reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.i It’s the same principle. We can work with great enthusiasm at something. It can have all the appearance of success. Yet the time always comes when the true worth of what we are building is tested. In Buffett’s principle it is the workings of the market that bring the reckoning. The broader Christian principle is that God himself assesses the true value of what we work to create. He is considerably more astute than even the markets!
Y ou wou ld t - t h e f in a l dhin k t h at s o m e o n e ’s f in a be fo re H e we ire ct io n s t h at wou ld be lel wo rd s to his fo llowe rs w in t h e n a m e nt ba ck to h ea ve n?“ … g ft ri n g in g in t h e ir ea rs. ou ld be im po rt a nt o be y e ve ryt h o f t h e Fat h e r a n d o f t h e o a n d m a k e dis cip le s o f So wh at wa s Je s u s sa y in “ … y ou will rein g I h a ve co m m a n d ed So nii a n d o f t h e Ho ly S a ll n atio n s, ba pti si n g t h g in Je ru sa le m ce ive powe r w h e n t h e H y ou”. T h e Boo k o f A ct s p irit, a n d t ea chin g t h e m e m , a n d in a ll Ju g iv o ly to d ea a n d Sa m Sp irit co m e s o n y ou; a n e s u s m o re o f His in st ru ct io d a ri a, a n d to W h at we k n t h e e n d s o f t y ou will be m y wit n e ss e s n s. t h e wo rl d a n ow a s t h e G reat C o m m is h e ea rt h”. iii n e ed s in ou r d m a k e dis cip le s. So h o sio n is clea r - g o into t h t h e ch u rch is co m m u n ity f it in wit h t w d oe s vo lu nt e e ri n g ti m e loca lity a n d t h e re st o f t hin g s t h at Jen ot a s ocia l s e rv ice s a g his? We a re n ot co m m u ne a n d e ffo rt to s e rve p ra ct o n ly st a n d t h s u s sa y s s h ou ld be ou r e n cy. W h e re d oe s p ra ct ic ity d e ve lop m e nt wo rk e rs ica l a p e t e st o f ti m e but a ls o divrio rity? Aft e r a ll, we wa l loca l a ct io n f it in wit h ta n d nt to d o t hin he in e s cruti n y. g s n ot
The Extra Mile 11
ted. plica ing m o c ak oo just t g is t t n i o h n c s tea an ture e me e pic t the l t a b e i l h d t p B i sa . he om not ing t le is the c t is being d b t i a a e B k a n .R the to loo d see wh rds i mple with n oo si . It is st wo t a r n uble t fi o r o i s e e r e t u t u h h la sj The agog are t toget in iso es it’ a Syn aiah, en so etim ages igsaw n j h s i t s e t p a h Som p ft f Is tan ng u r two ces o ook o rit of mpor y standi i B e e r one o ll the pie h pi ea yb mt ta The S news meon c ministr s fro “ . o d t s a u to pu f e o o li sr good as ab ords d s pub ow Jesu He w o proclaim oners an last w began hi h t a e s e h h t b s t w i i s r r f e If u c p o s s m m e ai ic. Je . Luke de claration anointed for th , to procl publ s de dom e a eth e a e r e h r a s r f e f z a d ords because h proclaim in Na resse the w e opp e, to g h e n m t i t m s n u se nt so d, to ord i as se e blin iv the L oor. He h h t r fo ep is to ight vor.” to th to do y of s Lord’s fa r g the e n i v o d and ual is g reco the n f s i l o u b s r e e ea irit hat J soner, th the y ly sp for w ri deep t p n a e i r e h ding luep oor, t ere will b ckest rea ry The b ith the p i h t u et ve eq rse w f cou r, even th t Jesus m ke work O . d tha eve , Lu esse oppr to it. How s tells us ew, Mark n of l h e t t c p at os ratio aspe the g as well. M us’ decla ce. h g u s ti es thro need hat J into prac tical us w t u w p o prac h en ohn s e wh and J ooked lik tl inten
What about the Neighbours? His unequalled ability to get to the point is shown in Jesus’ summing up the scripture in two commandments - love God and love your neighbour. Lest there be any mistaking what this means He paints a picture in the story of the Good Samaritan.v The story of the Good Samaritan is one of two men, one Jewish the other a Samaritan. In a brief moment their lives intertwine. The Jew is violently robbed on the road to Jericho. The Samaritan, at some risk and expense to himself, rescues the hapless traveler. A quaint story until we realise that Jews and Samaritans had a long history of disliking and distrusting each other. The story of
their relationship is one of bitter differences over religion and feelings of deep historical betrayal. What does loving your neighbour mean? It is shown in the Samaritan meeting the needs of his enemy. The point is not only shockingly simple but impossible to miss. Jesus defines our neighbour. There are no limits as to who it includes. Friend or enemy it really doesn’t matter. When he says “love your neighbour as yourself”vi he is also saying there are no boundaries as to who that should include. You can’t choose your family. It would appear that following Jesus means we don’t get to choose our neighbours either!
12 The Extra Mile
Love Is? Is love a feeling or an action? It’s not just that love is embarrassing to talk about. Sometimes it’s hard to work out what it means. For the writer of James working out what love means is not rocket science. “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”.vii
front of us it is about doing something to meet it - deciding not to walk on the other side of the road. It is hard to be more practical than the writer of James. He is talking about clothes and food, the practical things of life. These are the things that make the difference to daily life. Living out faith means taking practical action.
Love may be a feeling. It can be a prayer. James suggests that it is also about action. When we see a need in
To sum i
Either / Or Living out the teaching of Jesus is not a case of either / or. It is not about taking one piece of what He says and ignoring the rest. It is about putting all the pieces of the jigsaw together and seeing what the full picture is. Living out faith is not just to believe in life after death. To use the fa mous Christian Aid phrase it is to believe in it before death as well. It is to be concerned not just with what happens to our neighbours after they die. It is also to look to their practical hu man needs in the here and now.
When S tephen Covey t was not alked a the first bout the to point but bein ladder a out the g busy d gainst t importa oing the he wall He said nce of n he r ight thin “My foo ot just b d is to d gs. Jesu eing bu out the o s t g h sy, ot there importa e work of Him w nce of d first wh just loo oing wh e h n o king bu sent me viii at He w sy or ple ” - poin as mean asing th ting t to be d Jesus s e crowd. oing, no ets out t t h e princip to make les of fo sure we llowing underst He tells him. He and the us to do even te p ractical . What ca lls storie living a impact nnot be ll this o s of doing d u o t ne is to will me It is for what spell ou an whe us to wo re we li t in deta rk out t us. Wor ve in ou il what he deta king this r local c il fr o m out mea ommun and tem t h e p rinciple ity. ns bein ptation s He ha g aware s of eve our neig s shown of some n trying hbour in o f the da to meet the com ngers the pra munity. ctical n eeds of
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Chapter Three Afraid if doing it
14 The Extra Mile
The book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffries does what it says on the tin. It reminds the reader that we all face uncomfortable situations in our lives, times we seem to be thrust out of our comfort-zone. Jeffries is making the point that fear of itself shouldn’t be a reason for refusing to take a particular action. Sometimes we just need to feel the fear and do it anyway. If Christopher Columbus had let fear dominate he would never have left the familiar shores of Europe to discover the new world. If fear dictated every action then nothing new would ever be discovered. So what are the fears a Church may have about getting involved in the practical circumstances of a local community?
