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2017 in review Christianity explored ministries

Q - What’s the connection between an Army base in Germany, a wadi in Egypt, and a University in Korea?

A - They all hosted Christianity Explored Ministries launch and training events in 2017!

These, and many more highlights, feature in this quick flavour of our year. We hope you enjoy it.

A trip down the Nile

Our Training Director, Craig Dyer, visited the West Nile region of Uganda in January as our three-year training commitment to leaders of local churches there came to a close.

Sam Oyirwoth is one of the overseers of the ministry in this territory. He reviews the impact of Christianity Explored with his typical enthusiasm in the video below, but it is worth mulling over the strategic growth of CE and CY usage in this rural area.

Sam reports that over the last three years more than 330 local leaders and 52 youth leaders have been trained, with over 40,000 people in their care and 14,000 of these have already gone through Mark’s gospel using CE or CY.

A gathering of friends

On a blustery February evening the CEM team gathered together with many faithful friends at our supporters' evening to hear of the incredible ways God is working.

We thanked God for:

  • reaching our 100th country, Côte d’Ivoire
  • training and discipleship in East Africa
  • youth work in Lithuania
  • the ever-expanding work amongst those in prisons around the world
  • growth in North and South America and countries closed to the gospel.

One guest said:

"It was really powerful and exciting to hear how Jesus is at work throughout his world, and using the Explored series to help build his church."

Don't miss out this year. Come along to Love, Live, Tell 2018 on 8 February, we'd love to see you there.

Around the world in 18 days

Shooting for the new edition of Discipleship Explored began on 13 March and wrapped up on 31 March, and in that time the four-man crew travelled across five continents and filmed in seven different countries.

The eight-episode series, which takes you through Philippians, has been carefully crafted for Christians at any stage of their walk with Christ, and is perfect for small groups or one-to-ones.

Barry Cooper, our Director of Product Development and writer and presenter of the series, said:

“One of the big changes we’ve made is to incorporate interview footage from around the world.”

We asked Barry about his favourite moment filming Discipleship Explored:

"Listening to Barbara (one of our interviewees in Rwanda) talking about having a baby son, and how that experience of overwhelming love for him made her realise just how much Jesus must love her.

"She was in pieces telling the story. All of us behind the camera were weeping like babies too. Her story features in Episode 8 and it's one of my favourite sequences in the series."

Watch the trailer

Discipleship Explored will be released on 1 March 2018 and you can pre-order now. Pre-release copies will also be available at Love, Live, Tell 2018.

Workshopping in the USA

Alan Avera, from Christianity Explored North America, led a workshop in Virginia for local Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) churches, which introduced them to the Christianity Explored series.

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

In the workshop Alan showed guests how Christianity Explored not only presents the Gospel to unbelievers, but also helps believers to love, live and tell the Gospel.

A few months later Barry Cooper presented Life Explored to the PCA General Assembly on the topic of 'Why evangelism fails to connect in our culture and what to do about it.'

This is all part of our effort to show churches how our series can help them in evangelism and discipleship. The PCA has been one of the most responsive denominations in North America, with around 200 churches using our material.

Follow Alan's blog, Telling the Gospel, to keep up to date with North America news.

Standing to attention in Germany

In May our Training Director Craig Dyer had the privilege of preaching at the Soldiers and Airmen’s Scripture Readers’s Association Conference at British Army base in Lübbecke, Germany.

It was thrilling to hear the Evangelists and Chaplains speak of the widespread use of Christianity Explored and SOUL on Army and Airforce bases throughout the UK and in Germany.

This was just one of several trips Craig made in 2017 to provide training, encouragement and support to those using, or considering, our materials. As well as visiting Uganda in January, Craig went to Brazil, Kenya and Serbia, and closer to home he met with churches across the UK.

If you're interested in hosting a training day at your church or organisation, do get in touch.

Christianity Explored and Soul launch in Arabic

Ian and Nate travelled along with a party of Board members and advocates to both Egypt and Lebanon to launch the Arabic translations of Christianity Explored and Soul. They arrived just a few days after a horrific attack on a bus in the South of Egypt left 30 Coptic Christians dead.

Despite this, around 260 people joined training and launch events over the course of the trip. It was hugely encouraging to see people leaving eager to use our materials in an area starved of good-quality Christian resources.

Ian said:

"It was a privilege to witness God's work in the Arab world first hand. We were all strengthened and challenged by seeing the faith of our brothers and sisters in the face of change, danger and persecution."

