7 Transformational Thoughts for the Summer

8 Free BirdSome selected writings linking in with the two articles entitled The Transformation of Transformation Thurrock

Revival and Transformation

Some thoughts by Alastair Petrie

Revival is the “reviving” or “restoration” of the Presence of God returning to His people in order that His Presence lives in their midst thus affecting every part of life in that Church in a corporate and collective manner. A new desire for prayer and a new urgency to respond to the purposes of God begins to descend upon people both within and beyond the church walls. Conversions begin to increase and a Fear of the Lord begins to descend upon an area. The people in that area have extended an invitation for the Lord to come and dwell in their midst and they are willing to submit every aspect of life under His Kingdom Rule and Reign.

Transformation, meanwhile, becomes the result of lasting Revival in that the very fabric of life in any given area then begins to respond to the activity and Presence of God at work. In time the various components of life in that area begin to reflect the activity of God’s Presence through changed lives and a heightened sense of the values of the Kingdom of God at every level of life. Today there are hundreds of examples of communities and cities that have received a Divine visitation which, when stewarded correctly by the people of God, became authentic Transformation. While not perfection, the change in many of the components of corporate life can be easily discerned in which the Presence of God has affected the social and economic aspects of a community as well as even the ecology itself.

from http://www.partnershipministries.org/about/faq/are-renewal-revival-and-transformation-the-same-thing/
  • Do you agree with these definitions of revival and transformation?
  • What does it take in the individual believer's life to affect the collective body of Christ towards revival and onto transformation?
  • What would a community in the midst of true Jesus-at-the-centre spiritual transformation look like?

The Distributed Network and the Apostolic Web of Meaning

Two very similar diagrams from the National Media Museum and Alan Hirsch

web jpegApostolic Web of MeaningLeft:
From The Foundations of the Internet display at the National Media Museum, Bradford. This is a Distributed Network - it can survive after several failures and is suitable to create the internet.
This is as opposed to Centralised  and Decentralised Networks where just one failure in the former, or a few in the latter, can destroy a whole network. Neither is suitable for the internet.

The Apostolic Web of Meaning, based on discipling relationships, gospel meaning and sharing information. The small circles represent individuals, while the larger ones are churches or agencies. Hirsch says that "apostolic minsitry exercsies extensive influence without realance on centralised forms of organisation... [and] it holds together through a web of meaning created by apostolic influence and environment. Apostolic leadership does this by focussing the network of relations on the meaning and implcations of the gospel and on the relationships that are established through it. Each individual, church or agency relates to the apostolic leader only because it is meaningful for them to do so, and not because they have to. It is because the gospel is imlanted, and the holy Spirit is present in every Christian community, that apostolic minsitry and leadership are able to hold the network together. So it might look something like this." Hirsch continues to say that "it is this aspect of leadership that informs true apostolic influence. And it is this type of leadership that that creates the context for missional church to arise." (The Forgotten Ways, p168.)
  • Can you see the similarites in these diagrams? If there are differences, what are they?
  • What do these diagrams say about the relational (the flat or 'starfish' model prevalent in simple or missional church) and the hierarchial (pyramidal or spider mode of institution)?
  • How did Jesus operate, and how does that affect you?


Churches poised at the 'strategic inflection point'

slightly adapted from Church Next by Eddie Gibbs and Ian Coffey

The church in the western world, I believe, is located at present on the midpoint of an S-curve. Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel, terms this a 'strategic inflection point'. He defines this as 'a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change.'

Leaving the fundamentals unattended will prove not only detrimental but ultimately deadly to the organization. Local churches and entire denominations must not assume that they have divine immunity to the consequences of failing to move at the kairos moment, which is a special God-appointed time when significant factors converge to provoke the need for decisive action.

The configuration of the S-curve does not allow for a plateaued, continuing existence. In times of seismic change you will either tumble into a steep declining curve from which it is extremely difficult to recover, or you will begin another upward trajectory Grove labels this seismic shift the '10X force'. Things happen to the organisation that didn't happen before. The organisation no longer responds to the actions of the leaders as it used to.