Fear of Graceful Decline In 1987 Terry Waite was taken captive in Beirut. He was held for five years. In 2007 / 08 hostages were being taken in Iraq. The Sun newspaper asked him to reflect on what would be in the minds of hostages taken in Bagdad. He said,
When you are first taken hostage you are initially surprised, bewildered and angry. Then you expect the whole thing to be over in a few days. When it goes to a week or so you begin to wonder. But after a while you learn to live a day at a time. That’s the only way you can do it. You don’t project too far into the future, you live for that day and hope you’re going to survive. The great thing is to keep hope alive. You discover you’ve got resources you didn’t know you had. It’s as though there are inner resources waiting to
be utilised which strengthen you. If any news is filtering through to the hostages themselves, my message is ‘maintain hope. ix In changing times hope is an important word for the local church. There is a danger of believing that all we can do is manage inevitable but dignified decline - the equivalent of offering palliative care to a local church on its last legs. Yet, it is always better to be realistic rather than fatalistic. Realism allows for hope where fatalism does not.x As it seeks to rearticulate its mission in the local community and in its wider society there are still new chapters to be written by churches. Mark Twain wrote in 1897, ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration’ after reading
his obituary in a newspaper. Similarly, it may be somewhat premature to pen the obituary of the church’s contribution in local communities. The church still has a unique contribution to make to the community of which it is a part. Its real challenge is to retain that uniqueness as it finds a new place.
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Fear of Losing Saltiness “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”xi Jesus’ words remind any church that it has something distinctive to the wellbeing of its local community. Serving the needs of a local community means meeting people where they are. When a church engages with the needs of its local community it can lead to real, and sometimes uncomfortable, immersion in the local culture. We appreciate that to send a mission partner to work in another continent they will need to understand the local culture and language. However, it can be seen as less necessary when we are talking about local engagement. Again, engaging with young people involves a real, yet critical, engagement with youth culture. To speak the language of those around you, and to be aware of the cultures that shape the lives of the community in which a church finds itself is not the same as losing Christian distinctiveness.
Fear of Distraction
ith cliché. Is en ga gi ng w we ss ne si bu e th es go in g? If thin g. So ke ep doin g th e m ai n st ra ct io n fro m w hat we sh ou ld really be do a di st ra ct io n. to is g in th n ai m e is Th l co m m un ity ju st a di does n’t lead to th at th e ne ed s of ou r loca sa vi ng souls th en su re ly an yt hi ng th at whe n soci al en ga ge m ent ha d a are in th e bu si ne ss of in th e m in ist ry of th e ch urch fro m ti m esch urch to whe re th at en ga ge m ent We ha ve ha d swin gs as a ce nt ra l pa rt of th e m iss io n of th e prio rity an d were se enn. en well is se en as a di st ra ct io t an d m iss io n ha ve bee an d en m ge ga en al ci so Willia m Wilberfo rc ll of ex a m ples whe re Ch ristia n hi st ory is fu look no fu rt he r th an to re fo rm ers su ch as d Sa ddle ba ck sh ow w he re inte grat ed. We ne ed own ti m e th e m in ist ry of R ick Warre n anth e w ho le ch urch. xii Warre n give s Jo hn N ewto n. In ou r as an im po rt ant pa rt of th e wid er life of ; Je su s ga ve both th e G reat m iss io n is inte grat ed log ical foun datio n fo r a ba la nced ch urchon e an ot he r as well as go out us an im po rt ant th eo th e G reat Co m m iss io n. xiii We are to lo ve N ew s. W hat we ca n ob se rve Co m m an dm ent an d be gi nn in g whe re we are, with th e Good , no r sh ou ld th ey be! into th e w ho le world, pres ent. Th ey are not m ut ua lly ex cl us ive is th at both sh ou ld be
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Fear of Apologising As the church engages with its community we also need to acknowledge that others may not appreciate nor welcome this. Some see the motivating role that faith can play as dangerous and therefore best avoided by society as a whole. On the other hand as the church engages with local communities there is a risk of it becoming apologetic as to the motivating role of faith - seeing it as something to be apologetic about or to disguise. There are reasons behind society’s wariness. It may be a concern that where faith is involved the real motivation in engagement is recruiting. Some believe that our motivation is not to engage but to convert! Churches can articulate how faith plays a central role in their motivation to engage, but that assistance is not predicated by conversion.xiv It is precisely in the relationship between engaging with the community and conversion that the important issue of integrity raises its head. We are not to attempt to bring people to the point of conversion by exploiting their vulnerabilities. If they are vulnerable then we meet that need. A person may choose to engage with us on the issue of faith. We are not engaging with the needs of our community as back door evangelism. But neither will we apologise that the conversion of our own lives has motivated us to serve. Saint Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth that he was open in all he did, it is a principle we too must adhere to - integrity.xv
Fear of Splendid Isolation Some see a metaphor in the image of the church building standing alone in the graveyard. It has become isolated from the living because of a preoccupation with the dead. The church is called to be distinctive, at times we must stand apart from the values of our society but we are not to become isolated. Is the church headed down the path to isolation? This too is not realism but fatalism. Jesus’ teaching about the nature of the church told his disciples that they didn’t light a la mp only to put under a bowl, it was put on a la mp stand. xvi So, when the church stands apart, it is revealing a different value. The interesting truth to grasp is that this very distinctiveness may reveal the church in the dark and dingy places of our local community working alongside those whom society has turned it’s back on. So it is not isolation that our distinctiveness leads to but greater engagement! The church must face the danger of isolation, but this is more likely to affect us because of a loss of relevance, not because of owning a distinctive calling in our local community.
