Community Blog

Great Commission Resource

by Issy Davies

We want sharing Jesus’ love to be central to what we do. Whether we tend naturally more towards street evangelism or deep chats with our friends; thrive in prison ministries or children’s groups; if we love leading from the front or serving behind the scenes: sharing Jesus is something we are called to do. Whatever our hobbies, personalities, or callings, we hold central to each area of our lives the Great Commission. When Jesus said “Go and make disciples of all nations,” it wasn’t a suggestion or an option: it’s a command, and we carry this mission into all that we do. However, sometimes we need inspiration on how to do this well.

Great Commission is an initiative from the Evangelical Alliance that can equip and inspire us to do this better. Filled with resources, it’s a website brimming with videos, articles, and links to other sites with resources to inspire and aid our outreach, whatever field we’re in.

The website operates under four areas: Watch, Read, Pray, and Act.

Browse the videos page to watch inspiring stories of faith growing; read blog posts on reflections and ideas to inspire your evangelism. Find inspiration to help you pray boldly, and practical resources and tools as you act in groups and events. Content is helpfully marked as resource, reflection, initiative, and websites, to help you find the inspiration, encouragement, or more guided resource in the area where you’re wanting to share Jesus.

This time of year, Light Parties are a great example of churches celebrating Jesus’ light that defeats darkness, in contrast to Halloween. Great Commission makes it easy to find resources and ideas, see what other churches have done, and be inspired. Children’s ministry is only one example of what Great Commission offers: it’s teeming with content on students, Alpha, prisons, youth, cross-cultural mission, different faiths, and so much more.

Handily, the the site allows you create an account and pin these resources to boards, pooling ideas, videos, and initiatives into clusters that you can name and organise, and even share with other people. You can also browse ready-made boards for specific ministry areas or seasonal events. This makes it easy to collate resources for a particular event to refer back to, or share with your team, as you work out how to effectively equip yourselves and each other to talk about Jesus.

This is a great tool for anyone with a ministry role, to aid your planning and resourcing for whatever age or people group you work with. However, the website isn’t limited to those in ministry. Great Commission is there to inspire, equip and empower all of us, individually and corporately, to better reach the people around us and make Jesus known.

Get Up & Go!

by Henry Downs

Get Up and Go is pretty much June Project except it happens in October and rather than spread over seven days, we pack it into one action packed exciting day!

The returning students of Kings gathered in the swanky new Appleby Rooms for an equipping talk by Pippa Elmes from Fusion, a student mission organisation. Her encouragements in developing our faith for the coming year fuelled us not only for settling back into uni life but for helping us focus on why we were about to partake in Get Up and Go. It was a great reminder that we are not only here to grow in our own faith, but that we are called to share the gospel with everyone, even if that means standing cold on the streets with a wet nose!

We were then split into three teams doing three different activities. Our team started by heading up to the Sherbern Road estate to do a spot of gardening – well not quite a spot! As it is probably one of my all-time favourite outreach opportunities, it was great to get stuck in straight away and really bless some older residents of Durham. Having more than one team meant we could we finish the job well.

Get Up and Go wasn’t just about staying in our comfort zones. The afternoon brought the challenges and joys of street evangelism. Half of this was giving out free teas and coffees outside the Freshers’ Fair in the DSU, which was a great opportunity to reach out and bless new students and those returners who may not have got stuck into a church in first year. It was surprising the number of people who took the time to stay and chat, a real positive encouragement.

Asking people to fill in the blank: “I will be truly satisfied when…”, creative evangelism took us further and stretched our trust in God when the reception wasn’t always so fruitful. Yet again, it was surprising how accepting and receptive Freshers were to talk with us and amazing to see how deep some conversations went.

Overall, Get Up and Go was not just a reunion of old friends, but a continuation of growing our boldness in and through Christ in ways of blessing students and residents in Durham.

