Transforming Church

The Transforming Church
Ray Simpson, Kevin Mayhew, 2008

£12.99 (Approx)
3.2
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

What is it about? The Transforming Church is about transforming the spirit of our churches so that they can transform our world. It is about creating vibrant churches and communities.

Who is it for? The Transforming Church is for most churches: ordinary congregations which need to be affirmed and inspired. It is also for churches which have experienced renewal and now sense there is something more.

Who can take part? The Transforming Church is an 11-session course for everyone in the church: it is a whole church experience… there are logbooks for adults, young people and children and prayer and meditation books.

What do you get and how?

Guidebook for leaders and mentors, individual logbooks for children, young people and adults. All can be found and purchased from the Kevin Mayhew website. 11 sessions:

  1. In another’s shoes.
  2. Praying 7/7.
  3. Good worship zones.
  4. Lifelong learning
  5. Developing intuition.
  6. Signs of creativity.
  7. Serving the community.
  8. Friends of the earth.
  9. Weaving together the strands.
  10. Model of a fair world.
  11. Church without walls.

Who is it for?

Whole church experience. For Adults, young people and children aged 7-11 years. Beginning and Growing.

Cost?

All age programme: £12.99, Children’s logbook: £5.99

NB. Review on children’s resources assumes they are being used alongside the all age sessions.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Good. Glossy cover, easy to read format, clear guidelines and appealing layouts.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Overall aim is to inspire and affirm any church which wants to see transformation for its members, by discovering their unique calling and relating it to the ‘changing needs of the world'. ‘A transforming church recaptures a sense of wonder about divine-human encounters recorded in the Bible in such a way that similar encounter happen in our own culture.' Explicitly stated at the beginning of each session in the guidebook for leaders.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Very accessible. A useful background introduction is given to help give the session context in the modern world today. As these sessions are intended as extra group discussions, not church services, they are easy to run and engage with.

    Who could lead it?

    Anyone who is familiar with running group sessions with all age audiences. This resource has separate counter parts for children, young people and adults which are then drawn together in a group session.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Space to write, draw and complete exercises in attractive A4 booklets. Adult and youth logbooks are a good mixture of input, creative ideas for engagement and worship-based material. Searching and thought-provoking themes and questions. Children's resource is a logbook to fill in prior to each session. Fun and relevant however may be most suited to ages 7-11 years old. Help prepare children for the next meeting ahead of them. Also suggested to buy the ‘Little Prayer Book For Children' to assist in sessions. Available from Kevin Mayhew. RRP: £5.99.

    How good is any digital material?

    All digital material is external. Relevant worship song suggestions and website links. Assist sessions well.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Preparation is suggested to be quite lengthy, in order to ensure that the motivations of running the course are right and well thought out. This resource is about transforming our churches and our lives, so leaders need to be prepared as they challenge themselves and the participants. Resources needed are listed at the beginning of each session and suggested time to acquire these is 7 days. Suggests that participants complete logbook activities 2 weeks in advance. Time is also needed to ‘sow' the course in to the church and advertise it well. Leaders also need to prepare the format which they will use for their participants and allocate young people/adults to be mentors for children.

    Is there website support? Links?

    A few sporadic suggestions throughout. Supporting links rather than key to the course.

    Is it dated?

    Not particularly. A few mentions of OHP use which can be easily substituted. Book/song suggestions may become less relevant over time but can be substituted too. Also, as this resource has been created to help transform the changing church, there may be changes in society which this book has not considered. Leaders should be flexible in their ability to adapt the teachings to their specific surroundings.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Logbooks are to be completed and discussed with individual mentors, and by the children and their mentors so they can discuss the topics raised with someone they trust. In sessions, all participants are given an opportunity to feedback thoughts from previously completed logbook activities.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Mostly discussion and written activity based. Creativity encouraged. Christian meditation and some music for worship included. Children are encouraged to learn through puzzles, colouring, discussion, drawing, crafts and activities. There is even a session on being good learners. Recommendations for adapting material for those who have learning difficulties.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Sessions are intended to run for around one hour, with an all age group of adults, young people and children being able to discuss topics together so groups should not be too big. Suggests one session per month, with a total of 11 sessions making up the course. Individuals complete logbook between sessions and may have to do something to prepare for the next one, e.g. accompany a friend to a different denominational church. Can be carried out in a home or larger space. Need all participants to be on board with challenging how they can transform their church. One option is given for each section so leaders may find they want to substitute their own activities. Applicable for churches which are small and ready to close, as well as churches looking to be freshly inspired.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Encourages all age application in separate logbooks between sessions. Groups then come together to discuss in full. Suggestions for applying material to action outside the church and between churches.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    A small amount directly in logbooks and in group sessions, the rest is application.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Presented as readings in the sessions. Response is done by means of thought, reflection, meditation, discussion, prayer and action.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Very well. This resource is about transforming our churches and communities which means it is very good at challenging everyday habits/ patterns participants may have gotten in to. This is only gently done with the children's part, e.g. they may encouraged to consider how they can show they are followers of Jesus in their everyday lives.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Widely usable, and purposefully embracing of many traditions. Has some references which may be practices by certain denominations. E.g. meditation, liturgical prayers (celtic prayer), Lectio Divina and Nicene Creed.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    There is a specific session based on the importance of discipleship in everything we do. Gentle introduction in the children's logbook.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Encourages all to grow in their faith by considering how the church should be outward looking. For example, stewarding the world, praying for others and helping others.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Vision of God is a huge focus. All participants are continually asked: how can we, as a church, show God's kingdom on earth? All ages are encouraged to learn the truths around all people being equally as important to God. They are encouraged to think about how God may want them to treat others.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Strong focus on relating to culture and serving the local community. Gently introduces issues which are relevant to children's lives. For example, children are encouraged to think about when they have done something even though they may have felt they shouldn't have.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Encourages all to evangelise indirectly by considering how they act in their communities, how they respond to people with other beliefs and how they can outwardly show that they know Jesus. Resource also give practical suggestions to aid transforming the church, e.g. suggestions are made on ways to protect our planet.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Focus on ‘church without walls'.Explicit sessions based on community involvement. Session 7 focuses on ways to help others in order to let them know that the church cares for them. Session 8 focusses on people of different denominations joining together despite different practices. Session 10 encourages children to have different friends over and be counter dynamic to culture.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Well. Children are encouraged to consider being in the shoes of someone who may have a different way of living/ a negative stigma associated with them. They then consider: how can they be of help to these people?

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Worldwide perspective. Gently introduces importance of these in session 10 where children learn that all people are equal in God's eyes, irrelevant of race, wealth, gender etc. They learn that we are all part of God's family and should also be active in creating a fair world.

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