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u t i m To su
s. g time allengin h ld c r o in ve ew at we li ds of th t he nee pute th t withou is o d t ip g ’t h ners tenin e don t ho s r w li w a s f s p o n t s istia ing in fatali llenge k a t r o h o c n w As Chr e e r ly th ;o e ar er it is exorab n voice eful. W Wheth fates in our ow in hop e a g h e m t in e h s t t r ec t lo ee ion: we ver dir lp us s withou our vis whiche will he g d in God in o c t s G a d ifi t r sacr nwa y tha ope th o a h r ly e p d h e e t gg to .W ing un plod do e are realists st hold il W h . s w u s and n lead uatio ostage it h s e e h h t t f t it. ed projec truth o courag edeem u don’t ge it, r aite en o n g W Y a . h y in e c r o r g can ’re a tim e Te pe you day at erienc o p a h x e e d v n n r li e o ya is ow discov learn t that da From h ve. You s to, ‘… ve for li li ie a h il u e c o p m r Y o a u h h e. their f e futur .’ The c to keep into th ou had hing is y r t a t f w a o o e n o r t eg ’t k u didn ive. Th sson. rces yo to surv u o ame le s s e t r a t h o t g e m you’v arn fro ch to le has mu
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Chapter Four Plotting the way ahead
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So now you are convinced that serving practical needs in our community is part of what Christians and the church are called to do. You’ve had a look at some of the fears a church can have about getting involved in this sort of thing. Is it time to get busy or is there anything else you need to think through?
These words were not spoken by a preacher or a politician but by a businessman about business. Jerry Greenfield is the cofounder of the world famous ice-cream brand ‘Ben and Jerry’s”. Telling your own people the truth about how things really are is good leadership.
“Once more unto the breach” - these words from Shakespeare’s Henry V are some of the most stirring about leadership. The picture of a need arising followed by the heroic rush to meet it at all costs. Inspiring stuff.
You see need around you. You want your church to get busy so you want to plot the right course ahead. Just before you do are there some ‘truths’ that need to be looked at - truths about how things are on the ground out there?
“The role of leadership is to tell your own people the truth about the way things are on the ground”.
Rul a i g l a t s o N
nows veryone k E s. y a d rch these ave in hurches h r the Chu c fo t t a n th e r e c fe n o. The dif e years ag nd importa things are v a fi t e a c ty th la n p is e e ys. Th er can s even tw The truth nobody sa ore. Neith hat it wa y m w ll y a n to n a o t si n d e ca r te n fe up but oc vastly dif ity for gra have been brought n is u y m it n m u co se they role in a our comm oors becau t take its o d n s n it ca to h c k Chur will floc cing that people d. it e k is experien ta h c it e r g u n h a C h s have c re. In why the not for he one as to to it. Time t d u e b b , ld te u a b lysis co rtant de be aware eal of ana ortant to is an impo p t a im h e T r A great d o s. tu is m nge in sta n place it such a cha a change has take that ting to it. accepting ns in reac o ti ta p m of the te
20 The Extra Mile
Busy doing … For clergy and local churches the fond memories of former days and the pressure for their return can bring its own pressures. These usually centre round the pressure to do something or at least to appear to be doing something. One definition of frantic action is that which is characterised by rapid and disordered or nervous activity. Churches can be notoriously busy places. There is nothing wrong with busyness. It is just better to make sure that the busyness is not of the ‘frantic’ variety. Wanting to respond to the changed place of the Church in society is quite legitimate. Whatever the motivation may be the key is to always make sure that the Church is doing the right things rather than just frantic action for its own sake. Otherwise ‘running out of stea m’ is the end result.
The Fad Language changes. The word ‘fad’ is not commonly used these days. Nevertheless it has a meaning worth taking note of. A fad is a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time. Fads happen in fashion and music. They come and go. They also happen in churches. There can be a fad for particular types of worship, church structures or priorities. One year it can be the small-group structure that is the successful route to the holy-grail - a church that is seen to be growing. The next it can be something else entirely.
Our wardrobes and CD racks are littered with items we bought as part of a fad. Buying things that seemed to be a good idea at the time but in reality may at that time have owed more to us following a fad. Now quaintly interesting to look back on but of no great lasting value. Following a church fad will feel strangely similar. Mobilising your church’s volunteers to serve the community may be the right thing … when it is motivated by more than following the latest fad. The latest fad soon becomes the last fad.
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dvice A ’s t a o r h T p e e D
at was Deep Thro ent’s Men’ d si re tion to P a e ed inform In ‘All th nt. He leak a and rm fo rd a in Woodw a secret urnalists, jo n pose to ex g in em two Wash helped th e h so g in g to By do ndal, leadin Bernstein. tergate sca a W . s n u o o ix ri N the noto Richard President f o ll fa n the dow the t to unravel lists sough a rn u ey jo th e As th Watergate at became ad mystery th p Throat h ggled. Dee ru st e money! y tl th en frequ ays follow lw a e ic v ad memorable ood advice might be g It . ey n o m es. Follow the for church sts. Less so li a rn u jo r fo ey. There is needs mon n o ti a of is n a e priorities Every org in that. If th ly er d d o g n n fu u tential nothing ose of a po th g d n in a h h et rc for som the Chu be a recipe n ca t r a fo th s rk coincide ne that wo ive to be do oided av e b very effect to ptation m te e h T e. chase the everyon ation is to is n a rg o y driven by is for an d up being en to is ve It . funding er and abo funders ov f o es n ti o ri si o is the pri eart and m ed by the h up. t se s being guid a isation w n a rg o e th of why to nd efforts r energy a u o y g in n o Allow d for m ey by the nee to d te ta ic be d a deeper otivated by m n a th er rath ose has on or purp si is m f o se sen her an effect. Whet a profound s or u n is religio organisatio to the same secular it is in l, u ng your so end up losi ! rd of the wo every sense
22 The Extra Mile
Canute-like The story is famously told of King Canute. He sat on his throne on the seashore, waves lapping round his feet, commanding the sea to retreat. It didn’t! Unfairly King Canute has become a byword for failing to look reality in the face - commanding the sea to retreat despite the evidence of wet feet suggesting otherwise. Apparently Canute had tired of his flattering courtiers declaring that he was “So great, he could command the tides of the sea to go back”. Canute was fooled neither by the flattery nor the physics. He decided to prove a point … and his own limitations.
One day he had his throne carried to the seashore and sat on it as the tide came in, commanding the waves to advance no further. When they didn’t, he had made his point. He was not all-powerful and the laws of physics would not obey him. Living in the realm of reality is always better … and drier. Looking honestly at the way things really are on the ground. That requires some courage of organisations and leaders. However, it is always better than pretending that nothing has changed around us whilst seeming mystified by the changed place of the Church.
To sum i
The cha llenge fo r a chur ultimat ch is to ely by it follow it s sense clear se s heart o f mission nse of w - to be m . It is ab hy they otivated out chu e x ist and rches h Keeping w h a a t ving a the orig they ar inal pas e for. other or sion in ganisat a churc ion. It m followin h is not eans av g fads, c unlike w o iding m hasing orking in avoidin any tem funding g how t any ptation and the hings re s church - busyn li k ally are e. Howe e cannot s s, on the g ver, it n vigorou the socia ever me round. N sly invo ans l needs o r lv d e o e it s of the p self in p it mean do so is eople in ractical that a fashion its local action t able. It things fo hat mee c is o mmunit simply r the rig ts y just b a case o ht reaso ecause f setting ns. to out to d o the rig ht
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Chapter Five Start from where you are
24 The Extra Mile
We all know the old joke about the tourist in Ireland. One day he ask one of the locals for directions to a town. The local replies: ‘Well sir, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here’. It can be tempting to think that engaging with the needs in our local community is like that journey - if only we could start it from somewhere other than we are now.
