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A thought provoking and moving remake of this year’s John Lewis advert. It’s about the greatest gift you’ll ever know.
The Christmas Poem
For the last two years, Bible Society have been exploring various retellings of Bible stories. Different authors and illustrators have put their Bible knowledge and storytelling skills to the test, creating a number of brilliant Bible story retellings in formats from poems to comics.These are all part of the project Pass it On which aims to encourage older Christians to share the Bible with the next generation. And they’d like to encourage you to do that with this film too.It has been developed using their latest Christmas booklet, written by Bob Hartman and Illustrated by Honor Ayres. This charming retelling of the Christmas story is just four minutes long, so it’s perfect for watching at home with the family or for sharing in church during advent.
For more information about The Christmas Poem use this link.
While Shepherd Washed Their Socks
A list of Christmas gift ideas that are actually about Christmas.
Christmas Starts with Christ
A campaign to help churches make Christ the centre of people’s Christmas.
Love Life, Live Advent
A booklet which offers simple daily actions for children and families to do together each day in December.
Four kinds of Christmas
A book which explores four approaches to the festive season: Scrooge, Shopper, Santa and Stable.
Ideas – If you have any thoughts/ ideas/ stories then please email them to me, Vicki Grant. If you have not yet subscribed to REACH you can do so through this link that way you won’t miss a mailing. Why not encourage others in your church to subscribe?
This is the fifth in a series of a 3-minute guides to Fresh Expressions available from the Fresh Expressions website.
Be a good companion, whether as a friend, mentor or leader. New believers may have little Christian background and their faith journey may be very different to yours. So be understanding. Walk at their pace. Remember how patient the Holy Spirit is with you, and be patient with them. Don’t be an expert, but a fellow disciple.
Let the community do the talking. Teachers know that pupils learn from the ‘hidden curriculum’ – relationships and values – as much as from the official curriculum. Your community’s ‘hidden curriculum’ is its common life and values. What are they teaching new believers?
One community invited everyone to contribute to its shared meal, including those on benefits. They wanted to show that each person had something to offer.
Encourage conversations about Jesus. People learn by asking questions, putting what they’ve learnt into their own words, trying out ideas and listening to other people’s comments.
Jesus did not merely preach at people. He taught through conversations and left room for dialogue (Mark 8.27-30: 10.17-31; John 6.25-59). So allow plenty of time for Christian discussion.
B1, in Birmingham, invited adults to read a Bible passage in advance and discuss it with their children. When the community met, age-based groups shared what they had learnt.
Couple worship to life. The Spirit works through worship that engages the everyday. So as you introduce new Christians to worship, ask them whether it connects with their lives. Ask, too, how their daily experiences can lead to worship?
The worship of one fresh expression followed this sequence:
- gathering – songs and prayers as people gather round Jesus;
- introducing the theme – e.g. Bible passage and short talk;
- exploring the theme (e.g. groups choose between ‘writing a tweet or blog’, ‘reflecting the theme on your Facebook page’ or ‘writing an email to your grandmother’);
- offering – feedback from groups is offered to God, sometimes with communion.
Keep your worship:
- simple – e.g. as part of a shared meal;
- helpful – relevant to life;
- authentic – e.g. using language from the heart;
- rich – vary the diet;
- enabling – are worshippers pooling their gifts?
Communal practices are done together to support individuals’ walks with Jesus. People can do them for a limited period, either as a whole gathering or in self-selecting groups.
Examples could include:
- for six weeks, each person does one act of generosity a week and shares with the group how they got on;
- as a form of prayer, one group writes protest letters on behalf of Amnesty International (asJustChurch did in Bradford), another two groups write on behalf of other organisations;
- three or four people contract to eat more healthily or to read an evening Bible story to their children;
- each evening in Lent, individuals say the same texted prayer of confession in their homes;
- individuals text each other prayers through the week.
Connect with the wider church. Christians are baptised into the whole body, and discipleship involves learning from and contributing to it.
Connecting up can include:
- shared learning, missional, social and worship events with your parent church;
- attending a Christian festival or conference;
- downloading online Christian resources;
- ‘blending church’ by worshipping in your fresh expression and, periodically, in the church you came from;
- getting involved with a Christian project overseas.
Picture your community as a circle, not rows. Shared leadership involves being part of the circle, inviting others to pool their gifts and mature into leadership.
One person resolved that as she read Scripture with enquirers, she would avoid answering their questions where possible. If someone asked, ‘who was John the Baptist?’ she would invite the group to search the internet for the answer. The group would learn to depend not on her, but on one another led by the Spirit.
It would be great if you would like to contribute to REACH. Share with us any outreach activities you have done or are planning or any interesting resources you have come across and we can share them with all our subscribers.
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Reach, Carlisle Diocese · 13 Castle Road · Kendal, Cumbria LA9 7AU · United Kingdom