I’m not saying I’m addicted to watching TV crime and detective series, but Morse, Shetland, Endeavour, Lewis, Wallender, Midsomer Murders, etc. means the higher number channels are most frequently turned on in our house.

I’ve never watched The Wire, apparently a US based one, but Alan Hirsch quotes Detective Bunk who’s the lead role in his most recent book:

“You know what you need at a crime scene? … Soft eyes … If you got soft eyes, you can see the whole thing. If not you got hard eyes – you staring at the same tree missing the forest.”[1]

Alan Hirsch begins his book which focuses on Ephesians 4:1-16 to highlight our need for ‘soft eyes’ if we are to negotiate the increasing complexities of the world in which we have some responsibility to lead. Alan provides a significant contribution to those of us who long to see missional movement flourishing across the UK. ‘Missional movement’ is about disciples making disciples and churches planting churches. It might start with praying at a ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer event for more people to come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, but it can never end there.

We talk about Seventy-Two being a catalyst because it’s blatantly clear in every facet of life we might be able to help someone start something, such as buying them a gym membership, or a Bible in One Year, but it makes little difference, in practice, if it remains simply a standing order going out of our bank account, or ‘86h 28m remaining’ on my Kindle!

So this month, as we theoretically get into summer (as I write this the trees are being blown at an angle and we have standing water on our lawn) I’m wanting us all to face the challenges of what have I started this year, or said I’d start, but have already left to one side?

One of the most chilling verses I read in the gospels is: ‘from this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him’ (John 6:66). I realise this is focusing on the ultimate change of direction, but I guess we all recognise walking by faith is about ‘a long walk in the same direction’[2] and that walk is made up of many steps.

This is true for us as individuals, but it’s also true for us as churches. Simply looking at our own small corner distorts our view of the whole, whether that means we can easily identify the on-going decline of the church, or our experience is bucking the trend. The Fit4Mission survey provides our most recent hard statistics and the numbers alone suggest: ‘Growing’ = 26%; ‘Constant’ = 25% and ‘Decline’ = 49%. My own take is that these simply highlight our own instincts that we are in a very critical position.

Have a read of some of our blog posts from different people helping us to explore our way ahead in the mission of God.

What we talk about as ‘the discipleship cycle’ (see DNA Groups) is designed to encourage beyond simply listening to what God might be saying to you, right here, right now and moving forwards.

‘If we fail to plan, we plan to fail’ can easily apply to creating evangelistic opportunities. The time to plan for 2018 is now: Hope 2018

Seventy-two is looking to develop our partnership with Spring Harvest over every Spring Harvest 2018 site, in Harrogate, Minehead and Skegness. The primary motivation behind encouraging as many Baptists as we can to attend is to help us address our need to be better equipped followers of Jesus.

[1] Alan Hirsch, 5Q. (Columbia: 100M, 2017)

[2] Eugene Peterson – see the book of a similar title)



Nigel Coles

Nigel is Regional Team Leader of the West of England Baptist Network. He facilitates the life of the webnet team and oversees the missional strategy for the region. He also works to develop missional strategy over a wider geographical area with our partner Associations and Baptists Together. Nigel believes that when Jesus sent out seventy-two others, he meant everyone who was there, and this passion to help everyone find their way in the mission of God is what inspired the development of Seventy-two.