Interns on Mission

by Issy Davies

The start of September held a lot of information, timetables, and introductions for us Interns. Unsurprisingly, then, we were excited by week 3 to be bundled into the church van to head down south for something a little more practical. We spent the week with The Way Christian Fellowship in the seaside town of Hunstanton, in Norfolk, coming alongside them in mission. We were grateful for a week of action, and being so close to the beach was a joy for lots of us, but the week wasn’t totally without challenges.

The Way Christian Fellowship is an Ichthus Link church, like Kings, but is different in dynamic, with a smaller congregation and a more charismatic expression of worship. Before the week began, we discussed what it means to be united with other Christians and churches even if we differ in opinions or styles of worship; this was really helpful when encountering things that were new or different to us, and reminded us that there is joy to be found in being united with each other through worshipping Jesus and sharing his love.

The dynamic of Hunstanton contrasts with the fast-paced, academic vibe of Durham, which the majority of our team are used to. In comparison, Hunstanton has a much sleepier pace of life, populated largely by elderly locals and day-trippers, who seemed less keen on engaging in conversations about faith. This made creative evangelism harder than we expected; even those on the team who are naturally more enthusiastic about going out on the streets found the slower dynamic hard to engage with, and we were sometimes a little disheartened. However we all still managed to get a taste of it, preparing us slightly for the regular evangelism we’ll be doing throughout the year.

Our momentum as a team built up over the week, as we prepared for the weekend events: Saturday afternoon’s free cream tea, hosted by us, saw almost 70 homemade scones (and lashings of cream and jam!) disappear in two hours, with lots of people being invited into the church’s café space, close to the seafront. Many of these visitors opened up to us about their lives, and it was encouraging to see them making use of the church space and feeling so welcomed. Sunday morning’s outdoor church service in the bandstand similarly saw our teamwork shine through, as we planned and led the events together, and our collective confidence as a group grew.

Lots of laughter and free time spent on the beach also grew our unity and friendship as a team, and the week helped us to establish patterns of praying with and supporting each other, pointing one another towards God and sharing encouragements.

In spite of moments of tiredness, discouragement, and missing Durham, the week reminded me of what we’ve signed up for this year: to serve God and serve His church; to learn how to do this faithfully even in circumstances that are unfamiliar, and trusting God to bring fruit.

Now we’re back in Durham, and our team is complete! Justin has now made it to the UK, so praise God that all 7 of us are here and settled. Please pray for us this week as we start our placements and welcome students. Pray that we settle into our new rhythms and routines, and remain well-rested and enthusiastic to welcome new and returning students into the church over the next few weeks.

Alpha: Fiona’s Story

by Alys Tarr

Fiona, one of the guests at our Spring Alpha course, tells us about her experience.

I hadn’t been to church since I was a child, over 40 years ago. Throughout my adult life I had varying thoughts about God and Christianity. I questioned why God would let bad things happen in the world. I just didn’t understand.

On 4th December 2016 I felt myself drawn to visit church, I don’t know why, but I went. I arrived before the 5pm service at a church in Newcastle and I was welcomed by the Pastor, who chatted to me with his wife. His wife sat with me during the service, which made me feel more comfortable about the whole thing. I came away from the service feeling very happy.

Although I was enjoying church, I had questions that I didn’t feel I could ask anyone. I heard about Alpha from a friend, I googled what it was about and it grabbed my interest. I saw there was a course at Kings so I sent an email which Claire replied to, explained what the course was about and invited me to the wine and cheese launch evening. I went along and Claire was there to greet me along with others who were interested in the course. Alpha consists of a different video every week from ‘Why did Jesus die?’ to ‘Who is the Holy Spirit?’. Each night we sat down together in small groups and enjoyed a lovely cooked meal before the video. After the video we spent time discussing it on our tables. I listened to some of the questions others on my table raised and asked some myself. The discussions were friendly and informal, and always relevant to what we had just watched! I came away from the course every week loving what we had discussed. I could feel my faith getting stronger every week.

