Tag Archives: Evangelism

More HOPE in 2015

Hope logo

I’m excited by all that HOPE has been doing across the nations and know of people who have been working so hard to get their churches to connect with the communities they are based in. Here is a message from director Roy Crowne about the next steps.

HOPE – energising local church mission in villages, towns and cities

In Preston I met a grandmother, mother and daughter who came along to a Silent Night Carols event. All three became Christians that evening – they are now part of their local church. Changed lives and changed communities are HOPE’s goal – we want to see thousands of people becoming followers of Jesus nationwide.
These three women were the fruit of mission in Preston – not just a one-off event but a rhythm of mission that has run through the church calendar, with churches working together pointing people to Jesus with their words and actions.
Thousands of churches held special Christmas events – many taking the Silent Night Carols theme of peace and reconciliation. Let’s not wait until Easter to invite people back to hear more. Let’s get out into our communities, loving, serving and being Good News – and always being ready to give the reason for the hope we have because of Jesus.
We have been so encouraged by all that God has done in this past year. We love working with you. If you’ve not completed our survey yet – please do (see below). And do pray with us that God will show us his priorities as we move forward into 2015.
with loads of appreciation for all you are doing in Jesus’ name

Roy Crowne, HOPE Director

A new chapter

the-connexion-mag-jan2015For the past few months I’ve been hard at work with colleagues in The Methodist Church producing the first edition of a new magazine. We’ve called it the connexion and it’s born today!

We’re really delighted with how it looks and think it has a lot of helpful material in it for the Methodist people all over the British Isles.

What’s it for? Well, the plan is to keep people up to date with life across the Methodist Church, not just here but all across the globe. In this first edition there are stories from North Korea and from survivors of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

We will have three editions during 2015 with a theme for each edition. This time around it’s evangelism and there is a range of pieces in it about what it means for Methodists to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in their settings, including:

  • The Lab in Newport: a 10-year-old Fresh Expression
  • Whitley Church in Wiltshire: a village church that grasped a vision for growth
  • An interview with General Secretary Martyn Atkins about “elevating the e-word”.

Who gets it? We’ve printed close to 100,000 copies and every ordained person, Local Preacher, Steward and office holder should have three posted to their home address (except for a handful of districts who chose to have them delivered in bulk).

We’ve asked that people read one copy, give away two and encourage sharing to make sure that the connexion is read as widely as possible.

If you’d like to download a .pdf file of the magazine and read it online you can do that here.

Why the name? The word connexion is a classic Methodist word and has lovely resonances with our global bonds of fellowship. But, for me, as I say in the welcome column, it is also reminiscent of St Paul’s description of the Church as a body with a variety of parts – but all connected.

Sadly, too many of us talk about the Connexion as “that lot up in London” and it’s never been that. Even more so now with a dispersed team that has staff living all over the nations, the Connexion is all of us, the whole Methodist people.

Anyway, the connexion magazine is a way of communicating some of the good stuff that’s going on in the Methodist Church. I hope you enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.

There are two videos linked to it. There’s a fascinating discussion between Martyn Atkins and Connexional Secretary Doug Swanney on evangelism, which you can find here. There’s also a short introduction to the magazine from me below.

Sandcastles on the beach

My wife and I were on the beach with our grandchildren a couple of weeks ago and five-year-old Rhys sandcastles_smallwanted me to help him make a sandcastle.

He’d filled up the bucket with wet sand so we patted it down and tipped it out for him to begin decorating with pebbles. As he pushed on into the side of the little castle it began to break down and I warned him not to be too rough with it.

Without even looking up he said: “I know. It’ll fall down because it’s built on sand. The Bible says that.”

I asked him where he’d heard that and he told me about his club at church in Plymouth. Then, within seconds he had forgotten all about his mini-sermon and he was off down the beach on another adventure: to get more sand or to try to dam up the river.

For Rhys the Bible, the sandcastle, the pebble and the conversation about God were all one big picture – they were all a part of the big excitement that was his life at that moment.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could see everything we are doing as part of one great inseparable God-inspired picture?

Those of us who are Christians try in different ways to make contact with our communities and show them the love of Jesus. The difference is that often when we’re asked why, we never quite make the leap to slip in the Jesus part of the conversation. We never quite get to tell people that we are providing them with a meeting place, giving them a meal, getting their prescription, running their children’s holiday club because we believe that God is crazy about them and sent Jesus to earth to die for them.

I now it’s easy to be over-sentimental about our children and as a grandparent I can fall into that trap all too quickly, but Jesus used the idea of childlike acceptance of God’s love for us as the measure of faith. The reason we are in communities is to be the Body of Christ, visible through loving service. As you read through the stories in this edition of TCN, just reflect on where in his great big exciting picture God has put you. And who can you tell about it?