church nottingham

EXCELLING IN THE ART OF CONVERSATION 
by Roy Todd

Developing great people skills is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself & others in your life. When you learn to relate well to people, they’ll always want to be in your company. That’s exactly what happened with Jesus. Thousands flocked to be around him because there was something about this man which made sense. He could converse with anybody…no-matter who they were or where they were from. We could learn a thing or two from him!

Here are 7 things to think about developing so you can excel in the art of conversation (they’re in no particular order)…

1) Seek to understand people

People will forget what you say, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. When they ‘feel’ understood, you create a connection with them that makes it far easier to build a meaningful friendship. It causes conversation to flow much easier.

2) Think ahead

Even before you meet other people, think ahead to the kind of questions you will ask them. It’s the lack of forward thinking that often stunts conversation and makes it difficult to engage with others.

3) Avoid awkwardness

Long silences and uncomfortable body language are all excruciatingly awful. They’re also totally unnecessary. Be open. Be friendly. Smile. Show initiative. Take interest. Ask questions. Think ahead (remember the previous point).

4) Don’t be too Intense

Just because you might see yourself as a ‘deep’ person doesn’t mean everyone else must start there. Gauge where others are at and try to make a connection with them. Intensity which happens too quickly simply exhausts conversation and ultimately makes it unenjoyable. You must work your way there.

5) Respect space

Be alert & sense when you’re invading someone else’s personal space. But be sure not to be too distant either. Conversation is an art that needs strong self awareness and a profound understanding of context. Remember, it’s an art.

6) Be humble

Name dropping and self promotion are deeply unimpressive, especially for high calibre people. Be far more concerned about showing interest in what others do than in mentioning your own achievements. Humility is an underrated characteristic.

7) Stay positive

The best conversations are created by what you’re for, not against. So create good vibes. It’s how you’ll get the best out of others. Negativity & gossip might be great short term tittle tattle, but in the long term they create suspicion & distrust. Set the right tone…and watch what happens.

Conversation is an art which needs to be lovingly crafted. Make it your ambition to get better and better. 

CHECK UT THE JUNCTION CHURCH NOTTINGHAM HERE, THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE & THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

church leicester

WHY HONOUR MATTERS 
by Roy Todd

When Jesus returned to preach in his home town of Nazareth, the response was underwhelming to say the least. There was a host of negative reactions – from patronising cynicism to downright antagonism. Interestingly, the most telling vibe was….offence. Mark’s account tells us that they ‘took offence at him‘ (Mark 6:3). Jesus was more than aware of this, hence the reason why he said ‘A prophet is not without honour, except in their own town (Mark 6:4)’

Offence is the overflow of a dishonourable heart when it observes something it perceives to be a threat. It undermines, gossips, carps, snipes and speaks in sarcastic tones which convey it’s contempt. All of these things create a culture of dishonour where faith is diminished and miracles cannot happen. In Nazareth, the people believed in the miraculous. However, they had a problem with the miracle worker….Jesus. But dishonour meant that Jesus ‘could not do any miracles there‘ (Mark 6:5). That was a tragedy for the city. The contemporary lesson is truly profound.

Dishonour is a culture which keeps people down and feels more comfortable when it is criticising others rather than celebrating them. It is born out of deep insecurity. Honour is the very opposite. It takes a profoundly secure heart to celebrate God’s grace in the lives of others. It is free from expectations of receiving anything in return. See, honour is without agenda, other than to champion others.

Honour REALLY matters. It is a culture which calls out greatness and encourages people to live in the heights of God’s grace. It resists the temptation to be jealous when they become more ‘successful’ than you because it recognises that everything we have belongs to God anyway. All God requires of each of us is that we are faithful. On the day that really matters, this is what Jesus will celebrate… ‘well done good and faithful servant‘ (Matt 25:23).

I dare you to live with honour in your heart. Let that be the overflow of everything you say and do. God loves a heart like that. In a culture of honour, the impossible becomes possible.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH IN LEICESTER HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH IN LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

church leicester

LOST IN TRANSITION 
by Roy Todd

Life is a series of seasons. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us of this truth when it says ‘To everything, there is a season‘. The problem for many people is that they get lost in transition. You see, seasonal changes are inevitable, but they’re rarely clear cut. They can even look uncertain at times. For example, it doesn’t suddenly stop being winter one day and then turn into spring the next. Transitions are far less pronounced than that. Just when you think spring has sprung, winter reappears again and hopes can feel dashed. The same is true in life.

