Town-centre churches are different - The Final Word series

TOWN-CENTRE CHURCHES ARE DIFFERENT Baptist Times 7 April 2005 As its name implies, Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford is a town-centre church. Nobody lives around us – rather we are surrounded by offices, the central library, and a university campus. The challenge for us has been to develop a role specific ...

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Values to help our team grow together, not apart - The Final Word series

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Tributes at a funeral - The Final Word series

TRIBUTES AT A FUNERAL Baptist Times 20 January 2005 As a young minister I used to feel that tributes at a funeral were wrong. A Christian funeral was not a place for eulogies, but for preaching. I used to say, that my prime task was to speak about the grace ...

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Wise men ask questions - The Final Word series

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Why May is a good time for church anniversaries - The Final Word series

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Who is in charge of the worship? - The Final Word series

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When should congregations meet on a Sunday? - The Final Word series

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To kiss or not to kiss? - The Final Word series

TO KISS OR NOT TO KISS? Baptist Times 2 June 2005 I shall never forget one church I visited as the guest preacher. After the service I stood at the door with the pastor. I shook hands with everybody, while the pastor kissed some ladies, but shook hands with other ...

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Thought for the day - ALPHA

THERE IS HOPE! Baptist Times 13 April 2006 The ancients of Greece and Rome knew how to enjoy themselves in the present, but the thought of the future struck a chill into their hearts. Old age was dreaded - not because it might lead to senility, but because it would ...

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The real meaning of Christmas

THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS Baptist Times 22 December 2005 Unlike Matthew, John does not tell of the wise men and star; and unlike Luke he dies not tell of the angels and the shepherds. Indeed, he does not tell mention the a virgin birth. But he does say that ...

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The ministers house - The Final Word series

THE MINISTER’S HOUSE Baptist Times 28 April 2005 For many ministers the key issue is not so much the stipend they receive, but rather the house they live in. Traditionally most ministers live in a church house – the manse, the vicarage, or the rectory. For young ministers living in ...

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The day of pastoral visiting is not over - The Final Word series

THE DAY OF PASTORAL VISITING IS NOT OVER Baptist Times 17 March 2005 The other day I was talking with a member of another church. ‘In the past eleven years’, he said, ‘my minister has never visited me once – not even when first my father, Ministers it seems have ...

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Sermons need to be begun in good time - The Final Word series

SERMONS NEED TO BE BEGUN IN GOOD TIME Baptist Times 14 July 2005 A minister friend once told me that he would drink a bottle of red wine on a Saturday evening, and then get up early the following day to write his Sunday morning sermon; while the evening sermon ...

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School Starters

SCHOOL STARTERS Baptist Times 1 September 2005 Starting school can be a frightening experience. Perhaps today it is less of a shock to a system than it was in the past, for most children have already had to socialise with Indeed, some children have been in a others at play ...

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Rotary - a club to join?

ROTARY – A CLUB TO JOIN? Baptist Times 1 December 2005 For a good number of years I have considered joining Rotary. When I first came to Chelmsford, I tried one of the lunch-time clubs – but I was put off because the vast majority of their members were retired, ...

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References are vital - The Final Word series

REFERENCES ARE VITAL Baptist Times 13 January 2005 Calling a minister without asking for references is foolish. There is no way in which deacons can truly get to know a person within the brief compass of an evening meeting. Similarly, there is a limit to what a church may learn ...

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Real churches need small groups - The Final Word series

REAL CHURCHES NEED SMALL GROUPS Baptist Times 10 February 2005 Too many churches are pervaded by a sense of unreality. My mind goes to the announcement often made in an English church: ‘After the service we will have a time of fellowship over a cup of tea and biscuits’. I ...

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Praying at the Lord's Table

PRAYING AT THE LORD’S TABLE Baptist Times 10 November 2005 The other day a friend of mine sent me an e-mail: “I hated the way in which Baptist deacons used to ‘murder’ the great prayer of thanksgiving. Thank God, I’m now worshipping in an Anglican church”. I know what my ...

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Power in the church - The Final Word series

POWER IN THE CHURCH Baptist Times 3 March 2005 Traditionally ordination has been understood as the church conferring on its ministers the authority to preach the Word and to administer the Sacraments. But from a New Testament perspective this priestly emphasis on the role of the minister is misplaced. The ...

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One by One

ONE BY ONE Baptist Times 13 October 2005 Did you know that if each year every Christian were to win one person to Christ, then the whole world would be won to Christ within six years? Just think of what a difference it would make to our churches – let ...

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Old people need Jesus too - The Final Word series

OLD PEOPLE NEED JESUS TOO! Baptist Times 14 April 2005 The world has adopted the youth culture, and in this respect the church is little different from the world. Older people tend not to be valued in the world, and for the most part they are not valued in the ...

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Mind the Gap!

MIND THE GAP! Baptist Times, 27 October 2005 Travellers on the London tube are frequently exhorted to ‘mind the gap’ lest they slip and fall and in so doing fail to reach their destination. Metaphorically, I wish that people would also ‘mind the gap’ in worship. Not only would services ...

