JESUS Issue 87 FREE
two / 2011 www.jesus.org.uk
The magazine of the modern Jesus army & Multiply Christian Network
JOY ON AFRICAN STREETS INSIDE: WINNING ‘YOOF’ FOR JESUS 01.indd 1
UK JESUS CENTRES
RANT AND RAVE 16/05/2011 10:45:56
S T TEN
N CO Old vows, new promises 4-7
A look at old and new monastic promises
Spiritual Search 12-15
Wilf Copping tells Jesus Life the story of his search
Multiply Zambia 16-19
Ian Callard reports on a recent Multiply Cenference in Zambia
22-26 An interview with Mark Powley on the Breathe network
30-31 A 2-year-old teaches Laurence Cooper (36) a lesson or two
Finding Father 32-34
Jane Darling tells her moving story of finding God’s love 2 Jesus Life
and... History Makers 8-10 A look at the Salvation Army’s ‘Hallelujah Lasses’
Winning Yoof 11 A young man blogs on winning young people for Jesus Jesus Centres 20-21 Progress
towards a forth Jesus Centre in Sheffield
Real and Wild 27
Forthcoming Jesus Fellowship youth event
Rant & Rave 28-29
Boiling with rage... buzzing with passion
Keep in touch 35
Phone numbers for Multiply churches throughout the UK 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. © 2011 Jesus Fellowship Church, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB, UK. Editor: James Stacey. Reproduction in any form requires written permission. The Jesus Fellowship does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in articles and interviews printed in this magazine. Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, a member of the Hodder headline Plc Group. All rights reserved. Photographs in this magazine are copyright Jesus Fellowship Church or royalty-free stock photos from www.sxc.hu. The Jesus Fellowship is part of Multiply Christian Network. Both the Jesus Fellowship and Multiply Christian Network are members of the Evangelical Alliance UK. Jesus Fellowship Life Trust Registered Charity number 1107952.
JESUS ON THE STREETS A word from Mick Haines, apostolic team leader of the Jesus Fellowship.
N THE COVER you will see a “Jesus march” in Kitwe, Zambia, during a recent Multiply International Conference there (see pages 16-19). On 25 June, the Jesus Fellowship/Jesus Army will be marching in London from Hyde Park Corner, past the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus, and then on to Trafalgar Square. It’s part of our colorful and enjoyable “Jesus Day” celebrations. Come and join in! As UK society becomes more secular and the church increasingly marginalised, we must be unafraid and unashamed to stand for Jesus. We must show his freeing life, his transforming power and his relevance to this spiritually starved nation. How good it was to read of the 27 Christians baptised in open-air baptisms in York Minster on Easter Saturday. This is a time for reaping the harvest. More and more people are realising that the idols of consumerism, sex, money, drugs, alcohol, just don’t deeply satisfy the human heart. We are made for more than this. Financial cuts and fears of unemployment are causing people to cry out to the one who can really help them. With half our children experiencing the breakup of mum and dad during their childhood, through either divorce or cohabiting couples splitting up, there is growing insecurity. Anxiety and loneliness grips many lives; people settle for social networking and entertainment rather than real, raw, heart relationships. Let’s be warm, www.jesus.org.uk
friendly and large-hearted as we reach out to people: friends, neighbours, work mates, family members, the guy in the park... This year, the Jesus Fellowship has been experiencing fresh faith and new anointing in our national celebrations as well as in our regional and local gatherings. This new anointing will move increasingly into our evangelism as we are led by the Holy Spirit and gain new boldness, taking more risks. It was sad to hear of the recent death of David Wilkerson in a car crash in Texas, USA. He wrote the famous book, The Cross and the Switchblade. As well as demonstrating the powerful transformation that comes through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, David’s fearless outreach to the gangs of New York has influenced our Jesus Army outreach over the years. We give thanks for a gospel pioneer. Determine to be a pioneer of the gospel wherever you are located. JL Jesus Life 3
OLD VOWS, NEW PROMISES
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Jesus Life editor James Stacey takes a look at the challenge of “new monasticism”.
BOOK was published last year, featuring the Jesus Fellowship. It’s called Totally Devoted – the challenge of new monasticism, by Simon Cross, and it explores ways in which Christians in the UK today are exploring how to follow God more closely – in ways that are similar to some of the ancient ways of monks and friars. Centuries ago, the Church defined the three main enemies they were up against in a godless world: the desire for wealth and possessions, the lust for sex, and the desire to dominate. Putting it simply: money, sex and power. The ancient Church responded to these assaults on its devotion to God with three, now ancient, vows. They were the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Poverty – the abandonment of personal wealth; chastity – self-denial and sexual purity; obedience – the letting go of personal power. Pioneers, such as Anthony of Egypt and Benedict of Nursia and their followers lived together in communities called monasteries. Later, friars such as Francis of Assisi and his followers embraced the same vows, but lived a life of mission on the open road. It was the friars who specifically defined their vows as poverty, chastity and obedience. Today, we can see the traces of these devoted Christian movements around the UK, not just from ruins on historic hills (even if that old wife-chopper, Henry VIII, did do his best to wipe out all the monasteries in the 1500s). Nor is it just the names of some old streets and roads either. There are some monastic communities still alive and well to this day. Yet some Christians today, while not monks and nuns, are exploring what it means to make promises of purity and commitment to God and to each other in today’s society. Some have
called this a “new monasticism” and this is what Simon Cross’s book surveys. Some members of the Jesus Fellowship make promises that are a little bit similar to the ancient vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Some live together in residential Christian community. Some make vows of lifelong celibacy, remaining single in order to serve God more freely. Some make a covenant pledge to live true to God together. A key monastic founding father, Benedict of Nursia, wrote a Rule (a way of living) for monks in the 6th century. It is packed full of deeply spiritual – and thoroughly down-toearth – wisdom for living and sharing together in Christian community. Sister Catherine, a Benedictine nun from Holy Trinity Monastery in East Hendred, Oxfordshire, explained to me the vows Benedictines make. “Our vows are stability, conversion, and obedience,” she says. “Stability binds us to our community, for better or worse. Conversion means promising to live monastic life as it should be lived, which includes the radical renunciation of any form of private ownership, whether of people or things; it’s the daily turning to Christ that I personally find so helpful and so challenging: it’s a daily commitment to being changed. Obedience means following Christ, who was obedient unto death.”