Big or Significan
Society clea rly thinks bi g is better. obsessed w It is ith size over significance temptation . The can be just as beguiling church. Wri fo r a ting Vision Statements Strategies is an d something that many lo churches h cal ave begun to do. Whilst w a vision that an ting is big enough to be inspir everything ing not that we do n eeds to be bi is really nee g. What ded is for us to think sign Big and Sig ificant. nificant are not always the same! It is all too ea sy to look at our local ch and sigh inw urch ardly, ‘This will never be want it to be what I ’. Someone once said to in a team m a leader eeting that th ey should re that we wer member e, ‘only a co untry paris never be an h, and would ything diffe rent!’ The sc Kingdom in ope of God’s the life of th e local churc a little smal h can seem l when it m akes it off th reality. But e page into doing small but significa in terms of nt things serving a lo ca l communit be the healt y can hiest thing to do. What of the parable of th e Mustard S Jesus teach eed?xvii es that God ’s Kingdom w small begin il l have nings but gr ow to great It is so impor si gn ificance. tant that th is parable is in three Gos recorded pels. God ob viously doe an importa sn’t want nt lesson to be missed. H doesn’t oper is Kingdom ate on the sa me assump the world. N tions as evertheless some succes in business s stories are good ex amples of gr owth from
small begin nings. Dunca n Bannatyn famous for e is his role on B B C’s Dragons His own busi Den. ness career began with cream van an ice purchased for £450. H by buying m e expanded ore vans an d eventually business for sold the £28,000.xviii His worth is be measure now to d in million s. The begin not big, but n in g was the end was . In ‘The Star Thrower’ by Loren Eisel is walking al ey a man ong the beac h early one where thou morning sands of star fish had been up on the sh washed ore. He notic es a boy pic starfish one king the by one and throwing th into the ocea xix em back n. “The m an observed for a few min the boy utes and th en asked wh doing. The bo at he was y replied th at he was re the starfish turning to the sea, ot herwise they die. The man would asked how sa ving a few, w many were hen so doomed, wou ld make any whatsoever difference ? The boy p icked up a st threw it back arfish and into the ocea n and said “M a difference ade to that one. ..” A small acti on can be a significant on engage with e. As we the needs of a local com is an essenti munity this al lesson to learn. What grow to som we do may ething bigger but we begi are, with th n where we e resources we have. Th both our re at includes sources as le aders and th of those we e resources lead.
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Running Before we can Walk We often fail to imagine a big enough vision for what can be achieved in 5 years. But, whilst we have a deflated view of what we can achieve in 5 years we have an inflated view of what we can achieve in 1 year! There is a real danger in making the mistake of trying to start too big. The necessary foundations will not be present. Beginning small is an important principle, it does not mean that we will lack significance. It will allow space to learn how to lead as well as ensuring the foundations are in place.
o Saying N
ey t h e jou rn is a n , n io t a n i y a cit d e st i n e s t h e wh o wa lk it. Ca p we ca n d o f e d n io If v is it m ou ld s a ll u l at e s wh at t ry i n g t owa rd s t co n ce pt. It re g void t h e p itfa ll o fu rch e s i m po rt a n it will h e l p u s a L ea d e rs a n d ch A n e ed n ow, a n d m u ch t oo s oo n. o a s we ll a s y e s. but a t o d o t oobe a ble t o s a y n loca l co m m u n itybility, n e ed t o s e nt it s e lf i n t h e h at it h a s t h e a out it. m a y p re e ed s t o be s u re t d o s o m et hi n g a b ce ss a ry ch u rch n n d re s ou rce s t o n cip le m a y be n e e n e rg y a y t h e n ot y et p ri rs o n a l bu rn out. Liv i n g b co lle ct ive a n d pe t o a void
26 The Extra Mile
Start from here Too often we can compare our church with others. We covet their parishioners, their money, their ‘luck’! Looking at what we want to do we can see the resources needed in terms of time, money and abilities. However, before considering what skills and resources we wish we had it is healthier to acknowledge what is already in front of us. It is important to not despise what God has given us in the here and now. In the parable of the Talentsxx the Master goes on a journey. Before he leaves he shares out his resources according to the ability of the workers.xxi One of the key lessons here is that God gives according to ability and how He chooses. When what has been given is used well more responsibility follows.xxii
When the Master returns he finds two who have used the talents well and one who has not. We remember well the words spoken to the diligent servants, ‘Well-done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’xxiii The lesson from the parable can apply to our desire to serve the needs in our local community as well as to anything else. It is best to begin where we actually are and not where we would like to be. Moving away from the “if only” mentality (if only we had more money or were starting from somewhere other than we are) is important. Otherwise there is the danger of being so fixated on where we wish we where that we miss the opportunities that are here now.
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Chapter Six Ask the right questions
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Do Th y e h T o D How
n ot cot la n d is in S in e g d ri ri dg e oa d B t h e Fo rt h R s t h e fou rt h lo n g e st bt at e s wh e n s s ro c a g S Wa lkin t h ea rt ed. It wa t h e U n it ed e r 2.5 k m lo n g. e id in s e t f u o e h st t e v o fo r n d t h e lo n g bic st ru ct u re is t h e wo rld a 1964. I n t ot a l, t h e st e e l a n d 125,000 cu it ope n ed inn g 39,000 t o n n e s o f it s co n st ru ct io n. A st a g g e ri o n cret e we re u s ed in hen t t o m in d w o n h ig ra m et re s o f c st s e co m h ow e st io n t h at eat o f e n g in e e ri n g u q e n o is f g T h e re t his a m a zin ge loo kin g at h e y d o t h at? R oa d Bri d is e t h rt id o d F h e h rt t a e li k e pe rt le st ru ct u re in d a ll t h e b ra in s, ex io n s: ib d re c in n h Bu il din g a pe n by a ccid e nt. Be a s k ed t h e rig ht qu e st did n ’t h a p s o m e o n e m u st h a ve a n d p la n s ri dg e h e re? b a d e e n y rea ll • Do we ill u s e it? bu il d t his? o t e is rt • W h o w ig s h ou ld it be? e p t h e ex • How b h a ve t h e m o n e y a n d u st o n e e ls e m e m o • D o we s s n io qu e st s kin g t h o s elat o r out a n d a s k ed: a s a ll e w As t h e ir ca lcu d? will we n e e rs t o co m e? h a ve t a k e n e t re c n o c ea nd u ch st e e l a it in g ood re pa ir fo r y m w o H • hey ill we k e e p u e st io n s. T e q e s o h • How w t d e a sk o -on n o -o n e h a d in g a bri dg e w h e re n a lly ex cit in g if e in g a re d u il t his Ju st im e n d ed u p b on e y ve st a rt ed m ig ht h a ve u s e it. T h e y cou ld h a ed a n d ru n out o f m wa nt ed t o be g u n t o g et ex h a u st p roje ct but hin g it. It t qu e st io n s. oa d h g ri e h be fo re f in is t g hR a s kin la n n in g is u a re bu il din g t h e Fo rte in y ou r p d o o g o t mm e r yo A key tt e r w h et h m a ll vo lu nt e e r p rog ra - a s kin g a m ’t n s e o d a rt in g a s t h e sa m e Bri dg e o r st. T h e p ri n cip le is st ill co m m u n ity e st io n is v it a l. t h e rig ht qu
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That’s a Good Question! One of the most important questions that any organisation, including a local church, can ask is ‘What’s our business?’ It’s another way of asking why your church exists. The danger with any organisation that has been in existence for more than five minutes is that it forgets its purpose or what it was set up for in the first place. The church has been here for two thousand years and many local churches have been existence for generations. Does your local church have a clear sense of purpose or is there the temptation to say ‘We are here, because we’re here, because we’ve always been here’. Let us imagine that someone in you church has come up with a great idea to run a new programme - to sell bananas. It might sound like a wonderful idea. But what are the key questions worth asking?
