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JesusLife #71

one/2006 FREE

✚ MEN ✚ New Monasticism ✚ Talking to Jonathan Oloyede

Bread & Wine Covenant Brothers A UK JESUS PEOPLE MAGAZINE from the Multiply Network and Jesus lowship/modern JESUS army A UKFelJESUS PEOPLE MAGAZINE from(mJa) the Multiply Network and Jesus Fellowship/modern JESUS army (mJa)

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12/01/2006, 09:33:49


contents 5-7

MEN Why men hate going to church

9-11

NEW MONASTICISM Fad or future?

14-16

TALKING TO Jonathan Oyelode

22-24

MJA TRIBES Focus on Coventry

31

RANT & RAVE Grassroots mJa members have their shout

3-4 8 12-13 17-18 19 20-21 25 26-27 28-29 30

Church Alive Prisons Page Spiritual Search Jesus Centres Changed Lives Multiply Electronic Postbag Revival Fires Spiritual Search Jesus People Shop/National Events

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 2

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THE JESUS FELLOWSHIP CHURCH, which is also known as the Jesus Army and includes the New Creation Christian Community, upholds the historic Christian faith, being reformed, evangelical and charismatic. It practises believer’s baptism and the New Testament reality of Christ’s Church; believing in Almighty God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in the full divinity, atoning death and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; in the Bible as God’s word, fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. This Church desires to witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over and in His Church; and, by holy character, righteous society and evangelical testimony to declare that Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only Saviour, is the way, the truth and the life, and through Him alone can we find and enter the kingdom of God. This church proclaims free grace, justification by faith in Christ and the sealing and sanctifying baptism in the Holy Spirit. © 2006 Je sus Fel lowship Church, Nether Hey ford, Northamp ton NN7 3LB, UK. Reproduction in any form re quires written per mis sion. The Jesus Fel lowship does not necessarily agree with all the views ex pressed in ar ticles and in terviews print ed in this mag a zine. Pho tographs in this mag azine are cop yright Jesus Fel lowship Church un less otherwise noted. The Jesus Fellowship is part of Mul tiply Christian Net work. Both the Jesus Fellowship and Multiply Christian Network are members of the Evan geli cal Alliance UK.

www.jesus.org.uk

17/01/2006, 16:10:46


Comments from Noel Stanton and members of the Apostolic Team, Jesus Fellowship UK/mJa

churchALIVE ALIVE bread & wine covenant brothers CHRISTIANS at Mass, Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, breaking bread! It all depends on the Christian brand, and must be rather confusing to today’s searchers. We prefer the simplicity of the New Testament model. Here are Jesus and His disciples at the “last supper”, with Jesus announcing that the bread He was breaking was “His body” and the wine He was pouring was “His blood”. It was simple, it was powerfully dramatic and it pointed directly to His

crucifixion. So for us it’s simply “bread and wine”, whether in our houses, when we meet as Sunday church, or at our big UK celebration events. To remember Jesus in this way and to celebrate the reality of the covenant with God through His body and blood, brings God’s love and mercy directly to us. It is important that we recognise and celebrate our vertical covenant unity with God through the redemption in His Son’s crucifixion. But there is also a vital

Dangerous leadership for the church of the 21st century

Ian Callard

horizontal dimension. The sharing of the bread and wine is a reaffirmation of our brotherhood covenant. Through Jesus Christ we have become God’s sons and daughters together in one family. We therefore meet at

WHEN I was a young Christian, the emphasis was on conforming to the way to do things. A copy of Wesley’s 44 Sermons was essential for lay preacher training. The shame is, this Christianity didn’t “do it” for its generation. Perfectly reasonable comfortable-standard-of-living choices buried the possibilities of radical discipleship. Nobody exposed, questioned, or contradicted it. There was little of the violence Jesus said entering the Kingdom could involve. This sad legacy calls for a more dangerous

the “table of brotherhood” at which we sit in unity and love, men and women of every age, every race, all sexualities, those with disabilities or sickness, and all social classes and backgrounds. At this table we praise

God for saving us by sending His Son, we humble ourselves, confess sins, and, as we pass the bread and wine to one another, we grip our brother or sister’s hand as a sign of committed brotherhood. “Love the brotherhood” is a New Testament command to believers. We are to show that we are born of God by our love for one another. And when such a strong church brotherhood is properly functioning, we fully care for one another, sharing our wealth to meet the needs of poorer brothers and sisters. We bond together to be a church with covenant unity in the Holy Spirit, with faith determination to achieve

church leadership today. God wants you to be moveable. Are you, 2006 version, the same as the 2005 version, or 2004 one? Then what hope for 2007? Moses killed an Egyptian slave master. Not the right response, but at least he moved. God could use Moses later, starting when he turned aside to see the burning bush. Once we’re moveable, God has a point in sending His Holy Spirit to stir us. Distress is a great stirrer; so is anger. Love should be, too. We’ve got to get stirred

real church growth and to impact the wider society with the gospel. Jesus Fellowship Church is a national covenant church and each of its 65 church households is a covenant household. As disciples of Jesus we cannot be anything other than a covenant bonded “bread and wine” church, so welded together in brotherhood, that we are a powerful force moving in Jesus Christ’s name, witnessing to the people with His compassion, mercy and forgiveness, serving the poor, the rejected, the sinful and inviting them to receive Christ as their Saviour and Lord and sit with us at the “table of brotherhood”.

beyond our fears, our dread of failure, our fatigue, our distaste for risk, uncertainty and conflict. I found that growing in ministry responsibility seemed another conformist journey, broadly compatible with my natural abilities, until one day, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Notice the difference between David in Bethlehem, and in Ziklag”. David the shepherd makes modest, predictable increase. David the outlaw amassed resources for his dynasty by plunder (1 Samuel 27, 29, 30).

V V

www.jesus.org.uk

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Jesus Life One/2006 Page 3

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V V Dangerous leadership starts when you shift from what you can and can’t do, to what must be done. Saul blocked and confined David and attempted to stop him emerging as king. At Ziklag David got hold of who he’d been commissioned to be. He started to do what a ruler must. Never try to do just by character what God’s anointing alone will accomplish.

But be warned: when you’re moving from passion, you can be really hurt by failure or obstacles. David messed up bringing the Ark into Jerusalem. He was angry, afraid of (this unpredictable) God, and unwilling to do any more (2 Samuel 6). Passion is dangerous; it drives – and cripples – leaders. But it is essential if leadership is to be real – and dangerous.

The Final Mix Noel Stanton

In 2005 the Jesus Fellowship target for new members was 450 throughout our UK regions. We fell just short of this, with some 95% new baptisms in water and Spirit and only some 5% joining us through transfers from other churches or returning from backsliding in our own church. Certainly, 2005 saw waves of baptisms. The church in Northampton had 153 baptisms, an average of almost 3 per week. The smaller church in Sheffield had 54 baptisms, many of these being Slovakians. We have now committed ourselves to similar targets for 2006 and expect even quicker church growth. Bless you, everyone, for your prayers, your love and your gifts. You’re so important to us as we proclaim Jesus around the UK and build His church.

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Other literature Please send me: Church Alive, a short introduction to the Jesus Fellowship/Jesus Army

THE PURE HEART

Mick Haines

PSALM 24 asks: “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?” The answer? “He who has clean hands and a pure heart”. The most important thing I can do is to keep my heart clean. The blood of Jesus and the sanctifying Holy Spirit can wash me clean from all impurities if I simply ask. If my heart is defiled or unclean life becomes like living in a room with the curtains drawn, in the murky half light. I am the first to suffer a lack of love and joy from within, but also those around me will suffer. The Body of Christ can

end up contaminated if my heart is unclean. We can give ourselves three tests to check our purity of heart. Firstly, our response to authority, both within the church and outside. The unclean heart will speak against, criticise and reject authority, whereas the pure heart will submit to godly authority within the church and respect civil authority. A second test is how we respond to life’s crucible experiences; life’s difficult, trying and challenging times. This could mean bereavement, disappointments, broken relationships, and so on. The unclean heart easily blames God or other people, becomes bitter, switches off, gives up

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and withdraws into lesser, meaningless pursuits. The pure heart still feels the pain, but grows and expands through these difficult times and becomes more effective for the kingdom of God. I believe emotional healing from past hurts is released in us much more easily if our heart is pure. The third test is in our relationships. The unclean heart can live with unresolved relationship difficulties. The pure in heart quickly get reconciled to their brother or sister because they are aware of the effect of the unresolved issue on the Body of Christ: a loss of power and less light shining. So let’s get our hearts purified; then more light will shine through us.

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www.jesus.org.uk

12/01/2006, 09:04:20


WHY WHY

MEN HATE GOING TO

MEN HATE GOING TO CHURCH

by David Murrow

www.jesus.org.uk

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That’s why our pews are filled with them. But this church system offers little to stir the masculine heart, so men find it dull and irrelevant. The more masculine the man, the more likely he is to dislike church. What do I mean? Men and young adults are drawn to risk, challenge and adventure. But these things are discouraged in the local church. Instead, most congregations offer a safe, nurturing community – an oasis of stability and predictability. Studies show that women and seniors gravitate toward these things. Although our official mission is one of adventure, the actual mission of most congregations is making people feel comfortable and safe – especially long-time members. Continued...

V V

FIVE YEARS ago, my faith in Christ was hanging by a thread. I loved God, but hated going to church. Sunday morning would find my body in the pews, but my heart was elsewhere. I was so desperate I began exploring alternative religions, including Islam. Did I mention I was an elder in my church? I was not alone. Truth is, a lot of faithful, churchgoing men are not all that excited come Sunday morning. Quite a few attend out of habit, surviving on the memories of victories won years ago. Others attend services simply to keep their wives happy. Most guys do nothing midweek to grow in faith. Few churches are able to sustain a viable men’s ministry. Why are men so bored in our churches? Of course, there are hypocrites. But even men who are born again, Spirit-filled, longtime Christians are clamming up and dropping out. What’s going on? A business guru once said, “Your system is perfectly designed to give you the results you are getting.” Christianity’s primary delivery system, the local church, is perfectly designed to reach women and older folks.

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 5

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MEN ALIVE for God? A day for men... it’s a day that is all about love. “What? How can you have love without a woman?” you may say. For me, a day like Men Alive for God always shows the greatest love. The love of Jesus. From the moment you walk through the door of the place to the end when you joyfully walk out – it’s all about love. This is the main reason why I – a 17 year old lad – get involved in the church at all. Because of love. In this world, there is so much conditional love. Love that demands something

V V Continued... HOW DID Christianity, founded by a man and His twelve male disciples, become the province of women? There is a pattern of feminisation in Christianity going back at least 700 years, according to Dr Leon Podles, author of The Church Impotent: the Feminization of Christianity. But the ball really got rolling in the 1800s. With the dawning of the Industrial Revolution, large numbers of men sought work in mines, mills and factories, far from home and familiar parish. Women stayed behind, and began remaking

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 6

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before it is given. But in the Jesus Fellowship and at days like Men Alive, love without conditions shines through. Picture it. 800 men, calling themselves brothers... Brothers, because each one loves each other as you would love your own family, even more so. Now this love compels men, compels me, to make sure that I am loving, to make sure that I am keeping true to God and to my brother. Because I’m so grateful to God and to my brothers for love. The whole thing is all because of gratitude: worship is because of gratitude... At the end of the day we were called to (literally) dive into the kingdom, to claim things out loud – the things we want to move into, things we want to change about our lives, like “getting baptised” or “giving up smoking”. There were brothers at the bottom of the stage catching us as we shouted and jumped off into their arms. We were showing love – in that we want to change and that we trusted that they were gonna catch us when we fell – and our brothers were showing love because they loved us and were gonna catch us and put us back on the path of love! It’s all about love. Men for Jesus: this is a love no earthly thing can match!

the church in their own image. The Victorian era saw the rise of church nurseries, Sunday schools, lay choirs, quilting circles, ladies’ teas, soup kitchens, girls’ societies, potluck dinners etc. Soon, the very definition of a good Christian had changed: boldness and aggression were out; passivity and receptivity were in. Christians were to be gentle, sensitive and nurturing, focused on home and family rather than accomplishment and career. Believers were not supposed to like sex, tobacco, dancing or other

BOYS B BECOMING MEN... “ ”

Boys Becoming Men, published by Spring Harvest Publishing and Authentic Media.

Young men were called to shout declarations for God as they stage dived into the arms of their older brothers.

worldly pleasures. The godly were always calm, polite and sociable. This feminine spirituality still dominates our churches. Those of us who grew up in church hardly notice it; we can’t imagine things any other way. But a male visitor detects the feminine spirit the moment he walks in the sanctuary door. He may feel like Tom Sawyer in Aunt Polly’s parlour; he must watch his language, mind his manners and be extra polite. It’s hard for a man to be real in church because he must squeeze himself into this feminine mould.

TWO THOUSAND years ago, a young man called Jesus gathered around Him twelve other young men. He discipled them in such a way as to provide the Church He founded with rock-solid apostles who “turned the world upside down”. Jesus Fellowship aims to be a Church that dares to put into practice the revolution that Jesus began, not shirking some of His tougher demands. Such a call to “do the difficult thing” appeals to young men; pain is not unattractive to them if it’s in the interests of a cause. “No pain, no gain” may be a cliché, but it also happens to be true – and its truth rings true for boys in the deepest part of what it means for them to be becoming a man at all. The painful taking up of a new identity is a basic part of the shedding of infancy. Many cultures have rites of passage, symbolic milestones which mark boys’ transition from childhood to adult manhood. Nelson Mandela, in his autobiography Long Walk To Freedom, tells of his, within the Xhosa tribe in South Africa. For six weeks, Xhosa boys about to come of age would leave home and live in a tent where they would be circumcised. No cry

Boys Becoming M , p y p g Harvest Publishi Publishing andwww Authentic Media. www.jesus.org.uk jesus j org ukk www.jesus.org.uk www jesus j org

Boys becoming men...for God

There is an urgent need for churches to be able to call young men in a way which captures them – their energy, their imagination… their whole life. James Stacey reports. of pain was allowed. While they were healing, they would lie under a blanket which would be burnt just before returning home as an adult man. This fierce ritual makes receiving the key of the door seem lightweight – but even such a simple act can have symbolic meaning. The important thing is that young men are given the opportunity to “cross the line”. Lowell Sheppard, in his book Boys Becoming Men, urges churches to provide what he calls “PROPs” for young men – Puberty Rites Of Passage. He advocates such deliberate acts of transition at age 10 or 11, again at 14 or 15 and finally on arrival into full adulthood. The content can vary, but should contain elements of challenge, spiritual discovery and celebration of the young man’s growth by the wider family and community. Challenge provides a humbling encounter with his limitations as well as an opportunity to overcome them; time, often alone, discovering his spirituality affords the opportunity to authenticate his faith as a grown man; celebration affirms the young man as accepted and loved – and genuinely valued by the community.