There are some monastic communities still alive and well to this day Jesus Life 5
These â€œmodern monksâ€? live in community â€“ but their communities are more likely to be on a council estate
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The vow of “stability” is a challenge to today’s “consumer Christianity”: the commitment to remain committed to a single call for life – unless God spoke to the community (the community, note, not the individual) about a calling to something else. We need to hear the call to this kind of rugged commitment: a promise to stay and build, through thick and thin, with the same people in the same place; not to “feel called to move on” when things get tough or an attractive job offer comes up. Part of the Jesus Fellowship covenant, which some members make, includes a promise like this. Such promises may not suit everybody and not all the members of the Jesus Fellowship make them. Yet they provide signposts for what it means to be a devoted Christian today. These “modern monks” live in community – but their communities are more likely to be on a council estate than a remote Welsh hill. These “modern friars” are on the streets telling others about Jesus – but they are wearing Jesus Army jackets, not habits. It’s not just the Jesus Fellowship, either, not at all. Many Christians today are determined to be a real alternative culture, showing God’s new society in such ways as this. Join in – there’s a place for you. JL
Totally Devoted by Simon Cross is published by Authentic Publishing authenticmedia.co.uk For more on Christian Community visit: newcreation.org.uk To read the blog of Sister Catherine’s community visit: ibenedictines.org This article is an expanded version of a post that first featured in the Jesus Army blog: jesus.org.uk/blog For an older article by James Stacey on new monasticism visit: jesus.org.uk/short/newmonks www.jesus.org.uk
James is a leader in the Jesus Fellowship. He lives in Coventry with those he loves - ‘wife, three kids and friends forever’ - in a Christian community. READ HIS BLOG: man-with-the-mop.blogspot.com Jesus Life 7
WOMEN WITH A WARCRY!
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H I S T O R YS MAKER
Think Victorian women were all stiffness and starch? Think again. Trevor Saxby writes about the Hallelujah lasses, “shock troops of the early Salvation Army”.
HE GREAT question in most churches which are at all earnest in their work is how to reach the masses.” This isn’t some present-day church growth article; it comes from an English newspaper, The Northern Daily Express, and was written in March 1879, as part of a report on early Salvation Army meetings in Gateshead in the Northeast of England. The audience at these meetings was comprised of “the section of the community that lies outside the usual compass of religious life,” writes the Victorian journalist. More unusual still, “the work which experienced ministers and the ordinary agencies of churches had failed in, has been attempted by a few young women.” These young women were the “Hallelujah lasses”, the shocktroops of the early Salvation Army. “Some six or eight weeks ago, about half-adozen young women made a raid under the banner of a Gospel mission among the lowest classes in the town,” reported the journalist, “and they have succeeded in the most remarkable manner.” These women, mostly in their twenties, hired music halls for their meetings. Despite sneers from all sides, within a short time these places were filled to overflowing for three hours, and
hundreds were unable to gain admission. “They have got such a hold upon the masses as to tame some of the worst of the characters,” continues the reporter. “A thorough transformation has been effected in the lives of some of the most thoughtless, depraved and criminal.” What can have enabled these Salvation Army girls to achieve such breakthroughs? In part, it comes down to the “first love” and fire of a new movement in the flower of its vigour. Yet we must see in action here the twin elements of “blood and fire” that were to become the Army’s motto. A total conviction of the power of Jesus’ redeeming blood to save even “the worst”, together with the freshness of the Holy Spirit’s filling (for which Salvationists spent whole nights in prayer) kept them pressing into territory where other feared to go. And they expected results. They also used the power of personal testimony. The journalist tells of the roughest and most criminal of people glorifying God for their soul’s salvation. And the Army used the passion of youth: “One youth, who
Despite sneers from all sides, within a short time these places were filled to overflowing Jesus Life 9
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is evidently not more than 14, is quite a phenomenon, and certainly has a marvellous utterance for one so young and inexperienced. On Saturday night, we were told, he spoke for 20 minutes, and carried the audience so fully away with him, that in the midst of his address three or four persons went up to the penitent form” (“penitent forms” were benches, placed at the front of the hall, where people could come and kneel, pray, repent and receive personal prayer). The journalist concludes, perceptively, “What is needed in the work now is consolidation – some agency to carry the converts beyond the few simple truths they have got hold of, and to give them an interest in the work when the excitement of the change and the effort has passed away.” One thing is certain: the Hallelujah lasses were a force to be reckoned with. To read the 19th century journalist’s full accounts of the Hallelujah lasses’ meetings online, visit: www.vision.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ JL revival/archive.html
The Hallelujah lasses were a force to be reckoned with Trevor is a senior leader in the Jesus Fellowship. He says, “I love learning from God’s movers and shakers in history, because I want to be a history-maker now!” READ TREVOR’S BLOG radical-church-history.blogspot.com OR VISIT: jesus.org.uk/short/passionate-past Photo: brizzle born and bred, flickr.com
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WINNING YOOF From the blog of young Jesus Fellowship leader, Aidan Ashby.
