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
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.
‘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
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.