Men, if you’ve felt out of place in church, it’s not your fault. If you’ve tried and failed to get a men’s ministry going in your church, it’s not your fault. If you can’t get your buddies interested in church, it’s not your fault. The church system is getting the results it’s designed to get. Until that system changes – radically – men will continue to perish, both inside and outside our congregations. Some of you don’t know what I’m talking about. A feminized church? Some guys are happy

The form these rites of passage take is secondary: whether it be climbing a mountain, spending some days alone, or a symbolic dive into the arms of their older brothers: the essential thing is that churches see the need that young men have for such rites, and respond to it with imagination and courage. And it is churches who express and practice the radical ideals of the kingdom of Jesus that are best positioned to inspire young men to embrace Christian discipleship: an initiation into manhood is not the same as a baptism into faith, but the two can – and should – be linked. In today’s UK, many young men are rootless, lacking direction. Previous generations were more likely to be trained by older men or their fathers in a trade, establishing a sense of “passing on” skills and identity. Today’s young men often do not have a stable fatherfigure. The result is all too common: young men express their testosterone-charged development in sullen rebellion or in anti-social, even violent behaviour. May the churches rise to the challenge, live radical and call young men to the painful, fruitful way of Christian JL manhood.

with church just as it is, and see no reason for change. Others are the sensitive type and actually like the macho-deficit. But try to see church through the eyes of a typical guy. It’s intimidating for a man to hold hands in a circle, to cry in public, or to imagine falling deeply in love with another man (even if his name is Jesus). If we’re going to be fishers of men, we’ve got to do a better job considering men’s needs and expectations. Jesus did it; so must we.

This article by David Murrow, director of Church for Men, Alaska, USA, was first published in New Man magazine, May/June 2005, and is used with permission.

DIVING INTO THE KINGDOM

At the Jesus Fellowship’s Men Alive for God day, about 800 men met at Northampton Jesus Centre for a day of worship, teaching, seminars and “cut and thrust” brotherhood. One young man, Danny Driscoll, 17, writes about the day:

“Churches and communities have “Churches and communities have to play a vital roleproviding to play providing opportunities that blend adventure, opportunities that at belief and ceremony enabling the young to have milestones that blend adventure, mark their journey into adulthood – rather than belief driftingand through itceremony with a sense of being lost.” enabling nabling the you oung to have mile mar ey into n rather rat ather than th d through h it i with a sense of bei

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 7

17/01/2006, 16:05:37


MEN ALIVE for God? A day for men... it’s a day that is all about love. “What? How can you have love without a woman?” you may say. For me, a day like Men Alive for God always shows the greatest love. The love of Jesus. From the moment you walk through the door of the place to the end when you joyfully walk out – it’s all about love. This is the main reason why I – a 17 year old lad – get involved in the church at all. Because of love. In this world, there is so much conditional love. Love that demands something

V V Continued... HOW DID Christianity, founded by a man and His twelve male disciples, become the province of women? There is a pattern of feminisation in Christianity going back at least 700 years, according to Dr Leon Podles, author of The Church Impotent: the Feminization of Christianity. But the ball really got rolling in the 1800s. With the dawning of the Industrial Revolution, large numbers of men sought work in mines, mills and factories, far from home and familiar parish. Women stayed behind, and began remaking

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 6

05-7.indd 6-7

before it is given. But in the Jesus Fellowship and at days like Men Alive, love without conditions shines through. Picture it. 800 men, calling themselves brothers... Brothers, because each one loves each other as you would love your own family, even more so. Now this love compels men, compels me, to make sure that I am loving, to make sure that I am keeping true to God and to my brother. Because I’m so grateful to God and to my brothers for love. The whole thing is all because of gratitude: worship is because of gratitude... At the end of the day we were called to (literally) dive into the kingdom, to claim things out loud – the things we want to move into, things we want to change about our lives, like “getting baptised” or “giving up smoking”. There were brothers at the bottom of the stage catching us as we shouted and jumped off into their arms. We were showing love – in that we want to change and that we trusted that they were gonna catch us when we fell – and our brothers were showing love because they loved us and were gonna catch us and put us back on the path of love! It’s all about love. Men for Jesus: this is a love no earthly thing can match!

the church in their own image. The Victorian era saw the rise of church nurseries, Sunday schools, lay choirs, quilting circles, ladies’ teas, soup kitchens, girls’ societies, potluck dinners etc. Soon, the very definition of a good Christian had changed: boldness and aggression were out; passivity and receptivity were in. Christians were to be gentle, sensitive and nurturing, focused on home and family rather than accomplishment and career. Believers were not supposed to like sex, tobacco, dancing or other

BOYS B BECOMING MEN... “ ”

Boys Becoming Men, published by Spring Harvest Publishing and Authentic Media.

Young men were called to shout declarations for God as they stage dived into the arms of their older brothers.

worldly pleasures. The godly were always calm, polite and sociable. This feminine spirituality still dominates our churches. Those of us who grew up in church hardly notice it; we can’t imagine things any other way. But a male visitor detects the feminine spirit the moment he walks in the sanctuary door. He may feel like Tom Sawyer in Aunt Polly’s parlour; he must watch his language, mind his manners and be extra polite. It’s hard for a man to be real in church because he must squeeze himself into this feminine mould.

TWO THOUSAND years ago, a young man called Jesus gathered around Him twelve other young men. He discipled them in such a way as to provide the Church He founded with rock-solid apostles who “turned the world upside down”. Jesus Fellowship aims to be a Church that dares to put into practice the revolution that Jesus began, not shirking some of His tougher demands. Such a call to “do the difficult thing” appeals to young men; pain is not unattractive to them if it’s in the interests of a cause. “No pain, no gain” may be a cliché, but it also happens to be true – and its truth rings true for boys in the deepest part of what it means for them to be becoming a man at all. The painful taking up of a new identity is a basic part of the shedding of infancy. Many cultures have rites of passage, symbolic milestones which mark boys’ transition from childhood to adult manhood. Nelson Mandela, in his autobiography Long Walk To Freedom, tells of his, within the Xhosa tribe in South Africa. For six weeks, Xhosa boys about to come of age would leave home and live in a tent where they would be circumcised. No cry

Boys Becoming M , p y p g Harvest Publishi Publishing andwww Authentic Media. www.jesus.org.uk jesus j org ukk www.jesus.org.uk www jesus j org

Boys becoming men...for God

There is an urgent need for churches to be able to call young men in a way which captures them – their energy, their imagination… their whole life. James Stacey reports. of pain was allowed. While they were healing, they would lie under a blanket which would be burnt just before returning home as an adult man. This fierce ritual makes receiving the key of the door seem lightweight – but even such a simple act can have symbolic meaning. The important thing is that young men are given the opportunity to “cross the line”. Lowell Sheppard, in his book Boys Becoming Men, urges churches to provide what he calls “PROPs” for young men – Puberty Rites Of Passage. He advocates such deliberate acts of transition at age 10 or 11, again at 14 or 15 and finally on arrival into full adulthood. The content can vary, but should contain elements of challenge, spiritual discovery and celebration of the young man’s growth by the wider family and community. Challenge provides a humbling encounter with his limitations as well as an opportunity to overcome them; time, often alone, discovering his spirituality affords the opportunity to authenticate his faith as a grown man; celebration affirms the young man as accepted and loved – and genuinely valued by the community.

Men, if you’ve felt out of place in church, it’s not your fault. If you’ve tried and failed to get a men’s ministry going in your church, it’s not your fault. If you can’t get your buddies interested in church, it’s not your fault. The church system is getting the results it’s designed to get. Until that system changes – radically – men will continue to perish, both inside and outside our congregations. Some of you don’t know what I’m talking about. A feminized church? Some guys are happy

The form these rites of passage take is secondary: whether it be climbing a mountain, spending some days alone, or a symbolic dive into the arms of their older brothers: the essential thing is that churches see the need that young men have for such rites, and respond to it with imagination and courage. And it is churches who express and practice the radical ideals of the kingdom of Jesus that are best positioned to inspire young men to embrace Christian discipleship: an initiation into manhood is not the same as a baptism into faith, but the two can – and should – be linked. In today’s UK, many young men are rootless, lacking direction. Previous generations were more likely to be trained by older men or their fathers in a trade, establishing a sense of “passing on” skills and identity. Today’s young men often do not have a stable fatherfigure. The result is all too common: young men express their testosterone-charged development in sullen rebellion or in anti-social, even violent behaviour. May the churches rise to the challenge, live radical and call young men to the painful, fruitful way of Christian JL manhood.

with church just as it is, and see no reason for change. Others are the sensitive type and actually like the macho-deficit. But try to see church through the eyes of a typical guy. It’s intimidating for a man to hold hands in a circle, to cry in public, or to imagine falling deeply in love with another man (even if his name is Jesus). If we’re going to be fishers of men, we’ve got to do a better job considering men’s needs and expectations. Jesus did it; so must we.

This article by David Murrow, director of Church for Men, Alaska, USA, was first published in New Man magazine, May/June 2005, and is used with permission.

DIVING INTO THE KINGDOM

At the Jesus Fellowship’s Men Alive for God day, about 800 men met at Northampton Jesus Centre for a day of worship, teaching, seminars and “cut and thrust” brotherhood. One young man, Danny Driscoll, 17, writes about the day:

“Churches and communities have “Churches and communities have to play a vital roleproviding to play providing opportunities that blend adventure, opportunities that at belief and ceremony enabling the young to have milestones that blend adventure, mark their journey into adulthood – rather than belief driftingand through itceremony with a sense of being lost.” enabling nabling the you oung to have mile mar ey into n rather rat ather than th d through h it i with a sense of bei

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 7

17/01/2006, 16:05:37


ON THE INSIDE OUTSIDE

e c a l p y m g n i find

Graham Galloway is a member of the Jesus Fellowship and lives in Northampton

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WHEN I came out of prison, after 16 years of fantasising about this great Church from the safe confines of my cell, my expectations were well ahead of reality. Well, what else can a bloke expect? I moved straight into a community house in London, and straight into a blitz of criticism over my smoking, foul language, general irritability and lack of respect for just about everyone, apart from the house leader, of course! A good example would be a couple of screaming matches I had with my elder, Tim. He saw more in me than I saw in myself, and he hated the silliness I was going through. I soon realised he acted because he loved me - as I loved him. After all, he’d stayed faithful to me for 10 years by letters and visits. This house had all the freedom the world has to offer, along with

s ’ e m i t r u o Y done, and . t u o e r ’ u o y But what’s church really like? A lifer on licence writes a structured regime that I so badly needed after years of not having my own mind. But it is a settled, long-established house, and I am not; so I left and got my own flat, keeping in touch quite closely. Soon after leaving, I met a lovely girl and got married, all with the close involvement of the church. Ann loved the church at first sight. Tim prayed with her and things got better and better from then on. I had a small business, plumbing, and all was rosy in my world. Then Steve came to stay for the odd night. That was great,

and he invited us to visit him in his Northampton community house. We did, a week or so later, and a great love affair started; at last, I’d found my place in the church. Apart from a few sticks of furniture Steve came and got for us, we left all and followed him! Not quite biblical, but who’s perfect? Two years after leaving jail, I’m doing great; and all credit for that lies firmly with my Jesus and my church; I could never have done it alone, and that’s the truth. We still don’t live in community, but we’re right in the thick of the vision of the Church. What’s more, I’ve a nice flat from the council, and a nice wife to delight my days! More importantly though, I now have a worthwhile cause to struggle for. I believe I am valued at the community house, and certainly value the opportunities the house gives me. I’ve enjoyed the freedom Steve gave me to reorganise the garden, and do other work on the house. I am also privileged to help some of the very needy and suffering brethren Steve ministers to, a humbling experience in many ways. Structure and purpose: great, eh? And me a lifer on licence! God is indeed good and full of grace toward me.

“Two years after leaving jail, I’m doing great; and all credit for that lies firmly with my Jesus and my church”

www.jesus.org.uk

06/01/2006, 11:21:57


N

N m

Mo r future NEW MONASTICISM: fad or future? As the Christian Church in the UK seems increasingly to lose its way, many leaders are talking of the need for a return to ancient ways, a “new monasticism�. James Stacey investigates.

09-11.indd 9

17/01/2006, 16:13:49


Just a silly little thought?

NEW MONASTICISM: fad or future?

T

HE CHURCH in the UK still makes the headlines occasionally. Take “GAY BISHOP RESIGNATION CATASTROPHE” for instance. Then there’s “CHURCH COULD SPLIT OVER WOMEN BISHOPS”. Or (steady yourself) “ANGER AS VILLAGE CHURCH BELLS SILENCED”. The uncomfortable truth is that most average Brits see the Church as at best quaint or – more likely – completely laughable. There is not much to resemble the Church in the book of Acts which “enjoyed the favour of all the people” or whom “no-one dared join”. Today’s UK Church is rarely loved and hardly ever held in awe. It is partly in response to this withered Church that many Christian leaders are now looking back to a more muscular past to find inspiration. In the face of compromise in their day, heroes like Antony in Africa (read more about him on page 26), Benedict in Europe and Aidan in Britain pursued a way of holiness and sacrifice. Theirs was the way of monasticism, a disciplined and rugged life centred on vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These monks took the words of Jesus about “forsaking all”, “renouncing marriage” and “laying down your life” at face value. As one writer put it, they “swam for their life” against the disastrous tide of worldly culture. The result was a Christianity with the integrity and the tenacity to change the face of their times. There’s a groundswell of interest in monasticism in evangelical circles in the UK. Many are looking into ancient monasticism as a blueprint of effective Christianity. There is a lot of interest in those who first brought the gospel to Britain: Celtic monks, such as Aidan. The Northumbria Community in Chatton, Northumberland, promotes a Celtic-style “new monasticism” which involves “a single-hearted seeking of God”. The

Will people abandon personal wealth and home, move in together and share their possessions, owning nothing?

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 10

09-11.indd 10-11

youth prayer movement “24/7 Prayer”, with its “Boiler Rooms”, is now using the monastic language of “vows” and “abbots”. Even John Stott, the elder statesman of British evangelicalism, has remarked that if he were young and beginning his Christian life again, he would establish a kind of evangelical monastic order for men vowed to celibacy, poverty and peaceableness. And the big success of the BBC’s documentary The Monastery, which followed the experience of five not-very-religious men who tried living as monks for forty days, demonstrates that interest in monastic spirituality is wider than just the Christian sphere. But is the present attention being given to monasticism really going to turn a feeble UK Church around? A lot will depend on whether its challenges are truly met. For all the talk of vows and the like, it seems horribly possible that many Christians, including leaders, will dodge the real issues and just flirt with monasticism without taking the real – and scary – steps that the early monks actually took. There is such a danger of flowery religious waffle. One article on new monasticism in a prominent Christian website quoted a leader who had “felt the Lord” say, “I’m not looking for poverty but for a prosperity of contentment, whether someone has a lot or a little… I’m not looking for unswerving obedience to a spiritual director or to a person or to an institution, or even to a way of doing things; rather, I desire a mutuality of submission.” Can anyone really imagine wild Antony or dangerous Aidan (or, for that matter, Jesus of the Gospels) asking for a “prosperity of contentment”? And while “mutuality of submission” may be well and good, it is so vague as to lead almost inevitably back to each person doing as they please. The article goes on to describe the city of God being planted not “on a hill, but right in the midst of the ‘city of man’”. Not only does this flatly contradict the words of Jesus, it also reverses the core of monasticism. With-

Love lies behind Doris Kahnes’ choice to make a vow of lifelong celibacy out holy, distinctive apartness what is there left of monasticism at all? Monasticism starts with the premise that the only way to save the world is to demonstrate something fundamentally different. It gets worse. The online “blog” of one fairly prominent British “new abbot” contains reflections on the latest film he’s watched and some family photos – and not very much else. You may ask: is there anything wrong with outings to the Showcase and family albums? After all, isn’t that what every nice middle-class family does? But if “new monasticism” is going to bring to comfortable UK Christianity anything other than just a shallow makeover then surely its “abbots” must demonstrate something totally different to the cosy norm. The early monks did. For them, monasticism was not a romantic dream (with the faint sound of a Hollywood film score in the background). It was tough; sometimes agonising. It meant hard decisions and sacrifice. They didn’t embrace poverty, chastity and obedience because they liked them: they saw that there was no other way to impact an infected society with the drastic and vital truths of the Kingdom. So: today in the UK? Will people abandon personal wealth and home, move in together and share their possessions, owning nothing? (The neighbours would be bound to notice, let’s face it.) Will people pioneer drastic purity, some of them choosing not to marry in order to be free “for the Kingdom”? Will people commit themselves together in a permanent and binding vow of brotherhood? The reality is that it will take more than a trendy historical fad to turn the UK to God. Christian consumers, shopping in the mall of history for packaged titbits, are not going to be enough. Only if Christians – lots of them – take some drastic steps will the Church stop being ignored. Imagine some different headlines: “TEN THOUSAND GIVE UP CAREERS AND MOVE IN TOGETHER”… “TWENTY THOUSAND TWENTY-SOMETHINGS ABANDON MARRIAGE FOR A GREATER CAUSE”… “SEE HOW THEY LOVE ONE ANOTHER”… JL Now that could turn the tide.