WAS asked by an older friend, a leader in our church, for four things that today’s 15-30 yearolds need to find if church is to work for them. I’ve been leading a teenagers’ cell group, with others, since I was in my mid-teens, and I thought it might be worth sharing my thoughts: First – love. Always the first word and the bottom line. Second – cell groups. It’s so important to have something that people feel part of – more than friendship alone, but still relaxed. Third – challenge. Young people (young men, in particular) need it. Make them dizzy with all the trust you show them. I can’t stress this one enough. Lastly, but importantly – teenagers don’t need older folk to get all “yoofy” (baseball caps and skateboards) they need the security, stability and integrity of older friends. Love is always relevant. That sums up what won my heart. JL
Make them dizzy with all the trust you show them Aidan Ashby is a young leader in the Jesus Fellowship. He lives in Christian community in a house with the musical name ‘Anthem’, in Northamptonshire. READ HIS BLOG: morethanbrothers.blogspot.com www.jesus.org.uk
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WIZARD WITH WORDS, PASTOR WITH PEOPLE 12 Jesus Life
Wilf Copping, Jesus Fellowship pastor, poet, and one-time wannabe prog rocker, talks to Jesus Life.
ESPITE THE fact that he is regarded as something of a spiritual guru, creative wizard and all round good geezer by many, there’s nothing pretentious about Wilf. He refuses to take himself too seriously, whether he’s talking about medieval mysticism or what makes a good poem. The son of a working-class family, Wilf was brought up in Chesterfield in a happy home. He was an only child, but had good friends and was happy. His conversion to Christianity wasn’t in a “crisis”, nor did it happen at once. “Aged 18, I saw a guy in a music magazine wearing all this white kit (Raja Ram of Quintessence, if you’re interested!)” remembers Wilf. “I thought, ‘I want to look like you.’ All the songs his band played were about God, though they certainly weren’t a Christian band.” Wilf’s spiritual search had begun. To some extent, he reflects, it was part of the style of the 70s. “Looking for God was the sort of thing you did in those days, for a bit anyway, until you gave up and became a business man,” he smiles wryly. Wilf met some Christians who took him to evangelistic meetings. There, he asked questions and became a Christian. The presence of Jesus in his life soon started to change things. “Soon after,” he says, “I finished with a girl I had been going out with for two and a half years. She wasn’t a Christian and I just instinctively knew it wasn’t going to work.” It was around this time that Wilf knew he had to surrender to God the desire he felt to get married. Now he felt that he was free to make a choice: to be married or to stay single. It was several years later, in 1980, when he was 26, that Wilf was praying and felt the call to accept the gift of celibacy, a choice to embrace a way of life that he describes as “brilliant”. Shortly after his conversion, when Wilf had just finished his studies at teacher training college,
he visited Bugbrooke Baptist Chapel (where the Jesus Fellowship began) – and was terrified! He vowed he would never come again. “It was the all-out commitment and nowhere to hide,” Wilf confesses. “Everything was going to have to be Jesus-centred. It freaked me out.” Yet the initial shock receded, leaving Wilf aware that he was witnessing something amazing. “It was like watching a dream come true. It seemed to me that this was how life was supposed to be – heaven on earth, people loving one another, sticking together, not being diverted by jobs or careers. Something I could give myself to 100 per cent.” Initially, it was too scary to conceive of living the life himself, but in the end God whittled down his fears and arguments and, 18 months later, after several visits, Wilf moved in to a community house in Northampton called “New Life”. “Each visit I had made to the church was like an explosion – I was left with loads to work through and in the end I wanted to live the dream. The early days of community were great and the honeymoon period didn’t wear off for a long time.” What has sustained Wilf on his journey in community? “Friends are everything to me,” he replies. As well as rubbing shoulders with living saints, Wilf has found inspiration from spiritual heroes of the past. “Something resonates within me when it comes to the old monks n’ that,” he says, adding
Each visit I had made to the church was like an explosion Jesus Life 13
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wryly, “Something definitely does not resonate as well – I don’t like the old rigid, structured set up they had. But reading their stuff is like reading the exploits of some explorer; you think ‘I want to go where they went’, because the place they are describing sounds almost mythical.” Whose way of living was Wilf particularly attracted to? “Francis of Assisi, St John of the Cross, John of Ruysbroeck...” His interest in Ruysbroeck, a little known 14th Century Flemish mystic, was initially inspired by the title of one of his books: The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage. “The title sounded like a pretentious progressive rock album,” grins Wilf, “just like the ones I used to listen to! John of Ruysbroeck is just completely far out really – unintelligible to the modern ear! But, reading him, I felt, ‘This bloke has gone somewhere, he’s got somewhere, he’s found something in God and I want it.’ You cannot help but be attracted. “What John seemed to be talking about was very simple, a relationship with God that went beyond all that we do that identifies us as Christians – the prayer, the bible reading, the sacraments. The activity we do is all part of it, but the real thing is something invisible; you can’t pin it down to any of those things. “I have found a very real, simple contentment in following Jesus. I get distracted, can’t pray for very long without thinking of something else – I have a messy mind – but beyond all that is a simple walk with Jesus.” Wilf describes his ministry in the church as an “axle” ministry, meaning he’s in the middle of things, enabling the whole to work properly, and engaging people in what they should be doing. Others call him an intercessor – but he doesn’t think he fits the bill. (He does, however, admit to praying a lot.) Being a pastor to many people means he has
