It’s the colourful outreach tool that is bucking the trend towards digital media.
UK monthly newspaper Good News has sold almost one million copies every year for the past six years. Used by churches of all denominations, the colourful, breezy publication features stories about celebrities and ‘ordinary’ people – showing how the Christian faith transforms lives.
Run by a small team as a registered charity, Good News started from scratch in 2001 and now sells more than 77,000 copies every month, with the Christmas edition rising to more than 100,000.
‘We are not publicising these sales figures to crow about them but to let local congregations struggling to reach their communities know that other churches have found a way to do it,’ said editor Andrew Halloway. ‘Good News distribution is a tried and tested method.’
The team receive a regular flow of responses from readers who have made faith commitments and from churches who relate how Good News provides opportunities for meaningful conversations.
One user in Orpington, Kent, said: ‘Praise the Lord that you keep the paper interesting to non-church folk. I deliver it to a number of people who live nearby and out of 80 people I’ve asked so far, more than 70 per cent like to read it, and only 26 per cent say they don’t want it.’
Free sample copies will be available at CRE North.
Sold out signs went up just before Christmas with more than 130 organisations taking all the original space earmarked for CRE North (Event City, Manchester, 13/14 Mar 2019).
The first exhibition in the north for five years will be opened by Irish singer and former MEP Dana. A choir from St Leonard’s C of E school in Padiham, Lancashire will serenade the former Eurovision Song Contest winner with ‘All Kinds of Everything – for your church and you.’
The Bishop of Bolton, Rev Mark Ashcroft, will speak on church growth in areas of deprivation. In a world dominated by Brexit, Andy Flannagan from Christians in Politics will lead a discussion on how churches can help bridge the divide and bring people together again.
There will also be more than 20 free seminars on a range of practical subjects from job searching to safeguarding.
Special features include CRE’s first-ever Study Zone where representatives from eight colleges will guide visitors through the academic maze, offering one-to-one consultations on all aspects of theological study. There’s the Compassion Experience, a walk-through African slum and the biggest exhibit in our 33-year history (bar the odd inflatable church!) Not forgetting a special focus on social engagement and sports projects, a youth and children’s work trail – and entertainment in our first-ever Inflatable Theatre, hosted by the redoubtable Rev Cindy Kent MBE.
‘Entry to the show is just £4 if you book in advance here,’ explains CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘That’s a saving of 50 per cent on the day-of-entry cost of £8. Groups of three or more can pre-register for just £3 each.’
And there’s good news for organisations who still want to take space.
‘Through subtle manipulation of the floor plan, we’ve been able to squeeze another eight stands into an already packed hall,’ said Brett. ‘So do call Carol (0161) 250 2467 or James (0161) 250 2306 soon, if you have not yet booked a stand for your organisation at CRE North.
‘We look forward to welcoming everyone to Event City, whether they travel by car, train – or donkey.’
With relationships and sex education statutory in schools since September, Sarah Smith (pictured) will be at CRE North to help Christian educators deliver this important topic in schools, churches and other youth settings.
In her seminar ‘A Guide to Growing Up: how to have honest conversations with young people about puberty, sex and God’ (date and time tbc), visitors will gain an insight into the relational and sexual health issues young people face today.
‘It is vital that parents/carers and youth leaders tackle topics often seen as taboo and become more effective in talking about bodies, relationships and sex,’ said Sarah, CEO of acet UK, a Christian charity delivering relationships and sex education in secondary schools and training to youth workers, teachers and parents.
Her book A Guide to Growing Up is published by CRE North exhibitor Lion Hudson, and features detailed chapters on topics such as masturbation and same-sex attraction. A Guide to Growing Up aims to support parents in talking to their children and is an essential guide in any young person’s journey – ‘a guide they can go back to time and again.’
* Lion Hudson are on stand B7 at CRE North 2018
Providing quality Christian artists for your church event – that’s the thinking behind CRE North exhibitor Ministry of Music.
‘School missions, worship services, youth outreach, café churches, conferences, festivals and training workshops/seminars. We do the lot!’ said founder Mike Maidment.
With more than 20 years’ experience in Christian music and events, Mike is in an ideal position to work alongside artists and event organisers. He is supported by an experienced team including bookings manager Kim Dopson, an artist review team and a group of trustees. To date they have facilitated more than 450 Christian events.