It was a ‘silly little thought’ that crossed my mind when I was 18: “Why ‘make’ more children when so many exist but live without love?” Two years later I left my home in Germany, fully convinced that God would eventually lead me to work in an orphanage in Africa. But He had different plans. I ended up in London and soon realised that those deprived children are everywhere, of any age and from all over the world. They are our neighbours, our workmates; they are found in every layer of society; top managers and cleaners, doctors and prostitutes, musicians and the unemployed - all are ‘children without love’. Ten years on I’m a celibate and live in a former convent. But I’m not a nun. The original mother house of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor is now home to two families with six children, two couples, seven single men and eight single women. Like the nuns I pray in the chapel; however, I don’t kneel down in the benches but sit in a comfy chair or walk

around the coffee table. A few people have managed to play some wonderful old hymns on the organ, but mostly we play guitars, tambourines and bongos. I don’t know what the saints on the stained glass windows make of it! One of the most driving thoughts which led me to vow myself to celibacy aged 24 was “you never know how long you’ve got”. I want to make all my life count for eternity. Marriage is only for this present life. I had always wanted to get married and have my own children but reading the scripture in Matthew 19:12 (“He who is able to accept this, let him accept it”) I thought, “Yes! Surely only by the grace of God and ‘because it is given to me’ – but I can take it.” The All Saints Sisters centred their lives on prayer and service to the poor, especially children, and kept the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They recognised them as a ‘threefold cord by which the believer is bound to God – a binding of love through which one is set free’. We too are seeking to be ‘bound to God’ and as celibates to have less ‘attachments’. This is why I am celibate. In this way I seek to love ‘children’ who have not known much love. Not a silly little thought – but a gift from God.

“I’m a celibate and live in a former convent. But I’m not a nun”

COMING SOON... ONE HEART AND SOUL - A brand new book on intentional Christian Community from Multiply Publications, to be released in 2006. It combines gritty, challenging teaching with people’s own stories of life in community. For more details look on the Jesus Army website www.jesus.org.uk or contact 0845 166 8172 Jesus Fellowship, Northampton NN7 3LB

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 11

17/01/2006, 16:14:17


Just a silly little thought?

NEW MONASTICISM: fad or future?

T

HE CHURCH in the UK still makes the headlines occasionally. Take “GAY BISHOP RESIGNATION CATASTROPHE” for instance. Then there’s “CHURCH COULD SPLIT OVER WOMEN BISHOPS”. Or (steady yourself) “ANGER AS VILLAGE CHURCH BELLS SILENCED”. The uncomfortable truth is that most average Brits see the Church as at best quaint or – more likely – completely laughable. There is not much to resemble the Church in the book of Acts which “enjoyed the favour of all the people” or whom “no-one dared join”. Today’s UK Church is rarely loved and hardly ever held in awe. It is partly in response to this withered Church that many Christian leaders are now looking back to a more muscular past to find inspiration. In the face of compromise in their day, heroes like Antony in Africa (read more about him on page 26), Benedict in Europe and Aidan in Britain pursued a way of holiness and sacrifice. Theirs was the way of monasticism, a disciplined and rugged life centred on vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These monks took the words of Jesus about “forsaking all”, “renouncing marriage” and “laying down your life” at face value. As one writer put it, they “swam for their life” against the disastrous tide of worldly culture. The result was a Christianity with the integrity and the tenacity to change the face of their times. There’s a groundswell of interest in monasticism in evangelical circles in the UK. Many are looking into ancient monasticism as a blueprint of effective Christianity. There is a lot of interest in those who first brought the gospel to Britain: Celtic monks, such as Aidan. The Northumbria Community in Chatton, Northumberland, promotes a Celtic-style “new monasticism” which involves “a single-hearted seeking of God”. The

Will people abandon personal wealth and home, move in together and share their possessions, owning nothing?

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 10

09-11.indd 10-11

youth prayer movement “24/7 Prayer”, with its “Boiler Rooms”, is now using the monastic language of “vows” and “abbots”. Even John Stott, the elder statesman of British evangelicalism, has remarked that if he were young and beginning his Christian life again, he would establish a kind of evangelical monastic order for men vowed to celibacy, poverty and peaceableness. And the big success of the BBC’s documentary The Monastery, which followed the experience of five not-very-religious men who tried living as monks for forty days, demonstrates that interest in monastic spirituality is wider than just the Christian sphere. But is the present attention being given to monasticism really going to turn a feeble UK Church around? A lot will depend on whether its challenges are truly met. For all the talk of vows and the like, it seems horribly possible that many Christians, including leaders, will dodge the real issues and just flirt with monasticism without taking the real – and scary – steps that the early monks actually took. There is such a danger of flowery religious waffle. One article on new monasticism in a prominent Christian website quoted a leader who had “felt the Lord” say, “I’m not looking for poverty but for a prosperity of contentment, whether someone has a lot or a little… I’m not looking for unswerving obedience to a spiritual director or to a person or to an institution, or even to a way of doing things; rather, I desire a mutuality of submission.” Can anyone really imagine wild Antony or dangerous Aidan (or, for that matter, Jesus of the Gospels) asking for a “prosperity of contentment”? And while “mutuality of submission” may be well and good, it is so vague as to lead almost inevitably back to each person doing as they please. The article goes on to describe the city of God being planted not “on a hill, but right in the midst of the ‘city of man’”. Not only does this flatly contradict the words of Jesus, it also reverses the core of monasticism. With-

Love lies behind Doris Kahnes’ choice to make a vow of lifelong celibacy out holy, distinctive apartness what is there left of monasticism at all? Monasticism starts with the premise that the only way to save the world is to demonstrate something fundamentally different. It gets worse. The online “blog” of one fairly prominent British “new abbot” contains reflections on the latest film he’s watched and some family photos – and not very much else. You may ask: is there anything wrong with outings to the Showcase and family albums? After all, isn’t that what every nice middle-class family does? But if “new monasticism” is going to bring to comfortable UK Christianity anything other than just a shallow makeover then surely its “abbots” must demonstrate something totally different to the cosy norm. The early monks did. For them, monasticism was not a romantic dream (with the faint sound of a Hollywood film score in the background). It was tough; sometimes agonising. It meant hard decisions and sacrifice. They didn’t embrace poverty, chastity and obedience because they liked them: they saw that there was no other way to impact an infected society with the drastic and vital truths of the Kingdom. So: today in the UK? Will people abandon personal wealth and home, move in together and share their possessions, owning nothing? (The neighbours would be bound to notice, let’s face it.) Will people pioneer drastic purity, some of them choosing not to marry in order to be free “for the Kingdom”? Will people commit themselves together in a permanent and binding vow of brotherhood? The reality is that it will take more than a trendy historical fad to turn the UK to God. Christian consumers, shopping in the mall of history for packaged titbits, are not going to be enough. Only if Christians – lots of them – take some drastic steps will the Church stop being ignored. Imagine some different headlines: “TEN THOUSAND GIVE UP CAREERS AND MOVE IN TOGETHER”… “TWENTY THOUSAND TWENTY-SOMETHINGS ABANDON MARRIAGE FOR A GREATER CAUSE”… “SEE HOW THEY LOVE ONE ANOTHER”… JL Now that could turn the tide.

It was a ‘silly little thought’ that crossed my mind when I was 18: “Why ‘make’ more children when so many exist but live without love?” Two years later I left my home in Germany, fully convinced that God would eventually lead me to work in an orphanage in Africa. But He had different plans. I ended up in London and soon realised that those deprived children are everywhere, of any age and from all over the world. They are our neighbours, our workmates; they are found in every layer of society; top managers and cleaners, doctors and prostitutes, musicians and the unemployed - all are ‘children without love’. Ten years on I’m a celibate and live in a former convent. But I’m not a nun. The original mother house of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor is now home to two families with six children, two couples, seven single men and eight single women. Like the nuns I pray in the chapel; however, I don’t kneel down in the benches but sit in a comfy chair or walk

around the coffee table. A few people have managed to play some wonderful old hymns on the organ, but mostly we play guitars, tambourines and bongos. I don’t know what the saints on the stained glass windows make of it! One of the most driving thoughts which led me to vow myself to celibacy aged 24 was “you never know how long you’ve got”. I want to make all my life count for eternity. Marriage is only for this present life. I had always wanted to get married and have my own children but reading the scripture in Matthew 19:12 (“He who is able to accept this, let him accept it”) I thought, “Yes! Surely only by the grace of God and ‘because it is given to me’ – but I can take it.” The All Saints Sisters centred their lives on prayer and service to the poor, especially children, and kept the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They recognised them as a ‘threefold cord by which the believer is bound to God – a binding of love through which one is set free’. We too are seeking to be ‘bound to God’ and as celibates to have less ‘attachments’. This is why I am celibate. In this way I seek to love ‘children’ who have not known much love. Not a silly little thought – but a gift from God.

“I’m a celibate and live in a former convent. But I’m not a nun”

COMING SOON... ONE HEART AND SOUL - A brand new book on intentional Christian Community from Multiply Publications, to be released in 2006. It combines gritty, challenging teaching with people’s own stories of life in community. For more details look on the Jesus Army website www.jesus.org.uk or contact 0845 166 8172 Jesus Fellowship, Northampton NN7 3LB

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 11

17/01/2006, 16:14:17


Signposts g p

Signposts led over the edge

WE BOTH felt as if we were diving off a very high divingboard without being able to see fully what we were diving into!” This was how Peter Bayliss described the moment in August 1976, when he and his wife, Gill, sold their home and joined another family and an elderly couple in a farmhouse in Northamptonshire as pioneers of the New Creation Christian Community. “God was asking us to risk all. We had two young daughters, Ruth, nine years old and Jean, seven, and it was a huge step of faith!” All Peter’s life, since he became a Christian as a student, he says that God put signposts along his way to guide him along the right paths. Each new direction had meant costly decisions - but this new challenge was in a class of its own. “Quite honestly,” says Peter, “I’ve needed those heavenly signposts. We couldn’t have moved into community if we hadn’t been certain that it was God’s calling to us. And we’ve always come back to that fact in the difficult times. It was a big decision but neither of us had any serious doubts about it - God was going to watch over us. I remember praying: ‘God, You’re going to have to get us out of a big mess if it all folds!’” Peter and Gill are not naturally the sort of people you would expect to pioneer community. Far from being an extrovert, Peter is naturally

a private, cautious type, while Gill describes herself as ‘the only child of ancient parents’. “After spending twelve years of my childhood in boarding schools,” says Gill, “community living was definitely NOT on my agenda!” While Peter was working as a graduate engineering apprentice, Gill was studying music in Essex. Their paths crossed for the first time in 1963, on a stage in Colchester, where they were both singing in the chorus of a college musical. They married in 1965 and, after a short time, moved to Rugby, Warwickshire. “We were both very serious about our faith,” says Peter. “Inside Gill’s wedding ring is inscribed from Psalm 127: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain’ and we both meant every word. We were faithful church-attenders and Bible class leaders, but after a while we both felt that there was something missing from our Christian life.” In the late 60’s the young couple began to hear from different friends about something called ‘the charismatic movement’ that was gathering momentum in the south of England. They both sensed that God was setting up another signpost for them to follow. “Don Double and John McCloughlin came to a local housemeeting in 1969,” says Peter. “We both listened intently when Don explained ‘speaking in tongues’ and we agreed ‘that’s right!’ A year later, in another local house-meeting, Harry Greenwood from Chard was the speaker, and our hands shot up when he asked if anyone would like to receive the Holy Spirit. A hand was laid on both our heads together. I felt a warm sensation and for Gill the experience was like a cannonball exploding or a fountain springing into life. It was a powerful moment that changed our lives completely.” Sadly, the experience was spoken against by other local Christians.

“God was asking us to risk all”

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 12

12-13.indd 12-13

www.jesus.org.uk

Disillusioned, but more determined than ever to pursue God’s fullness, Peter and Gill eventually found their way, in 1975, to the Jesus Fellowship, at Bugbrooke Chapel, Northamptonshire, twenty miles away. The following year came the Holy Spirit’s call for the Fellowship to set up community. Peter and Gill were among the first to step out in faith and become part of it. “If we had any illusions,” says Gill, “that life was going to be trouble-free, they quickly disappeared! We’d only been living in community for some eight months, when Peter went to the doctor about a lump he’d discovered and came home to say that it might be malignant. “Within a week Peter was on the operating table at the local hospital and I had my eyes opened to the reality that his life could be in danger. “Before I was baptised in the Holy Spirit I had a particular fear about being left as a young widow. God knew this and when I received the Spirit so powerfully in 1970, the fear completely went. It was as if God prepared me for what lay ahead. “Peter had always been fit and well - to be struck down like this was very hard. But he just oozed faith and got through amazingly well.” At first everything went well and the cancer responded to radiotherapy. Then, some months later, the cancer re-occurred. This time it had spread and become more serious. “After extensive chemotherapy and time dragging on,” says Peter, “there was a real sense of battle for my life. One dedicated brother came weekly to pray for me and anoint me with oil. I lost two stone and all my hair. “ What a wonderful feeling, though, when the day came when I was told there had been a dramatic change in my condition. Praise God for my healing!” By the early 1980’s, the community began to spread out from its Northamptonshire roots and in 1981, Peter and Gill moved to a new household in rural Warwickshire, where they lived for a few years,

www.jesus.org.uk

EARCH

God’s signposts led Peter and Gill Bayliss at key times in their lives including the giant step into Christian community. Nearly three decades have passed since then - plenty of time for them to answer the question ‘did we make the right choice?’

before becoming part of the city team in Coventry, where they now live. Nearly thirty years later and both in their sixties, Peter and Gill are still fully active. Peter works for one of the church businesses and Gill is part-time domestic, fitting in other work. Both are volunteers at the Coventry Jesus Centre. Their daughters are both married with families and are active Christians. Gill comments: “Community produces unusual situations which have their funny side afterwards, but can be hugely stressful at the time - like the night we came home late and tired from a meeting to find every one of our duvets had been stolen! Our experience has always been that whatever the challenge - big or small God has always been faithful and brought us through.” Peter believes that community has presented an opportunity to be released from things that would have distracted him from his goal to build something lasting for God. “Quite often I’ll walk past private houses where couples are building homes just for themselves and their children. At first I’d be thinking: ‘Mmm. I’d quite like to be there.’ Then I’d think again and ask myself: ‘ but what cause have they got?’ Living in community we’ve got a far bigger, greater cause to be a part of. My life has an eternal value because I’ve chosen to give it to God in a real way. My goal is far bigger than community itself - community is just part of a much bigger picture of following Jesus, growing in knowledge of God and building His church in a practical way.” JL