Resist the temptation to despair when it feels like things are not working out for you. What looks apparent is not the real story. In the seeming chaos and upheaval, God is at work. There’s a shift happening in the atmosphere. You’re moving into a new season, even if it doesn’t seem obvious. It can be messy, inconvenient and can even feel a bit unsettling. But that’s ok. Stay the course and dare to keep trusting God. The transition will pass and you’ll eventually find your rhythm again.

Yet how many people have given up too soon? How many people have misread their situation and assumed that it would be better to bail out? Sadly, what then tends to happen is an aimless journey of wandering begins – without meaning and lacking vision – it eventually ends up in a pit of deep resentment. If only they’d held their nerve a little longer. The transition would have passed. There was a new season of opportunity ahead, but it was missed by yielding to fear.

Whatever you do, don’t miss your God given purpose! Life is too short to live in bitterness and disappointment. Seasonal transitions are part of the tension we have to manage. That’s just life. Every day, you get a little older & every morning you wake up, life has moved on a bit more. Instead of fearing change, embrace it. Trust God through the times when you’re not quite sure what’s going on. It’s ok for everything not to be ok. What matters most is that God has your back. Don’t get lost in transition. Be found in Jesus. That’s how you overcome (1 John 5:5).

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH.

church leicester

FIVE YEARS ON…
by Roy & Lydia Todd

Five years ago, the Junction Church held it’s first service. We will always remember the raw sense of excitement mixed with a generous dose of apprehension in the build up to that day. Every step along the way was faith after faith after faith. We knew things were about to change…but we didn’t quite grasp just how much. How could we? Yet as we’ve poured our lives into God’s house, the honour of serving Jesus and his bride has not diminished in the slightest. Actually, it has grown. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves that we get to walk this incredible adventure.

Five years later, we’re really encouraged to see just how much the Junction Church has developed. It is now a thriving community where hundreds of people have found faith in Jesus & are doing life together. We are one church in two locations – Loughborough & Leicester. We’re pleased to say that both campuses are in great health.

So what are our reflections after five years of pioneering? Well, there are too many to write about here. However, since we’re five years on, we thought we’d mention five:

1) IT’S ALL ABOUT GROWING BIGGER PEOPLE

Our goal has never been about building a big church. Our heart is to grow big people. We didn’t learn this from some leadership book. No. It was forged in God given conviction. That’s where leadership must really begin. God loves people. Our job is to create an environment where their potential is released and giants of the faith can emerge. Healthy culture is where this happens.

2) DON’T TALK TOO MUCH ABOUT VISION – JUST LIVE IT

Our ethos of leadership is ‘just get on with it‘. In other words, it’s better to accomplish something and then talk about it afterwards than talk about doing stuff and never accomplish it. Too much talk about vision is usually the sign of a lack of it. Vision should be seen….that’s why it’s called ‘VISION’. Leaders must live it first.

3) LEAN IN TO GOD’S GRACE

This is probably the greatest revelation we’ve experienced in five years. We’ve learned more than ever before that we completely depend on God’s grace for everything…EVERYTHING!! It’s like oxygen to our souls. Finding the rhythms of God’s grace helps make sense of life, no-matter what season we’re in.

4) RAISE UP LEADERS

This takes time and it must never be rushed. But wise leaders understand that true success is in our successors. Raising up leaders in every level of the Junction Church has meant taking calculated risks, believing in people, championing others and investing in the next generation. The Junction Church is full of sons and daughters of the house who ‘get‘ what this thing is all about. The future is looking great.

5) HONOUR THE KING

It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when ego is taken out of the equation. In the end, we live to honour the King. What matters to us is not the approval of people but the words of Jesus, ‘well done good and faithful servant‘. As long as the King is honoured, that’s what really matters.

Think about it. If this is what can happen in the first five years of the Junction Church, imagine what we can be accomplished in the next five? Right then. Lets do this. #LetTheFutureBegin #GetOnWithIt 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH

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WHAT REALLY MATTERS??? 
by Roy Todd

I recently read some Christian blogs which were full of complaint about churches that have ‘hipster’ lights, punchy music & a ‘style’ that is not to their liking. Afterwards, I found myself thinking….SO WHAT??? In a world that’s in desperate need of the life giving hope of God’s good news, are these things seriously worth getting so angry about? I mean, in the grand scheme of things….really?? 