A number of Mike’s artists will perform in Cindy’s Theatre, including Voices Beyond (pictured), a Manchester-based gospel collective of singers and musicians passionate about sharing the good news through a unique sound which appeals to both Christians and non-Christians.
‘Ministry of Music is a great “one stop” resource to help churches find the right musicians for the right event,’ said fellow musician Bryn Haworth. ‘It’s also great to see a place where new artists can bring their musical talents and put them to good use through the wider church. This kind of platform has been missing for many a year.’
* Ministry of Music are on Stand D40 at CRE North
A re-purposed tour bus, providing emergency shelter and support to vulnerable adults in Greater Manchester, will be on display at CRE North.
‘Our 14 berths mean 5,110 nights off the street in one year,’ explains Embassy bus founder Sid Williams. ‘It’s a creative response to an urgent need. Homelessness is growing and finding new beds or building hostels takes time and significant investment.’
Before launching the project, Sid consulted with people who work with homeless people and assessed the immediate need on the streets.
‘Our first vehicle is for vulnerable males,’ he says. ‘With more funding, other buses could be deployed in future to help more groups. We would love to meet people at CRE North who share our vision.’
The bus is staffed with a skilled permanent manager and a team of highly-trained and caring volunteers – though more are always needed. It provides safety and rest to help people face the process of finding permanent accommodation and restoration. It also gives them a place to make connections to other organisations and agencies, empowering them to get back on their feet.
‘We provide physical, mental and spiritual rest and care with a Christian faith-based focus,’ concludes Sid. ‘Have a look around the bus outside Event City and then come and talk to us on our stand.’
* The Embassy Bus will be stationed outside the entrance to Hall 1 at Event City with representatives of the project on stand P7
Facing more competition than ever, how do you successfully find the right job?
‘Specialisation, mobility, education and the breakneck pace of technological advancements mean that “choosing a job” is likely to be something most of us will do several times in our lives,’ explains James Everall of CRE North exhibitor Christian Jobs. ‘We need to begin with God. As obvious as that sounds, the fact is that most Christians don’t begin job searches there. They begin with themselves.’
James, who has more than 12 years of executive and RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) experience across a number of industries, formed the organisation with Robert Mumford, to connect Christians with Christian organisations. In the past seven weeks alone some 4000 unique visitors have visited the Christian Jobs website every week with more than 200 opportunities advertised and 140 organisations supported.
James will lead a seminar on job hunting in the digital age at CRE North.
‘There is no simple equation that will always lead you to find the best job but I’ll pose a number of questions to help people develop a framework of thinking about what is most important, which opportunities should be ruled out and which ones you should be pursuing. The principles laid out are not determinative, but I hope they are helpful.’
The buzz is back – an exclamation heard many times at CRE 2018 in October, as 4381 visitors and exhibitor staff poured through the doors of Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey to discover some 210 organisations.
‘Most importantly, our pre-registration statistics reveal that 29 per cent (more than one in four) were visiting the exhibition for the very first time!’ said owner and MD Steve Goddard. ‘It encouraged us to believe there are still thousands of church-goers yet to find out about us.’
Such was the impact that, in a few short weeks, 111 stands for CRE 2019 (Oct 15-17, Sandown Park) have already been sold.
The organisers’ attention is now very much on CRE North at Event City, Manchester (13/14 Mar 2019) – their first visit to the north since 2014. Almost 90 per cent of the floor space has been sold, thanks in part to the backing of the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker.
‘Manchester is world famous as a place where the best is showcased and creative ideas and technologies are quickly adopted,’ he said. ‘Dozens of organisations will bring their skills, services, ideas and resources back to the north west and for members of all church traditions to come and draw inspiration from them. We look forward to welcoming CRE again.’
Everything from computers to communion wine, chair manufacturers to children’s charities are expected to be on display at Event City. A series of seminars, given by both regional and national experts, will cover issues of vital concern to local church leaders and members of all kinds – from parish magazine editors to treasurers, youth workers to worship leaders.
‘Event City offers great transport links and thousands of free parking places in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere,’ said CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘And its location next to the Trafford Centre makes it easy to find.’
CRE North will be opened by Irish singer and former MEP Dana, who also opened CRE 2017 at Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey.
Eight colleges will come together to form the first-ever Study Zone at CRE North (13/14 March 2019 Event City, Manchester).
The new initiative is for people of all ages interested in theological study and its practical implementation at every level – from short courses to doctorates, summer schools to evening classes, residential or online.
