empowered by the spirit for mission

10 Tips on Becoming Charismissional

Following his post about the charismatic-missional tension Andrew Wilson suggests some ways forward for churches in this post Becoming Charismissional.

Here are his ten tips aimed at leaders, slightly paraphrased, on how to be both Spirit-filled and missional.

1. Being Charismissional is possible

The early church had both strange charismatic experiences and clear explanations of the gospel.

2. Be honest – how charismatic are you?

To what extent are your contributions really God speaking? To what extend are they just your own thoughts?

3. Be honest – how missional are you?

Are you sharing life with those outside the church and having conversations about the gospel?

4. Think about the words you use.

Avoid Christian jargon. Use terms new people can understand.

5. Explain what is happening when you meet

Clear explanations throughout can help visitors feel comfortable with what is happening e.g. when someone speaks in tongues or when you lay hands on someone to pray for them.

6. Understand 1 Corinthians 14

Take care with spiritual gifts. Use them primarily to build up the church. This is why they should be intelligible.

7. Acknowledge individual differences

Some non-Christians are sceptical of emotionalism but some actually prefer more passionate gatherings. Don’t over generalise.

8. Train people to use gifts evangelistically

Why not teach people to use spiritual gifts in conversation with their non-Christian friends.

9. Share the teaching

Some speakers may excel at doctrinal teaching others at gospel preaching or charismatic experiences.

10. Lead by example

Eagerly desire more of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts and engage with your culture and with non-Christians.

What do you think?

Related posts on this blog

Why CharisMissional?
Becoming CharisMissional
Post-Charismatic? A book review
7 Charismissional links
5 Examples of the Charismatic-Missional Tension

Posts by Andrew Wilson

Becoming Charismissional
The Charismatic-Missional Tension

March 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

5 Examples of the Charismatic-Missional Tension

I recently found this post where Andrew Wilson an elder at Kings Church in Eastbourne discusses what he calls the charismatic-missional tension. In this first post he raises some interesting questions about spiritual gifts, healing, ministry times, preaching and how we use social media.

Spiritual gifts

Some missional churches in attempts to be more seeker-sensitive have all but banned spiritual gifts in their meetings in favour of communicating clearly to those outside the faith. But shouldn’t we be able to be charismatic and exercise gifts in our meetings without being wacky and incomprehensible?


Praying for the sick may mean seeing some people not healed. Andrew Wilson discusses how we can tackle this with honesty and integrity – not exaggerating, appearing deluding or destroying people’s faith when the healing doesn’t occur. Is it more charismatic to pray for healings but more missional not to?

Ministry times

This refers to a charismatic practice where people respond to a sermon by coming forward to be prayed for. We may still long to experience God more deeply but also feel that visitors may be spooked by some people’s highly emotional responses during such times and so experience this charismatic-missional tension.


Here he discusses the balance between teaching doctrine, preaching the gospel and encouraging Christians to experience more of the Holy Spirit. Wilson observes that most good preachers excel at one or two of those but rarely all three.

Social media

To what extent do we discuss our Christian experience in front of non-Christians? Some charismatics may freak out their friends whereas some missional types may say next to nothing and miss opportunities to testify.

He tries to make sense of these in his following post, which I will discuss next week.

Further Reading

The Charismatic-Missional Tension by Andrew Wilson
Becoming Charismissional by Andrew Wilson

March 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

The Miraculous Healing of Delia Knox

Following on from my earlier post about sceptism and healing I just wanted to emphasise that I do believe that God heals today and give a verifiable case that I feel demonstrates this well.

Delia KnoxThis link about the healing of Delia Knox was published in the Daily Mail. It has stood the test of time and scrutiny from the press.

Delia Knox was paralysed from the waist down. In 2010 she was dramatically healed and has been walking ever since. A British preacher Nathan Morris prayed for her and the moment she first regains use of her legs was captured on video and become a YouTube hit.

