2018 in review Christianity Explored Ministries

Another year almost over, another year to rejoice over what God has done.

Some of our highlights are here, we hope you enjoy reading them!

Our Christianity Explored East Africa Team visited Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda in January 2018 to provide training to church leaders from across the Kagera Diocese. The Kagera Diocese spans part of the north-west of Tanzania and borders Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

Later, in April, Sam Oyirworth embarked on an epic journey back across these regions to strengthen partnerships and deliver resources to those who were involved in the training.

Over the past decade of our partnership in East Africa we have worked with so many wonderful people who are passionate about strengthening the gospel there. We are so thankful that this tool for evangelism and discipleship helps equip and train local leaders to introduce people to Jesus.

Read all about Sam's adventure and our ministry in East Africa

Photos from Sam's journey across East Africa in April 2018 - read the feature linked to above for all the details

On 8 February the CEM team gathered together with friends old and new at Love, Live, Tell 2018 to share the incredible ways God has been working in and through our ministry.

We were excited to introduce the new Discipleship Explored and hear about how churches have already been using it. We also spoke to Scott Ballantine from Adopt-a-Child about our partnership with them to get our resources translated into Albanian.

It was a fantastic evening and we were thrilled to share the whole event on Facebook Live for the first time. If you couldn't make it, you can watch it below:

Don't miss out this year. Come along to Love, Live, Tell 2019 on 7 February (or tune in online), we'd love to see you there.

On 1 March we launched the new edition of Discipleship Explored.

This eight-session journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians helps followers of Jesus turn up the gospel soundtrack to their lives.

It goes beyond simply teaching the right moves - go to church, pray, read the Bible, share the gospel - and focuses on the music which drives discipleship: the love of Christ. The greatest love anyone can ever know.

It features brand-new documentary-style films and inspiring real-life stories from around the world, Bible studies and weekly reading plans, and a beautifully redesigned Handbook.

You can watch the first episode below if you haven't seen it yet:

Within six months we had sold over 12,000 copies. Here is some of the initial feedback:

"We find this updated version of DE to be the best available study of Philippians and a good basic introduction to discipleship." David, Northern Ireland
"It's a great study, Biblically faithful and practical and it's presented with great quality. We're using DE for our Saturday men's Bible study this spring." Mick, USA
"We are really thrilled to be using this 'new look' course this term. The film clips/talks are very engaging and take us straight to the heart of Philippians and what it means to be a disciple of Christ." Camilla, England

In April our colleagues in North America agreed on a strategy of building awareness, supporting churches, and raising up supporters through the creation of local hubs.

Alan Avera and Kevin Allen head up Christianity Explored in North America

A hub is a regionally-based leadership team that can bring local vision and passion to connect with churches and individuals in their areas.

To this end, the North America team appointed a part-time administrator to help with database and communications as well as a regional director for Alberta, Canada.

The first areas to trial these hubs include the front range of Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, the Charlotte-Atlanta corridor, Washington, DC area, and Nashville, TN.

Follow Alan's blog, Telling the Gospel, to keep up to date with North America news and the progression of this strategy.

More than 160 people attended the Christianity Explored North America conference in Washington in April. Participants came from all regions of the United States, as well as Canada.

CEO Ian Roberts and Training Director Craig Dyer travelled to Tirana in May to introduce Christianity Explored to 80 Albanian pastors.

Albania has a population of around three million of which an estimated 40% now live in the capital of Tirana.

Erion Cuni, our energetic host, had done a fantastic job at encouraging leaders of all denominations to attend. Erion already has a track record with Christianity Explored having previously introduced the prison version, The Prisoners Journey®, in his former role heading up Prison Fellowship Albania.

The impact so far has been encouraging:

  • 58 churches and organisations have picked the resource up in Kosovo and Albania
  • 240 pastors and leaders have been trained
  • 1,901 notebooks have been given out
  • 28 courses, with a average of 14 people per course, have finished or are ongoing
  • 66 people accepted Christ!

Read the full story and see more photos on our blog

In June 2018 our UK media team and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) team (based in the US) were busy putting the finishing touches on a bespoke online version of the Christianity Explored course.