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 13

17/01/2006, 16:01:28


Signposts g p

Signposts led over the edge

WE BOTH felt as if we were diving off a very high divingboard without being able to see fully what we were diving into!” This was how Peter Bayliss described the moment in August 1976, when he and his wife, Gill, sold their home and joined another family and an elderly couple in a farmhouse in Northamptonshire as pioneers of the New Creation Christian Community. “God was asking us to risk all. We had two young daughters, Ruth, nine years old and Jean, seven, and it was a huge step of faith!” All Peter’s life, since he became a Christian as a student, he says that God put signposts along his way to guide him along the right paths. Each new direction had meant costly decisions - but this new challenge was in a class of its own. “Quite honestly,” says Peter, “I’ve needed those heavenly signposts. We couldn’t have moved into community if we hadn’t been certain that it was God’s calling to us. And we’ve always come back to that fact in the difficult times. It was a big decision but neither of us had any serious doubts about it - God was going to watch over us. I remember praying: ‘God, You’re going to have to get us out of a big mess if it all folds!’” Peter and Gill are not naturally the sort of people you would expect to pioneer community. Far from being an extrovert, Peter is naturally

a private, cautious type, while Gill describes herself as ‘the only child of ancient parents’. “After spending twelve years of my childhood in boarding schools,” says Gill, “community living was definitely NOT on my agenda!” While Peter was working as a graduate engineering apprentice, Gill was studying music in Essex. Their paths crossed for the first time in 1963, on a stage in Colchester, where they were both singing in the chorus of a college musical. They married in 1965 and, after a short time, moved to Rugby, Warwickshire. “We were both very serious about our faith,” says Peter. “Inside Gill’s wedding ring is inscribed from Psalm 127: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain’ and we both meant every word. We were faithful church-attenders and Bible class leaders, but after a while we both felt that there was something missing from our Christian life.” In the late 60’s the young couple began to hear from different friends about something called ‘the charismatic movement’ that was gathering momentum in the south of England. They both sensed that God was setting up another signpost for them to follow. “Don Double and John McCloughlin came to a local housemeeting in 1969,” says Peter. “We both listened intently when Don explained ‘speaking in tongues’ and we agreed ‘that’s right!’ A year later, in another local house-meeting, Harry Greenwood from Chard was the speaker, and our hands shot up when he asked if anyone would like to receive the Holy Spirit. A hand was laid on both our heads together. I felt a warm sensation and for Gill the experience was like a cannonball exploding or a fountain springing into life. It was a powerful moment that changed our lives completely.” Sadly, the experience was spoken against by other local Christians.

“God was asking us to risk all”

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 12

12-13.indd 12-13

www.jesus.org.uk

Disillusioned, but more determined than ever to pursue God’s fullness, Peter and Gill eventually found their way, in 1975, to the Jesus Fellowship, at Bugbrooke Chapel, Northamptonshire, twenty miles away. The following year came the Holy Spirit’s call for the Fellowship to set up community. Peter and Gill were among the first to step out in faith and become part of it. “If we had any illusions,” says Gill, “that life was going to be trouble-free, they quickly disappeared! We’d only been living in community for some eight months, when Peter went to the doctor about a lump he’d discovered and came home to say that it might be malignant. “Within a week Peter was on the operating table at the local hospital and I had my eyes opened to the reality that his life could be in danger. “Before I was baptised in the Holy Spirit I had a particular fear about being left as a young widow. God knew this and when I received the Spirit so powerfully in 1970, the fear completely went. It was as if God prepared me for what lay ahead. “Peter had always been fit and well - to be struck down like this was very hard. But he just oozed faith and got through amazingly well.” At first everything went well and the cancer responded to radiotherapy. Then, some months later, the cancer re-occurred. This time it had spread and become more serious. “After extensive chemotherapy and time dragging on,” says Peter, “there was a real sense of battle for my life. One dedicated brother came weekly to pray for me and anoint me with oil. I lost two stone and all my hair. “ What a wonderful feeling, though, when the day came when I was told there had been a dramatic change in my condition. Praise God for my healing!” By the early 1980’s, the community began to spread out from its Northamptonshire roots and in 1981, Peter and Gill moved to a new household in rural Warwickshire, where they lived for a few years,

www.jesus.org.uk

EARCH

God’s signposts led Peter and Gill Bayliss at key times in their lives including the giant step into Christian community. Nearly three decades have passed since then - plenty of time for them to answer the question ‘did we make the right choice?’

before becoming part of the city team in Coventry, where they now live. Nearly thirty years later and both in their sixties, Peter and Gill are still fully active. Peter works for one of the church businesses and Gill is part-time domestic, fitting in other work. Both are volunteers at the Coventry Jesus Centre. Their daughters are both married with families and are active Christians. Gill comments: “Community produces unusual situations which have their funny side afterwards, but can be hugely stressful at the time - like the night we came home late and tired from a meeting to find every one of our duvets had been stolen! Our experience has always been that whatever the challenge - big or small God has always been faithful and brought us through.” Peter believes that community has presented an opportunity to be released from things that would have distracted him from his goal to build something lasting for God. “Quite often I’ll walk past private houses where couples are building homes just for themselves and their children. At first I’d be thinking: ‘Mmm. I’d quite like to be there.’ Then I’d think again and ask myself: ‘ but what cause have they got?’ Living in community we’ve got a far bigger, greater cause to be a part of. My life has an eternal value because I’ve chosen to give it to God in a real way. My goal is far bigger than community itself - community is just part of a much bigger picture of following Jesus, growing in knowledge of God and building His church in a practical way.” JL

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 13

17/01/2006, 16:01:28


talking to Jonathan an Oloyede Huw Lewis Jesus Life One/2006 Page 14

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Jonathan Oloyede is one of the Senior Pastors of Glory House, a multi-cultural church in East London. Glory House belongs to the local network of churches called ‘Transform Newham.’ He is an executive trustee of the African Caribbean Evangelical Alliance and the Team Leader of Soul in the City London, which aims to envision citywide events and projects in 2008 and during the 2012 0lympics. In this interview, he talks to Huw Lewis, former editor of Jesus Life and part of the Apostolic Team of the Jesus Fellowship.

Huw: Can you just tell us about how you found Jesus? JONATHAN: I come from a Muslim family in Nigeria, from the Yoruba tribe. My whole family were entrenched in Islam but have all now become Christians. My dad was the last to get saved, and the first to see Jesus face to face. I was born in England, but brought up in Nigeria where I trained as a medical doctor. The two things my dad said to me when I was going to medical school was, ‘Jonathan, I don’t want you to marry anyone outside our tribe, and don’t marry a Christian! Always remain a Muslim.’ I broke both in a matter of six months because I was going out with a girl who was not from the Yoruba tribe and I became a Christian soon after going to medical school. But I couldn’t tell my parents for a long time. I was a devout Muslim. I was still searching for God but never seemed to get proper answers. At university I had a number of friends who were Christians and I used to ask them lots of questions. They invited me to Christian meetings. One evening I went to a prayer service, and the minute I walked into the church, I felt a presence. Some-

thing deep within my heart said, ‘this is what you’re looking for.’ It wasn’t the worship, the praise or the preacher, but just the presence of God there - it felt like I’d come home. At the end of the service I walked to the front to give my life to Jesus. I was baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues – all at once! This may sound controversial to evangelicals, but the presence I felt in that church was the same presence I felt in my heart when I was on my mat as a Muslim, when I said to God ‘Where are you?’. I say to people that we don’t introduce Jesus to people, we unveil Him. What happened then? I saw my friends in eternal peril so I got down on my knees and began to pray for their salvation. Was it hard to separate yourself from your Muslim connections? I had a number of friends who were Muslims at the time who could not accept my radical, overnight conversion. When I finally told my parents, my dad disowned me and threw me out of the house. My dad said, ‘You’re no longer my son, I don’t want anything to do with

you.’ So I had to go and live with Christian friends. That must have been painful? It was very hard, but it strengthened my faith. Jesus said that He came to bring a division, a sword, between father and mother. So I took these words quite literally. Soon afterwards my sister and my two brothers got saved. Then, in 2003 my mum came with my dad to the United Kingdom. She came to our church on Mothers’ Day, I was preaching, and she gave her heart to Jesus. Subsequently, my dad got saved as well. He went to be with the Lord very recently. What brought you over to this country then? I was going to become a missionary doctor in northern Nigeria. Then I thought about going to China, because I’d read about Hudson Taylor! After medical school, I planned to go to a Baptist missionary hospital in Nigeria. I came over to England on a three month holiday. But within 24 hours of landing here, I felt the Holy Spirit calling me. He said, ‘Jonathan, you’re not here by accident, you are here by divine design. You are here as part of my recruitment to this

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region of the world in preparation for the coming of My Son and My kingdom.’ What year was this? This was 1991. So I dropped my own agenda and picked up God’s programme. The call was so real I just knew it was God. But I struggled with it for six months. My mum flipped! She said, ‘Go and tell that God of yours to refund all the money I spent on your medical school! What happened next? A group of us started a small fellowship. Some of us had come out of university campus life - I’d just finished medical school and didn’t understand the term, ‘church’. We visited some churches to find out what they did on Sundays. So we ‘cut and pasted’ it all with some hymns, prayers and an offering! It was just all new to us. We looked for a building, then registered as a charity, and were told that we had to get a lease

‘Jonathan, you’re not here by accident, you are here by divine design.’ of us were giving donations and tithing as well, and that’s how the church started in March 1993. And this was just a group of Africans? Yes, most of us were Africans, sprinkled with a handful of Afro Caribbeans as well. The church started as Glory Bible Church in Leyton, East London with Dr Albert Odulele as the pastor. Within three years we had grown to about 300 so we had two services in the building. By the time we came here in 1997, we were close to 1,000. We have since planted a number of churches - one in Brussels, and three others in London.

What caused the growth to be so rapid? Our church was almost like a holding bay to catch the new immigrants coming from Africa. Almost 80% of Africans and 65% of Afro Caribbeans in the UK live in London. We just found ourselves in a strategic position, ready to receive people as they came. Africans are very communal - if one person comes to your church, five people come into your church, because aunties, cousins and parents would invariably come. Also many Africans coming here are looking for a social hub and relationships. They have real faith and are also looking for a platform to express their faith. Many of them are single, upwardly mobile and coming from middle-class, educated families and meet other people from the same background. The new churches are ideal for them. How did you find the spiritual climate of this country when you came over here from Nigeria? It was a culture shock, both spiritually and socially! Many of the heroes of the faith that I had in Africa came from England and America. For some reason, my mindset was that everybody went to church over here. So you can imagine my shock when I came here. Socially, I can remember clearly travelling on a bus with my sister. I wondered if there had been some sort of national tragedy or disaster as the silence and lack of communication was eerie. In Africa if you get on a bus it’s buzzing. It was very strange for me! So, how has the Glory House developed since then and what are your current activities? In the last 12 years we’ve grown from one church to a multiple network of churches, as we have planted in many places. We have set up a Bible school, and we

have also transformed into a cell church, because when we hit the thousand mark, pastoral care became a bit unmanageable. We read all the books we could read about cell church and began to train our leaders for cell church. We now have home churches, which have a network of about 50 people in each of them. The membership of Glory House is about 3,000. Another 3,000 see us as their church and attend during the festive seasons. You’re reaching out to the community quite strongly. Yes. We run a football academy. Most of the kids that come are white Eastenders. There are about 700 on this course. Many of the families would say Glory House is their church so, by linking in those families as well, there are many other people who are attached to us. We run programmes in the local schools. I don’t see us remaining as a black majority church for much longer, so I’m looking to shuffle the cards a bit in order to reflect

‘...there’s a counter-culture within the black churches’ years my vision is to make the church as multicultural as possible and really break into the local community. Why do you think that black majority churches have been so successful in the last ten years especially? I would say there’s a counterculture within the black churches. Firstly, the level of faith expectation within black majority churches is very high. Secondly, there’s a high level of respect for clergy and that breeds strong leadership. Clearly, some do it wrongly. Thirdly, churches grow with visionary leadership. A lot can be accomplished where

creative leadership is allowed to take risks and explore new dimensions. That’s encouraged within the black churches. Fourthly, the congregations believe in the leadership, and they don’t get into a debate about issues. The democratic process is not really part of the culture. There are principles of democracy in terms of trustees, and the leadership sit and talk, but it’s not an open debate. Fifthly, the black culture is still very communal and so a person comes into a community, not a just church. They don’t just come to Glory House on a Sunday - all through the week they’re in contact, interacting with people. We phone them, go to hospitals, visit them, attend someone’s baby’s naming – there are so many layers that overlap and interact and that allow people to bond strongly. That’s one of the principles that we saw within the cell church, and adopted into our church. Lastly, there’s a whole life approach in black churches. Many black churches give practical help with all aspects of your life - business, career, education, finance, marriage and family support etc. For example, we have meetings where women who are running their businesses, show other women how to run businesses – that’s a church meeting! I call it a Hebrew mentality, where your worship is beyond the building and you don’t compartmentalise between church and life. I would say 50 – 70% of the black population, in some way, go to church regularly – compared with 5-10% of the British population. Are we doing better at breaking down the barriers between black and white churches? The short answer is not really. I look at the conferences, the meetings, the expressions of faith and it’s still very divided. V V

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V V My passion is to see that broken down. One of the ways in which I’ve got involved is the ‘Soul in the City’ project. Right now we’re having a drive to connect the grassroots movements of networks within all the major boroughs of the city of London, linking the emerging leaders, youth workers and young people together, whether they are Hispanics, Latinos, Philippinos, Africans, Caribbeans or English. Whatever the nationality or ethnicity, we want to work on some projects together. I think that’s where we can begin to crack it. One of the things I feel anointed and called by God to do is link the church together through prayer. So we’re joining in the

‘...it’s church uniting; it’s youth releasing, and community transforming’ Global Day of Prayer, which emerged from a prayer movement in South Africa. I’m going to be pushing next year for the church to be doing something in London on Pentecost Sunday. I’ve also spoken to ‘Christianity’ Magazine and they’ve featured two of my articles. I’ve suggested other writers to them and they’re going to begin to work more with ACEA (Afro-Caribbean Evangelical Alliance). So we’re far from it, but we’re getting closer. We’re not where we were a few years ago. What advice would you give to local churches in terms of being able to break down those barriers practically? I would say for me that there are two broad objectives. Firstly, for a local church that is completely black or completely white to become multicultural. Secondly, for local congregations to connect with other congregations of different nationalities. One of the practical things that

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a church in a large city can do is to diagnose the community. If you have a local Congolese community in your area, then find out who has a passion to communicate with this community. Then, arrange to sit down with some of these people, eat with them and find out their needs. You can offer your service, invite them into your homes and connect with them. Sometimes it’s good to put on some specific event or service that meets a particular people group. If they don’t understand English we can set up ESOL classes. One of the things I find with indigenous English churches is that we can be strong on the humanitarian dimension, but not strong on the spiritual dimension. Black people are very spiritual people, and they want to feel touched by the power of God.