Here is a quote from the Daily Mail article:

When she agreed to attend a meeting with preacher Nathan Morris, she had no idea healings were happening. She said: ‘I knew it was an evangelistic meeting but I didn’t know healings were taking place. To be honest I’ve stayed away from healing meetings… and rarely responded to altar calls. ‘But Nathan Morris called my husband forward and I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t want to make a scene when Nathan was praying for me.

‘Then all of a sudden I felt a voice which I knew was the Holy Spirit saying to me, “Get up”, and I felt feeling in my legs and then faith came on me to walk.

Please have a look and investigate the links. It would be great to know what you think.

Read the Daily Mail article here.

February 19, 2013 at 8:44 am Comments (2)

How Skeptical Are You?

It’s a blog thing!

Have a go at this little quiz to determine how sceptical you are. (I will spell it with a ‘c’ because I am British!) I just did the quiz and got this result. Well I suppose I am fairly sceptical so I shouldn’t really be surprised!

You Are Fairly Skeptical

You’re not the type of person who will fall for anything…
But you do keep your mind open to all sorts of possibilities. You figure that anything could be true. After all, the world is a strange place.

However, you’re going to need some convincing before you can believe in aliens or reincarnation!

How Skeptical Are You?
Blogthings: Discover the Parts of Your Personality that Have Been Hiding

Having a play with it I can only find three outcomes ‘Very Skeptical’, ‘Fairly Skeptical’ and ‘Not Skeptical in the Least’. So that means I am probably fairly balanced. I’m not taken in by every new flaky idea, But neither do I doubt everything. I actually feel that this is a good place to be as a Christian. I think we should be discerning after all but still people of faith.

I was recently reading a book on aromatherapy. I was really enjoying the book and learning about the different ways to use the many essential oils. But past half way through the book it began talking about using crystals and energy points and even links to horoscopes. I was very sceptical about that!

But what do we make of the claims of miracles by some of the big healing evangelists? Recently I shared the following video on facebook. As a Charismatic Christian I do believe that God heals today and that this could be a real example of God moving.

The woman’s response certainly looks authentic. But I still think we need to be cautious before making such claims. Could this be a result of suggestion? I was recently discussing this on facebook and one comment I agreed with was that there is a lot psychological pressure to believe that you are healed in a situation like this in front of thousands.

I agree that the real test must come later when we hear her testimony a few months down the track. If and when we hear that she is truly healed then we can rejoice that with her and give praise to God. But I don’t think saying that makes anyone a sceptic.

What do you think?

February 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comment (1)

Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road? – Quotes

jesus cross the roadHere are some quotes from Brian McLaren’s book that I promised last week. The book goes into more detail and covers more controversial ideas than his talk did. I’ll give you my thoughts about them next week as I review the book.

I have sought to faithfully represent McLaren’s meanings as clearly as possible. I have included the chapter numbers for references.

How do we, as Christians, faithfully affirm the uniqueness and universality of Christ without turning that belief into an insult or a weapon? (2)

One: The Crisis of Christian Identity

Shouldn’t it be possible to have a strong Christian identity that is strongly benevolent towards people of other faiths, accepting them not in spite of the religion that they love, but with the religion they love? (3)

A new kind of Christian identity… [is] characterised by strong benevolence, generosity and hospitality towards others, not hostility on one hand and not mere ‘niceness’ or ‘tolerance’ on the other. (5)

The tensions between our conflicted religions arise not from our differences, but from one thing we all hold in common: an oppositional religious identity that derives strength from hostility. (7)

Hostility: I see other faiths as wrong, false or evil, and I maintain a posture of opposition to all faiths but the Christian faith….