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This bloke has gone somewhere, he’s got somewhere, he’s found something in God and I want it to do a lot of listening and, says Wilf, “you have to have a secure relationship with God and the church or you just trot out pat answers to people’s issues. You have to have a robust soul as well, to avoid responding negatively when people take out their hurts on you. You have to care for people genuinely as people – not as a well-meaning social worker.” And this pastor is also a poet: childhood is a theme of his poetry at the moment. “Recovering the good things of childhood as an adult; wonder; not taking things too seriously; having the ability to trust and to laugh at yourself. These attributes of childhood should be carried with us into adulthood, but often are not. As an adult you can fit into a mould, and get blinkered to new things.” The Jesus Fellowship’s current focus on “fresh faith and new anointing” excites Wilf because it’s about God expanding our vision and horizons. “Traditionally, groups get blinkered,” says Wilf, “I want us to have God’s new ideas and not see the vision draining away. God has to break through our barriers, so our dependence is on Him and not on our ‘way of doing things’. “Oh, and we’ve all got to read John of RuysJL broeck!” he adds – with a twinkle in his eye. www.jesus.org.uk
POEM BY WILF
‘The child is father to the man.’ No wonder then That hardly anyone grows up properly: Being wrenched from childhood Before it has matured Into that peculiar wisdom That only grown up children have. Somewhere between childhood And what comes next, we are made To jump over a chasm so wide We can carry little with us, So we are unprepared for the next stage Of our journey. It is called – adulthood – so they say. We are called – adults – so they say. Trouble is we’re not And for most of us Life is a limp and stumble From one false security to another. If you can, if you dare, Go back, Retrieve what you left behind You might just become a father of men And not just another insecure teacher Of stumblers and pretenders. Jesus Life 15
DANCING RAINBOWS AND COLOURFUL CHOIRS
An impromptu march round the market place
WHAT IS MULTIPLY? Multiply Christian Network is a worldwide apostolic stream of churches, initiated by Jesus Fellowship Church.
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CONTACT MULTIPLY: www.multiply.org.uk Contact Multiply Director, Huw Lewis, Tel: +44 1327 344533 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Write to: Jesus Fellowship/Multiply, Nether Heyford, Northampton, NN7 3LB, UK www.multiply.org.uk
Jesus Fellowship apostolic team member, Ian Callard, and Multiply Coordinator, Iain Gorrie were special guests at the first Multiply Zambia conference in South Africa. Ian describes their experience.
S WE STEPPED off the plane, Stephen Mwakabinga, our Zambian Multiply apostolic man, there to meet us, was full of excitement. Just before we left the UK, Stephen had sent us a wish list of 11 presentation topics. When we discussed exactly how we’d squeeze them into the conference sessions, it looked impossible! Stephen and another local Multiply leader, Austin, left us to knuckle down to some intensive preparation. We’d brought a projector, but needed an audio link to play videos. So, we hoped for an early start in the morning. But this was Africa, and Stephen had lots to sort out before the next day’s events, too. Stephen’s church building in Kitwe is a spacious former warehouse along a typical Zambian pot-holed road. When we arrived, the band and choir were in full swing – and at full volume. The techies did an inventive job of wiring up our audio-visual with a random length of twocore flex and some clingfilm. Iain introduced the Multiply vision, and Stephen reminded us of the important of relationships. I spoke about Jesus Fellowship’s radical community experience. That first night, despite the early nightfall, when life in the tropics winds down (there’s no street lighting), both Iain and I were restless. He’d discovered that malaria tablets can trigger off exotic dreams; I worried about the aggressivelooking fish we’d risked for our meals. Then there was the gecko that ran up the walls and over the ceiling above the mosquito net. At our second conference day we found pastors and friends attending from Tanzania, Malawi and Congo (DRC). And the choir had swapped their smart white shirts for pink ones. We managed to
hold the fine line between presenting Multiply as an inclusive “rainbow” network, and speaking with conviction of important distinctives. We decided to focus the whole of the next afternoon – Saturday – on the youth generation. Iain had already engaged with a good number, playing frisbee in the car-park with them. We expected our biggest numbers on the third day as more local Christians joined us. The choir were now in blue. Iain showed the video of the Jesus Fellowship’s 2010 London Day event and march. The response was rising excitement. It only took one invitation from him for the whole church to spill out into the bright afternoon sunshine and to head off singing round the local market areas. When they all danced back in, the band took up the tune, and it looked like we’d never stop. We finished with a tender time of consecration and foot-washing. On Sunday, the choir had doubled in size (and were wearing yellow). Later, Stephen showed us round the orphanage the church has set up in some first-floor rooms that were formerly offices. The church looks after 26 children, squeezed into four bedrooms, with just a bunk sleeping space and a suitcase for each child. There’s a small pile of toys to be shared. Four women volunteer to get the children up and off to school, cleaned and washed, and to make sure they’re fed. The inspiration came from the Jesus Fellowship’s Jesus Centres, where we daily meet basic needs. Iain and I were now gearing up for the second