We need some very healthy communication links with the media, so we can explain what is really happening. For example, I spoke to a journalist about what happens in black churches concerning deliverance ministry. I said that if I’m going to lay hands on someone, I do it in the presence of two or three other people with the permission of the person. I said I would never pray for someone with total demonic oppression without me explaining what I’m about to do. Deliverance does not normally happen with shouting and breaking glass. Also I explained that things like falling under the power of the Holy Spirit happen

How have you responded to the negative press coverage of some recent issues concerning black majority churches – like child abuse and witchcraft as well as financial irregularity? There is a fault on both sides. The black churches have not always done good PR, in terms of being able to project clearly what they believe, what they teach and what they stand for, in a way that gives people a clear view of who they are. On the other side there has been what I call irresponsible journalism, which has just repeated hear-say, or previous reports, without doing its homework. I’ll give you a practical example of a recent child abuse case where witchcraft practices were alleged. Thorough investigations found out that the incidents were by a person who was not a member of the named church. He was not in any church! Some recent misrepresentations were all caused by the fact that we have very few proper communication links between the black and white communities.

in every charismatic church, whether it’s black or white.

‘I want to see a thousand John Wesleys’

What exactly is ‘Soul in the City’? I first heard of it in 2002. I was leading church leaders in Newham in prayer for revival every Saturday for two years. Someone told me about Mike Pilavachi, whom I’d never heard of before, and he’d never heard of Glory House either! But in 2003 he came over to East London to speak to us and I was really blessed by it. For me, Soul in the City is three things – it’s church uniting; it’s youth releasing, and community transforming. I want to see London truly changed. I think the church can do it and carries enough of a critical mass, if it works together, to make it happen. What was its fruit? The fruit of Soul in the City is the unity between networks and churches that is beginning to develop and is growing. Many local boroughs know of Soul in the City. The police are full of praise for it.

In some parts of London there has been a reduction in crime on whole estates. Part of our dream is to make that happen 24/7. It’s a high calling. Can you just say something about how you train your leaders or how you raise up a new generation of people who are going to carry on the work. One of the things we do is we drop people in at the deep end. Our vision is to get every member of Glory House involved in ministry. What we try to tell everybody is that, ‘you are a leader – go and pastor your workplace, your school, your business, you carry a responsibility for the souls in your estate, your street, your local area.’ Is there anything else you wanted to share that you haven’t touched on that is a passion to you? My passion is to have a day to day walk with Jesus. That’s my highest passion - to know Jesus and to make Him known, to love Jesus and to embrace His love. Because I know that if people just have a taste of that love, they will go after that beyond anything else. What do you feel God is saying to our nation? “I am coming!” Prophetically, I sense there are real rumblings in the distance. It’s almost like in Africa when it’s about to rain you hear the thunder, see the clouds gathering. If the church does not wake up in time and get herself together, God’s message will not be one of joy but of judgment. The whole prayer movement is His mercy, saying, “Repent, for the day of the Lord is at hand.” I want to see a thousand John Wesleys. I want to see a thousand Jeffery brothers in one generation. If we could have that, we would see the beginnings of our JL nation turning back to God.

www.jesus.org.uk

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JesusF.L.U.I.D jesus centres : NORTHAMPTON

Jane Darling plunges into a counter-cultural river of spiritual life 10.30pm FRIDAY NIGHT & something’s happening in the foyer of the Northampton Jesus Centre. ‘FLUID’ (Flexible Loving Unexpected Intuitive Driven) is being created – tables and chairs set out, Faith Zone set up, drinks laid out, lights…action! Every Friday night a group of young people get together in the foyer for FLUID (doors open 12 midnight, doors close – anytime between 2.30am and 4.30am!) It’s the counter-culture to the www.jesuscentre.org.uk

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‘normal’ Friday night scene of alcohol & drugs, violence, pubs & clubs. Without the attitude and alcohol, but with atmosphere - tunes, visuals etc. Brings the whole idea of being spiritual onto your level (whatever that is). A whole load of people loving each other & accepting everyone for who they are, not what they look like. God in the culture & more to discover. As soon as the doors open people are in, questions are asked, friends found: “What’s going on here?”, “What you all

about?” Come & taste spirituality in the Faith Zone - take time out to reflect; take the bread & wine; renew a vow; make a pledge; say a prayer. Let’s wash your feet (a sign of love from the bible), chat, chill out, discover our spiritual side. ‘FLUID’ describes the ability Jesus had to flow with humanity and relate to the culture He lived in. Our brief is to do the same as Him.

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Jesus Centres jesus centres : LONDON

london opportunities The London Jesus Centre, due to open late 2006, presents the challenging opportunity to express the care of Jesus to a hugely diverse local population. Rob Bentley, Project Manager for the Jesus Centre, reports.

THE RESIDENT population of Westminster is 222,000 but every week day there are 1.9 million people in the borough. Only 55% of the population were born in the UK and 25% of it is made up of 18-29 year olds. There are 150 different languages spoken by school children. In 2004 there were 5,436 homeless applications and 2,944 families in temporary accommodation. 85% of all UK asylum seekers live in London. The vision is a place which will express the love and care of Jesus in this wildly diverse and unique community. There will be day care services for the homeless and dis-

advantaged, training facilities, a ‘gateway’ to other services and a café. The challenge is to address the ever increasing needs of a fragmented society – nowhere more dramatically expressed than in central London – with a tangible expression of hope. Rob comments: “Empty rooms and empty desks, challenges and opportunities: the space available for the London Jesus Centre is just waiting to be filled. As we research the many needs of our area and plan the services we will offer I am excited by the potential that this amazing location offers, to the team of committed people who will be at the heart of the third Jesus Centre.”

jesus centres : COVENTRY

Speaking out Justice is what Coventry Jesus Centre support worker Val Hook longs for WHEN VAL HOOK saw the Support Worker post advertised, she thought, ‘yes!’ She had been working in the centre’s café but wanted to do something more specific to help people. Now she assists clients with applications for housing and other benefits, arranges crisis loans or accommodation, rings agencies to make appointments, and reads and writes letters for them if needed. “People feel that agencies don’t care,” says Val. “Support work is about helping them to have confidence. So we ring to make the appointment, but the client has to go themselves.”

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In one case, Val found a client a flat but he then went into prison. He wanted the tenancy kept open as he had been homeless for a long time. Val was able to sort the situation out with housing benefit. “You need to know a person’s rights,” she says. “They have to pay housing benefit for a prisoner for 52 weeks.” She managed to keep the place open for him, which meant he didn’t get caught in the cycle of re-offending. Like Jesus and the 10 healed lepers, the response to the help offered can be varied! “Sometimes people can be a bit demanding, saying ‘I want a flat

now!’” Val says. “But the guy from prison waited at reception for hours to thank me.” Her qualifications? ‘Only the love of Jesus’ and her own life experience. For example, her own struggle with depression has helped her to relate to people with mental health problems. Val has had to learn to be persistent. “I feel believed in by people here and this has meant a lot for me,” she says. In September the Coventry Jesus Centre, together with a local estate agent, launched a bond scheme as a way out of the homelessness trap. “Lots of people can’t get started due

to money problems and their lack of address,” explains Val. To qualify, the client needs to be on housing benefit, and to be someone who would benefit from the scheme. They have to pay £130-150 rent in advance. The £50 bond is the Jesus Centre’s responsibility, £30 the client must find themselves. Val is very much inspired by the song ‘I will speak out for those who have no voices’. “The world’s such a mess and sometimes you think ‘what can I do?’” she reflects. “This centre is a little part of the kingdom of God and this is what I can do… a JL lovely thing.”

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19/01/2006, 09:52:46


r and made of suga If little girls are t are ings nice, wha spice and all th of? old girls made fourteen year ” keup and boys a m , n io sh fa “Music, age ne of one teen li g ta e th to g accordin three t so for these o N . e n zi a g a girls’ m aries. old revolution fourteen year

S E I R A N O I U L REVO

LIZZIE, Amy and Emmaline are all fourteen and have an enthusiastic and vibrant faith in God. All were brought up in Christian families and all have met God themselves in a compelling way. Amy knew the security of being surrounded by people who loved Jesus. When she encountered His life changing potency for herself, she found a growing desire to live for Him too. From a young age, she wanted to be filled with His Spirit and when she finally received this amazing gift at 13, after much longing and frustration, she shook, laughed and cried with joy. A new language bubbled up in praise to God. ‘I was being filled with the love of God so much’, she recalls, ‘that I had to express my joy in some way. I didn’t want to stop it.’ Once, she didn’t feel adequate to pray, but now she had a new prayer language (speaking in tongues) to communicate with God. A new boldness filled Amy and soon she was struggling to meet the demand for red crosses among her classmates at school. One friend found her latent faith rekindled as Amy spoke to her about the beautiful promises of heaven. Lizzie has grown up in New Creation Christian Community: to her, it’s been a www.jesus.org.uk

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privilege to be brought up in this way. A combination of loving discipline and the opportunity to know many different types of people has given her a rounded character. Seeing many healings and changed lives has proved God’s reality to her. She also has her own stories of answers to prayer, such as the time she and her older brother prayed every night for a much longed for baby brother. Their mum wasn’t planning to have another child, but after about a month, she announced she was pregnant. Nine months later, her little brother George was born. An answer to childlike, faith-filled prayer. Earlier this year, Lizzie responded to God’s emphatic ‘Go!’ and was powerfully baptised. Emmaline is also grateful for her Christian upbringing. She can confidently relate to people of all types and ages. She is convinced of God’s existence through feeling the Holy Spirit from a young age and through the love she’s seen in the people around her. Emmaline knew she had to make her own profession of faith – a second hand faith was not good enough. Her parents had not been able to come to a church meeting that she attended and she was faced with the reality of God’s call on her life. She responded and – with her parents blessing – was baptised. ‘I have become a different person; I’ve become more in-tune with the Holy Spirit and I’m longing to play my part in what He’s doing,’ she says.

God’s also brought a new dynamic to the girls’ friendships. Emmaline puts it like this: ‘It’s great to have people that think about you and genuinely care for you, people that you can relax with and feel comfortable with. The friendship is eternal, not fickle like so many friendships without God are.’ As for the future? Serving God is top priority! All three see their future in New Creation Christian Community. Amy would like to use her talent for foreign languages to serve God in the Church. She particularly has a desire to help refugees and asylum seekers. ‘I don’t know what plans God has,’ says Lizzie; ‘I want to do what He wants me to do and be what He wants me to be. It’s a challenge, but one I’m growing into and wanting to achieve.’ As for Emmaline: ‘I want to do everything in my power to build the church. I owe so JL much to God – I have to do it!’ Jesus Life One/2006 Page 19

17/01/2006, 16:03:12


MULTIPLY INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN NETWORK

Stop being sweeties Niceness is the enemy of the church, heard delegates at the latest UK Multiply conference

“WE ARE not here to be sweeties.” This was the word to the 150 plus men and women gathered at Cornhill Manor for the 2005 UK Multiply Leaders Conference. Apostolic leader Steve Calam continued, “Out of strength comes forth sweetness, the scripture says. So many

leaders are aiming to be warm and sweet. We should be redhot, edgy, on fire.” “Too much Christian leadership has become docile”, Multiply director Huw Lewis had kicked off the day by saying. This was to be a time of challenge and change. The conference continued on this challenging theme, interspersed with rich fellowship, traditional English lunch and French African style worship. “Very encouraging”, was one delegate’s response, “It was wonderful to hear what God is doing.”

DON’T MISS OUT...

MULTIPLY INTERNATIONAL LEADERS CONFERENCE Saturday 3 June 2006 10:30am - 9:30pm Jesus Centre, Northampton For all leaders from the Multiply Network Churches and interested leaders from other churches and groups

big challenge

LESZEK AND ELA JANUS, together with their son Nikodem, are part of an 80-member Baptist church called Kosciol Chrzescijan Baptystow in Glogow, west Poland. Leszek is an elder, and Ela runs the Sunday

School and is secretary of the church’s English School. “I was born again 20 years ago, through a group in the Catholic Church who taught the way of salvation to me,” explains Leszek. “It was a process over many months and, later, I made many friends at the local Pentecostal Church: this is where I started to speak in tongues. “I had big problems with alcohol and smoking and, in 1993, I decided that the best way to change my life was to go to the interdenominational Bible School in Cracow. “After our wedding, Ela and I returned to Glogow where we

An encounter with Christian community clarified one Polish couple’s vision

met a young pastor and his wife and decided to join them in helping to grow a small Baptist church. Maybe 1 per cent of the 40 million people in Poland are Christians – it is a spiritual desert.” In 2004, when Leszek lost his job in a foundry, he came over to the UK to work. It was here that he first met the Jesus Army. In April 2005, he and Ela were reunited in Poland and their visit to the European Multiply Conference a few weeks later was their first time in the the UK as a family. “Before I met the Jesus Army,” says Leszek, “I had never thought about Christian

community, although Ela and I had both found living with other Christians at Bible School a very good experience. “The Multiply Conference has helped us to feel clear about several aspects of our vision: first, that church needs to be open 24/7; second, that it must be absolutely radical; third, that it’s only through friendship that the church can be built. “Our visits to the businesses showed us how to make money and give it to God to use. Our church is opening a coffee house in Lubin, about 40 kilometres from our town. It’s a big challenge – please pray for us!”

Nigerian expansion THE SECOND West Africa Multiply Leaders Conference was held in Lagos in December. Two Jesus Fellowship leaders, Victor Shefford and Clive Strudwick, attended. It was Victor’s eighth visit to Africa, and Clive’s first. Victor reports: “Matthew Oluwasesin, our apostolic Multiply man in Nigeria, has built together a group of 10 churches that really cooperate in all sorts of ways – practically and spiritually. The 45 delegates at the three-day conference included several pastors from Nigeria, five from Accra, Ghana, one from Benin state and one from Gabon, in addition to members of the host church of Glad Tidings and other Multiply Network churches. The theme of the conference was ‘building the body of Christ’. Thursday was a welcome day. On Friday there was a symposium, in which delegates split into three groups to

Building the body of Christ was the theme of the second West Africa Multiply conference

discuss what makes for peace and unity in the body of Christ. It came out strongly that you won’t get this peace and unity unless all the joints and ligaments in the body are disciples and willing to be trained and accountable. Saturday’s programme opened with a bible study from me on what the body of Christ is about. This was followed by a woman pastor, Sister Elizabeth from Divine Healing Ministries, sharing about two different types of love – convenient love and covenant love. Convenient love is where you love with anticipation of being loved back. Covenant love is sacrificial, where you give without expecting anything back. Matthew then spoke of the need for churches within Multiply Network to be separated from the world and not to indulge in the things of the world, then Pastor Samson Grace concluded this

part of the day by stressing the importance of accountability for everyone in the body of Christ. This session finished about 3pm. The whole day was interspersed with singing and dancing in which Clive and I were encouraged to join. After the main conference we had a celebratory meal. Even though there was only a BBQ spit to cook over, all 100 people in the church were fed. There is quite a lot of interest in Multiply in the region. Ten churches are already in Multiply, and Matthew is considering about another seven for inclusion.” JL

Above: Clive (left) and Victor (centre) with Matthew (right of Victor) and other West African Multiply leaders; Below left: Worship inside Glad Tidings; Below right: Glad tidings Church in Lagos, Nigeria.