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Making a meal of welcoming newcomers

MAKING A MEAL OF WELCOMING NEWCOMERS Baptist Times 29 September 2005 Next Sunday we shall have a newcomers reception after the morning service. While the rest of the congregation are having just tea, coffee or squash and nothing more, those of us at the newcomers reception will also be eating ...

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Look outward at Lent - The Final Word series

LOOK OUTWARD AT LENT Baptist Times 3 February 2005 ‘Write an article about Lent’, wrote the Editor. But I confess that I am in difficulties. For Lent has no meaning for me. Christmas, Easter and Pentecost – all these festivals I gladly celebrate. But Lent is not a festival – ...

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Is there a place for large-scale missions today? - The Final Word series

IS THERE A PLACE FOR LARGE SCALE MISSIONS TODAY? Baptist Times 19 May 2005 Is there a place for large scale or town-wide missions today? My first reaction is to say, ‘No’. The day when churches engaged either on their own or together in a major Evangelistic programmes like Alpha ...

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I believe in the Virgin Birth

I BELIEVE IN THE VIRGIN BIRTH Baptist Times 8 December 2005 The idea of a virgin birth is often dismissed as a nonsense. Mary must have had sex with someone, if not with Joseph then with some secret lover. The suggestion is frequently made that this idea was borrowed from ...

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How should a minister spend a Sunday off?

HOW SHOULD A MINISTER SPEND A SUNDAY OFF? Baptist Times 6 October 2005 The Baptist Union recommends that Baptist ministers receive five weeks for holiday plus another week for study. In addition, many Baptist ministers receive a further two, if not three Sundays off a year. In other words, most ...

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Every minister needs to write flower cards - The Final Word series

EVERY MINISTER NEEDS TO WRITE FLOWER CARDS Baptist Times 30 June 2005 One of the idiosyncrancies of our churches is that we have fresh flowers in church. many places on the Continent, for instance, Baptist churches will instead have a wonderful display of plants. Furthermore, unlike our Anglican friends, who ...

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Every minister needs a church office - The Final Word series

EVERY MINISTER NEEDS A CHURCH OFFICE Baptist Times 21 July 2005 Ministers need to work from church. Church offices for ministers are not a luxury to be enjoyed only by larger churches – they should be normal in every church, whatever the size. In the first instance, working from church ...

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Evangelism is a process - The Final Word series

EVANGELISM IS A PROCESS Baptist Times 24 February 2005 When I was a child the classic way in which many people became Christians was by attending an evangelistic event and responding to an appeal to come forward at the end of the sermon. Faith for them involved very much a ...

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Developing a policy for non-conformers - The Final Word series

DEVELOPING A POLICY FOR NON-CONFORMERS Baptist Times 4 August 2004 How do we respond as a church when people, who do not conform to accepted Christian norms of behaviour, begin to attend our services? Indeed how do we respond when church members deviate from the norm? What should our attitude ...

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Conflict is inevitable yet welcome - The Final Word series

CONFLICT IS INEVITABLE – YET WELCOME! Baptist Times 31 March 2005 Where two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name…then there is almost bound to be conflict at one time or another. Much of the conflict that takes place in church life is rooted in human sinfulness and dishonours ...

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Communion for the Dying

COMMUNION FOR THE DYING Baptist Times 17 November 2005 It was not until recently that, after 35 years of Christian ministry, I had my first experience of taking communion to a dying person. Does this say something about the way in which many Baptists regard communion? Significantly, it was not ...

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Civic service: right or wrong? - The Final Word series

CIVIC SERVICE: RIGHT OR WRONG? Baptist Times 7 July 2005 The other Sunday, as part of our centennial celebrations, we put on a civic service. Lord Lieutenant of the County as also the High Sheriff was there. So too were the Mayor and Mayoress, and the local MP. The chairman ...

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Christ is risen! - The Final Word series

CHRIST IS RISEN! Baptist Times 24 March 2005 "If there's no resurrection for Christ”, wrote the Apostle Paul, “everything we've told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you've staked your life on is smoke and mirrors... And if Christ wasn't raised, then all you're doing is wandering about in ...

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Children at Communion?

CHILDREN AT COMMUNION? Baptist Times 3 November 2005 The way most Baptist churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper children never get a real ‘look-in’. True, they see the Table laid with bread and wine, but then they go to their Sunday School classes, with the result that the Lord’s Supper remains ...

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Children are important - The Final Word series

CHILDREN ARE IMPORTANT Baptist Times 23 June 2005 Over the years Baptists have produced several reports on the child and the church. But none of them seemed to scratch where churches itched. Recently our children’s ministry team drafted a statement about children in our church. I thought it was so ...

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Changing brides, changing services - The Final Word series

CHANGING BRIDES, CHANGING SERVICES Baptist Times 9 June 2005 Much water has gone under the bridge since Martin Luther wrote to a friend, “Grace and peace in Christ – and authority over your wife”, or since John Calvin declared that a woman is “a kind of appendage” and a “lesser ...

