Monthly Archive June 2018

Dave HallByDave Hall

Youth Zone at CRE 2018: Tap into the experts

What does today’s digital world look like for young people? How can we support an increasing number facing mental health issues? What are the best ways to reach their unchurched families? Where can we find resources to help young people engage in the Bible in a practical and creative way?

These and other key questions will be addressed in the Youth Zone at CRE 2018.

‘You will discover a wide range of people passionate about working with children, young people and families,’ said Laura Hancock (pictured below) of zone sponsors Youth for Christ. ‘Whether you have been involved in youth or children’s work for years, or have never considered it until now, we would love to meet you.’
Photo of Laura Hancock

As well as providing a space for visitors to talk to experts and discover new resources, a rolling programme of 10 to 15-minute talks throughout the day will introduce a range of relevant topics.

‘You are welcome to drop in at any time throughout the three days,’ said Laura. ’There are also in-depth seminars in the main exhibition programme, particularly on Thursday (18 Oct) when there is a special focus on youth and children’s ministry.’

Exhibitors in the Youth Zone include:

acet UK
Bible Educational Services
Breaking the power of Secularism
Every Day God Encounters
Hope Now
Hope UK
Kisumu Children Trust
Pulse Ministries
Word for Word Bible Comic
Youth for Christ

There is currently just one stand available in the Youth Zone. For more information contact James Batterbee or call him on (0161) 250 2306

Dave HallByDave Hall

Building community starts in the kitchen

They have already produced several lunches for more than 60 people, hired the place out for children’s parties and are now looking to put on a film club and a meeting place for young people. And members of Carpenders Park and South Oxhey Methodist Church in Bushey are grateful to Nelson Dish & Glasswashing Machines for helping to make it happen.

‘Because we were building a new church, it made sense that a proper, commercial kitchen should be included at the same time and Nelson did a great job on the installation,’ said Alan Bryant, one of the committee members responsible for overseeing the work.

Currently celebrating their 40th year, Nelson will be at CRE 2018 displaying dishwashers and glasswashers with a very low carbon footprint and sophisticated energy and water-saving features. Despite growing in size over the years, the company has never become complacent.

‘Every customer, however large or small, deserves the best advice and service we can provide,’ said managing director John Nelson. ‘This is one of the reasons we have been embraced by churches. We’ve advised on and installed many of our dishwashers in churches and their associated buildings to help ensure crucial health and safety legislation is met. And, via our sister company, Nelson Catering Equipment, we’ve helped a lot of churches enjoy the many benefits that a well-designed commercial kitchen can bring to the community.’

Nelson will be on stand S105 at CRE 2018

Dave HallByDave Hall

Inviting people to church: turn your thinking upside down

The National Weekend of Invitation (June 15-17) saw thousands of people invited to church – and in the process an untold number of Christians began to overcome their fear of rejection.

‘These are the first steps of a much-needed cultural change, moving churches at best from being welcoming, to being welcoming and inviting,’ said National Weekend of Invitation founder Michael Harvey. ‘We are already hearing stories of people becoming Christians over the weekend or wanting to explore the Christian faith after simply being invited to church.’
The National Weekend of Invitation came about after Michael discovered that about seven out of 10 Christians feel God may be prompting them to invite someone to church. However, eight out of 10 have no intention of doing so.

‘We fear rejection, of failing and getting it wrong. We imagine God is only pleased with success,’ he said. ‘We hope the weekend will be part of a paradigm shift in church thinking about invitation and, in particular, the vital role of the inviter. At CRE 2018 I will highlight the power of invitation in igniting a congregation to follow the call of God. And I’ll show visitors how a church can become invitational.’

Michael will be joined by Saltmine Theatre Co who will present a series of sketches on the subject of invitation.

The National Weekend of Invitation is on stand B3 at CRE 2018

Photo: Some 2000 came to Joy@KemptonPark on Sun 17 June: a day of family, food, faith – and acrobatics from Duggie Dug Dug! Pic by Rix Banga

Dave HallByDave Hall

Introducing an alternative to ‘cut-down, child-friendly’ Christian comics

A new product has been launched that grabs the attention of those unlikely to sit down and read a book – let alone the Bible.

The Word for Word Bible Comic combines the original words of scripture with in-depth historical research to make the illustrations as accurate as possible. 

‘I have tried to convey aspects of culture, history, locality, ethnicity as well as meanings, subtleties and emotions,’ said author Simon Amadeus Pillario. ‘Bible commentaries and encyclopaedias can take pages to explain the same level of detail.’