What is the evidence that the 10X force is impacting the church? With only slight rewording, Andrew Grove's list can be transferred from the business world to the church. The 10X force is present...
  • when churches of other traditions are going through the same experiences
  • when denominational hierarchies and theological colleges are facing turbulence and sudden loss of `altitude'
  • when there is a growing dissonance between what is being said through official church channels and what is happening at the grass-roots level
  • when leaders say one thing and then do another
  • when there is a loss of confidence in or respect for one another
  • when new movements such as mega-churches, new apostolic networks and alternative religions emerge, further destabilizing traditional institutions, and disaffected members go elsewhere.
Church Next
Eddie Gibbs and Ian Coffey
Publisher IVP 2001 (USA 2000)
ISBN 0-85111-544-6
  • Is the phrase 'strategic inflection point' a fair reflection of where the we are - with regards to church, community and society - at this kairos moment?
  • Is the list of indications that we at such a point in time accurate?
  • How does God want his people to respond?

Bill J quote jpeg

quote by Bill Johnson

Nobody expects the Brazilian Imposition

Pope Francis in Brazil, reported on BBC News app...

'... he told pilgrims to take to the streets and "stir things up".
"I expect a messy World Youth Day. But I want things messy and stirred up in the congregations, I want you to take to the streets. I want the Church to take to the streets," he told the crowd.'

'Asked about the recent protests by young people on the streets of Brazil, the Pope said: "The young person is essentially a non-conformist, and this is very beautiful.
"It is necessary to listen to young people, give them places to express themselves and to be careful that they aren't manipulated."'

'Asked about his simple lifestyle and use of a small car, he said it wasn't a good example when a priest had the latest model of a car or a top brand.
"At this moment I believe God is asking us for more simplicity," he added.'
  • What do you think of the Pope's use of the words 'messy', 'stir up' and 'simplcity'?
  • Is he just speaking to the Roman Catholics - or can his words be for all the Christian community?
  • Are we all called to be 'non-confomists'? What was Jesus?

Heavenly Father you are worthy (from a chrysalis to a butterfly)

written by members of Grays Baptist Church under the musical direction of Gareth Marsh, 16 August 2009

Butterflies Ed Monkton JPEGHeavenly Father you are worthy
and we want to give you praise.
In our humble human efforts
Help us walk within your ways.

With all the things that you’ve created
You choose to bless us day by day.
When we falter you still lift us
Though we stumble through a haze.

You, who created the heavens and stars,
Look down upon us and open your arms.
Lift us up into your love.

From a chrysalis to a butterfly
Help us to fly freely.
Fill our lives with colour
And draw us to you.

From a chrysalis to a butterfly
Help us to fly freely.
Fill our lives with colour
And fill us anew.

The Butterfy of Freedom cartoon by Ed Monkton
  • What does the caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly image mean to you?
  • How can the process of metamorphosis relate to our individual lives and to the corporate life of the church?
  • In what area(s) of your life would you like to see, or are you already going through, a metaphorical metamorphosis?

Farmers and Apostles

by Alan Hirsch

[An] image of [the] quality of leadership is... the image of a farmer. A good farmer creates the conditions for the growth of healthy crops by tilling the soil, replenishing it with nutrients, removing weeds, scattering the seeds, and watering the field. He or she is wide open to natural rhythms of nature, which are out of his or her control, and so the farmer is reliant on God for the sun and rain. The seed itself, if given the right conditions, will flourish in this type of environment and produce good crops. All that the farmer does is to create the right environment for this mysterious process of life to take place. Apostolic ministry works in precisely the same way. (See 1 Corinthians 3:5-9.)

from The Forgotten Ways - Reactivating the Missional Church, p166
  • What is the seed?
  • What is the crop?
  • Where are the apostles and the apostolic?

The Local Church

by Derek Prince

From the book Rediscovering God's Church. Part of it was read out by Bob Love at the Grays Leaders Prayer gathering on 24 May 2012 at St Mary's Rectory, North Stifford.
Prince 1 JPEG

Prince 2 JPEG

Prince 3 JPEG


Prince 4 JPEG

  • How can today's church work back (or is it forward?) to the Great High Priest's original blueprint for unity?
  • How does unity with God through the Holy Spirit relate to believers' unity with each other across fellowships, denominations and cultures?
  • What is the choice King Jesus sets before us, his disciples - the Followers of The Way - and how does it affect you, and how can you be used to spread this essential aspect of Kingdom?
The poster is by Micah Purnell, a Christian graphic artist who fly-posts in Manchester.
Photo taken at Seedbed gathering at Leeds University, 2-3.7.10.
See www.micahpurnell.com.

Tim Harrold, 30/07/2013

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