The church looks after 26 children, squeezed into four bedrooms Jesus Life 17
Ian washes a delegate’s feet
Some of the conference delegates
Food, fellowship and African hospitality
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half of our Zambia visit. First we’d be travelling nearly 600 miles south to Livingstone, and then heading back to Lusaka for our flight home. In both places we’d be holding half-day conferences, with some time scheduled in between to meet pastors. Stephen arranged for us to travel by car, making a 6am start on the Monday morning. We were up at 4.30am to pack, and grab what we could for breakfast. I was in the shower when Iain checked his phone and found that Stephen had texted just before midnight to say the plans had changed, and we’d be aiming to leave by coach at 11am, accompanied by Austin. African time works differently. Some time after 1pm we were finally on the road. With an hour’s break at Lusaka, I couldn’t see how we’d reach Livingstone that night. At Kipiri we slowed down to cross the Tazara railway line that runs 1,200 miles north-east to the Tanzania port of Dar es Salaam. The coach was surrounded by women with trays of bananas balanced on their heads (and babies on their backs), hoping to attract a quick sale. Later, we overtook a chugging open truck: in the back were eight people, a goat and a pig. Our driver’s technique was to thunder down the middle of the road and blow his horn at everything in his path. We reached Livingstone at an eerie 2.30am. Iain tells me that as he fell asleep he heard a cock crowing. The next day was our chance to see the Victoria Falls. They’re obviously used to Western tourists, because you can canoe, bungee jump, or fly by helicopter or microlight if you’ve got enough dollars. Austin, who was looking after the finances, looked worried. Much to his relief, we settled that we’d just take a walk through the viewing area. You can see the clouds of spray rising from the Falls six miles away in Livingstone’s centre. The unique feature of Victoria Falls is that the river Zambezi cascades 300 feet downwards into a gorge that runs right across – not in line with – the direction of flow. Beyond a small downstream www.multiply.org.uk
gap, the water has nowhere to go. So it bounces back up again in huge clouds of spray (and with its tremendous roar). We were there at almost peak flow, three-quarters of a million gallons per minute. Walking Victoria Falls’ viewing path is like plunging through dancing rainbows, with the mesmerising wild tumble of water that you almost want to reach out to touch. Next day, we held our conference in a local Pentecostal church. We got a warm reception and people weren’t in a hurry to leave. However, we had the coach to Lusaka to catch, and based on previous experience, we couldn’t hang around. Iain and I had little to go on in what to prepare for the next day’s conference, but we prayed about it, and the 50-plus delegates enjoyed our presentation. We ended with the priority of sorting out church finances through practical sharing and generating income that makes all members able to contribute. Austin followed by relating how his members rented a field and collaboratively bought seed and fertiliser. They have one corner that’s “the Lord’s field”. When the crop was sold the money went to church funds. He hopes to extend this principle to community-style shared accommodation. Suddenly, it was all over. So what did we learn, and what did we contribute? We tasted enthusiasm for prayer, but we felt we’d barely scratched the surface. Certainly, these nations still welcome our input, and their emerging church leaders need fathering. There’s no embarrassment about faith, but there’s not yet a lot of church development. Poverty takes a heavy toll in many ways: resources, health, education, and family life. Kingdom businesses and wealth creation come into focus much sooner than you’d find in a UK church’s ministry agenda. I was frustrated that we couldn’t stay around and get to grips with some of the prophetic stirring we’d experienced. Iain would have particularly liked to have given youth motivation more of a blast. There’s plenty more for the Multiply network to begin to expand into. Thank you, Zambia saints, for making us so welcome. JL www.multiply.org.uk
Red crosses and street marches
Worship at one of the conference events
Poverty takes a heavy toll in many ways: resources, health, education, and family life Ian Callard is a member of the Jesus Fellowship’s apostolic team and a key strategist for the Jesus Fellowship nationwide. He and his wife Mary live in Sheffield. FOR MORE ON MULTIPLY VISIT: multiply.org.uk Jesus Life 19
FULL STEAM AHEAD IN SHEFFIELD
The cross at the Sheffield Jesus Centre
WHAT ARE JESUS CENTRES? Places where the love of Jesus is expressed daily in worship, care and friendship for every type of person.
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WHERE ARE JESUS CENTRES? There are Jesus Centres in Coventry, London and Northampton. One will open in Sheffield soon and Birmingham after that, with vision for further locations. MORE INFO: www.jesuscentre.org.uk www.jesuscentre.org.uk
Viv Callard reports on the progress toward opening a fourth Jesus Centre, in Sheffield.
