Roots Report 2008

Well, I said I had a Roots report to give. It was a good year this year. Those of us in the prayer and pastoral teams certainly noticed that there was a much more healthier spiritual atmosphere. Last year was quite oppressive until there was some kind of breakthrough on the Sunday evening.

Anway, lots of things were encouraging and challenging. Shane Claiborne was particularly challenging and I come back again to the age old question about how we deal with the ‘stuff’ we have. I still get sick of ‘stuff’ (especially when it comes to packing it) but more than just the issue of stuff, Shane brought home to me again God’s heart for the poor.

Alongside that, the likes of Andrew Grinnell and Gary Bishop were sharing ALOVE’s NEO strategy to reach out into the Forgotten Five % of the poorest communities in the UK. Again, signs that The Salvation Army is slowly marching back into the cities. Certainly playing a different beat, but marching all the same.

I also picked up Gary Bishop’s new book ‘Darkest England and the Way Back In.’ Fundamentally challenging book written out of his study of William Booth’s classic ‘In Darkest England and the Way Out’ and his experiences leading a NEO in inner city Manchester. Gary’s resounding conclusion was that Booth’s ‘Way Out’ strategy worked barring the simple factor that the saved forgot to march back into the deprived areas to continue pulling others out and up. Its a good read, well reccomended. As I say, challenging.

There was things about Roots that were a little tiring and repetitive, such as the format of the celebrations and the substance of the worship, but its encouraging to see that there is a review taking place of the whole Roots event. I’m looking forwad to seeing a revamped Roots in 2010.

Certainly there was nothing astounding about Roots this year, but for us there was a lot of confirmation and affirmation. Again, a privilege to be on the pastoral team helping and praying people as they responded to what God was doing in them. Some really brave and adventurous decisions being made out there. Everything from stepping our to move into the inner-city to simply folks searching for the next step. Privilege to be a wee part of what God was doing.

As always, great to see loadsa friends and catch up.

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