‘We are delighted so many organisations are taking the opportunity to showcase all they have to offer our visitors,’ said CRE MD Steve Goddard. ‘If you’ve thought about studying further but never got round to it, CRE North is where you’ll discover the variety of options available.’
The Study Zone will be situated around a bespoke seminar area, where participating colleges will contribute to a range of carefully-targeted, short presentations on the whys and wherefores of theological study of all kinds. See the schedule of presentations at CRE North here.
‘It’s never too late to begin, though studying Greek and Hebrew when I was 20 gave me a much deeper understand of the Christian faith for the rest of my life,’ said Steve. ‘We were also given a range of tasks to apply our faith in a practical way – and that was just as important.
‘Whatever academic qualifications you have, or don’t have, one or other of the colleges will provide a way forward.’
The colleges taking part in the Study Zone at CRE North are:
All Nations Christian College
Capenwray Bible School
London School of Theology
Nazarene Theological College
Photo by Alexander Michl on Unsplash
The frequent tension between traditional and contemporary forms of worship will be one of the issues explored during Church Times Live at CRE 2018 (12.30pm, Thu 18 Oct).
Hosted by the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), Inspiring Music in Worship aims to build mutual respect and trust between worship leaders, musicians and congregations. It will take the form of a panel discussion with the new director of The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), Hugh Morris; the Revd Canon Helen Bent, head of ministerial training, RSCM; Alan Mitchell HonRSCM, St Augustine, Bromley and Revd Colin Randall, rector of the Coln River Group, Gloucestershire.
‘We will attempt to allay fears and gently challenge misunderstandings and prejudice,’ said RSCM’s Angela Hamilton. ‘We will also affirm what is good and encourage effective collaboration.’
The new director of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), Hugh Morris, will share some of his vision for how the RSCM will be working over the next few years to support and develop the worshipping life of the church.
The RSCM resources all kinds of churches: large, small, high, low, formal and informal. It helps church communities discover the best ways of using the resources they have, including through its new publication, also entitled Inspiring Music in Worship. Above all, it stands for the best of church music, in its rich tapestry of guises.
The panel includes
Helen Bent – Helen is head of ministerial training for the RSCM, in partnership with Praxis. She originally trained as a musician, specialising in singing and piano. Following a teaching career, she was ordained in 1998 in Norwich Diocese and has worked in parish ministry, both as a musician and a priest. From 2005 to 2015, she was the Bishop’s Adviser in Music and Worship for Sheffield Diocese. She has also recently written Inspiring Music in Worship, A Short Course of Guided Conversations for Churches, which pioneers something quite different for the RSCM.
Alan Mitchell – Alan is a lay minister at St Augustine’s, Bromley, and teaches a module on music in worship for the Rochester diocesan lay training scheme. He is as happy playing the violin at Prom Praise with the All Souls Orchestra or for a St Matthew Passion in a cathedral. A former trustee on the RSCM Council and chair of the Rochester Area committee, he encourages churches to widen their encounter with God through music, inspiring robed choirs to explore Stuart Townend and charismatic churches to discover the riches of liturgy!
Colin Randall – Colin is rector of seven rural parishes in the North Cotswolds in Gloucester Diocese and was previously worship adviser for Chester Diocese. He is a member of the Group for the Renewal of Worship (GROW) that produces the Grove Worship booklets.
Photo: Plum leaves
ChurchTools helps you bring people, operations and ministry together in one place with a web app uniquely designed to meet your needs.
‘Our team is passionate about finding good solutions that support churches and associations,’ explains ChurchTools’ Arvaldo Stepanow. ‘We believe that modern tools can help churches to fulfill their mission in an excellent way.’
The ChurchTools vision was first developed by Pastor Jens Martin Rauen, who created a cloud-based administration software for the Elim Church in Hamburg, Germany, in 2004. Since 2010 this software has also been used by other churches in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.
In 2015 Matthias Huber, who developed ChurchVox, a translation system via WiFi, joined ChurchTools to become the CEO of the recently founded company ChurchTools Innovations UG.
‘Our company has been supporting more and more churches and growing ever since,’ explains Arvaldo. ‘In 2016, we significantly increased the manpower for development, support and marketing and in 2017 broke through the language barriers and began our expansion into other countries, languages and cultures.
‘We love churches and are eager to listen to them closely in order to turn their organisational needs into innovative solutions.’
• ChurchTools are on stand S67 and CRE 2018