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17/01/2006, 16:00:20


MULTIPLY INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN NETWORK

Stop being sweeties Niceness is the enemy of the church, heard delegates at the latest UK Multiply conference

“WE ARE not here to be sweeties.” This was the word to the 150 plus men and women gathered at Cornhill Manor for the 2005 UK Multiply Leaders Conference. Apostolic leader Steve Calam continued, “Out of strength comes forth sweetness, the scripture says. So many

leaders are aiming to be warm and sweet. We should be redhot, edgy, on fire.” “Too much Christian leadership has become docile”, Multiply director Huw Lewis had kicked off the day by saying. This was to be a time of challenge and change. The conference continued on this challenging theme, interspersed with rich fellowship, traditional English lunch and French African style worship. “Very encouraging”, was one delegate’s response, “It was wonderful to hear what God is doing.”

DON’T MISS OUT...

MULTIPLY INTERNATIONAL LEADERS CONFERENCE Saturday 3 June 2006 10:30am - 9:30pm Jesus Centre, Northampton For all leaders from the Multiply Network Churches and interested leaders from other churches and groups

big challenge

LESZEK AND ELA JANUS, together with their son Nikodem, are part of an 80-member Baptist church called Kosciol Chrzescijan Baptystow in Glogow, west Poland. Leszek is an elder, and Ela runs the Sunday

School and is secretary of the church’s English School. “I was born again 20 years ago, through a group in the Catholic Church who taught the way of salvation to me,” explains Leszek. “It was a process over many months and, later, I made many friends at the local Pentecostal Church: this is where I started to speak in tongues. “I had big problems with alcohol and smoking and, in 1993, I decided that the best way to change my life was to go to the interdenominational Bible School in Cracow. “After our wedding, Ela and I returned to Glogow where we

An encounter with Christian community clarified one Polish couple’s vision

met a young pastor and his wife and decided to join them in helping to grow a small Baptist church. Maybe 1 per cent of the 40 million people in Poland are Christians – it is a spiritual desert.” In 2004, when Leszek lost his job in a foundry, he came over to the UK to work. It was here that he first met the Jesus Army. In April 2005, he and Ela were reunited in Poland and their visit to the European Multiply Conference a few weeks later was their first time in the the UK as a family. “Before I met the Jesus Army,” says Leszek, “I had never thought about Christian

community, although Ela and I had both found living with other Christians at Bible School a very good experience. “The Multiply Conference has helped us to feel clear about several aspects of our vision: first, that church needs to be open 24/7; second, that it must be absolutely radical; third, that it’s only through friendship that the church can be built. “Our visits to the businesses showed us how to make money and give it to God to use. Our church is opening a coffee house in Lubin, about 40 kilometres from our town. It’s a big challenge – please pray for us!”

Nigerian expansion THE SECOND West Africa Multiply Leaders Conference was held in Lagos in December. Two Jesus Fellowship leaders, Victor Shefford and Clive Strudwick, attended. It was Victor’s eighth visit to Africa, and Clive’s first. Victor reports: “Matthew Oluwasesin, our apostolic Multiply man in Nigeria, has built together a group of 10 churches that really cooperate in all sorts of ways – practically and spiritually. The 45 delegates at the three-day conference included several pastors from Nigeria, five from Accra, Ghana, one from Benin state and one from Gabon, in addition to members of the host church of Glad Tidings and other Multiply Network churches. The theme of the conference was ‘building the body of Christ’. Thursday was a welcome day. On Friday there was a symposium, in which delegates split into three groups to

Building the body of Christ was the theme of the second West Africa Multiply conference

discuss what makes for peace and unity in the body of Christ. It came out strongly that you won’t get this peace and unity unless all the joints and ligaments in the body are disciples and willing to be trained and accountable. Saturday’s programme opened with a bible study from me on what the body of Christ is about. This was followed by a woman pastor, Sister Elizabeth from Divine Healing Ministries, sharing about two different types of love – convenient love and covenant love. Convenient love is where you love with anticipation of being loved back. Covenant love is sacrificial, where you give without expecting anything back. Matthew then spoke of the need for churches within Multiply Network to be separated from the world and not to indulge in the things of the world, then Pastor Samson Grace concluded this

part of the day by stressing the importance of accountability for everyone in the body of Christ. This session finished about 3pm. The whole day was interspersed with singing and dancing in which Clive and I were encouraged to join. After the main conference we had a celebratory meal. Even though there was only a BBQ spit to cook over, all 100 people in the church were fed. There is quite a lot of interest in Multiply in the region. Ten churches are already in Multiply, and Matthew is considering about another seven for inclusion.” JL

Above: Clive (left) and Victor (centre) with Matthew (right of Victor) and other West African Multiply leaders; Below left: Worship inside Glad Tidings; Below right: Glad tidings Church in Lagos, Nigeria.

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 20

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17/01/2006, 16:00:20


TRIBES

nomads no longer but we’re still on the move…

• 250 people regularly involved • mJa Coventry first started in 1979/80

V V

MJA COVENTRY: FACTFILE

• Made up of two “half tribes”: Coventry and Warwickshre

• Two Christian community houses in Warks: Kings (“very big house in the country”), Tree of Life • Runs Coventry Jesus Centre, Lamb Street: The Bridge drop-in for homeless, Gateway Hall venue, Upper Well Café • Average age: going down fast!

Turned inside out

Laurence Cooper, a leader in Jesus Fellowship Coventry, takes us behind the scenes of an innovative and energetic congregation in “the heart of the Midlands”.

Coventry Jesus Centre, Lamb Street

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by week, in an assortment of halls and venues that might or might not be available when you wanted them. We were a nomadic congregation in those days, as we trekked from sports centre, to dance hall, to scout hut – and even to a farmhouse in deepest Warwickshire! Fast-forward to the present and the Coventry congregation now meets in our very own Jesus Centre, pleased to be able to invite one and all to “Come and have a cuppa with us at the Jesus Centre! It’s up on Lamb Street – big building with the rainbow all over the walls… you can’t miss it!” The Jesus Centre has loads on and it’s kept us busy – but it’s also become a home for a growing congregation and a feature on the map of Coventry.

SUNDAY nights used to be straightforward enough: song sandwich – rows facing front – twenty minute preach – a happy enough knees-up, but hard for new people to understand and get involved with. The final straw came when a few of us brought some new friends to the meeting. We sat behind the rows of people facing away from

us singing songs the visitors didn’t know. It was simply impossible to do anything with them. Conversation was impossible. Sure, the gospel was expressed but there was little opportunity for our friends to ask their questions. It was all too tightly “packaged”. Something was wrong. The solution was simple but radical: we needed to change our “mindset” and acknowledge that these times were not just for us to enjoy for ourselves. Deconstruct any barriers stopping the newest among us meeting Jesus. Get out of our comfort zones. Be outgoing

on the streets. Invite new people in. Make conversation possible. Connect. So now we have café style Sunday nights: the Solid Rock Café. The rows have become tables around which people hook up: all are welcome. Bite-sized gospel and words of testimony pepper the evening. Intercessors support the work as teams lead evangelism on the streets. There’s opportunity to pray and to “talk spiritual”. The result: we have more new people around on Sunday nights. They’re finding Jesus. We have baptisms. We have a church that is turning outwards. www.jesus.org.uk

GOD SAID they were coming… Last year saw a big influx of teens into the congregation. In January at White Stone, one of Coventry’s community houses, one of the leaders was seized by an inspiration in a meeting. He asked fourteen-year-old Bethan to leave the room and then come in through the door. She did so. He asked her to do it again. And again. This was repeated many times and the leader explained that he sensed God saying that many, many teenagers would be coming through their doors in 2005. Very soon they were. Thursday evening friendship meals at White Stone saw up to twenty teenagers coming around. And very soon they turned up at the Jesus Centre on Sunday. What a change! A crowd of screaming “Goth” teenagers at the front of Solid Rock Café worship times

brought a whole new feel to the meeting. We had to ban “body slamming” during the more lively songs, as there was a real danger of serious injury to those less experienced in the art of “moshing”… but it’s all a healthy challenge to the staid and respectable. Noise, energy, a certain amount of chaos, but in the midst of all of this: young people finding Jesus. Over the last several weeks it has been great to see a number of them baptised and daring to become real disciples. God has also been inspiring faith for students to come and join us. David Meakin and Jason Porter study at Coventry University, in the middle of the city. Both David and Jason have a strong vision to reach other students for Jesus.

V V

BEFORE we opened the Jesus Centre in 2002, a typical conversation with a new friend when we wanted to invite them along to a Sunday meeting might go something like this: “Hello, I’m from Jesus Fellowship Coventry.” “Ok, great, nice to meet you. I’m a believer too.” “Cool. Would you like to come along tonight?” “Sure, where do you meet?” “ Well, …ah……it was the Sports Centre last week… or was it the Scout Hut…doh …. I’ll get back to you.” A sad scenario, but one that was repeated too often. Of course, we had our community houses and often people would come to them during the week, but when it came to Sundays we suffered the uncertainty of meeting, week

A seismic shift has been occurring in what we do with Sunday evenings.

Coventry

God said: “Here come the Boffs and the Goths”

• Three Christian community houses in Cov: Promise, Bright Flame, White Stone.

Coventry Jesus Centre has made a huge difference to Coventry mJa.

Coventry

FOCUS ON:

Continued...

www.jesus.org.uk

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 23

17/01/2006, 15:56:31


TRIBES

nomads no longer but we’re still on the move…

• 250 people regularly involved • mJa Coventry first started in 1979/80

V V

MJA COVENTRY: FACTFILE

• Made up of two “half tribes”: Coventry and Warwickshre

• Two Christian community houses in Warks: Kings (“very big house in the country”), Tree of Life • Runs Coventry Jesus Centre, Lamb Street: The Bridge drop-in for homeless, Gateway Hall venue, Upper Well Café • Average age: going down fast!

Turned inside out

Laurence Cooper, a leader in Jesus Fellowship Coventry, takes us behind the scenes of an innovative and energetic congregation in “the heart of the Midlands”.

Coventry Jesus Centre, Lamb Street

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 22

22-24.indd 22-23

by week, in an assortment of halls and venues that might or might not be available when you wanted them. We were a nomadic congregation in those days, as we trekked from sports centre, to dance hall, to scout hut – and even to a farmhouse in deepest Warwickshire! Fast-forward to the present and the Coventry congregation now meets in our very own Jesus Centre, pleased to be able to invite one and all to “Come and have a cuppa with us at the Jesus Centre! It’s up on Lamb Street – big building with the rainbow all over the walls… you can’t miss it!” The Jesus Centre has loads on and it’s kept us busy – but it’s also become a home for a growing congregation and a feature on the map of Coventry.

SUNDAY nights used to be straightforward enough: song sandwich – rows facing front – twenty minute preach – a happy enough knees-up, but hard for new people to understand and get involved with. The final straw came when a few of us brought some new friends to the meeting. We sat behind the rows of people facing away from

us singing songs the visitors didn’t know. It was simply impossible to do anything with them. Conversation was impossible. Sure, the gospel was expressed but there was little opportunity for our friends to ask their questions. It was all too tightly “packaged”. Something was wrong. The solution was simple but radical: we needed to change our “mindset” and acknowledge that these times were not just for us to enjoy for ourselves. Deconstruct any barriers stopping the newest among us meeting Jesus. Get out of our comfort zones. Be outgoing

on the streets. Invite new people in. Make conversation possible. Connect. So now we have café style Sunday nights: the Solid Rock Café. The rows have become tables around which people hook up: all are welcome. Bite-sized gospel and words of testimony pepper the evening. Intercessors support the work as teams lead evangelism on the streets. There’s opportunity to pray and to “talk spiritual”. The result: we have more new people around on Sunday nights. They’re finding Jesus. We have baptisms. We have a church that is turning outwards. www.jesus.org.uk

GOD SAID they were coming… Last year saw a big influx of teens into the congregation. In January at White Stone, one of Coventry’s community houses, one of the leaders was seized by an inspiration in a meeting. He asked fourteen-year-old Bethan to leave the room and then come in through the door. She did so. He asked her to do it again. And again. This was repeated many times and the leader explained that he sensed God saying that many, many teenagers would be coming through their doors in 2005. Very soon they were. Thursday evening friendship meals at White Stone saw up to twenty teenagers coming around. And very soon they turned up at the Jesus Centre on Sunday. What a change! A crowd of screaming “Goth” teenagers at the front of Solid Rock Café worship times

brought a whole new feel to the meeting. We had to ban “body slamming” during the more lively songs, as there was a real danger of serious injury to those less experienced in the art of “moshing”… but it’s all a healthy challenge to the staid and respectable. Noise, energy, a certain amount of chaos, but in the midst of all of this: young people finding Jesus. Over the last several weeks it has been great to see a number of them baptised and daring to become real disciples. God has also been inspiring faith for students to come and join us. David Meakin and Jason Porter study at Coventry University, in the middle of the city. Both David and Jason have a strong vision to reach other students for Jesus.

V V

BEFORE we opened the Jesus Centre in 2002, a typical conversation with a new friend when we wanted to invite them along to a Sunday meeting might go something like this: “Hello, I’m from Jesus Fellowship Coventry.” “Ok, great, nice to meet you. I’m a believer too.” “Cool. Would you like to come along tonight?” “Sure, where do you meet?” “ Well, …ah……it was the Sports Centre last week… or was it the Scout Hut…doh …. I’ll get back to you.” A sad scenario, but one that was repeated too often. Of course, we had our community houses and often people would come to them during the week, but when it came to Sundays we suffered the uncertainty of meeting, week

A seismic shift has been occurring in what we do with Sunday evenings.

Coventry

God said: “Here come the Boffs and the Goths”

• Three Christian community houses in Cov: Promise, Bright Flame, White Stone.

Coventry Jesus Centre has made a huge difference to Coventry mJa.

Coventry

FOCUS ON:

Continued...

www.jesus.org.uk

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 23

17/01/2006, 15:56:31


V V Continued...

David came in touch with the Jesus Fellowship in a very remarkable way. He was praying and asking God to tell him what He wanted him to do with his life. As he prayed he saw a face that he didn’t know. As David continued to pray he saw in his mind’s eye a house which he knew was near where he God told David the lived in Coventry. He started walking towards names and faces of those he would the house and as he did so the name “Andy” meet in the Jesus Fellowship came into his mind. When he arrived at the house, he knocked on the door and asked if he could speak to this person. The house – unbeknown to David – was Bright Flame community house. “Andy” was upstairs and came down to welcome this stranger and introduce him to the church. David is now living at Bright Flame. And the face he saw when he was praying turned out to be that of Piers, one of the main leaders of the congregation!

HEAT in the red light district JESUS ARMY brave, Andy, leads a group of evangelists on the streets on Wednesday nights in Hillfields, Coventry’s red light district. They put into practice the words of Jesus: speaking good news, praying, healing people on the streets. The group call themselves “HEAT” which stands for “Hillfields Evangelism Action Team. It’s raw Jesus Army action at its best.