So what if some churches like a few lights? So what if there’s a bit of beat in the music? So what if some churches don’t conform to traditional ways of doing things – and sing songs that have been written in the last 2 years rather than 20 or 200 years ago? So what???

Surely what REALLY matters is that people are encountering the life transforming grace of Jesus Christ? Surely it would be better to celebrate churches that are courageously reaching out and impacting a generation with the greatest news on the planet? Surely the REAL travesty is that there are so many churches out there where new salvations are few and far between?

The Pharisees detested Jesus because he didn’t fit with their expectations of how things should be done. They even accused him of being a compromiser, or as they put it, a ‘friend of sinners‘ (Matt 11:19). But what was meant as a carping, sniping criticism was actually an unwitting compliment. You see, Jesus related to everyday people, used illustrations they could identify with and connected with their lives. Meanwhile, religion loves to stay in it’s own little theologically correct bubble and feels better about itself when it is pontificating about what it doesn’t approve of. Every Christian would do well to take care not fall into it’s pit. It’s a death trap in which many churches today are paying a heavy price, their very existence on the edge of extinction.

If we’re going to win a generation, then the Church (capital C) is going to need to shake itself out of complacency and recapture the raw heart & essence of Jesus message. Think for a moment about the first line of the most well known verse in the bible – ‘For God so loved the world‘. That one statement tells us everything about the ONE we worship. If it matters to him, it ought to matter to us. In the end, that’s what REALLY matters.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

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BETTER TO BE IMPERFECTLY EXCELLENT

It is said that Thomas Edison tried over a thousand times to invent the lightbulb. After 900 failed attempts, a ‘friend’ suggested to Edison that he should accept failure. ‘No‘ said Edison. ‘I’ve just been successful in finding 900 different ways how not to make a lightbulb.‘ Shortly after that, he invented the lightbulb.

While a mediocre mindset sees failure as the end, excellence views it as the beginning – an opportunity to learn some more. The latter understands that perfection is a mere delusion, at least as far as fallen humanity is concerned. Moreover, God is NOT searching for perfection. If this were the case, we’d all be in very serious trouble. Actually, He’s looking for people who will embark on an imperfect pilgrimage, trusting His ultimate goodness in a world that can feel harsh and uncaring. That’s why it takes real faith to believe in God’s hope, especially when things can seem pretty hopeless at times.

The paradox of mediocrity is that it sees itself as the perfect standard by which everything else should be judged. It imposes strict limitations and then contemptuously sneers at anyone who dares to rise above it’s self made ceiling. At the core of its thinking is a kind of prideful pessimism which believes people should accept the perfection of average, dismissing anything higher as pompous and arrogant.

The reality of excellence is very different. By contrast, it recognises that it is not the same as perfection and never pretends to be so. Furthermore, to pursue excellence in life takes great humility, profound selflessness and outstanding courage. You see, this journey is about far more than ourselves. It’s about the future. It’s about living for something that is bigger than us. It’s about helping a new generation rise higher and go further than we ever did. What a travesty not to give them a better chance. Sadly, that’s exactly what the perfectly average thinking of mediocrity does. It holds people down.

In your life, never insult God with small thinking. ‘He is able to do more than we could ever ask, think or imagine‘ (Eph 3:20). No, we’ll never be perfect, at least while we live on this earth. So it’s better to live an imperfectly excellent life than one which is perfectly average. 

Don’t compromise. Be a bit cheeky and dare to aim high. Whatever happens, never stop believing God…ever. 

COME AND CHECK US OUT THIS SUNDAY! MORE ABOUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE. MORE ABOUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.

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WHY REAL VICTORY IN LIFE

It’s better to be underestimated than overestimated. When expectations are too high and unrealistic, disappointment is inevitable. What’s really important is what happens behind the scenes. To be victorious in life, you must win here first.

The bible character who illustrates this best is King David. Before he became king, he was deeply underrated. This was something he’d experienced all his life. For example, when Samuel was looking for a new king in the land, all of David’s brothers were in line first before David was eventually chosen (1 Samuel 16). Years later, when the Philistine champion Goliath taunted and humiliated the armies of Israel, David’s offer to confront him was treated with complete scorn (1 Samuel 17). Then when he finally stood on the field to face Goliath, the colossal giant was insulted by a kid who he looked down upon with utter contempt. What infuriated Goliath all the more was the fact that David only had a sling and some stones, wearing none of the usual armour a soldier would carry. However, in those next few moments, history was made as an astonishing victory took place. With one stone, David hit the giant and subsequently defeated the Philistine armies. Wow. With one stone!!