The first three books in the series, Judges, Joshua and Ruth, are already available. The next instalment, the Gospel of Mark, will be hot off the press at CRE 2018.

Based in Bristol, Simon has a degree in graphic design and has been writing comics for more than 15 years. He became a Christian at the age of 23.

‘I was struck by how the intrigue, drama and challenging elements are often dropped from retellings of biblical stories,’ he explained. ‘I find cut-down, child-friendly Christian comics unsatisfying. Word for Word does not glamorise or dwell on evil of any kind but covers all the lessons the Bible teaches.’

According to Comixology, the primary consumers within the exploding comics market today are not children but men aged 27-36 (60 per cent) and women aged 17-26 (40 per cent). Word for Word is aimed at teens and adults, with an advisory age rating of 12+ or 15+.

Already, Simon has one major fan.

‘I cannot help being impressed by the thorough-going commitment to the biblical text mixed with dramatic artistic skill, to communicate to this visual generation,’ said Terry Virgo, founder of Newfrontiers, an international network of more than 1,500 churches.

Word for Word Bible Comic is on Stand YZ10 at CRE 2018

Dave HallByDave Hall

After work, what? Now help is at hand for newly retired

Churches are failing to help people prepare for new adventures and opportunities for service in retirement.

So says Peter Meadows, who will help launch AfterWorkNet at CRE 2018.

‘A generation ago, life after work was much the same for everyone,’ he suggests. ‘Your job was done with a gold watch to mark the moment. But how that has changed!’

Today’s baby boomers meet retirement with perhaps 20 – or even 30 – years of life ahead, often in better health and with more money to spend than their parents’ generation could dream of.

‘Today, there’s a lot of active years to make the most of,’ says Peter, programme director of AfterWorkNet.

Research by retirement specialist Cathy Severson points to this longer, healthier and more affluent era as involving four distinct categories:

The Clueless – those who have done the least planning and make up almost half of those no longer in full-time work.

The Aimless – those still looking for a sense of satisfaction in retirement make up about one in five of retirees.

The Directionless – they are happy to adjust to a more relaxed and, hopefully, less stressed lifestyle and make up about another fifth of all retirees. But their agenda has no place for learning or experiencing new things.

The Motivated Redirected – these are people at the other end of the spectrum, having prepared for retirement both by way of their plans and how they can fund them. Surprisingly, they make up only one in five of those coming to retirement. For them, this new period is one with fresh challenges, adventure and personal fulfilment.

What separates the Clueless, Aimless and Motivated Redirected, points out Cathy Severson, is the time taken to think about the future and plan for the life you want.

‘Our parents didn’t need to do this kind of planning because their options were so few,’ suggests Peter. ‘As a result, we’ve no role models.’

In the main, churches fail to see this as an issue, lacking plans and programmes to help those approaching retirement get ready for new adventures and seize new opportunities for service.

‘That being the case, those of us who are heading for retirement – or are already there – need to take personal responsibility,’ concludes Peter. ‘This is not the time to be among the Clueless, the Aimless or the Directionless. After all, life after work is not a rehearsal but the real thing. We’ll only get to do it once.’

AfterWorkNet are on stand S157 at CRE 2018


Hope comes to life with Compassion Experience

See hope come to life in a purpose-built slum – that’s the thinking behind the Compassion Experience, a major front-of-house feature at CRE 2018.

Originally constructed in the USA and inspired by an initiative of Compassion International, the Compassion Experience made its UK debut at Edgeborough School in Farnham when nearly 250 children and over 70 adults past through its doors.

Housing interactive, tactile, audio and visual stories of Sameson, the Experience follows the lives of a boy from Ethiopia and Shamim, a girl from Uganda. Both Sameson and Shamim grew up experiencing the vulnerability, restrictions and dangers that poverty brings in their respective cultures and contexts.

Beth O’Reilly, a Year 3 teacher at Edgeborough, said: ‘We aim to cultivate our children’s global perspectives and to teach them about life outside of Farnham. We want to encourage our children to recognise that not all young people have the same opportunities that we have.  By involving alternative educational tools such as the Compassion Experience, we hope to provide the children we teach with an experience that will not only be memorable, but also effective in helping them to develop attributes such as compassion and to contemplate how they might make a difference in the world.’

Compassion is an international child development charity with more than 60 years’ experience working with some of the world’s poorest children. At present more than 1.8 million children attend Compassion’s church-based projects in 25 of the world’s poorest countries.