Solidarity: My understanding of Jesus and his message leads me to see each faith, including my own, as having its own history, value, strengths and weaknesses. I seek to affirm and celebrate all that is good in each faith, and I build intentional relationships of mutual sharing and respectful collaboration with people of all faiths, so all faiths can keep growing and contributing to God’s will being done on earth as in heaven. (8)

A forty year old Arabian nearly three centuries after Constantine had a series of visions that convinced him that there are not many gods, as his countrymen believed, but only one. God was calling him to bring this revelation to all his fellow Arabs and to the whole world. What was he to do? …When we situate Mohammed in this way, just outside the borders of a powerful so-called Christian empire that claimed divine authority to conquer under the sign of the cross, I trust we can interpret Mohammed’s choices and convictions in a more sympathetic light. (11)

Two: The Doctrinal Challenge

So what is a proper understanding of original sin? It is the crisis of identity that emerges as we reject our original God given name… our original identity as soil creatively organised into ‘the image of God’ within the original harmony and hospitality of creation…. The popular understanding of original sin promotes a dualistic, judgemental, accusatory mindset that breeds hostility and rivalry…. A better understanding exposes hostility and rivalry and so prepares the way for us to rediscover a strong benevolent Christian identity. (13)

The holy fire of God can only consume evil things. And since human beings bare the image of God, their humanity can never be considered an evil thing… (28)

If indeed the Holy Spirit is… active in all creation, not just the church… then we would expect the Holy Spirit to be moving people in each religion to offer their good gifts to others, and to receive the good gifts offered by others. (17)

Three: The Liturgical Challenge

[Derek Flood observes] Paul edits quotations of Psalm 18:41-49 and Deuteronomy 32:43 in Romans 15:8-10. The language of divine mercy and promise is retained. The language of violence and vengeance is gone…. [And in] Romans 3:10-18 Paul is making a very different point from the original intent of these Psalms. In fact, he is making the opposite point – we should not cry out for God’s wrath and judgement because we are all sinners in need of mercy. ‘It is an artful and deliberate reshaping of these verses… from their original cry for divine violence into a confession of universal culpability that highlights our need for mercy.’ (22)

The problematic dimensions of the doctrine [of penal substitution] nudged me to be more at home with Celtic, Franciscan, Anabaptist, Quaker, Eastern Orthodox, Liberationist and other perspectives that proclaim the gospel (and celebrate the Eucharist) with little or no reference to this atonement theory. (23)

Four: The Missional Challenge

So do you have a Sikh neighbour, a Hindu co-worker, a Muslim business associate, a Buddhist member of your PTA, a New Age second cousin? Invite them into companionship over a cup of tea or coffee. Ask them questions. Display unexpected interest in them, their traditions, their beliefs, their stories…. Enter their world, and welcome them into your world, without judgement. (24)

Mission work like this will always involve charity… Community organisers working for the common good must often stand in solidarity with people of other faiths. So we who follow Jesus will discover our true identity… by going out of our way to serve Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews or atheists… also by serving alongside them. (25)

Christian identity involves both witness – graciously and confidently sharing our unique, Christ centred message, and with-ness – experiencing solidarity with people of other faiths worshiping in one another’s presence and working together for the common good. (26)

What did Jesus mean by the term the Kingdom of God? Surely he meant something far bigger than any religion should or could contain. The commonwealth of God… contains all of humanity with all our languages, and cultures – and religions. We anticipate… a ‘marvellous convergence’, and our anticipation inspires participation. (27)

Old evangelism- evangelism as we knew it – was… an unwitting accomplice in the story of European colonialism and empire… In generosity we freely share our treasures with people of other faiths, without requiring them to convert… We invite people to… discover a God… who seeks to bring all things into joyous reconciliation… leading to a conversion so deep it fills with new meaning old, spent, clichéd terms like born again, saved, converted, confirmed, baptised or catechised. (28)

January 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comment (1)

Brian McLaren’s Love Peace and Misunderstanding Tour

I recently went to a talk by Brian McLaren launching his book Why Did Jesus, Moses, The Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?

This was part of the Love Peace and Misunderstanding Tour that he was doing organised by Greenbelt. As well as Brian McLaren speaking it also included a short talk by Malia Bouattia a Muslim post grad from Birmingham University followed by a conversation between the two. There was also some singing by Jasmin Kennedy. The evening concluded with some questions and answers from the audience.

