A YouTube channel providing short, engaging and relevant content for young people has become increasingly significant in lockdown.
Intro Outro, from Youth for Christ, offers positive and encouraging videos and gives a platform to young people to own and share their faith. One episode, ‘How to handle anxiety’, has become one of the most watched segments on the channel.
‘A few years ago we did research on Generation Z to understand what was going on beneath the obvious rise in mobile and device use,’ said YFC’s Laura Hancock. ‘Lockdown has only increased this trend.
‘Our goal is to provide a safe space online for young people that stands out from just more content that feeds social pressures, the need to conform or comparison traps. Intro Outro reflects authenticity and challenges the superficial “fake” of the digisphere.’
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Netflix may be a great resource in lockdown but if the well of good movies has run dry, it’s time to check out a new version of a classic story.
The Pilgrim’s Progress was written over 340 years ago by John Bunyan in prison. Smuggled to the underground church during communism and banned for a time in China, it has sold more copies than any other book, worldwide, except the Bible.
The journey of Bunyan’s remarkable work continues in this state-of-the-art CGI animation – on release in UK cinemas from October 2019 until the lockdown in March.
‘The story can give our children the courage to stay on the straight path in a culture that often stands against them,’ said AO Vision’s Stephen Briggs.
In the story Christian visits Vanity Fair on his journey from the city of Destruction to the Celestial City. It is in Vanity Fair that Christian and Faithful have to decide if they are willing to stay true to the King’s way, even in the face of persecution.
This re-telling features the voices of John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Kristyn Getty (In Christ Alone) and Ben Price (Australia’s Got Talent).
A live music option is now available for churches streaming services during lockdown.
Well-established agency Ministry of Music are making musicians available to lead worship in a variety of ways.
‘One of our artists can perform or lead worship live at home and their feed is streamed by a church as part of its YouTube/ Facebook/ Zoom service or event,’ explained the agency’s founder Mike Maidment.
‘Alternatively, they will prepare a short video at home which churches can stream, or perform and lead worship live at home on their own YouTube Live or Facebook Live session – at a date and time requested by an event host.’
Artists available include many who have recently performed at CRE including Christine Asamoah and Tremaine. Already fellow artist Bean Baker (pictured above) has led worship through Zoom at Havering Day of Prayer and Solid Rock, Derby.
‘Although this service is free, any donation will support our ministry and the artists we work with during these challenging times,’ said Mike.
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Hope beyond Coronavirus is a 12-page tract in full colour introducing the Christian theme of eternity.
Written by Roger Carswell and published by Day One, hundreds of thousands have already been distributed.
‘COVID–19 has been the biggest health story for a generation,’ explained Day One’s Mark Roberts. ‘We have seen restrictions not imposed in a generation. With churches closed and fellowship restricted, many asked if the Christian faith could pull through.’
Mark believes the answer is in the affirmative – and thanks to social media and online conference opportunities, the church has found new ways of communicating the Gospel and fellowshipping together.
‘From online services to zoom prayer meetings, nothing has stopped God’s church continuing to proclaim,’ he said. ‘Another way has been through this fantastic product. Tracts can travel when we cannot!’
Ideal to give to family, friends and neighbours in lockdown, it shows them how much God cares for us and is warning us to repent. The tract provides Roger’s contact details and a website and also encourages readers to turn to the Psalms for comfort. A spoken version of the text can be found on YouTube.
More information is available here
Churches can sustain relationships in lockdown with fresh resources available to help in funeral, wedding and baptismal ministry.
‘The idea is to enable people in isolation to be part of funeral services they can’t attend, for example, because of restrictions on numbers and travel,’ said Cathy Myers, the C of E’s Life Events Resources Manager.
The new range includes:
• A prayer card for when you can’t be at a funeral
• A simple service to say at home on the day of a funeral – soon to be available in large print, too.
• Social media-sized graphics and posters to alert people to a ‘Light A Candle’ tool online.
Also available is a range attractive cards to send to colleagues in the death care industry – to reassure them of your prayers during a very stressful time.
‘Our latest product is a straightforward, cheerful postcard to share with Messy Church contacts, grandparents in your congregation, families you have met through baptisms or school services,’ said Cathy. ‘The postcard reads “Loving God, bless my family today” and is a reminder that God holds their family in his love, especially when extended families can’t be together.’
The full range can be viewed here
A new book brings together 20 Christian leaders and thinkers offering advice in a post-COVID world.
‘After being off work with suspected coronavirus, I jumped on a call about a possible response book. Healthy Faith and the Coronavirus is the result’ said IVP’s Caleb Woodbridge. ‘It’s as if another world has arrived in the blink of an eye. Yet life is not on pause. We still need to live. The pandemic, like any other time, is a moment both of opportunity as well as challenge.’
Practical and inspirational, rooted in the Bible and tradition yet deeply contemporary, the book engages the “why” question and focuses on the “what now” of relationships, emotions, following Jesus and doing mission under changed circumstances.
Edited by Luke Cawley and Kristi Mair, and offering contributions from luminaries like Krish Kandiah, Tom Wright, Andy Kind and Dianne and Derek Tidball, the ebook is out now and the paperback, released on 18 June, is available for pre-order from IVP. It includes a number of valuable appendices on grief, fear, prayer, loneliness, safeguarding and practical advice on bereavement.
More information here
Uncertainty about infringing copyright makes online worship seem daunting – but expert advice is now available.
While several social media and video-conferencing apps are available to thousands of churches UK-wide, it’s important to obtain appropriate permissions for content.
‘If you stream to YouTube or Facebook Live, the CCLI Streaming Licence is available to churches which hold our Church Copyright Licence,’ explained CCLI’s Rich Burrough. ‘Its coverage has been extended to streaming and webcasting and includes the display of song words on screen.’
Annual fees for the CCLI Streaming Licence start from £22. One License also provide a streaming licence covering music from their catalogue.
If you are hosting services on your own website, or other apps and video-conferencing platforms including Zoom, you will need a Limited Online Music Licence (LOML) from PRS for Music in addition to streaming licence(s) above.
You may not have musicians who can play live. With this in mind, many organisations and apps that provide worship resources for churches are currently giving special permission to include content in service streams.
‘Major denominations will often provide further details on where you can source free-to-use music,’ said Rich. ‘Alternatively, check the websites of the content providers whose music you wish to use.’
Further information and practical guidance on streaming services visit the CCLI website