A. Does selling bananas fit in with our purpose? Banks do not sell bananas. Their business is money. If a bank employee suggested that a great new line of business would be to sell bananas the answer would be - that’s not what our business is about. Our purpose is to work with money, not fruit and veg. The response to the suggestion is obvious - it doesn’t fit in with what we are about. Having a clear and shared sense of why your church exists is vital. When you know what the purpose and mission of your church is you can look at any new idea that comes your way. If it fits in with what you think you are about then its time to move to the next step. If the idea seems like an interesting one but doesn’t fit in with why your church exists then wish it well… somewhere else.
The new idea of selling bananas may prompt you to go back and ask two questions. Why does our church exist and does using our time, energy and money to sell bananas fit in with our purpose? If it fits in with your purpose then it’s worth taking the idea to the next stage. If it isn’t in line with your purpose its time to drop the idea.
B. Will local people want to buy bananas? There is no point in selling something that noone wants to buy or giving a service that nobody wants to use. If you have decided that selling bananas fits in with your purpose as a church the next question is simple. Is there a need if we sell them will local people want to buy them? The way to find the answer to that is not mysterious - it is to ask. One local parish decided to build a beautiful new hall. This represented a great investment of their time, energy and money. They were clear about their purpose as a parish. On this firm foundation they began to think about ways in which they could use this fine new facility for the good of the local community. Their reasoning was simple. They knew there was no point filling the new hall with activities that local people neither wanted nor needed. There is a simple way to find out what local people want or need - ask them! In this particular case the parish, situated in a small town and rural area set about finding out what the local community needed by: • Carrying out a simple door-to-door Questionnaire, asking people about the needs of their area.
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Finding out what other organisations were doing to meet particular local needs. After all there was no point in duplicating what someone else was already doing very well.
of what we are good at and what we are not. It doesn’t mean we never take risks - just not foolish ones.
Speaking to key community leaders to find out their views. There were many individuals such as politicians, community workers, police officers and others who would know the needs of the local community.
D. Are we actually selling any bananas?
• Looking at statistics for the local area such as age profile, income levels and the like. This process of asking questions, sometimes called a Community Audit, is a way of building up a picture of a local area. It can be as detailed a process as you want. In this particular case the parish ended up with a much clearer sense of what the real needs of the local community were. After all, there is no point in selling bananas if no-one in the community wants or needs them.
C. Would we have what it takes to sell bananas? A great new idea may fit in with your purpose as a church. There may even be a need for what you are proposing in the local community. But does your church have the skills, interest or facilities to make it happen. Put another way, would you be good at selling bananas? One local church realised that there was need for a new programme for senior citizens. The idea was to provide a luncheon club once a month where people could meet over a warm meal. Did they have what it takes to start this new initiative? There was no doubt that the prospect of starting this new programme was daunting. However, they realised they had a lot of catering skills amongst their members as well as a newly opened hall. Yes, they had what was needed to get the job done. There are other times when we may be very aware of a need but simply do not have the background, experience or skills to do something. The key is to have an awareness
The person who never failed at anything is the one who never tried anything. We started off with one question every organisation should regularly ask itself - what’s our business. There is another equally important one to ask at regular intervals - how’s business? If we are clear that our business is selling bananas do we know if we are actually selling any? Keeping an eye on how a new programme is not just about identifying success and failure. A new initiative may enjoy great success. So much so that a funder may be interested in investing in its development. If we can point them to facts and figures that show how many people are being helped then so much the better.
To sum it up The builders of the Forth R oad Bridge to a risk. It was ok n’t just the ri sk of building an enormous br idge across a river. They to risk of asking ok the searching qu estions, not ju others but also st of of themselves . Do people ne this bridge? H ed ow big does it need to be? H we got what it ave takes to do it ? Asking the ha rd questions is not a mark fear but of co of nfidence. Whe n someone ha good idea for s a doing somethi ng new in your church to ask the questions is not to shoo down. Perhap t it s it has more to do with Je suggestion th su s’ at anyone who plans to build tower needs to a do some thin king before putting one br ick upon anot her.xxiv
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Chapter Seven What about money?