ORK steams ahead on the Sheffield Jesus Centre! Despite a number of setbacks and delays (the snow over Christmas included), the contractors should be handing over the completed site to the local congregation in the summer. Then it will be all hands on deck for wheeling in the office chairs and arranging desks and filing cabinets, stocking up the freezers for the café, making sure there’s an adequate supply of paper clips on the help desk and so on. The excitement is growing, and people are seeing where they fit in, and working through the details of services on offer. More importantly though, we’re allowing it to intrude on our lives and we’re being a bit inconvenienced by it all - a sense of the project coming to land in our realities. Members of Jesus Fellowship Sheffield recently had a tour of the site (with full complement of hard hats and high-vis jackets), which helped gain a sense of ownership of the project. We’re thanking God for progress. A number of grants secured for renewable energy projects within the building: the southern roof of the main hall is well covered with solar panels, and we’re getting the windows of the hall replaced, too to keep the warmth (and sound) in. There’s a real sense of identity within the volunteer teams running the various services and good networking is opening up connections within the local community. We’re on target for capital funding. But there’s plenty we’re continuing to pray for – like protection for the contractors on site and that they’d finish the final stages of construction in good time. We need to source the scheduled equipment at good prices, or preferably as gifts in kind. And we – always – need good teamwork and communication among volunteers. Pray for us; it’s an adventure – and God is with us. www.jesuscentre.org.uk
It’s an adventure – and God is with us Here’s what some Jesus Fellowship Sheffield members said: “I’ve been out of work from my main job for just over two years now, and although I’ve been doing a bit of cleaning, I’ve wanted to explore other interests. I’m looking forward to being involved, and I’m glad to see everybody’s pulling together.” – Mike Petherbridge “I didn’t really see that I’d have anything to do in the Jesus Centre, because I have four young children, but I’m getting envisioned to run a really good parents and tots group to include lots of people.” – Harriet Lane “I’ve been looking forward to working in the Jesus Centre as it gives me an opportunity to help people who need it.” – Colleen Jones “Many people in this community will get a lot of benefits from using this Centre.” – Jonny Crawford “I’m glad we don’t have to go to the other side of the world to be able to take part in mission – we can do it here where there’s spiritual poverty.” – Vicky Hadfield “Each person is able to find their place – being volunteers in the Jesus Centre, JL everyone is valued.” – Liz Whittington Viv Callard is one of a rising generation of leaders in the Jesus Fellowship. An ICT wizard, he also plays guitar and cracks jokes. His big passion is to see people won for Jesus in Sheffield. Jesus Life 21
talking to... MARK POWLEY
Mark with his wife and children outside their Leeds home
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Jesus Life editor, James Stacey talks to Mark Powley, co-founder of Breathe, a Christian network for simpler living.
ark, tell me a bit about yourself and your background. I grew up in Bury, near Manchester. My dad was a social worker who became a vicar; I got serious about God when I was a teenager. Around that time, I also changed my diet, started running, avoided drinking – even coffee, let alone alcohol! I was a bit of a teenage Pharisee, really. But in it all, I grew a passion for justice and I saw that lifestyle change was important if you’re going to follow Jesus. At Nottingham University, I met my wife, Ailsa; we’ve been married 13 years in July and have four kids. I was a youth worker for a bit, then an R.E. teacher. After I trained in the ministry, we were in Croydon for three years, in Hammersmith for three-and-a-half years, and now I’m a leader in a church here in Leeds.
And you had a slogan! Yes. “Less stuff, more life.” That was in 2005. We had about 100 people sign up on the day; now we have nearly 1,000 people on the e-mailing list and the blog gets plenty of interest. We produce e-newsletters, tell stories, give personal accounts, undermine adverts – we try to be creative and stir ideas and inspiration. Undermine adverts? Well, take the ticket sales company, Lastminute.com. They promoted travel breaks with the slogan “Life: book now.” Okay, it’s catchy and witty, but when you actually think about it, this slogan stinks. What if I can’t afford to book “life”? That must make me, what? Dead? And even if I do go away, this seven to 14 day break is “life”. What if it rains when I get there? And when I return, what about the other 50-odd weeks of the year? Are they non-life? The whole advert works on the lie that quality of life can be bought and sold – with the threat of “not living” hovering in the background. So we started an “ad-watch” – critiquing adverts, unmasking their lies. It might not Continued overleaf
How did Breathe get started? At university, I was part of a prayer group in which God did some powerful things. Out of that quality of fellowship came an important conversation which revolved around this question: when we’ve got money what are we going to do with it? We knew we needed to learn about sharing, about having a vision beyond being comfortable. We tried to face honestly the challenges of living as Christians in the UK’s consumer culture. We started sharing our budgets with each other, exploring real accountability. We wondered what had happened to the vision of simplicity set out, for instance, in Richard Foster’s book Freedom of Simplicity. “Who’s doing it now?” we asked. I started to dream of a movement for simple living. But, as I often said to Ailsa, if there was such a movement, I wasn’t sure if I could be part
of it – “I’m not good enough, I’m not living simply enough”. Then the thought came: what if the movement wasn’t for people who had “arrived” at a simple lifestyle, but for people who want to get there or at least want to start getting there, or even just wanted to ask the question, what does Christian simplicity look like? I said to Ailsa, “We could call it ‘Choke’ because Jesus said our possessions choke us”. She said no-one would want to be part of something called ‘Choke’. She was right of course; we called it Breathe. Within six months, a friend and I found ourselves at a Make Poverty History protest in Edinburgh, standing by a stall and inviting others to join Breathe.
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Weâ€™re after the mainstream, the middle people: interested, maybe passionate â€“ but clueless Who needs foreign holidays to simply surf?