When we watched the video ‘How can I resist evil?’, it provoked me to think of matters which I had always believed to be innocent which I was now seeing in a very different light. I had crystal stones under my pillow, which I was advised would help me be at peace and sleep better. I now realised this is not case. I took the crystals from under my pillow and put them in the bin. I sleep better now too!

After watching the video ‘Why and how should I pray’, I started praying most days, if not every day. I see it as having a conversation with my Father: I thank him for many things, I talk about how I am and how I feel, I pray for my family and friends and strangers too, I ask for his guidance. It’s all very natural now.

I was attending church every Sunday too. During the worship one day the Pastor announced there would be baptisms on Easter Sunday and invited anyone who wanted this to approach a member of the church. I’d been to baptisms at this church previously, but this time it felt right for me. Doing the Alpha course over the previous weeks had helped me make the decision to get baptised, which I know wouldn’t have entered my head if it wasn’t for the course. I was baptised on Easter Sunday by full immersion and my partner, my son and some friends came along that day to celebrate me getting baptised.

I was so happy to be able to publicly declare my renewed faith in God on Easter Sunday. My faith is very strong now and although I’ve had fears in my life, I am now able to put my faith in the Lord and have been able to let these fears go. I am thankful for Alpha, I wouldn’t be where I am now without doing it. I can honestly say I would have probably drifted away from going to church too. I can fully recommend the Alpha course to anyone who is curious or interested to know more about Christianity and faith.

Jungle Adventure Holiday Club

by Fay Brice

This year our annual holiday club for children took on the theme of a Jungle Adventure. We decked out Laurel Avenue School with leaves, trees and jungle animals ready to invite our Bubbly Bears, Laughing Lions, Marvellous Monkeys, Terrific Tigers and Elegant Elephants to join the adventure. During the week we looked at some key stories from across the Bible, starting with creation and ending with Saul’s conversion to help give the children an idea of the breadth of God’s work in the world and his love for them.

Over the week we saw a total of 33 children coming along, including a couple of young people who helped out with tech and had their own group. It was fantastic to welcome lots of children from the local area as well as families from Kings who live in different parts of the city bringing their children across to Sherburn Road each day to be part of the club together. We had a fantastic team of creative and committed people from Kings who gave themselves fully to taking on the parts of pirates and explorers and even a chicken! Katie Smith and Abi Northover did a fantastic job of writing the theme, drama and Bible resources from scratch this year and we found that this was a real success in making it such a fun and impactful week. We’re also grateful to Chris Juby for writing a very catchy theme song!

Each day there was plenty of fun, action and learning through our drama, singing, stories, craft, games and group times looking at the Bible and praying together. Here are some quotes from the children:

‘My favourite thing at holiday club was the activities and songs. At holiday club I have learnt that God saves people’s lives if they believe in him’ (Annie, aged 8)

‘I like singing, dancing, snack, art, drama, group time and the Jungle Adventure song. I have learned that exploring God is the right thing’ (Joanna, aged 9)

‘I enjoyed when we made candles and snakes and I always enjoyed snack time. At holiday club I’ve learned some new Bible stories’ (JJ, aged 7)

‘My favourite thing at holiday club was when the man fell in the puddle. I have learned that God loves us all the time’ (Daisy-Leigh, aged 6)

‘I have learned about the story of King Nebuchadnezzar. My favourite thing is the drama because it is funny’ (Amelia, aged 7)

We’ve been really encouraged to see many of the children growing in their relationship with God over the week as they discovered new parts of the Bible, understood truths about God or took opportunities to pray. During one the prayer activities one child spontaneously prayed “thank you God that Jesus died for me” and expressed his hope that he will be in heaven.

We’re already looking forward to next year. If you’re reading this and have or know children aged 4-11 years remember Holiday Club always takes place in the first full week of August. So save the date for next year 6-12 August 2018 and come and join our next adventure!