32 The Extra Mile
to first! t n e w e n o at every h t apter r h e c t p t ’ a n h s i c e y e h on or t And now f iberate reason why m to begin. ted del There is a e we are often temp her one. It is w to be resisted! ur pool ider yo s n o c n kills, u o i . As yo f their s activity be aware o A temptat
e want to teers b g to do at they f volun o h s? in t w n d a n passion ity a olve and w re their vailabil ally inv a need a a u g t s a u in h e l e w il S h ut w d in t thoug ing abo involve portan st vital . t someth im s , r li e y v the mo it e e r at w r io o a r s H p r . tee our thers th money If volun e also o not top g, ‘Can r a in ld sses, k e u e s r o in a e h s with al bu rce th c u e in it is it s o o b g L s e t . e b o d r t n e ns may tapp ould uld no nisatio ?’ It sh ften un a We sho o is g r h e r e t r o t t a o r e d e oth f time ps. B rd to cts and n our li terms o s we affo o je e o o in n r io ‘D p lp t , e s s parish to h ch a t que aghera epared e ions su r the firs t M v p s n ie e e e h u b c h q a us munity with es. W ew com ing help resourc to start n n d g e n n in m la a t o p e s g me e are velopin m new or ‘Is it what w was de help fro vision’, h h c c ’ r u s ? u y s h e elp. our c munit initiativ great h our com was of g s r e n r needs in t o par omethin t fact doing s portan r e fo im b a n o e t a is dle ed new id Money rst hur discuss When a that nity is ot the fi g u n in m y is ound r n m it a e o but the c is no d tion is ing in s e n e r n u e q la h t p T . firs this? urch cleared l ften the e afford n or ch a o w c io l t lo il a e w is h n it is in t - how an orga y types it does money and its sonalit p d what r x e n e . That e p t g o e t x in e m to or so l need lt sett sider F il u n w o fa c e y t d it s n is a mu ke a commu lmost li he s. Yes, it tually it t a u n ll e r a v iming fo E e e . is s ss but t d util be tru e n t r finance a h . d y s d ig s e a e n m mo e to e an acc luding ry issu y not b how it c st it ma ded, inc necessa e il e h d n e W s k . e t s be a rtan e resourc is impo stion to nise th e g u o d q c e t e y s r alla t to y fir y when can be portan the ver a team It is im ts in pla f n o e e issues s h r m t a s le t of e the fe acces g tha u in o t y a ic variety w n ho s mu will be g about position by com ources ff s a e t r s d d thinkin n rie t. ey a nd es. Sala ure poin of mon begin a resourc at a fut lace to d p e s s e n s h e t io at ely addr onsider are rar the e first c h ff t a t f s o d e n so on l lead a ly is who wil ost like m r will be e w s n a re e a . Th teers project s. Volun r e e it t n n lu mu y your vo in a com e c r u o res a vital
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No Black Hole There is one important thing to say regarding money. People do not respond well to deficits. The concept of giving to reduce debt is like throwing a bag of coins into a black hole. After the coins flow from the bag they are sucked into the darkness and appear to have made no difference. The sa me black hole remains, appearing just as black and just as empty! Vision is what will encourage people to resource what you want to do. How many charities ask you to give your money or time to change someoneâ€™s life? The time or money becomes your way to make their vision a reality: to make a difference. Y ou no longer see the charity with a need but a life you have helped! In volunteering the principle is the sa me. We are invited to follow a vision and make a difference. People may not give money yet they may give their time or talent as volunteers. Every church leader wants willing volunteers: individuals who share our passion and are willing to give time, money and skills to make the vision a reality. Communication has a central role to play in this. By rushing to address the question of money we can miss some very important resources on our doorstep. We will have people in our churches and organisations who understand the local needs and have the skills to address them. In the sa me way a church can partner with local businesses to utilise their skills instead of seeing them as a source of money. The most important resource you will have to manage is time. Volunteers give time and talents. We all consider ourselves to
have less time so we choose carefully how to use it. A volunteer wants to know you will use their limited resource of time in the way that makes best use of it. Perhaps this is the reason courses helping people see where they best fit, such as The Network course, are growing in popularity. xxv A clear vision will help you source the skills and financial support you need by helping potential volunteers decide where they can best contribute. It will show where the resources people have; whether in their time, skills or money, can make a difference.
34 The Extra Mile
Keep it See-Thru The Faithworks Charter addresses the matter of funding. It talks of the need for “Handling our funding in a transparent and accountable way and to give relevant people from outside our organisation/ project reasonable access to our accounts”.xxvi
in accepting these criteria. The paperwork around the award of a grant is there to ensure that you fulfil their vision. How you deliver a project in partnership with a funding body may also be used as an indicator for potential future funders in considering any application.
What are some of the suspicions funders have? Is it that churches do want external money but are not necessarily committed to the vision they articulate in a funding application. In other words that it may be more of a cosmetic exercise just to secure external funding to get halls rebuilt or staff funded. The best way to allay these concerns is to be as open and transparent about your accounting as possible.
In thinking about having a funding partner consider the decision-making process of a hitchhiker. When a car
The main motivation in increasing your resources, financial and otherwise, should be your vision. It will help you to navigate through the funding labyrinth. A funder will want you to work to their vision and mission. That is why they will share their resources with you. What you need to ask is whether you agree with their vision or not. The ideal relationship is a funder and applicant who share the same vision. Reality dictates that this may not always be possible. At other times you must judge whether you agree enough with the funder to accept the grant. There will be criteria to accepting any external funding. It is essential that you are completely honest
stops they need to know some answers: • Is it the right destination? • Is it the right direction? ‘Destination’ and ‘Direction’ will help you decide whether a funder is the right partners for you. If the answer to either of the above questions is ‘No’, then your answer should also be, ‘No’.
To sum it up Vision both de fines our dest ination, and he keep true to it lps us to , on the journe y. One cleric te approached by lls of being a colleague. Th e colleague ha encouraged to d been make the cont act by his chur belief that the ch on the cleric had the gift of ‘fundra Pauline gift th ising’ - a lesser at didn’t quite make it into 1 Corinthians! A common m istake is to fo cu s on the money temptation fo . The r a church is to begin with is available. Th what funding is is instead of first understa needs of their nding the local commun ity and their local church. vision as the Receiving fund ing works whe and the funder n your vision ’s priorities ar e the same. B funder in the ut to put a driving seat of your church en with the local gagement community, fo r the sake of m rob you of your oney, can passion! The fatalist sa ys that it is th e only way to and at least yo get money, u are doing so me good! The counters that realist God has and w ill continue to church, but it resource his may involve sa crifice! Securi funding can be ng external very useful bu t it can involv administratio e extensive n. You must be clear that it is you, and help serving ing you to achi ev e your vision. undoubtedly This will involve you sa ying no to a fu at some point: nd in g offer be prepared!
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Chapter Eight How do I lead this?
36 The Extra Mile
What does a leader do? Charles Handy says “a leader shapes and shares a vision which gives point to the work of others”. In other words a leader paints a picture of what the future might look like. He or she then works with others, inspiring and equipping them, to move towards making that picture a reality. Leadership is always a daunting task. It is also vitally necessary in any church if it is to fulfill it’s mission - to do what it is meant to be doing. Clergy, pastors, priests call them what you will - have that responsibility. An Afghan proverb states, “If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.”xxvii Leadership must always be about who, as well as where and how.
“If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.”
Step 1 - Be Convin
We remembe r that leader ship is about that the ladd making sure er is against the right wal of a church le l. The first task ader is to be sure in their integral to w ow n mind that hat their chur ch is meant to is serving the be about social needs of members of community. their local
If you are to convince othe rs of somethi to be convince ng you need d yourself. Th ere is no poin a congregation t in starting down a partic ular path of ac because it is tion just a ‘flavour of th e month’ type the governm of thing to do ent says it is , a good idea, or to be a tempo there happen rary pot of fu s nd ing that can Just because be tapped into the church do . wn the road you are nerv is doing it an ous that wha d te ver you happ at the momen en to be doin t isn’t working g - its never a go reason to take od enough a church in a direction that time and ener may be gy consumin g. Leadership is about makin g sure the righ get done. The t things first thing is fo r you, the lead convinced. So er, to be me will call it volunteering term it comm . Others will unity developm ent. But are yo that serving u convinced practical loca l ne eds fits into w believe the ch hat you urch is called to be doing? then it will be If you are no come a soulle t ss exercise. If yo you will have u are then the passion an d conviction to lead others .