For several years CEM has been part of an exciting internet evangelism network called Jesus.Net. After meeting the Search for Jesus team from BGEA in 2017, we began to explore the possibility of collaborating to create an online Christianity Explored course for use on their website.

It went live in mid-September and over 250 seekers have already enrolled. At the moment, there are more people registering than coaches available. If you are familiar with the Christianity Explored material and are interested in sharing the gospel with people searching online, please visit the Search for Jesus website to learn more about how you can get involved this exciting ministry.

Please pray for these online seekers as well as their online coaches as they walk through Mark's gospel together.

2018 marks five years since the first small group of prisoners began The Prisoner's Journey®, a Prison Fellowship International (PFI) adaptation of the Christianity Explored Prison Edition that takes participants through Mark's Gospel, introducing them to the good news of Jesus.

In July, we reflected on its progress so far.

Globally in 2018, PFI expect 20% of the accessible prison population to graduate from the course. In total, that means 236,000 people will have graduated since its inception in 2013.

Of these 236K, 160K continue on to TPJ's discipleship programme (this is over 60%!). We are humbled by this significant indicator of change and transformation within the prison population.

Read the blog post

Most of us wonder: is there something more to life?

In August we were busy signing off the proofs for our latest resource, Finding More, which tells the stories of eleven people who asked that question, and found the answer.

These fascinating life stories introduce you to people from all kinds of backgrounds who became Christians when they encountered the only One who gives us more: Jesus Christ. As their stories unfold, you'll be shown who Jesus is, why he came, and what it means to follow him.

Watch Rick's story in the clip below, and read his chapter of the book.

It will be published on 1 February 2019 and will be ideal to give to guests on a Christianity Explored or Life Explored course, or to show friends what they might stand to gain by investigating Jesus for themselves. Whoever they are and wherever they come from, they will see that Jesus’ message is for them too.

Billy King (pictured above on the far left, next to his wife Janet), a Christianity Explored North America Board member, has travelled annually since 2014 to an expanding network of countries in Latin America to provide training conferences in evangelism through Christianity Explored.

These conferences are for both pastors and lay leaders. From 2014 to the end of 2017, he has trained a total of 1,100 attendees, including 275 pastors, in seven different Latin American countries. Billy and Janet ran the most recent training conferences in Uruguay and Chile in September.

Photos from Billy and Janet's trip

Read the full story on Telling the Gospel: Updates from Chile and Updates from Uruguay

The Evangelism Conference took place on 9 October in London and 11 October in Manchester on the theme 'Persuasive Evangelism'. The main speaker was CEM co-founder Rico Tice.

According to Talking Jesus, one in five adults and one in six young people we speak to about Jesus are open to an encounter with him. What an opportunity! Rico gave us some ideas for how to find these people, start conversations and develop resilience in the face of rejection from all those who don't want to know.

We were pleased to be involved in the production of the event and it was great to be there and to chat to people about our resources. Thanks to those of you who came to say hi!

Read the blog or catch up on the talks

We were so encouraged that over 150 people from at least 55 different churches joined us at St. Mary’s Cathedral (Kuala Lumpur) and Zion Bishan Bible-Presbyterian Church (Singapore) in November.

Ian Roberts (CEO), Louanne Enns (Operations Manager) and Craig Dyer (Training Director) all travelled out to provide training as well as officially launch Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin translations.

Two CEM friends and supporters, Mei Ling Routley and Sue Yee Lee, also joined us. Sue Yee said:

God has not forgotten the church in Malaysia and East Asia, and the many tribes and tongues that have yet to hear the gospel of salvation. So we pray that this work of the kingdom continues on, that it will grow and bear fruit, and the church will faithfully proclaim the good news of Jesus till He returns.

Read the blog post

In December our team have been busy preparing to launch an exciting new campaign for 2019. The campaign is called To the Ends of the Earth - which will give you a bit of a clue as to what it's all about!

We can't say too much yet, but we'll be emailing all our contacts in January with the full details. In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of the campaign's brand:

You'll be able to hear all about it at Love, Live, Tell 2019.

RSVP by 21 January

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