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Celebrating Racial Justice Sunday

CELEBRATING RACIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY Baptist Times 8 September 2005 This coming Sunday has been designated as ‘Racial Justice Sunday’. On this day the churches in Britain are asked ‘to reflect on racial justice issues, to pray for a Christian response, and to make a commitment to work for justice’. In ...

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Celebrating ALPHA Sunday

CELEBRATING ALPHA SUNDAY Baptist Times 22 September 2005 Next Sunday we shall be celebrating as ‘Alpha Sunday’, and we shall be plugging Alpha as hard as we can. In the morning we are beginning a new series of the so-called ‘Servant Songs’ of Isaiah – i n the context of ...

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Carol Singing in the Mall

CAROL SINGING IN THE MALL Baptist Times 15 December 2005 Research shows that the majority of non-churchgoers would be tempted to go to a carol service if invited to do so by a friend. If this is so, then as Christians we need to be in the temptation business – ...

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Can you help develop a policy on church music - The Final Word series

CAN YOU HELP DEVELOP A POLICY ON CHURCH MUSIC? Baptist Times 5 May 2005 In most churches today music, not doctrine, is the great divider. There is nothing more people have stronger opinions on than the songs or hymns that are sung in the church. In my own church we ...

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Buildings are a good investment in mission - The Final Word series

BUILDINGS ARE A GOOD INVESTMENT IN MISSION Baptist Times 17 February 2005 We spent almost £2 million on redeveloping our church and as a result have ended up with a wonderful set of premises. But were we right or were we wrong to spend such a huge sum? Some told ...

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Blest be the tie that binds! - The Final Word series

BLEST BE THE TIE (AND NOT THE CLONE) THAT BINDS! Baptist Times 28 July 2005 [not printed in this revised form] This week the world comes to Birmingham, as Baptists from all over the world gather in the National Exhibition Centre to mark the centenary of the Baptist World Alliance. ...

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Babies are important - The Final Word series

BABIES ARE IMPORTANT Baptist Times, 16 June 2005 One afternoon this week I spent two hours visiting a maternity hospital. Not that I spent all that time in the hospital itself. Rather, I was visiting a hospital out in the wilds of Essex. The ‘upside’ of the visit was that ...

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Are Worship Bands a Bane or Blessing?

ARE WORSHIP BANDS A BANE OR BLESSING? Baptist Times 15 September 2005 At a time when many churches are doing away with their organs, we happily retain ours – indeed, it was only four years ago that we bought one of the latest ‘state of the art’ I firmly believe ...

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A church meeting does not have to begin with minutes - The Final Word series

A CHURCH MEETING DOES NOT HAVE TO BEGIN WITH MINUTES Baptist Times 26 May 2005 In most church meetings, the minutes of the past meeting tend to come toward the beginning – immediately following a brief act of worship. In our church the minutes of the monthly church meeting always ...

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100 Not Out

100 NOT OUT! Baptist Times, 20 October 2005 Whether or not congratulation is in order, I leave readers to decide, but the fact remains that this is my 100th Final Word column. My first Final Word article was published on 13 November 2003, and I have been writing ever since. ...

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A course for grandparents (Editorial)

Editorial Ministry Today 33: February 2005 By Paul Beasley-Murray A course for grandparents? As a minister I am accustomed to helping people through the various rites of passage. Recently, however, I went through a rite of passage myself when Caroline and I became grandparents - and proud ones at that! ...

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A job specification for a senior minister

Job Specification for a Senior Minister Ministry Today 33: February 2005 By Paul Beasley-Murray Senior Minister of Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford and Chair of the Ministry Today Board of Management My new year resolutions are as follows: At the beginning of this year, I found on my desk a letter ...

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A service for the renewal of wedding vows

A Service for the Renewal of Wedding Vows Sunday 22 May 2005 Ministry Today 36: March 2006 By Paul Beasley-Murray Chair of Ministry Today Not all denominations have liturgies for a renewal of wedding vows. The following article is offered as an example of how one experienced minister does it. ...

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Busy Days and Mondays

Editorial Ministry Today 34: June 2005 By Paul Beasley-Murray Busy Days and Mondays "Sunday is your busy day". If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. And it infuriates me. Yes, I know that it is normally meant in jest, but I find it insulting and unthinking. ...

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Timothy & Charlotte – A Wedding Sermon

Timothy And Charlotte 18 June 2005 - a Wedding Sermon By Paul Beasley-Murray Senior Minister of Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford and Chair of Ministry Today Ministry Today 35: November 2005 This article is a transcript of the sermon preached by the author at the wedding of his son and daughter-in-law. ...

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Are you looking for resources to transform the life of your Church? If so, this website could be what you are looking for.

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Who’s Paul Beasley-Murray?

Paul is the chairman of Ministry Today, as also the College of Baptist Ministers, and from 1993 – 2014 was Senior Minister of Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford. He can be contacted at

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