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Step 2 - Leadership
is what I do!
Leadership m eans helping people to adap has a differen t to the fact th t place in our at church local commun movies when ity. In the old the wagon tr W estern ai n was attacked response - st there was a st op moving fo andard rw ar d, circle the w down. When agons and hu things are un nk ce er rt ain that tempt same for a ch ation is just th urch. A leader e ha s to show ther of responding e is a better w to changed ti ay mes for the ch ur ch . Clergy are tr ained to past or and often great effect. have the skill The role of le s to do so wit ad ership is differ h how to visit th ent. A pastor e flock, care fo w ill kn r ow th e bereaved. sick and show compassion to the Unconscious ly the model of church lead that of chapla ership that is incy. A chapla often followed in is a membe religious serv is r of the clergy ices for an in who conducts stitution or or is often that ganisation. Th the role of cler e expectation gy is to go no expectation or fu rther than th indeed a cult is. It is an ure that is no church mem t only in cler bers. As chur gy but also in ches seek to local commun find their chan ity then mor ge d place in a e may be nece ssary. To pastor need s one set of sk ills. To lead ne set of skills. It eds not only may also requ a different ire an addition is always to st al mindset. Th ay in our com e temptation fo rt zone - to co are already fa ntinue doing miliar with do w hat we in g. Pressure no expectations t only from ou but from thos r own e ar ound us mak the more enti e the temptat cing. ion all The challeng e is to be will ing to move be equip our peop yond the role le to do new th of pastor, to ings in new w convinced no ays. Clergy ne t only that se ed to be rving practica churchâ€™s mis l need is inte sion. They al gral to the so ne ed role in leadin to be convince g to wards th d that they ha at goal. Manag ve a says â€œthe best ement guru Pe way to predic te r D ru t th cker e future is to cr of the church eate itâ€?. The is always mis fu si tu on re al serving the pr - to look outw ards, includin actical needs of those arou g is to know ho nd us. The ch w to lead that allenge .
38 The Extra Mile
aked? N g n i m m i oid Sw v A f who is 3 p e t S icture o p ’s na t t e Buff ut. Whe
goes o Warren behind? the tide wist to t n e w e h e leave n w h a d s e d r k n o a fi e n Let’s will h imming h what o be sw not a churc m shown t ation is o fr es on e tempt v h o T e great . m v e r ie ls e lead one e n ach y a c n a r e s d a a a le is done uman of what alising it are as h e e s r r lu t e a u d v o a Le . Not so . With of the oves on h. Part ok good c m lo r r u o e t h d t c a s ju ular t how at le a partic aked bu when th n s in g e s u g in in in m t th orate t con swim ay evap y were ing wha e e m h e t t s a r h e in t is ty wheth ersonali case of wer of p o much a p n o t . as buil g up er there much w in settin no long ls e il r a k s y t e a plates gre when th g all the ay have in m p y e g e r k le t s a ec leading ing or ju er of th the fund A memb ve when a g h . The in y t o t t it e n s g t ing, ommu t asse c a e e r h hurch g t someth e g ese ar ipping c servin h u f q T o e . s g t y u in a o . ab spinn to new w rship is yourself ation in at leade do it all h o t t r t e o congreg b n m try, to reme rgotten of minis secret is easily fo e work h is t t o I d . t o rs t concept e star membe bout the from th a e g r e in h t lk re ta been aul got ry. St P ept has an. We a t c m is n o u in c h e m ll Th ea lighted ber he high se we ar ry mem u n e e a v c e h e w d b n s t t a jus ltan hrist t consu ody of C parts. agemen n of the B a f many m o e p h t u e e r d a fo ym e of there be is a bod he sens church would t e e r h ld the t e u t h o a w th here w an eye, w , e r r a e e w y e an ts in the hole bod the par ody wer b d e le c y o la h p “If the w ew has e. If the be? If th em to b fact God h t in d t e t u e hearing n B er wa e? s it is, th st as he f smell b sense o them, ju dy be? A o f b o e e h n t o ld ery ere wou xxviii body, ev part, wh e .” n y o d o ll eams. b a were eve in t ut one li b e , s b t o r t a yp er d is g behin t wheth are man methin g is buil o s in t g s in la v ip a ing sh ret of le someth . Leader The sec e or not rnt then r a e le s left h t t e is l g il t a y is st . What t li m a a When th n e t o s e th ular per s about a partic leader it e h t t u bo is not a tant! is impor d in h be
The Extra Mile 39
Step 4 - See Through the Mist
Step 5 - Saying No
Charles Handy is not just a famous management guru. He may also know something about church, being the son of a Church of Ireland clergyperson. He was probably not thinking about church leadership when he says “Learning and change are never clear and never sure. Whenever we change we step out a little into the unknown”.xxix No matter, his thoughts are just as relevant.
“Slowly does it every time!” is the famous last line in Aesop’s Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. Running around in a mad burst of energy got the hare nowhere. It was the patient steady forward motion of the tortoise that got him across the finishing line first.
Being convinced that serving practical local need is part of the call for a church means being comfortable with a leadership role, one that will leave something behind. It is also being able to imagine what that might look like in the future - what other things should our local church be doing, how will we do them, and how will it be paid for. It is to have the ability to see through the mist of the present to what the future might look like. Revelation is the dramatic disclosure of something not previously known or realised. Sometimes God uses the dramatic to reveal something previously not seen. The giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses on tablets of stone is hard to better as a way to communicate something new. However, the skill of seeing through the mist, discerning what practical service your church should offer, may come in slightly less eye-catching fashion. Let’s take the example of the parish that wants to use its new hall for the wellbeing of its wider local community. How did it find out what it should do? Doubtless prayer and listening to God was a key part of the process. Also part of it was the willingness of the church to ask questions of itself - why do we exist as a church and what are we good at? Also asking questions of the local community - what are the key local social needs that need addressed. Seeing through the mist meant looking for where the answers to the above questions crossed over one another. The role of a leader to make that process, of asking questions, happen effectively. It may be simpler than first appears.
Combining the role of pastor and leader makes for a complex job. There are only so many hours in the day. It’s the same for a local church. Mobilising volunteers to serve is but one part of the life of a local church. To prevent exhaustion it is important to say yes to the right things. This means realising that not everything can be done all at once. That will involve being willing to say no, even to good things. One group of church members wanted to do something as an act of service for their community. The need of local young people for some sort of afterschools club was quite evident in their particular area. It was also something they felt strongly about. However, when they looked at the time and energy they had available they decided to take a more modest first step - to run a series of practical information nights on debt and volunteering. They would have liked to run an after-schools club but realised they were not yet at a point where they could sustain it. It meant saying no to something they felt deeply about to do something more achievable - the race of the tortoise was smarter than that of the hare.