Brian’s McLaren’s talk

Brian McLaren began by explaining that the founders of the major faiths of the world were much more hospitable to those of other faiths than their followers have been:

  • Jesus was known for making respectful contact with those his peers wouldn’t go near. For example he listened to and acknowledged the real faith of the Syrophoenician woman.
  • Mohammed grew up in a multi-faith environment and had relationships with people of other faith. At one point he allowed Christians to pray in his mosque even though some of his followers objected.
  • Moses was a Hebrew brought up in Pharaoh’s household and gained counsel from his father-in-law the high priest of Midian.
  • Buddha was more concerned in finding enlightenment than in taking part in religious conflicts.

Coming from a fundamentalist background, Brian McLaren went on to say, he had been taught hostility towards other faiths that says if you can’t convert someone keep them at arms length. The alternative to this that most people have is a weak identity that implies that our beliefs aren’t important to us. But what he proposes was a strong identity that makes you a good neighbour to those who disagree with you.

It is a popular misconception that our religious differences keep us apart. But actually, McLaren argued, it is building our identity through hostility to others. What the world needs now is solidarity. Our real enemy is the hostility between the groups not the other group per se.

Malia Boulettia

Malia described her feelings of what it was like for a Muslim when someone wants to convert them. She explained how as an Algerian she saw Christianity as part of Imperialism because of colonialism. She said when she went to evangelistic meeting and it felt like the Christians were vultures swooping down on her!

The Q&A

In the question time I asked Brian McLaren about his approach to evangelism. If what we mean by this is sharing the unique gifts of Jesus with people so that they too may experience them he was all for it. His approach to evangelism was telling both our own stories of our walk with Jesus and the stories of Jesus from the Bible. People are interested in stories.

Malia Bouattia commented that one thing that she liked about this book was Brian McLaren’s reservations about the state of affairs in the Church. Brian agreed that an honest open approach to evangelism was the best – sharing your own failings and those of the Church. Though some might not feel comfortable with such an approach I did get his point that it is foolish to cover up the cracks that people are aware of anyway.

What did I think of the evening?

Overall, I liked what Brian McLaren was saying here and I think that a hospitable approach to evangelism with other faiths is a good one. It is much better than one that comes over as hostile or keeps people at arms length unless they convert.

But I would need to read the book to get the full picture of Brian McLaren position. Next week I plan to blog some quotes from the book and follow that up with a review of the book.

In the meantime I recommend reading David Matthew’s review of the book here. He has some interesting reservations that I plan to discuss soon.

January 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm Comments (0)

O Little Town of Bethlehem

The Christmas story told by people living and working in Bethlehem today.

This would be great to show in a Carol Service this weekend!

December 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm Comments (0)

The Shack Revisited

A book review

The Shack Revisited is for anyone who wants to go a little deeper into some of the issues that are raised in the best selling Christian novel The Shack. A book I reviewed three years ago on my previous blog here.

Though there are plenty of dips into theology especially Trinitarian, The Shack Revisted is still really a devotional with plenty of illustrations from the author’s experience. I particularly loved his explanation of ‘perichoresis’ – the doctrine of the dance of the Trinity.

Baxter Kruger basically preaches using themes from The Shack as starting points. The best parts were near the end where the characterisations of Papa and Sarayu – the Holy Spirit – from The Shack begin to be unpacked more. I would have liked more of this. I felt The Shack Revisited could have stayed closer to the original story and unpacked it more.

There are a few books already on the market that compliment the Shack in various ways. This is not a study book or a work book, but a devotional reader on some of the themes in The Shack with plenty of theology thrown in for good measure. It doesn’t directly claim to answer any of the criticisms of The Shack but some of the foray into the Trinity does make a valuable contribution to the debates.

The Shack Revisited is written to encourage Christians and perhaps even give others who have read The Shack an overview of some important themes in Christianity such as out adoption into God’s family. Though it will give you an insight into some doctrinal issues the main idea that it will leave you with, just as the Shack does is the amazing unconditional love of God towards us.


Thanks to Mike Morrell of the SpeakEasy network for sending me this book to review free of charge.

