Tag Archives: Connexion

A Word in Time: Saturday

This is my final Bible study in the Methodist Church‘s A Word in Time series for this week. You can join in the online discussion here.

Acts 2:42-47

42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.


“They devoted themselves … praising God and having the goodwill of all the people…” (vv. 42, 47)

Background

At the end of the Day of Pentecost, Peter found himself the leader of a new community of more than 3,000 people who were learning together how to follow this risen Jesus (Acts 2:41).

Groups could decide to align themselves around a set of rules, say the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), or find a new Covenant built on a gracious agreement to build relationships (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Here the people of Christ develop a set of ‘holy habits’* designed to strengthen the community.

So, as they meet every day, they work at:

  • biblical teaching
  • fellowship
  • breaking of bread
  • prayer
  • sharing resources
  • service
  • eating together
  • gladness and generosity
  • worship
  • making more disciples

As they devote themselves to each other and the flourishing of these habits, the community around them spots that there is something positive about this new group. They care for each other, their generosity spills out and becomes infectious.

A group that was by now numbering in the thousands was becoming more significant, but rather than cause alarm, we read that they had the “goodwill of all the people” because of their habitual practice of behaving like Jesus.

Luke tells us that “day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (v. 47). It was not just that people were keeping an eye on what the developing group was up to, but that new converts were joining in.

Faith in Christ is attractive when allied to a convincing change of life.

Holy Habits, a book by Methodist minister Andrew Roberts, is being used by churches and circuits throughout the Connexion. It explores the ten habits as a model for discipleship.

To Ponder

  • “Evangelism through being like Christ can be more effective than ‘speaking at’ people.” How far do you agree with this statement? Why?
  • How would you develop these holy habits in the life of your church? Which is the most difficult habit for you?

A new chapter

the-connexion-mag-jan2015For the past few months I’ve been hard at work with colleagues in The Methodist Church producing the first edition of a new magazine. We’ve called it the connexion and it’s born today!

We’re really delighted with how it looks and think it has a lot of helpful material in it for the Methodist people all over the British Isles.

What’s it for? Well, the plan is to keep people up to date with life across the Methodist Church, not just here but all across the globe. In this first edition there are stories from North Korea and from survivors of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

We will have three editions during 2015 with a theme for each edition. This time around it’s evangelism and there is a range of pieces in it about what it means for Methodists to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in their settings, including:

  • The Lab in Newport: a 10-year-old Fresh Expression
  • Whitley Church in Wiltshire: a village church that grasped a vision for growth
  • An interview with General Secretary Martyn Atkins about “elevating the e-word”.

Who gets it? We’ve printed close to 100,000 copies and every ordained person, Local Preacher, Steward and office holder should have three posted to their home address (except for a handful of districts who chose to have them delivered in bulk).

We’ve asked that people read one copy, give away two and encourage sharing to make sure that the connexion is read as widely as possible.

If you’d like to download a .pdf file of the magazine and read it online you can do that here.

Why the name? The word connexion is a classic Methodist word and has lovely resonances with our global bonds of fellowship. But, for me, as I say in the welcome column, it is also reminiscent of St Paul’s description of the Church as a body with a variety of parts – but all connected.

Sadly, too many of us talk about the Connexion as “that lot up in London” and it’s never been that. Even more so now with a dispersed team that has staff living all over the nations, the Connexion is all of us, the whole Methodist people.

Anyway, the connexion magazine is a way of communicating some of the good stuff that’s going on in the Methodist Church. I hope you enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.

There are two videos linked to it. There’s a fascinating discussion between Martyn Atkins and Connexional Secretary Doug Swanney on evangelism, which you can find here. There’s also a short introduction to the magazine from me below.