40 The Extra Mile
Step 6 - Just Do Something When Canon David McClay was interviewed for a volunteering video he talked about a motto that is dear to his parish of Willowfield in east Belfast. “Just do something” - only three words. Leadership always means trying to do new things. When thinking about how to mobilise your volunteer strength to serve the local community it can seem daunting. There may never seem to be enough resources. Y ou may feel ill-equipped and unsure of where to start. Setting out into the unknown is rarely comfortable. When all is said and done those three simple words encapsulate something. “Just do something” means deciding to avoid the paralysis of analysis by taking a risk to do something new. As Lord Sugar said in an episode of BBC’s The Apprentice, “The person who never failed at anything never tried to make anything”.
“The person who never failed at anything never tried to make anything”.
To sum i
The wor k of the church involve in enga everyon ging wit e. If the or she m h its loc leader o oves th al comm nly own e vision unity m s the vis w ust il l m ion, the The ma ove wit n when h them! king of a he s t ick of se least is aside ro the mys c t e k r is a fasc y of how stick an inating d run a letterin process long the g can be in leadin . Not fu read at ll length g is nec b o t th ends e o s o s . The sa individu ary to e of the me care nsure v als of a ful prep ision is church. w a ration r itten th A leade roughou r has re t t he sponsib as poss ility to g ible. Th a in is as wide means t across a an own hat the whole t ership o drive to eam, an not lost f the vis achieve d when . When ion t h t e vision h o e nly the le a when th d e is share r moves leader o ey leave d t h w e n m s the vis because omentu best leg ion then m is the chu acy a le it r c a grinds t h as a w der can happily o a halt hole ne leave is without ver own for the them. ed it. Th work to e be able to carry on
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42 The Extra Mile
Somebody had a vision. It was for an “add-on” to Summer Madness, one of the most popular events in the Church of Ireland calendar. At the end of June every year up to 5000 young people gather for this five-day Christian arts festival for young people. The festival is a residential event at The Kings Hall in Belfast, with most people camping or caravanning. There are also a great many day-visitors. Summer Madness is one of those ‘mountain-top experiences for young people. Five days of contemporary worship, Bible teaching, seminars... and fun! For many young people it is one of the most significant times in the year to encourage their Christian faith. So what was the vision? It was an idea that started in the mind of a Church of Ireland minister called Adrian McCartney. It was that these young people could do something positive in the city either during the festival or straight after it. They would have an opportunity to respond to their mountain-top experience of Summer Madness by spending time serving others. Teams of young people went out into parts of Belfast and volunteered their time to others. They did everything from litter-picking, gardening and cleaning up graffiti. It was a practical way of expressing their faith by serving others. This new programme of service became known as Streetreach. In the space of five years over 2500 young people have taken part, volunteering their time to serve local communities.
There are many stories of young people, on their own initiative, continuing to run Streetreach type programmes - finding ways to serve local communities.
So what difference does it make? Lets listen to the story of one group of ‘Streetreachers’ in Belfast.
going from door sunny day and we were a s wa It h. ac tre ree St rmally this We were on a we could do for folks. No s job ee” “w y an re we ing a flowerbed… to door asking if there painting a fence or weed or ish bb ru e som ay aw meant taking with my back garden?“ “Could you do anything “Let’s have a look.” and the back man through the house wo g un yo the ed low fol en right The team leader go. The whole back gard ld cou u yo as far as s wa r of the house door was opened. That and rubbish. The toddle es ttl ne in ep de ist wa s up to the door wa moved in. from the day they had t ou go to le ab en be r had neve ut it will be first timistic team leader, “b op the id sa ,” go a it e “We will giv thing tomorrow.” stic mer was found, bark, pla im str l tro pe a , ed hir s wa a small army That night a mini-skip thing the next morning st Fir ht. ug bo re we s ne e. Such sheeting and sto any television programm as od go as s wa is Th . erything. Then descended on the garden wly became empty of ev slo en rd ga the as t en tely fun and excitem the “muscle” bit. Fortuna ed lac rep ce spa the of nt werbeds were some skilful manageme she was talking about. Flo at wh ow kn to d me see one of our team re, plants were dug in, orrowed” from the bonfi “b ds ar bo th wi d ge ed nes and bark shaped, weeded ground, and sto the of ch mu d ere cov plastic sheeting area. play areas and a sitting were laid down creating rtunity and teamwork, an oppo n fu of y da at gre a d e ha , the neighbours What was achieved? W this family was created ow kn to t ge d an ll ca to for the local church st important, a child d’s kind people, and, mo Go t ou ab s ng thi od go got to think t a great story to tell. to play and a family go ich wh in ea ar fe sa a t go
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We could finish with all sorts of management jargon - about the need for churches to make sure they are doing the right things for the right reasons, and doing them in the right way. All of that is indeed true. But it is about finding ways to serve others. It is looking for new ways to do something old - to love our neighbour simply because that is part of what it means to live out our Christian faith. A Pope was asked what the symbol of his papacy was going to be. He gave an unusual answer. The symbol would be a towel. He was harking back to Jesusâ€™ example at The Last Supper when He took up a towel and humbly served the disciples by washing their feet. The towel is a powerful symbol of service. These are new times for the Church on this island. Its place is no longer taken for granted in our communities. There is a temptation for churches and Christians to give up. Perhaps, rather than throwing in the towel, it is time for us to pick it up.
44 The Extra Mile
.. s e t o n t o o F
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The Extra Mile 45
Matthew 25:14-3 0 Matthew 25:15 xxii Matthew 25:19-2 xxiii 3 Matthew 25:21 & xxiv 23 Luke 14 :28 xxv Network Course: asp?inv http://w tid=PR2 ww.willo 6038 wcreek.c SHAPE om/wca C o u rse: http _prod. xxvi ://www.s Faithwo hapedis rks Cha c overy.co rter 200 Standar m/book 2 http:/ d.asp?id .php /www.fa =7432 Principle ithwork s for Ch s .i n fo/ u r ches an to excell d local C ence in h c r o is m tian age Motivat munity ed by ou ncies co work an mmitted r Christ d servic by aspir ia e provis n faith w in g t o ion in th the follo xxvii e c o m mit our e UK. wing sta http://th selves t ndards inkexist o serve in all ou and_no_ .com/qu others r comm one_is/3 otation/ xxviii unity w if_you_t 46904.h o I Corint r k h t in ml k_youre hians 12 xxix _leading :17-20 The Age _ of Unrea London s o n b y . 1989. Charles Handy. Busines s Books Limited . xx
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This booklet represents an independent piece of work on practices and experience in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Derry and Raphoe. It is not an official publication, but is intended to be useful throughout the Church of Ireland.