Further reading

Perichoresis: Baxter Kruger’s website
Baxter’s blog
Baxer’s Facebook
Baxter on Twitter
Parable of the Dancing God
Baxter’s programs on Grace Communion International
Baxter Kruger – free downloads

December 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

Water from an Ancient Well: Celtic Spirituality for Modern Life by Kenneth McIntosh

A book review

Water from an Ancient Well by Kenneth McIntosh is a basic introduction to some of the major themes in the history of the Celtic Christianity. It is packed with inspiring stories of the Celts and illustrations and wisdom from elsewhere that unpacks and applies these themes.

It explains the Celtic view of the cross, the Holy Spirit and spiritual disciplines, their love for the Bible, their experiences of the world of nature and of the supernatural world of miracles.

Water from an Ancient Well tells stories of the saints and monastic communities. It may be overstating the point that the Celts were story tellers and not theologians, certainly some massive tomes of theology arrived way before the Enlightenment. Nevertheless the Celts did love story telling and Kenneth McIntosh delights in imitating the Celts by telling stories himself by paraphrasing and elaborating them as he goes.

Water from an Ancient Well is quite a light read with short chapters that makes it ideal for bedtime. Each chapter has recommendations on how we might apply the wisdom of the Celtic Christians such as experiencing God in nature, building rhythms of solitude and service into your life. These left me feeling encouraged and provoked to see these characters as positive role models despite some of their failings and over zealousness for asceticism.

One of the most interesting ideas is how the Celtic Christians redeemed elements of their culture such as communing with nature, deep spiritual friendships or even the sacred places.

I also like the way Kenneth McIntosh highlights a number of aspects of Celtic culture that look similar to our contemporary world. For example, how the Celts replanted forests after Roman over-farming, leaned towards gender equality and had quite a progressive view of Bible interpretation. It would be interesting to investigate some of these observations more to see how much McIntosh is reading these into Celtic Christianity.

If you want an in depth history lesson you will need to follow the references and do some digging. Also there is plenty here that wouldn’t find its way into your average history book: McIntosh’s own illustrations, stories from elsewhere in history such as the Desert Fathers and of course quotes from the Bible. You may on occasions wonder just where this book is going but each time you will find it coming back to Celts soon enough.

Water from an Ancient Well is very readable and it gives some fascinating insights into Celtic Christianity that will please and encourage many casual readers.


Water from an Ancient Well is published by Anamchara Books.

Thanks to Mike Morrell of the SpeakEasy network for sending me this book to review free of charge.

November 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

7 CharisMissional Books under £13 each

UK Customers: to ensure that you get your book for under £10 check out the market place deals. These are still cheaper than the regular amazon price even with post and packing! And don’t forget if you are ordering for Christmas check what postage you will need to choose to ensure your book arrives on time.

These books would make great Christmas presents. I’ve reviewed them all on this blog and would recommend them.

Hometown Prophet

Hometown Prophet is a novel with a message. That message is this: don’t be sidetracked by some of the more judgemental aspects of evangelical subculture, God calls us to love everyone especially… more


‘Post-Charismatic?’ by Rob McAlpine is a very positive book considering that it is aimed primarily at those who may be disillusioned with the charismatic movement. In… more

Seeing Through Heaven’s Eyes

Seeing Through Heaven’s Eyes by Norway’s Leif Hetland is written for Christians needing encouragement. It is for all who believe in grace but need reminding… more

Small is Big

Do you want to know how God’s Spirit has been moving recently in the Western world and how you can get involved? Then you must get Small is Big. There are… more

The Forgotten Ways

The Forgotten Ways gives us a thorough explanation of what Alan Hirsch calls apostolic genius – six key aspects of the New Testament church that we should… more

The Forgotten Ways Handbook

The Forgotten Ways Handbook by Alan Hirsch and Darryn Altclass aims to introduce the ideas of The Forgotten Ways to a wider audience. You can apply these… more

The Tangible Kingdom

The Tangible Kingdom is an exhortation to Christians to get out of their insular bubble and build relationships with people outside the faith. It is an exhortation first to get to know them, then… more

November 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm Comment (1)

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