So….was this a fluke? Was it luck? Not at all. Behind the scenes, David was totally prepared for this battle. What Goliath didn’t know was that David had already defeated a bear and a lion (1 Samuel 17:34). Furthermore, David was highly skilled in the art of sling throwing. It is said that David’s skill would have been so accurate that he could have hit a target from a significant distance and with incredible precision. So in reality, whilst David was perceived as the underdog, the real disadvantage lay with the nine foot giant. He was an easy target for David that day. David was more than happy to be seen as the underdog. You see, status didn’t matter to him. What really counted was victory.

Underdogs are underrated because they are perceived as weak. But the perception is often flawed. When people aren’t aware of the battles you’ve been through in life, they often underestimate what you’re made of.

Before we planted the Junction Church, we hosted a series of Sunday night meetings in a small village. On reflection, those two years were the toughest of our lives. In that short time, we dealt with virtually every issue it was possible for leaders to deal with. The pressure was great and it nearly broke us. I can’t begin to describe what we went through there. Yet as painful as it was, it was absolutely necessary we passed that test. When we went on to plant the Junction Church, we were prepared for what lay ahead. Why? Because we’d been through the fire and not only survived…but thrived. We gained invaluable experience which prepared us to build a community that would be strong and healthy. 

What happens behind the scenes of your life REALLY matters. If you want to live in a place of victory, then this must be fought for when no-one else is looking. The battle is in your mind. It’s also imperative to overcome the struggles in your heart. When we deal with these well, that’s when we’ll triumph in life. Nothing will be able to stop you. When you learn to win those unseen battles, they create a steel inside you which prepare you for your key moments. You see, the real victory happens when we win while no-one else is looking. 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

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IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE WEIRD 
by Roy Todd

I love the work of the Holy Spirit. His desire is to draw people’s attention towards Jesus (John 14:26). On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), there were symbolic manifestations such as a sound like wind and then what appeared like flames of fire that sat on the believers heads. The Christians also spoke in other languages they had not learned. Interestingly, passers by thought this was all a bit weird and even thought they were drunk (Acts 2:13)! So Peter quickly realised he had to clearly explain what was happening and articulate the message of Jesus. The result? 3000 unchurched people responded and believed. 

So does the Holy Spirit still work today? Can people experience him 2000 years later? The answer is…yes. There is nothing in the bible that suggests his work has ceased. The fruit of the Spirit are all for today (Gal 5: 22-23). So are all the gifts of the Spirit too (1 Cor 12:8-10). 

Yet one of the things that can deeply undermine the Holy Spirit’s work is the obsession some Christians have about pursuing strange phenomena. Whilst this may seem ‘spiritual’, the fixation on weirdness becomes a distraction and actually trivialises the Spirit’s work. Remember, the Holy Spirit’s main purpose is not to signpost signs – but to signpost Jesus. This is WHY he empowers us in the first place. 

If a church claims to be filled with the Spirit but isn’t engaging with the unchurched at every gathering, then the mark has been missed. It merely becomes a religious club and the only real growth that happens are the layers of insularity around the Christian bubble. A culture which searches for strangeness will always attract the few who love strange stuff – and alienate the rest of the world that God so wants us to reach.

Some think that the Holy Spirit cannot move in any gathering where there is any form of human scheduling. But this grossly underestimates him. If the Spirit wants to work, believe me…he can move! Heaven and earth won’t get in his way! However, he can minister with considerable ease through a programme that has been prayerfully planned. That’s why Paul encouraged the Christians at Corinth to organise their meetings ‘in a fitting and orderly way‘ (1 Corinthians 14:40).

At the Junction Church…we’re not pursuing weirdness. No. But we DO want to be totally filled with the Holy Spirit. We absolutely recognise our need to be filled with his power. In fact, our passion is to be so full of the Holy Spirit that we create a place where unchurched people can meet Jesus for the first time and find it easy to encounter his life changing grace. This is the atmosphere where miracles happen. Changed lives are the REAL evidence of his work.

COME AND CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE THIS SUNDAY.

church leicester

EXCELLENCE MATTERS.

