Category Archive CRE News


Dare to disciple – and see your church grow

Our commission is to make disciples, not church attenders.

That will be Rev Cris Rogers’ message at CRE 2018.

‘It is vital we help churches activate a thriving discipleship culture,’ said Cris, rector of All Hallows in Bow, east London. ‘Some of us struggle with the term “discipleship” and use “spiritual formation”. I will look at the differences between the evangelical understanding of discipleship and the more Catholic understanding of spiritual formation. Neither deliver biblical discipleship on their own but when the two merge we get a biblical picture of Jesus’ understanding of discipleship and formation.’

Developed by Cris, Making Disciples is an assessment tool to help churches, small groups and individuals interested in developing as disciples of Jesus. Churches developing a discipleship action plan have found people serving in and outside the church has gone up, financial giving has risen and disciplines of personal daily prayer have grown.

‘I will also look at how the modern school system has killed how we do discipleship within the church because our education is teaching rather than apprenticeship based,’ said Cris. ‘I will also look at the way we need to grow leaders, another important part of building a discipleship culture.’

Cris took on the leadership of an Anglican Church in Tower Hamlets, one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse areas of London. The church had shrunk to seven people before his arrival. He is also part of the Spring Harvest planning group.

Rev Cris Rogers will speak on ‘Making Disciples’ at CRE 2018 (12 pm, Wed 17 Oct)


Dan’s mission of mercy is right on the ball

World record-breaking football freestyler Dan Magness will perform his phenomenal tricks at October’s CRE 2018 encouraging churches to ‘make history’ with their own creative and sporting flair.
Dan kept a football in the air in Covent Garden for an astonishing 24 hours – making him the Guinness World Keepy-Uppy Champion. He also set the world record for the longest-ever recorded journey while continuously kicking or heading a ball, keeping the ball in the air for a staggering 36 miles, visiting every Premier League football club in London. 
He became a Christian at 3am outside a Southend nightclub.

‘I was with a couple of mates and must confess I was full of another kind of spirit,’ he said. ‘We saw some street pastors talking to clubbers and I thought “I want to go and talk to them”. Minutes later, they were telling me about Jesus. Now I use my talent to praise his name.’
Dan is appearing at CRE in support of Mercy Ships, who are challenging churches to make history, by taking on one of three sporty or creative #MercyActs challenges.
Darren Richards, Church Partnership Manager at Mercy Ships, added: ‘Mercy Ships has launched a brand new set of resources that call on UK churches to use their talents and skills to help send free medical care to some of the poorest people in the world. The church is a treasure trove of talent. Imagine what could happen if everyone took something they loved doing – their hobbies and sporting passions – and then used that to help the poor in Africa?

‘Imagine if kids sang, teens vlogged, students shone on stage, parents picked up a paintbrush and grandma shimmied across a ballroom. Those who can’t draw or dance, can write or arrange flowers. Those who can’t cycle can swap clothes or bake. Everyone can do something! Everyone can love mercy, act justly and walk humbly by taking on a #MercyActs challenge.’
Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries. Today, Mercy Ships is a faith-based international development organisation with a creative solution to poverty – the world’s largest floating hospital, crewed entirely by volunteers. Their hospital ships serve some of the poorest countries in the world, delivering vital, free healthcare to people in desperate need.

Mercy Ships are on Stand S151 at CRE 2018


Football’s coming home – to a church near you

As World Cup fever grips the nation, Christians in Sport have told us of several churches showing the matches on big screens.

Before the little maestro had to fly home with the rest of the Argentinian squad, one church in Yeovil ran a ‘Messi Church’. Meanwhile, Town Church, Bicester (pictured), hosted a World Cup Sunday with five-a-side football tournament and BBQ. They shared a short gospel message before showing England v. Panama on a big screen. Town Church’s Jonny Reid, said: ‘It was great to welcome loads of people who wouldn’t normally think about coming to church and it gave them a chance to hear more about Jesus.’

It’s not too late to download a series of free World Cup resources in Christians in Sport’s Mission Pack that features a new multimedia World Cup quiz, an evangelistic short film, a guide to creating a ‘fan zone’ and a collection of school resources. The pack has already been downloaded more than 900 times.

‘While the World Cup is dominating the headlines at the moment, it only comes along every four years,’ said Christians in Sport’s Ed Mezzetti. ‘Let’s not see it as a one-off. Would Wimbledon tennis or the Ryder Cup golf work better for your church? We need to keep sport and big sporting events on the radar if we are to reach millions of people in this “nation” of sports lovers.’

Christians In Sport are on Stand A36 at CRE North (13/14 Mar 2019)

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