‘We brought the Compassion Experience to the UK to bring the developing world to our doorsteps,’ said Justin Dowds, CEO of Compassion UK. ‘When people think of poverty, they often think of the lack of material things, but actually poverty is the lack of freedom to make meaningful choices. Poverty narrows children’s horizons and undermines their ambitions. Through our holistic child development program Compassion stirs hope in children. You can witness that hope coming to life through the Compassion Experience.’

‘The Compassion Experience will enable visitors to CRE to experience another world without leaving their own,’ explains Compassion UK’s Caroline Cameron. ‘We hope hundreds of visitors will consider bringing the trailer to their local churches and schools. Most importantly the presentation will offer a message of hope for children sponsored through our world-class child development programe.’

Dave HallByDave Hall

Which voice? It’s your choice

Providing quality Christian artists for your church event – that’s the thinking behind CRE 2018 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.

Mike will bring a number of artists to CRE 2018, to perform in Cindy’s Bar, including Bean Baker, Rebekah Vyce and Voices Beyond (pictured). Joining them on their stand will be Bryn Haworth, a singer-songwriter with a distinguished history as a recording and live artist. Bryn also has a special ministry to people in prison, having recorded two albums specially for prisoners – Time Out and Inside Out.

‘Ministry of Music is a great “one stop” resource to help churches find the right musicians for the right event,’ said Bryn. ‘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 and Bryn Haworth will be on Stand E3 at CRE 2018

Dave HallByDave Hall

National weekend puts invitation at heart of local church

A feeding of 5000 at Kempton Park Racecourse will be just one event during next week’s first-ever National Weekend of Invitation (Fri 15 to Sun 17 Jun 2018).

‘Every church has an opportunity to do something – big or small, for young or old, for five or 5000,’ said Michael Harvey (pictured left), co-founder of Back to Church Sunday. ‘We know from research that almost three million people are open to being invited to church. The National Weekend of Invitation is an opportunity for us to do the inviting.’

Many churches are already preparing for the weekend. On the evening of Fri 15 Jun, a team from St Saviour’s, Sunbury-on-Thames will knock on doors, offering to pray for people and inviting them to a special service on Sun 17 Jun, called Joy@KemptonPark.

Free resources offering churches special advice on the initiative are available at the National Weekend of Invitation website.

‘Over the years we have discovered that about seven out of 10 Christians feel God may be prompting them to invite someone to church,’ said Michael Harvey, who will be introducing the National Weekend of Invitation to visitors at CRE 2018.

‘However, eight out of 10 have no intention of doing so. We fear rejection, of failing and getting it wrong. We imagine God is only pleased with success. This creates a fear to invite. We hope the weekend will part of a paradigm shift in church thinking about invitation and, in particular, the role of the inviter.’

The National Weekend of Invitation will be on stand B3 at CRE 2018

Photo: Michael Harvey (left), co-founder of Back to Church Sunday with Rev Dr Michael Volland, principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge

Dave HallByDave Hall

Turning the tables on trivial conversations

What do you talk about with non-Christian friends? The latest box set on Netflix? Contestants on the latest TV talent show? The weather report?

For most of us, it’s easy to find something trivial to provoke a conversation – but our faith is a different matter.

‘We have connections with lots of people in our daily lives but what’s the next step?’ asks Sharon Lanfear (pictured below) of CRE 2018 exhibitor The Ugly Duckling Company. ‘Not every friend or acquaintance is ready to attend a Sunday service or an enquiry course. They don’t want to be told what to believe but are happy to have a conversation. That’s where we come in!’

The Ugly Duckling Company provide a number of creative ways to stimulate meaningful ‘Jesus’ conversations in contemporary culture.

Sharon Lanfear of the Ugly Duckling Company

‘We have several ideas and initiatives you can use with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours,’ explains Sharon. ‘These resources could be described as pre-evangelism, in that they are aimed at those who are not engaged with church in a meaningful way.’

Table Talk is one such resource – a conversational game which creates space to explore the big (and not-so-big) questions of life, articulate your thoughts and discuss ideas meaningfully with others.

A variety of Table Talk packs are available, targeting a variety of users, from youth and children to third agers. In addition, you will find a series of apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

‘Table Talk helps move people on in their spiritual journey,’ says Sharon. ‘And I’ll be showing you how at CRE 2018.’

The Ugly Duckling Company are on Stand S109 at CRE 2018

Photo: Sharon Lanfear of The Ugly Duckling Company


Versatile Steve… a profile

After more than 30 years as its press officer, Steve Goddard could not contemplate the end of Europe’s largest annual exhibition for churches – so he bought it.

Read this short profile of Steve Goddard, Managing Director of CRE, which appeared recently in Northern Life magazine.