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 24

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Jason has strong vision for students

Jason says: “It’s great to ‘rub off’ godliness onto the students I’m with by being myself – in Jesus – among them. I always wear my red cross and in my conversation I gently and naturally bring God into it, not pressurizing them, just giving them an opportunity to come into contact with the life of God in me.” Meanwhile, Zoe Biswas from the other University in town, Warwick University, has been bringing friends over to our meetings. We involve ourselves in Warwick’s Christian Union and are on the CU’s advisory council of local church leaders. Ten years ago we had a major invasion of young radicals from Warwick Uni. Could we be about to see a similar phenomenon happen? We hope so. We’re on the look out for a new crowd of ‘ready for anything’ student firebrands to come and stir up the kingdom revolution.

Creative Wings

The death of Jesus is expressed dramatically at the Goldsmiths event

CREATIVITY has been one of the hallmarks of our approach to evangelism. Outdoor events in the centre of Coventry have featured music, drama, dance, performance-poetry, art - all with the aim of broadcasting the very good news of new life in Jesus! 24 hour worship times have included psalming, painting and silent dance! The Goldsmiths event is an occasional “big bash” multi media event where we present the gospel in an engaging and relevant fashion. These times are good for new people to see church as it is meant to be: bold, alive, adventurous, humorous, compassionate, Spirit-filled and human. And Goldsmiths is good for all of us as we stretch our creative wings. JL

Prayer by painting

www.jesus.org.uk

17/01/2006, 15:56:40


EEll tr c Po tb

5 2

DOOR TO DOOR

SWISS PILGRIMS

It was good to receive the magazines and I thank God for your ministry. We are a church that evangelises with door to door work and open air crusades as well as having a prison ministry and a hospital ministry. We also have schemes to help disciple new converts and train them in skills like carpentry and computers. Please pray for us. A.Kalema Entebbe UGANDA

We are a Christian community with our administrative office in Switzerland and three branches both in France and Israel. Do you know whether Trevor Saxby’s book, Pilgrims of a Common Life, has ever been translated into German? Looking forward to hearing from you. A. Joss SWITZERLAND

GREAT WORK

Thanks very much for remembering us and regularly sending us the Jesus Army magazine and Streetpaper. I was really impressed by you when I was in the UK and I am sure that when I go to the UK again I will be in contact with you. I think you are doing a great work. M.Ramsis EGYPT

BIG PROBLEM

MISSIONARIES

We are full time missionaries spreading the gospel to the under privileged. We are involved in various projects such as the poor Christian community project. The total population of Pakistan is 157 million, of who 97% are Muslims. They have a strong hold over the economy and have superior positions in the government sector. Christians are deprived of high positions and are forced to do the menial jobs and low paid work. Christians can’t get high ranks in the army, Navy or Air Force or Police. This is part of the constitution of Pakistan. Many Christian children are deprived and illiterate and families struggle to meet expenses. I am an evangelist working among these people and helping them through their conflicts and problems – both spiritual and financial. Name and address supplied PAKISTAN

www.jesus.org.uk

25.indd 1

1 2 5 6 4 2 5 8 4 6 2 4 3 5 6 2 3 1 4 5 4 2

Greetings. I am a Liberian refugee, living in Algeria and a Christian. I have a big problem here because the country is an Islamic one so things are difficult for me in my faith. I don’t have a Bible so I ask for your prayers. Name and address supplied ALGERIA

NIGERIAN WORK

I wish to express my sincere appreciation of the good work that God is performing through the Jesus Army. God is using the Jesus Army to touch lives from many different backgrounds, races and orientations. The love and joy of the community vision is worth spreading to other parts of the globe. I have spent a year in the northern part of Nigeria – in an Islamic state where sharia law is enforced. I participated in a hospital and prison ministry, teaching the way of Christ to Muslims. At present, I am in eastern Nigeria, dominated by Christians, but there is still a need for more revolutionary work to be done as most of the church has been diluted and adulterated. C. Amaefula NIGERIA

HIV LOVE

I am involved in a ministry among children who are HIV/ AIDS affected or destitute. We have a home for them and are able to supply them with free food, accommodation, clothing and education – as well as the love of Christ. I liked your Jesus Army web page and found it useful to us! F.Solomon Tamil Nadu INDIA

RED CROSS

I was in London on July 23 and saw your presentation on Trafalgar Square. I purchased a black tee shirt with a small red cross on the left breast. I wore it to church and our worship team really liked it. Do you have more? I would like to order some for shipment to Honolulu, where I live. J.Hochberg Honolulu HAWAII

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 25

12/01/2006, 10:06:39


radical pioneer ANTONY

was a true pioneer, whose influence is still felt today. Born in Egypt about AD 251, his parents died when he was young, leaving him a small fortune. One day he heard a Christian quote Jesus’ words: If you would be perfect, go sell all you have, give to the poor, and come follow Me (Matt.19:21). They cut him like a knife. He sold his estate and became the disciple of a godly pastor. Yet his heart grew restless. He didn’t belong to the world he saw around him. He felt a strong pull to the desert beyond the Nile. Here hot and cold, flood and drought engaged men in a daily, physical battle for life itself. To Antony, this mirrored the human soul in its battle between flesh and spirit, love for God and love of self. Here too was a pioneering adventure, where only the real would make it. So Antony went to live alone in the desert. Friends sent food every few days; the rest depended on his survival skills. His experiences were later dictated to a follower - and what reading they make! He fought boredom and guilt, sexual temptations and hunger for possessions. He gives graphic accounts of battles with demons, but also of sweet times of intimate communion with Jesus. He also learned the importance of manual work for

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 26

26-27.indd 26-27

focussing the mind; he wove reed baskets and sold them in town. Gradually his reputation spread, and men came to the desert to be near Antony. Reluctantly, in AD 305, he left his solitude and spent six years drawing these disciples into a community of hermits. In time, some 5,000 were with him. They lived alone or in pairs in the week, then came together on Sundays for worship, fellowship and mutual support. He taught them the foundational principles that he had based his own life on: love, patience, celibacy, gentleness and humility. Hate all peace that comes from the flesh, he taught. Gain your brother, and you have gained God. Offend your brother, and you sin against Christ. Finally, Antony withdrew deeper into the desert, where he lived to be 102. He appeared only twice: to strengthen persecuted brethren in Alexandria, and (at 101) to preach against a dangerous heresy. His burial place was kept secret, since he feared men’s idolatry. Today, Antony is acknowledged as the father of the monastic life; the man who broke the mould and let passion for Jesus create a new, living ‘wineskin’ for the Holy Spirit’s life.

FATHER

In the 4th Century, an astonishing movement of revolutionary Christianity started - in the desert.

to thousands PACHOMIUS

IN OCTOBER 312, the Roman Emperor, Constantine, claimed that the Christians’ God had helped him crush his enemies and secure power at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. This marked the end of persecution and the apparent promotion of the Church to a privileged position in society. “Christendom” was born – the Church was wedded to the political power of the day. In reality, Christendom was a dreadful deception. The Church for the most part abandoned its call to be a countercultural embodiment of the Kingdom of Jesus - which He had described as “not of this world”. Empire and Church were mingled. The proclamation of the gospel was largely drowned out in the clamour of the marching feet of imperial armies. “Love your enemies” morphed into “slay the barbarian”. Some, however, resisted this development. Men such as Antony, Pachomius and Macarius and other Desert Fathers forsook wealth and influence and moved to the desert. Here they formed visionary communities which demonstrated the need for God’s people to be an alternative culture to the violent, powerhungry world system.

was born in Egypt about AD 291. As a young man he was press-ganged into the Roman army. One day some Christians showed such care to his unit that he determined to find Jesus himself. He was converted in his twenties. In AD 318, he was walking in the desert when he felt God prompt him to found a monastery at that very spot (an old Roman fort called Tabennisi). So he and a friend did just that. Numbers grew rapidly, and in time there were seven monasteries for men and two for women, several numbering over a thousand souls! There were major

differences between Tabennisi and the collection of hermits that St Antony had formed. This was a carefully structured organisation where the brothers lived together at all times, followed a Rule (set of precepts) and had their set jobs and ministries for the good of all. The monks lived in communal houses according to the work they did (carpentry, basket-weaving, etc.). Each house held around 40, and there might be 30 houses to a monastery - a large undertaking! There was a senior leader (abbot) over the whole monastery, and leaders for each house. At weekends the whole monastery met for worship and the bread and wine; in the week they met together in their houses. They wore a simple white tunic and shared two simple meals a day - unless they chose to fast. Their crafts and industry were such that they

had their own boats on the Nile to ferry goods to market. Pachomius was a gifted leader. What he built was not equalled for 1,000 years. He was a deeply spiritual and loving man. He spoke in tongues and saw frequent visions, but kept his monks focussed: The greatest vision you can have, he taught, is of a pure and humble man. His leadership style was to insist on the same basic rules for everyone, for the sake of selfdiscipline, while encouraging brothers to go beyond it according to their zeal and strength. Spiritual fatherhood was a key issue for him. He taught that a leader must be a man of scripture, prayer, humility, service and miracles. In all his communities it was a rule that leaders should serve: lay tables, answer the door, and tend the sick. He led the way himself. He truly loved the monks as sons, frequently addressing them as ‘my little children’. No wonder he became father to thousands.

underground healer MACARIUS

Egypt in the 4th Century www.jesus.org.uk

was born in Egypt in AD 300, of Christian parents. He had a soft conscience and strong sense of justice. He was called the “aged youth” in his village, because he had great spiritual wisdom even in his twenties. For a while he worked as a camel-drover, but in 330 he withdrew to the desert and sought out St Anthony to

disciple him. He relocated to Scetis, south-west of the Nile Delta, and at first lived as a hermit. But soon other men were joining themselves to him and a community began. It was particularly active in healing ministry. People from far and wide made their way to the desert to be prayed for by Macarius. According to his biographer,

there was an average of five or six healings a day. He always had other monks with him, to learn healing. He also taught them to use spiritual gifts of words and discernment. Sometimes Macarius withdrew – with the help of an underground passage to a remote cave – because he heard the praise of men. Another mark of his community was

fatherly humanity. He urged full renunciation of money and property on all the monks, but at times broke his own rules out of love. Once he travelled to Alexandria in person to buy some sherbet to soothe the throat of a young brother who had fever. The third characteristic was Macarius’ stress on the Holy Spirit. Every Chris-

tian should pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit, because it is the Spirit who transforms us and stamps us with Christ’s image, “as a gold coin is imprinted with the king’s image and is then fit for the royal treasury”. Macarius was deported for a time, but returned to Scetis, where he died in his JL nineties.

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 27

17/01/2006, 15:42:33


radical pioneer ANTONY

was a true pioneer, whose influence is still felt today. Born in Egypt about AD 251, his parents died when he was young, leaving him a small fortune. One day he heard a Christian quote Jesus’ words: If you would be perfect, go sell all you have, give to the poor, and come follow Me (Matt.19:21). They cut him like a knife. He sold his estate and became the disciple of a godly pastor. Yet his heart grew restless. He didn’t belong to the world he saw around him. He felt a strong pull to the desert beyond the Nile. Here hot and cold, flood and drought engaged men in a daily, physical battle for life itself. To Antony, this mirrored the human soul in its battle between flesh and spirit, love for God and love of self. Here too was a pioneering adventure, where only the real would make it. So Antony went to live alone in the desert. Friends sent food every few days; the rest depended on his survival skills. His experiences were later dictated to a follower - and what reading they make! He fought boredom and guilt, sexual temptations and hunger for possessions. He gives graphic accounts of battles with demons, but also of sweet times of intimate communion with Jesus. He also learned the importance of manual work for

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 26

26-27.indd 26-27

focussing the mind; he wove reed baskets and sold them in town. Gradually his reputation spread, and men came to the desert to be near Antony. Reluctantly, in AD 305, he left his solitude and spent six years drawing these disciples into a community of hermits. In time, some 5,000 were with him. They lived alone or in pairs in the week, then came together on Sundays for worship, fellowship and mutual support. He taught them the foundational principles that he had based his own life on: love, patience, celibacy, gentleness and humility. Hate all peace that comes from the flesh, he taught. Gain your brother, and you have gained God. Offend your brother, and you sin against Christ. Finally, Antony withdrew deeper into the desert, where he lived to be 102. He appeared only twice: to strengthen persecuted brethren in Alexandria, and (at 101) to preach against a dangerous heresy. His burial place was kept secret, since he feared men’s idolatry. Today, Antony is acknowledged as the father of the monastic life; the man who broke the mould and let passion for Jesus create a new, living ‘wineskin’ for the Holy Spirit’s life.

FATHER

In the 4th Century, an astonishing movement of revolutionary Christianity started - in the desert.

to thousands PACHOMIUS

IN OCTOBER 312, the Roman Emperor, Constantine, claimed that the Christians’ God had helped him crush his enemies and secure power at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. This marked the end of persecution and the apparent promotion of the Church to a privileged position in society. “Christendom” was born – the Church was wedded to the political power of the day. In reality, Christendom was a dreadful deception. The Church for the most part abandoned its call to be a countercultural embodiment of the Kingdom of Jesus - which He had described as “not of this world”. Empire and Church were mingled. The proclamation of the gospel was largely drowned out in the clamour of the marching feet of imperial armies. “Love your enemies” morphed into “slay the barbarian”. Some, however, resisted this development. Men such as Antony, Pachomius and Macarius and other Desert Fathers forsook wealth and influence and moved to the desert. Here they formed visionary communities which demonstrated the need for God’s people to be an alternative culture to the violent, powerhungry world system.

was born in Egypt about AD 291. As a young man he was press-ganged into the Roman army. One day some Christians showed such care to his unit that he determined to find Jesus himself. He was converted in his twenties. In AD 318, he was walking in the desert when he felt God prompt him to found a monastery at that very spot (an old Roman fort called Tabennisi). So he and a friend did just that. Numbers grew rapidly, and in time there were seven monasteries for men and two for women, several numbering over a thousand souls! There were major

differences between Tabennisi and the collection of hermits that St Antony had formed. This was a carefully structured organisation where the brothers lived together at all times, followed a Rule (set of precepts) and had their set jobs and ministries for the good of all. The monks lived in communal houses according to the work they did (carpentry, basket-weaving, etc.). Each house held around 40, and there might be 30 houses to a monastery - a large undertaking! There was a senior leader (abbot) over the whole monastery, and leaders for each house. At weekends the whole monastery met for worship and the bread and wine; in the week they met together in their houses. They wore a simple white tunic and shared two simple meals a day - unless they chose to fast. Their crafts and industry were such that they

had their own boats on the Nile to ferry goods to market. Pachomius was a gifted leader. What he built was not equalled for 1,000 years. He was a deeply spiritual and loving man. He spoke in tongues and saw frequent visions, but kept his monks focussed: The greatest vision you can have, he taught, is of a pure and humble man. His leadership style was to insist on the same basic rules for everyone, for the sake of selfdiscipline, while encouraging brothers to go beyond it according to their zeal and strength. Spiritual fatherhood was a key issue for him. He taught that a leader must be a man of scripture, prayer, humility, service and miracles. In all his communities it was a rule that leaders should serve: lay tables, answer the door, and tend the sick. He led the way himself. He truly loved the monks as sons, frequently addressing them as ‘my little children’. No wonder he became father to thousands.

underground healer MACARIUS

Egypt in the 4th Century www.jesus.org.uk

was born in Egypt in AD 300, of Christian parents. He had a soft conscience and strong sense of justice. He was called the “aged youth” in his village, because he had great spiritual wisdom even in his twenties. For a while he worked as a camel-drover, but in 330 he withdrew to the desert and sought out St Anthony to

disciple him. He relocated to Scetis, south-west of the Nile Delta, and at first lived as a hermit. But soon other men were joining themselves to him and a community began. It was particularly active in healing ministry. People from far and wide made their way to the desert to be prayed for by Macarius. According to his biographer,

there was an average of five or six healings a day. He always had other monks with him, to learn healing. He also taught them to use spiritual gifts of words and discernment. Sometimes Macarius withdrew – with the help of an underground passage to a remote cave – because he heard the praise of men. Another mark of his community was

fatherly humanity. He urged full renunciation of money and property on all the monks, but at times broke his own rules out of love. Once he travelled to Alexandria in person to buy some sherbet to soothe the throat of a young brother who had fever. The third characteristic was Macarius’ stress on the Holy Spirit. Every Chris-

tian should pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit, because it is the Spirit who transforms us and stamps us with Christ’s image, “as a gold coin is imprinted with the king’s image and is then fit for the royal treasury”. Macarius was deported for a time, but returned to Scetis, where he died in his JL nineties.