Read the blog post

Did you know that our materials have been translated into more than 50 different languages? They are being used in over 100 countries around the world.

Training in Togo

Our Director of Prison Ministry, Stephen James, found himself in Togo in July. He was there to train Prison Fellowship Togo to run ‘The Prisoner's Journey®’.

The Prisoner's Journey® is a Prison Fellowship International (PFI) program adapted from the Christianity Explored Prison Edition, which focuses on evangelism to prisoners and is used all over the world. Stephen provides initial training and implementation support for all PFI national ministries.

Prison Fellowship Togo started the program in three prisons in 2017 and is hoping to expand to another 12 over the next three years. They hope to take 10,000 prisoners through the program.

2017 has seen Stephen training in several countries, including Guatemala, the Philippines, USA, Canada, Malawi, Trinidad and Egypt.

Read more about our prison ministry

Say hello, wave goodbye

July and August 2017 saw Phil Grout and Sarah Quinlan join our staff team.

Over the past 15 years we have focused on developing our Explored trilogy. We are now keen to promote them all creatively and effectively so that they reach the widest possible audience, and that's where Phil and Sarah come in.

Phil

Phil is our digital marketing and social media guru and comes to us from a publishing background. He's also a whizz with a camera and is behind many of the videos you will see emerging on our website and social media platforms.

"I've loved hearing how the Explored series are being used around the world. Meeting Bruce and Nancy from the US was a real highlight."

Did you catch the Bruce and Nancy interview?

Sarah

Sarah's role involves managing the CEM websites, creating the communications you receive from us and providing editorial support for new resources. She used to work at the British Medical Association, during the junior doctor contract dispute.

"Developing the blog on the website has been one of my favourite parts of the job so far. It's been so encouraging to hear your stories."

Have you been following our blog?

Nate

Nate and Cat Morgan Locke with their children James and Lily

Meanwhile we said 'au revoir' to Nate Morgan Locke, who has moved to the US with his family. He'll be studying at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for the next three years.

We don't think we've seen the last of him!

Happy Birthday Life Explored

One year on from the launch of our latest series, Life Explored, we spent some time reflecting on and celebrating encouragements from the past year.

We were grateful that so many people responded to our survey over the summer. Following your feedback, we improved the leader's area to help you lead the series more effectively. Updates included a downloadable Cheat Sheet and a range of new videos.

We also compiled a selection of stories and tips to encourage and equip you as you continue to lead Life Explored in your churches and communities.

Watch this space, as we plan to continue improving and evolving this series over the coming year.

At the moment, a prison edition is in development.

Telling the Better Story

The Evangelism Conference took place on 3 October in London and 5 October in Manchester.

We heard from John Stevens, Glynn Harrison and Jonty Allcock about how the Gospel tells a 'better story' in today's narrative-soaked world.

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!

A smooth landing in South Korea

The primary purpose of Ian and Rico's visit in November was to launch Life Explored.

In 2016 Christianity Explored was released there and this year they became the third country to officially publish a Life Explored translation. And in 2018 they plan to be the first to produce a translation of the new Discipleship Explored.

What is the reason for this sudden urgency of demand? Well, in the eyes of Yongshin, Kangeun and Daeman, who hosted the visit, Korea needs tried and tested Gospel resources.

One of their key concerns is the potential disillusionment of the younger generation. So as well as doing the main launch and visiting churches, Ian and Rico also went to the local Army barracks and a couple of Christian schools.

You'll be able to read more about their trip on the blog in the New Year.

Meet the Nativity

We were thrilled to partner with Speak Life on their 2017 series of Christmas films, Meet the Nativity.

It was a collaboration between 50 artists, including Eastenders actress Vanessa Bailey, Oscar-shortlisted director, Chris Jones, and Speak Life's director, Glen Scrivener, the creative force behind a sling of viral videos.

The episodes were accompanied by 'explainer' videos, drawing out the gospel from each mini-film and directing people to follow-up. This follow-up came in the form of a book – Glen Scrivener's best-selling Four Kinds of Christmas – and our series, Life Explored.

Life Explored aired on Speak Life's Facebook page for a week following Christmas.

Glen said:

"Directing people to Life Explored was a brilliant 'next step' for interested enquirers. The production values, the mind-expanding storytelling and the gospel focus are such core components of both projects and we're praying hard that many will now make the journey from these films to a face-to-face course."

We're so thankful to God for all your prayers and support. We couldn't do any of this without you.

If you'd like to find out how you can get involved with and support our work, please visit our website.

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