When I started the DThM programme at Durham University people told me that thesis writing would be hard and no-one would ever read your work (except maybe those marking it!) But I’ve stumbled across a really interesting topic, at a key time for the church, and interviewed some amazing people whose insights and stories I’d love to share.
So each Monday this year I’m going to share an instalment from my doctorate research in the HTB network churches. The doctorate is in final draft form and I’m hoping that blogging will help me revise anything that needs revision, so please do get involved and if you’ve got things to tell me you can contact me for this on firstname.lastname@example.org or via this blog/social media.
The topic is fascinating! Since 2014 I’ve been exploring Discipleship Goals in the Holy Trinity Brompton [HTB] Network of Churches. These blogs, and the thesis will be an exploration of the theological trajectories of the movement and their implications for the future of the network.
First then, what to look out for over the coming sessions:
The expansion and significance of HTB / network and its potential impact on the Church of England and beyond.
Lots about John Stott at All Souls Langham Place (and some now controversial camps) might be a key to understanding where HTB has come from.
Lots about seismic shift brought about through John Wimber
A look at how a prophesy of world revival and the Toronto Blessing helped set up the growth of Alpha
Some thinking on ‘Generous Orthodoxy’
How success can be a driver in ministry
What it means to be a celebrity church (movement)
What are the differences between what Wesley and Whitfield prayed for, believed, taught and did and where our 21C missional movement is heading?
Does ‘preaching the positives’ end up changing your core theology, and if so how quickly can you expect that to happen – one generation or two?
All this interspersed with some truly marvellous stories of faith, growth, hope and people on an adventure in the Spirit.
At this key time, as the movement heads towards radical transitions after 45 years of leadership stability, these posts will hopefully help anyone of charismatic, evangelical and / or Anglican heritage reflect on where we have come from and where we might be going next…
Apparently philosophers differ on whether Socrates was right that an ‘unexamined life is not worth living.’ It can be easy to think that if you look too deeply at something it leads to negativity and even cynicism (cf Jamison). But my hope and prayer is that our generation of leaders and others in the charismatic and evangelical Anglican church are up for taking stock, thanking God for all that is so good in the past and taking time to carefully set course for the future, knowing that with Him the best is always yet to come.