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 27

17/01/2006, 15:42:33


‘MONK’

MODERN

Part of a messedup, “fatherless generation”, God’s healing has enabled Jake Organ to father others through the genius of celibacy and Christian community.

N

ELSON-LIKE on his fifty-foot rocky pillar in the Syrian desert, Simeon Stylites was the celebrity saint of the fifth century. The pillar was his home for thirty-six years without roof or shelter: crowds flocked to hear him speak, emperors climbed the ladder to seek his advice, and – most mind-boggling of all – other seekers joined him, on their own stony pillars. In his childhood-fantasy world, Jake dreamed of becoming a famous mystic or orator like Simeon. Or a famous politician. Then again, perhaps a writer – or a footballer? Whatever – he was going to make his mark on the world. But in fact, Jake was an insecure child. After having lived with his bohemian parents in Spain in his very early years, he arrived at respectable Hertfordshire and the respectable school of a respectable village. The alternative young “hippy” was considered to be “out of control”. This, combined with his asthma and eczema, alienated Jake. Behind the walls of his imaginary world, he “showed them all”, but reality was bleak. His teens brought bravado: Jake “reinvented himself” and began to be seen as the leader he ached to be. Politics became the big thing. Seeing a poor man in Portugal wash himself in a muddy puddle and other

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 28

28-29.indd 28-29

www.jesus.org.uk

experiences had made a deep impression on him. His anger at the world, combined with his desire to make his mark on it, forged in him dreams of becoming a Marxist hero. And he began to drink. At thirteen. By sixteen, the “reinvention” was well underway. “My first year at tertiary college in Harlow was a good year in all the wrong ways”, Jake now says. “Parties and raves, acid, dope and drink. And women became a feature. I was the leader of the pack, but I began to have these strange feelings about it all: I began to despise my friends as the very kind of people who had rejected me in my childhood.” More than this, Jake had begun to despise himself “for being shallow and for using people, especially girls”. As Jake’s gang became increasingly submerged in drink, drugs and violence, his life became a tangle of lies. In the chaos, Jake started to wonder who he really was. Still, a talent for exams got him good enough A levels to go to Cambridge. “I used to enjoy giving everything up three weeks before an exam and totally focusing myself”, Jake recalls. (Something of Simeon Stylites lingered under the drink and drugs.) The successful image preserved, Jake moved on. But the Harlow street-fighter didn’t really fit in with the independent-school types who strolled around the college backs. Jake left Cambridge, three years later, with depres-

sion, a barely-contained drink-drug habit, and a degree in History. Jake and his Harlow crew had put on a huge party in the summer of 1991, “the legendary rave summer”. Jake was in his element, “a god among gods”; but all night he kept thinking of a song he’d sung at school. “Who is the Lord of the Dance?” he kept asking his mates. They thought he was losing his mind. And he was – but he was also beginning to perceive Someone calling, through the cloud of confusion. Aged 21, Jake set off for India, the land of mystics and seekers. Not that he saw himself as a “seeker”. Ironically, the first thing he found in India was the Western drugs scene. Nevertheless, a brush with death in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi – Jake, high on drugs, fell off a tall building – and an encounter with an Indian Christian who, as he remembers, “looked into my eyes and just seemed to know me” began to reach through to him. He had no money and was “living on blag”. In Manali, in the Himalayas, – “the most beautiful place in earth” – Jake found himself hanging out with some of the most dubious characters on earth (or at least, in Manali). One day, he felt an asthma attack coming on and realised that if he passed out his dodgy companions could hardly be relied upon to look after him. Beginning to panic, he glanced out of the window at the majestic mountains and a thought hit him – there was no way that such beauty could have happened by chance. There had to be a God. At the precise moment of this revelation, Jake’s lungs cleared. From this time on, Jake knew that God was real and started to look for other signs of His reality. Back in the UK, however, life began to unravel fast as the years of pandemonium took their toll. He ended up in psychiatric hospital, having reached the brink of suicide. “I’m not allowed to tell you this”, whispered the ward sister, “but it was Jesus who brought you here!” Jake was getting the message loud and clear. Once discharged, Jake went along to a local Anglican church. “I can tell he’s just proud and stuffy”, he thought about the

vicar. A moment later, the vicar’s mouth fell open, he gasped and staggered backwards in his pulpit. The sermon quickly ended, but the next week, the same vicar explained how he’d met God as he’d been preaching – and that God had told him that he was proud and stuffy. “I know that the reality of God has begun to change me”, announced the vicar, who then invited people forward to receive prayer. Jake pressed forward and burst into tears as all the pain of his childhood came back to him. “Let Me touch this”, God seemed to say, and Jake experienced an incredible sensation of healing. It was his conversion moment. After the initial euphoria, Jake realised with horror that he had to be a Christian now: “What do you actually do as a Christian?” But when a rehab worker took Jake to Living Faith, the Jesus Army’s community house in Oxford, Jake immediately found the answer to his question and the destination of the journey he’d been on. It was November 1994 and Jake was 23.

Jake dreamed of becoming a famous mystic or orator

www.jesus.org.uk

Three months later, Jake was baptised and moved into Living Faith; two and a half years later, he made a vow of celibacy. “One of the ways that celibacy really inspired me is the way it proclaims Jesus”, says Jake. “I can say: you may think you know about Jesus, but he’s captivated me. I’m married to Him: He’s truly the Son of God.” And Christian community? “It’s spiritual family. And it shows that the heart of God towards people is central to our faith: unless you discover how to lay down your life for others you haven’t understood Christianity”. Jake describes his explorations of celibacy and community as a journey from a (Simeonlike) “solitary mystic” ideal to a new vision: a big-hearted lover of people; a “father” who JL lays his life down in love. Jesus Life One/2006 Page 29

06/01/2006, 11:31:07


‘MONK’

MODERN

Part of a messedup, “fatherless generation”, God’s healing has enabled Jake Organ to father others through the genius of celibacy and Christian community.

N

ELSON-LIKE on his fifty-foot rocky pillar in the Syrian desert, Simeon Stylites was the celebrity saint of the fifth century. The pillar was his home for thirty-six years without roof or shelter: crowds flocked to hear him speak, emperors climbed the ladder to seek his advice, and – most mind-boggling of all – other seekers joined him, on their own stony pillars. In his childhood-fantasy world, Jake dreamed of becoming a famous mystic or orator like Simeon. Or a famous politician. Then again, perhaps a writer – or a footballer? Whatever – he was going to make his mark on the world. But in fact, Jake was an insecure child. After having lived with his bohemian parents in Spain in his very early years, he arrived at respectable Hertfordshire and the respectable school of a respectable village. The alternative young “hippy” was considered to be “out of control”. This, combined with his asthma and eczema, alienated Jake. Behind the walls of his imaginary world, he “showed them all”, but reality was bleak. His teens brought bravado: Jake “reinvented himself” and began to be seen as the leader he ached to be. Politics became the big thing. Seeing a poor man in Portugal wash himself in a muddy puddle and other

Jesus Life One/2006 Page 28

28-29.indd 28-29

www.jesus.org.uk

experiences had made a deep impression on him. His anger at the world, combined with his desire to make his mark on it, forged in him dreams of becoming a Marxist hero. And he began to drink. At thirteen. By sixteen, the “reinvention” was well underway. “My first year at tertiary college in Harlow was a good year in all the wrong ways”, Jake now says. “Parties and raves, acid, dope and drink. And women became a feature. I was the leader of the pack, but I began to have these strange feelings about it all: I began to despise my friends as the very kind of people who had rejected me in my childhood.” More than this, Jake had begun to despise himself “for being shallow and for using people, especially girls”. As Jake’s gang became increasingly submerged in drink, drugs and violence, his life became a tangle of lies. In the chaos, Jake started to wonder who he really was. Still, a talent for exams got him good enough A levels to go to Cambridge. “I used to enjoy giving everything up three weeks before an exam and totally focusing myself”, Jake recalls. (Something of Simeon Stylites lingered under the drink and drugs.) The successful image preserved, Jake moved on. But the Harlow street-fighter didn’t really fit in with the independent-school types who strolled around the college backs. Jake left Cambridge, three years later, with depres-

sion, a barely-contained drink-drug habit, and a degree in History. Jake and his Harlow crew had put on a huge party in the summer of 1991, “the legendary rave summer”. Jake was in his element, “a god among gods”; but all night he kept thinking of a song he’d sung at school. “Who is the Lord of the Dance?” he kept asking his mates. They thought he was losing his mind. And he was – but he was also beginning to perceive Someone calling, through the cloud of confusion. Aged 21, Jake set off for India, the land of mystics and seekers. Not that he saw himself as a “seeker”. Ironically, the first thing he found in India was the Western drugs scene. Nevertheless, a brush with death in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi – Jake, high on drugs, fell off a tall building – and an encounter with an Indian Christian who, as he remembers, “looked into my eyes and just seemed to know me” began to reach through to him. He had no money and was “living on blag”. In Manali, in the Himalayas, – “the most beautiful place in earth” – Jake found himself hanging out with some of the most dubious characters on earth (or at least, in Manali). One day, he felt an asthma attack coming on and realised that if he passed out his dodgy companions could hardly be relied upon to look after him. Beginning to panic, he glanced out of the window at the majestic mountains and a thought hit him – there was no way that such beauty could have happened by chance. There had to be a God. At the precise moment of this revelation, Jake’s lungs cleared. From this time on, Jake knew that God was real and started to look for other signs of His reality. Back in the UK, however, life began to unravel fast as the years of pandemonium took their toll. He ended up in psychiatric hospital, having reached the brink of suicide. “I’m not allowed to tell you this”, whispered the ward sister, “but it was Jesus who brought you here!” Jake was getting the message loud and clear. Once discharged, Jake went along to a local Anglican church. “I can tell he’s just proud and stuffy”, he thought about the

vicar. A moment later, the vicar’s mouth fell open, he gasped and staggered backwards in his pulpit. The sermon quickly ended, but the next week, the same vicar explained how he’d met God as he’d been preaching – and that God had told him that he was proud and stuffy. “I know that the reality of God has begun to change me”, announced the vicar, who then invited people forward to receive prayer. Jake pressed forward and burst into tears as all the pain of his childhood came back to him. “Let Me touch this”, God seemed to say, and Jake experienced an incredible sensation of healing. It was his conversion moment. After the initial euphoria, Jake realised with horror that he had to be a Christian now: “What do you actually do as a Christian?” But when a rehab worker took Jake to Living Faith, the Jesus Army’s community house in Oxford, Jake immediately found the answer to his question and the destination of the journey he’d been on. It was November 1994 and Jake was 23.

Jake dreamed of becoming a famous mystic or orator

www.jesus.org.uk

Three months later, Jake was baptised and moved into Living Faith; two and a half years later, he made a vow of celibacy. “One of the ways that celibacy really inspired me is the way it proclaims Jesus”, says Jake. “I can say: you may think you know about Jesus, but he’s captivated me. I’m married to Him: He’s truly the Son of God.” And Christian community? “It’s spiritual family. And it shows that the heart of God towards people is central to our faith: unless you discover how to lay down your life for others you haven’t understood Christianity”. Jake describes his explorations of celibacy and community as a journey from a (Simeonlike) “solitary mystic” ideal to a new vision: a big-hearted lover of people; a “father” who JL lays his life down in love. Jesus Life One/2006 Page 29

06/01/2006, 11:31:07


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12/01/2006, 10:28:48


Jesus Life hears from grassroots mJa members about what makes them bubble with excitement... and what makes them boil with rage.

“Those who breach an ASBO need to receive a substantial sentence that impacts on their freedom.” [Northampton Chronicle and Echo] WE HAVE a new scourge in society with their hoodies and baseball caps, rebels without a cause – ASBOs the media calls them: Anti Social Behaviour Orders. Many fit the basic criteria: wear the wrong clothes and look offensive. Hoodies are banned. All those “worthless human beings”, “clearly up to no good”, these “yobs”, these “problem youths”. “They’re bad, they’re sick, they’re dirt! Give them what they deserve!” What about taking action to give them something better rather than spending months or even years just trying to name and shame? Attention is now also steering towards what are known as BABY ASBOs for children under the age of ten. Unloved, from broken families, gangs on large council estates – does anyone care? The eyes and ears of the respectable community see

31.indd 30

them as yobs and hate them; they want their names on a list and to see these young men arrested – just wearing the wrong clothes? Hanging around? No wonder the lads feel they’ve been rejected, placed low and therefore they fight for space, sorting out their own status, doing what they want. “It’s not just about curtailing these young people, it’s about letting the community know that we are taking their concerns seriously and that action will be taken.” [Northampton Chronicle and Echo] So what about us loving them instead of just “curtailing” them? What about “taking action” to give them something better? Jesus loves and forgives. He’s a friend of the ASBOs. He wants to give them all a new style. And it’s a better style than the stuck up, self-righteous hypocrisy of many lawyers, Home Secretaries, most MPs, some senior police officers, and countless local government authorities. - Sam Nichols

WELL, I’ve been shouted at, screamed at, told that I was into idol worship and all because I wear a red cross. Positive response, eh? There is no doubt that the red cross provokes reactions and I’m glad it does. What kind of Christian would I be if I was ashamed to promote the cause of Jesus and rave about what He has done in my life! Come on! The red cross flies in the face of mainstream Christianity that hides behind its “niceness”. I don’t want to be a nice Christian; I want to be a disciple. You may think that I have a bit of an attitude about this issue – well I do! By wearing my red cross I am not making some kind of fatuous fashion statement, I am saying that I identify with Jesus and

the resurrection power that He has given to all who believe in Him. How could you find that offensive? And yet people do, lots of them do. The red cross intrigues people, it’s a talking point and it certainly attracts attention. One time when I was evangelising in Brighton, a woman came up to me and told me that she hated my cross. I was glad she did, it stirred her into reacting. The cross represents who I am and who I was truly made to be. I want to be flamboyant and bold in my display of it, because it speaks without me having to say a word. One last time: I love wearing a red cross. - Claire Mallon

JL

12/01/2006, 10:26:44


At the Jesus Fellowship PraiseDay in Sheffield, people were invited to renew their baptismal pledge to God in a dramatic way. A large trough of

32.indd 32

water was placed at the front of the auditorium. Those who wanted to offer their actions to God again, were called to dip their hands in the

water; those who wanted to offer their thinking to Him, their heads. Many took the opportunity to rededicate themselves to God in this way.

26/01/2006, 12:31:49


Jesus Life 71