I recently read an article which took aim at churches that pursue the value of excellence. The writer suggested church should be a messy environment reflecting the reality of a messed up world. Excellence, it was asserted, alienates people rather than connecting with them. 

Well, who could disagree with the importance of loving & reaching people where they’re at? But abandoning excellence is not the answer. Of course God accepts us as we are…but He loves us far too much to leave us that way.

I was born in west Belfast during the height of the Northern Irish troubles. I grew up in one of the most deprived areas in all of Europe. But what I observed during that time of conflict was the aspiration of a working class generation who dared to dream. They searched for something better than what they’d known up to then, resisting the patronising overtones of their middle class superiors which suggested they should “get used to the mess cos this is your lot”. So many of my peers sought to pursue a more excellent way because they longed to rise higher and go further in life. They had the audacity to believe for more..and so looked beyond the doldrums of despair toward a brighter future.

The point is…God never designed HIS church to pander to mediocrity, but rather to shine as a beacon of light in the fog of unbelief. As Paul says in 1 Cor 12:31, love offers ‘the most excellent way‘. We do a gross disservice to our towns and cities when we ever lower the bar and try to keep people where they are. That’s exactly what mediocrity does.

Excellence is a state of heart. It’s about doing the very best you can with what you have. It’s not about money. Nor is it about facilities and resource. It’s ALL about having a passion to help people reach their God given potential. A culture of excellence reflects the heart of a community which loves our world and wants to help others rise higher. We’ve seen this happen at the Junction Church over the past few years…where people have been so impacted by the culture that they’ve taken it into their families, schools, universities, work places & peer groups. Surely it’s this kind of gritty, everyday stuff that changes the world? Some call it ‘bringing the Kingdom’. We just call it ‘doing life well.’

If anywhere in the world ought to reflect excellence, it’s Church. It should never be thrown together in a shoddy, messy, untidy way. What inspiration is there in this? That’s why one of our values at the Junction Church is excellence…and we make no apology for it. It brings God glory when we create an environment that loves people, lifts their vision and helps them rise to greatness. That’s why excellence matters.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE

church leicester

LESSONS FROM LEICESTER CITY
by Roy Todd

If ever there was an example of a triumphant ascent to the heights of success followed by a traumatic descent to the depths of disaster, then Leicester City football club is just about the best one I can think of right now.

Last season, the club won the hearts of the footballing world with their magnificent title win, hailed as the greatest in the history of the English premiership. There was even talk of a movie being made about their rise to stardom. However, this season is a different story altogether, but not just because the champions are struggling in the premier league (which in many ways was to be expected). No, it is the catastrophic decision by the men in grey suits to sack their manager Claudio Ranieri at exactly the moment when the club needed him most. That’s the disaster!

Think about it. This is the man who led Leicester City to victory just last season. This is the manager who cultivated a culture of teamwork which propelled his club to success. This is the coach who inspired optimism and belief among his players and lifted the spirits of an entire city. Now, he’s gone, dropped like a sack of potatoes, dumped like a bag of rubbish. The men upstairs lost faith in him, but their decision was wrong on many levels.

Here are three lessons we can all learn…

1) In tough times, hold your nerve

When things aren’t going well, there is always the temptation to lose nerve and bail out. This is the story of so many people’s lives today. The idea of ditching what you’ve got and replacing it with something ‘better’ sounds appealing in the moment – but it’s never wise. It’s like dealing with the symptom without ever getting to the root cause. Besides, who ever said life would be easy?

2) In trying times, honour your leaders

Leaders are easy scapegoats. Think about it, when Leicester City were winning, Ranieri was hoisted up as the best manager ever. But when they struggled, he’s the one who received the blame. Of course, leaders know only too well that blame is part and parcel of the role. But to ditch the leader in such a dishonourable way is just wrong. Contemptuousness of the past is always catastrophic for the future. In moments of panic, how easy it is to forget all the good that’s happened.

3) In testing times, keep the faith

Lets face it, it’s easy to have faith in the good times. Anyone can believe then. But it’s when life gets torrid that faith gets tested. This is when we find out what we’re really made of. For Leicester City, their loss of faith in the manager and subsequent decision to sack him may have been pragmatic – but it’s a decision that has now set an unhealthy precedent in the culture of the club which not only diminishes Leicester’s reputation but undermines future trust. Wise people will want to learn the lesson. No-matter what, keep the faith. Don’t ever stop believing. It’s more important than you can possibly imagine.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.