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Continued from previous page
seem all that radical, compared to, say, living in an intentional community, but it starts where an awful lot of people are actually at. It starts helping people question the consumer lie? Christians are on a spectrum on this issue. It’s like a wedge. Some Christians, like some of you in the Jesus Army or Shane Claiborne, are on the radical edge, the thin edge of the wedge: they’re doing simple living and intentional community; it’s amazing and inspirational – though there’s the danger of superiority creeping in. At the other extreme, there’s the “prosperity gospel” (the fat end of the wedge!) Through Breathe, we’re after the mainstream, the middle people: interested, maybe passionate – but clueless. What does simplicity mean for them? There can be a lot of defensiveness in this area – so we’ve tried to use humour; we’ve tried to be creative; we’ve tried to offer options and be gracious. I guess there can be a tension between not wanting to be heavy and yet having something serious to say? That was where we started six years ago. Actually, these days I’m seeing that you do have to require something of people; there’s got to be challenge. I sometimes worry about what I call “radicalism by proxy” – someone else does the radicalism on my behalf. I read their book, buy their badge – I’m a fan of Shane Claiborne or I’m a fan of the Northumbria Christian Community – but I don’t change my life. It’s too easy to look on and say, “Woah, it’s so radical” and somehow feel that this makes a bit of radicalism rub off on me. But it doesn’t.
So how are you personally doing simplicity? Good question… Complicatedly! We try to maximise our giving, so we keep a careful budget to stay in control of money and increase the amount that we are giving. We’ve looked at lifestyle choices. We don’t go for foreign holidays. We try and live more sustainably, growing food in raised beds; we’re getting better at our composting! We’re trying to reduce our heating; we insulated the house, stuff like that. My shoes are from a charity shop, my watch was given me, my t-shirts are old (I don’t know what that tells you). We’ve just disconnected our TV for nine months. But it’s the deeper things, too, the attitude things – like cultivating gratitude, simply saying grace before meals. This is what I try to get in the book: aiming at a more thankful life. On Saturdays, I only pray prayers of thanks. It’s part of being consumer resistant. Earlier, you mentioned intentional community as part of the radical edge of Christianity. What do you make of community? I think it’s vital and it’s prophetic. Christians are called to live in ways that anticipate the kingdom. Those who give up their possessions or share possessions demonstrate the koinonia, the sharing, that we’re all called to. Funnily enough, when we moved here, we rented this house and we didn’t realise our neighbours are Christians in our church. Now Continued overleaf
Is that where your book, Consumer Detox, comes in? The book came out of where we were going with Breathe. In 2008 and 2009 we held Breathe conferences, then last year we did
something called Conspiracy of Freedom and produced four short films, one of which has been seen by more than 5,000 people on YouTube, which is encouraging. The time came when I felt I’d learnt enough to have a first stab at the book. It’s in 12 chapters – 12 steps for starting to walk away from “addiction to stuff”: how it affects our relationships; how it affects the environment; how it affects our spirituality, our relationship with God.
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Christians are called to live in ways that anticipate the kingdom
Continued from previous page
we share stuff, they baby-sit for us at lastminute notice and so on. Accidental community? Yeah… and even the most intentional communities can only ever be a glimpse of the kingdom, actually, but it’s such a vital glimpse. That’s why one of the things Breathe is trying to do is take the stories of those on that particular edge and tell it to others: to remind us what we’re all supposed to be about. What would you say to a community like New Creation Christian Community and the Jesus Army? I think I would say “Thank you”. Thank you for taking the bible seriously, and for being a prophetic sign. Keep faith with that because the pendulum is swinging back towards community. My hope is that intentional communities, like the Jesus Army, don’t isolate yourselves, but allow yourselves to speak to wider church – because otherwise you’re not serving your prophetic function. Keep asking the question “How can what you’ve learnt be shared to the wider church?”
Breathe is a Christian network for simpler living, connecting people who want to live a less consumerist, more generous, more sustainable life. The Breathe blog says: “We aim to be non-judgemental, realistic and simple to be part of. We want to appreciate life more fully; refuse the consumer dream; connect with others; and choose a more generous lifestyle.” Visit the Breathe blog at: breathenetwork.org For the Conspiracy of Freedom website go to: conspiracyoffreedom.org Consumer Detox is published by Zondervan. Visit: Zondervan.com
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Any suggestions how? I think someone in the Jesus Army should become a blogger on the Breathe website! Share the stories of what you guys are learning and bring it into the wider conversation. Maybe Breathe can help the Jesus Army to fulfil its prophetic role – and the Jesus Army could help Breathe to fulfil its role in widening the conversation. JL Mark Powley is 35, and is associate rector of St George’s, Leeds, where he lives with his wife, Ailsa, and his four young children, Jonah, Zach, Nathan and Sophie. He co-founded Breathe in 2005 and wrote Consumer Detox in 2010. www.jesus.org.uk
UTH EV O Y E L B A S THE UNMIS
1 1 0 2 T S U G A U 03 - 06TREA, NORTHAMPTON NN1 4 E JESUS CEN
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RANT Boiling with rage... BULLYING
’LL TELL you what makes me angry, what makes me really angry. Seeing children at school get bullied, for no reason. For the colour of their hair, the colour of their skin or eyes, for freckles, for their size and shape, because they’re clever, or because they’re not, or the clothes they’re wearing that day. It doesn’t seem to matter what the reason is, they’ll find one. They may wait unexpectedly outside the gates after school and chase you home, they may laugh at you in class for good achievement, and they may dunk you under water in the swimming pool lesson or trip you up in the school playground. This is the kind of endless taunting children have, do and unfortunately will experience. All these things and many more can truly cripple a person for life and their self-worth goes out of the window, making them feel insecure, unworthy, intimidated, crushed, and lacking in confidence. But, through the grace, love and healing power of God, people are completely set free, and through the spiritual family that you can find in church, that sense of self-worth is restored.
