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Book Review – 4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers March 7, 2018

Posted by thehutch in book review, books, youthwork.
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We have a calling to reach out to all people and yet there are some who feel isolated, condemned and unwelcome in our churches. The LGBTQ teens have often been pushed aside and the stories of mental health issues, suicide, bullying etc. are never ending. As Church, we need to do something…our arguments are alienating people from the love of Christ and the fellowship of faith.

4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers is a book published by the Youth Cartel that wants youth workers/ministers/pastors etc. to rethink how we engage with youngsters on the margins who are often isolated and avoided by church. Whatever your theological positioning, the Church does not have a good track record and something has to change, or we will continue to abdicate our responsibility leaving vulnerable young people further condemned and judged.

This book steps into a space to try and help those engaged in Christian youth ministry think through how they may be better equipped to honour those who find themselves in a place where a welcome is less than welcoming.  The book takes a conversational style which includes testimony and practice from one practitioner and has a response from a second contributor. This is done remarkably well although it does not provide all the answers, nor attempt to provide a theological treatise, but rather seeks to begin conversations. It is not possible to join the conversation and not change practice. It is not possible to avoid being humbled by our own failings whilst engaging with our LGBTQ community – this has to be good news! Reading this book and joining the conversation has changed my own thinking and is nudging me towards being a better ambassador of Christ.

The main contributors do a good job of seeking to share their perspective without forcing  a personal agenda although that struggle comes through on occasion. Each viewpoint gives insight to the difficulties faced when pastoring LGBTQ youth and highlights the personal struggles that a pastor goes through when seeking to support the very people they are called to serve, especially when a church congregation holds a traditional conservative approach to sexuality.

I would recommend the book because it opens up conversation – there were moments when I wanted to thank the contributor and give them a pat on the back and moments when I wanted to say, No Way! This for me, makes a good book. It is impossible not to  tread on toes and there were a few moments when I wanted to challenge theological thinking but this does not take away from the importance of the contributions.

Thank you to all involved for beginning this journey. I am looking forward to see how it will unfold.

Personal scoring 4/5

To buy a copy in the UK – follow the link from Gemma Dunning page here


Changes in the Missions World October 3, 2017

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There have been significant changes within the mission world, during the last 2 decades, that are beginning to re-shape our world. Like all things, some are ahead of the curve and others lagging but they are happening as the para-church agencies, and churches, are grappling with seismic shifts that are enforcing new ways of working.

3 of the most important moves have been:

a) a move to partnerships – there is recognition that we are unable to work alone and have to begin working together. This is apparent in both mission agencies and church denominations.

b) Church being central – Agencies in particular are realising the need to work with and alongside the church, rather than ‘for’ the church. For some agencies, this is a change that has radically re-ordered their ministry.

c) Equipping – many mission agencies are moving beyond the ‘doing’ to equipping the saints for works of service. This allows and provides opportunity for a greater contextual ministry in a globalised world and helps the church seed new initiatives. Training is in vogue again!

How these changes are being managed is open for debate but they remain essential. These are exciting days.



We cannot avoid dangers and troubles…. September 22, 2017

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If the highest aim of a captain was to preserve his ship,

he would leave it at port, forever.”    Aquinas

Too often, we seek for safety and security at the expense of living life to the full. We want the great celebratory moments without the stepping stones of effort, pain and hurt that get us to this point. We should not avoid danger, we should not discount how the difficulties of life mould and shape us and we should never forget that the smallest of things can have the profoundest of impacts in life.

If we were to bleach, clean and remove all dirt and germs from our children toys, they would never develop a healthy immune system. In fact, they would be more at risk of the things that we fear, not less.  In life, do not fear the difficulties and problems, instead learn from them, grow from them and flourish in the new found skills and attitudes that will result.

Your job is not to stay safe on the shoreline but rather to explore the new horizons and the new worlds that are over the sea. Happy sailing!


Celebrate what? September 20, 2017

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What we celebrate, we measure.

What we measure, we cultivate.

What we cultivate we become.

We need to think carefully what we celebrate

Remembering a Sister and Friend… July 27, 2017

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Today we were able to share a memorial service with Holy Communion, at St.Andrews, Fulham Field, for a very dear sister and friend, Constance Mirembe…

Click on date for the full post  Thursday, 27 July 2017

More Shortest Book Reviews… July 18, 2017

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51JTz+vygyL“Leading a Multicultural Church” by Malcolm Patten – A practitioner and a thinker who lays a beautiful theological cushion from which we can stand and become a genuine practitioner who engages with the multiple cultures of our cities. There is a depth and reality to this book that should be on the shelf of every ministry in an urban setting, practical, real and helpful. 10/10


Doorstep-280210“The World on our Doorstep” by Dewi Hughes – This book answers questions about other faiths, gives tools for how to engage them with Christendom and pitfalls to avoid. A useful book for those seeking to step into evangelism in a multicultural context. 8/10

FOMO Fears June 11, 2017

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The irony is that in our anxiety toward not missing out, we are losing the most meaningful moments of life
Jeff Goins

Shortest Book Reviews May 9, 2017

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Hopecasting by Mark Oestreicher – A refreshing book that manages to unravel the tangled web of christian cliche to impact the heart and provide fresh perspective.  A great book for those in tough situations who want to see a brighter future and need some solid thinking to assure them. 9/10

A Man on Fire, The Story of Maynard James by Paul James – The story of an evangelist preacher who was a key leader in the UK Holiness Movement during the 20th century. A personal account that talks of the strengths and weaknesses of a man of faith as he sought to share the gospel message. 7/10


Numbers don’t matter? Do they? May 8, 2017

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It is easy to get in to the numbers game, not just the counting…ignoring them to. You cannot stand at the extremes, numbers do matter but we have to be careful what the narrative behind them is.

Last week we began our new missional community and, with all faith, said that even if nobody outside of family turned up, we would be happy. This soon changed as we had a number of people who committed to attend – 14 in all and my hopes had been raised, space would be a challenge and we were going to have an incredible start. On the day, we had 9 in total – but not from the group that had committed – just 3 from there. It was a fabulous start and I was (initially at least) disappointed.

Numbers are a guide, they cannot and should not be ignored. However, we must be careful to listen to the narrative behind the numbers and look at the long term success or failure. Jesus was deserted and by the time of his crucifixion was completely alone…..years later, the world was changed and numbers are beyond counting now. We need to track our numbers and learn what the figures say but the spreadsheet should not determine direction of travel or key decisions, for this we need the story.

There were good reasons why a number of folk did not turn up for our first meeting, we will be logging the numbers in the next few months and see the trends. However, they will not prevent us sticking to the calling at hand. We will see a community of believers transforming this area because God is at work and his faithful friends are serving. Some of these things can be counted, some cannot.

Numbers matter but numbers alone are a noose around our neck. They are a part of the story, not the whole. Numbers matter, do not let anyone tell you otherwise.



Cricklewood April 11, 2017

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