Our annual mission kicks off this Sunday. It’s called ‘Balham’s Big Survey’. Essentially we’re encouraging anyone who’s willing to respond to the question ‘If you could ask God one question, and you knew you’d get an answer, what would you ask?’
We’ve launched a website so that people can submit questions. We’re attempting to help people engage with the big issues of life. We’re encouraging church punters to use all manner of social media to get a response. My Facebook news feed has included a steady stream of congregational members using their status to promote the events. Happy days!
We’re going to respond to the two most popular responses on Sunday 22nd Many; in the morning, when Pete will tackle the second most popular response, and the evening when I’ll have a stab at the most popular one.
This Saturday we’re going to be out on the streets of Balham, trying not to make a nuisance of ourselves, asking people to submit a response to the big question. We’ve been out a few times before, so we’re hoping that people have got used to us pestering them for 30 seconds of their time! We’ve got a team of nearly 30 people who are giving up their Saturday morning to listen to the people of Balham and gather data. That’s hugely encouraging. I’m a bit of a statistical geek. I love graphs and pie charts and so on. They may already be dated, but I love a good ‘wordle’ as well. I may try to get some of the creative collective to produce an infographic! But I’m looking forward to the analysis once it’s been done. We’ve got a wonderfully helpful congregational member who works for the National Audit Office so she can churn out the facts in the blink of an eye!
But there are more events in the week. ‘Question Time’ should be good. On Wednesday 18th May we’ve hired Chestnut Grove School Theatre for the evening. We’ve got three panel members, with expertise in different areas, to come and respond to questions posed by the audience. Rev Dr Steve Jeffery, a PhD Physicist, Church Minister and author of ‘Pierced for our Trangressions’ will be joined by Martin Ayers and Debs Stein. Martin is an ex-lawyer and now Anglican Clergyman who’s recently published book ‘Naked God’ responds to common objections raised against the Christian faith. Debs Stein is studying for her PhD in Church History, she’s married to an Anglican Clergyman and became a Christian after pursuing a reckless hedonistic lifestyle during her young adult years. I’m going to host and there’ll be a mixture of written questions submitted by the audience and then opportunity for further supplementary questions from the floor. The unpredictability should make for a great evening.
We’ve also got two gender specific events, though we don’t call them that!
The girls are having an evening devoted to fashion called ‘Frock Chicks’. It’s on Monday 16th May. Hilary Nicholls is the co-founder of the company with the same name. Frock Chicks is a fashion consultancy with a personal shopper service. Hils is married to a good friend of mine, Andrew, who also happens to be on the C0-Mission staff. That gave me sme useful leverage! Before being married to Andrew and raising their two boys, Hils was a UCCF staff worker in London. She’ll give a style presentation and provide some fashion advice and then speak on the subject ‘Dressing up? Who are we really?’
On the Friday night (20th May), the boys are having a curry! Why wouldn’t you? We’re only a stop away from Tooting, one of the best areas in London to enjoy South Asian Cuisine. I’m speaking at this event. So it could go either way. I’m going to try to convince the gathered crowd that Christianity isn’t for religious people, which I hope will come as refreshing news to everyone there!
And the kids haven’t been left out. They’ve got Balham’s Big Bounce this Sunday afternoon (15th May). We’re transforming the school gym at Chestnut Grove School into a giant playground with soft play, a bouncy castle and a massive inflatable assault course. Simon, our children’s worker apprentice, is going to compare the fun we have at parties with the joy we have in knowing Jesus.
If you’re around, come to the events. You’d be most welcome. If you like what we’re doing, pray for us. And if you’ve got a question; submit it here.