READ AND COMMENT ON MORE RANTS AND RAVES: jesus.org.uk/short/rantrave
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All these things and many more can truly cripple a person for life www.jesus.org.uk
...buzzing with passion WORD RAVE
UR FIRST glimpse of God in the bible captures His awesome title as universal Creator of everything. It’s His most basic, yet most thrilling attribute: the author of life has such authority that His words obey and create whatever He commands. He literally speaks things into being! Throughout history springs the testimony of God as author, architect, builder, Father, lover and restorer, who excels and continues to excel in the art of creation. It’s a privilege to be a part of a church that is committed to making room for God to be who He is. I haven’t known anything as exciting as hearing God speak directly and strategically into situations where we’ve been clearly stuck and release movement. A silent God is a terrifying prospect. It’s like watching the “Word becoming flesh” before your very eyes. Seeing empty seats filled and former rebels lost in worship never gets boring. The other night I paused and thought, “These four guys praying in our cell group didn’t know God two months ago – now they’re irreplaceable brothers.” It’s constant proof that the Word produces results – that God actually exists! What’s more exciting is the sense that the best is yet to come. God isn’t done creating. He’s not done speaking. Building heaven on earth requires obedience, courage and faith but it’s the God-sourced faith that comes from hearing the current apostolic and prophetic word. That’s what creates something out of nothing. JL www.jesus.org.uk
Seeing empty seats filled and former rebels lost in worship never gets boring Jesus Life 29
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From the blog of Jesus Fellowship leader, Laurence Cooper
O, I’M in the kitchen of my friends’ house, chilling with my homeboy, Jack, who is two years old and learning words. Word for today is “me” and Jack is really enjoying that word. “ME ME ME ME!” he screams as he yanks open the fridge door. “ME MEEE ME MEEEEE!” he yells as he pulls himself up on the table to fall face first into the toast. “ME ME ME MEEEEEE!” he shouts as he rubs a nose-full of snot lovingly across my new jacket. “ME ME ME!” he declares, smiling, in the middle of the kitchen. He is two, he is triumphant, he is enjoying his possession of the word ME; he is discovering his personhood. I enjoy his moment of unashamed and entirely appropriate glorification of self. And then I feel a sermon coming on. “Jack, Jack. I am very glad that you are enjoying ME so much. It is right that you should do. But, without wanting to rain on your parade, there are one or two words of caution I would like to urge on you.” Did his little smudgy face look a fraction more serious of a sudden? “Much as you may delight in ME at present, in years to come you’ll find that ME may become more problematic. It’s ME, you see, that struggles to come to terms with himself. It’s ME that comes between us and an experience of unselfish love. It’s ME who throws hard words at others, who cheats and sneers and hurts others. It’s ME who finds it hard to quit and finds it hellishly difficult to finally have to admit that it’s ME who has a problem. “So enjoy ME Jack, you’ll spend the rest of your life wrestling with him.” But Jack had left the room some time previously to destroy an eight-wheeled excavator next door in the lounge. JL www.jesus.org.uk
He is two, he is triumphant, he is enjoying his possession of the word ME
Laurence Cooper is a leader in the Jesus Fellowship. He lives in a Christian Community house, a very big house in the country stuffed full of Jesus radicals like himself. READ HIS BLOG: laurencecooper.wordpress.com Jesus Life 31
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For years, Jane Darling struggled to believe God really loved her. Now that’s all changed; she tells Jesus Life her story.
HEN A bright light came and rested on the end of her bed, Jane says she “knew instantly that it was God”. “I heard an audible voice say, ‘Jane, I can lead your life better than you’,” she recalls. “God had met me. I had met God.” Jane became a Christian on that day, in November 1988. Yet for many years, Jane has struggled with the concept of God, as a father, loving her. “I could tell others that God loved them, but for me it didn’t sink in,” says Jane. “When people tried to tell me that God loved me, it was like speaking to a brick wall. It just didn’t register. I wasn’t even sure God liked me, let alone loved me.” Jane’s childhood was full of love and acceptance – to this day, she has great relationships with both her parents. So why could she not feel God’s “fatherly” love? The final straw for Jane came in February of this year. “I just kept asking God to show me He loved me,” explains Jane, “but – nothing. I was getting angry and disappointed.” Jane decided it had to be sorted once and for all. At a Jesus Fellowship event in Birmingham, Jane decided to ask a married couple she knows Continued overleaf
I wasn’t even sure God liked me, let alone loved me www.jesus.org.uk
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The rest of the week I kept calling God ‘Abba Father’ and grinning like an idiot s s
Continued from previous page well to pray with her. “I shared my fears and my friend told me to imagine I was climbing onto Father God’s lap. I pictured me, as I am now, 43 years of age, climbing onto His lap. He was much bigger than me so I comfortably snuggled in.” “And something – very simply, very definitely – changed. I felt God’s pleasure in me.” Jane stayed where she was in that meeting hall a long time after the prayer, soaking in the life and love she’d just been introduced to. “The rest of the week I kept calling God ‘Abba Father’ and grinning like an idiot,” confesses Jane with a smile. “God was in me. Beautiful: I was accepted, loved, He loves me!” And that was not the only thing that was healed in Jane during that weekend – she found she had been healed of IBS, after 15 years of suffering with the illness. But it was the new love that was the richest change. “Whatever happens, I know that God loves me unconditionally,” says Jane, “and that will never, ever change.” JL
Jane is a celibate in the Jesus Fellowship. She loves to see people’s lives change through love, acceptance and the power of Jesus. She describes herself as ‘always up for a challenge’.
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