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April - May 2014 / Issue 63

sparking passion for the Gospel across the UK

Hitting the right note!

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Counties has a new website

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Hundreds at conference

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Become a Friend of Life


To give you a future and a hope! This ancient promise through Jeremiah, rings true through the dramatic events of the first Easter, right through to 2014! Hallelujah!! The risen Lord Jesus Christ brings us confidence for the future and a spectacular expectation. Praise God! Does the ministry of Counties have a future? What are our hopes? This month, Counties trustees will be devoting two days (9th & 10th) to prayer and strategy. We want to hear ‘what the Spirit is saying’ to the churches of 2014 (and to us), as we seek to serve the Lord of the Church and ‘build the church’ by making Jesus known.

Praying

Your prayers are vital for God to make us fruitful, to protect us and to direct our steps. We are deeply grateful to those who use our Praise & Prayer Diary regularly. As prayer partners, you are being invited to join our Counties Weekend in Bournemouth, this year, from 31 October to 2 November.

Planning

“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established,” (Proverbs 16.3). We want to face the challenges of our changing society and ask the Lord to show us how we can be more effective and more fruitful. Remember the Lord’s fresh directions to Peter and the others in John 21.6? “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

Partnering

This reminds me of another ‘failing’ fishing trip that was transformed by the Master’s directions! In Luke 5.7 “They signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.” So we are excited to be increasingly partnering with other ‘Gospel-hearted’ people. For example: • By agreeing to manage The Evangelization Society (tes.org.uk) and providing new trustees, we are reducing overheads and providing grants for creative evangelistic projects, beyond the Counties family! (see centre pull-out for more information). • In conjunction with Echoes, GLO and Interlink, First Serve is providing opportunities for young people to serve on a year-out (firstserve.org.uk). We want to encourage more young people to sign up for GLO’s great summer teams across Europe. See glo-europe.org/glo/ programme.html “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11.1) Yours in faith,

John Wilkes, Evangelist - CEO Counties exists to make Jesus known across the UK through our evangelists, exhibitions and resources, in Biblically faithful and culturally relevant ways. Address: Counties 30 Haynes Road, Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 3HD Telephone: 01373 823 013 Email: office@countiesuk.org www.countiesuk.org Thank you for your valued partnership. We are glad to make Ignite available free of charge. It costs approximately £5 per year to produce and distribute six editions of this newsletter to you. Every additional contribution will help us continue in our mission. Counties (formerly Counties Evangelistic Work) is a Registered Charity No. 264278 and a Company limited by guarantee registered in England & Wales No. 1041761 Editor: Helen Rimmer helen@countiesuk.org

Design: www.relevantdesign.co.uk 2 | Ignite


Contents

8: Youth for Christ director Gavin Calver and John Wilkes, Counites CEO, at the recent Counties Day Conference in Slough.

News

4 Counties launches a fresh new website 5 GLO team outreach in Hampshire

Features

6 Evangelist John Hardwick launches new Sunday School CD 8 News from the Counties Day Conference

Regulars

5: GLO Tilsley College students enjoy outreach.

10 Share the story of Jesus by becoming a Friend of Life 11 Easter resources for you and your church

Please introduce Counties to your friends by following us on Facebook and Twitter

Facebook ‘Counties Evangelism Network’ Twitter ‘@countiesuk’

10: Share the story of Jesus with school children. Ignite | 3


News

Widening the net with new website Counties is launching an exciting new website to make it even easier to find events, publications and local evangelists. The updated and refreshed site – countiesuk.org – will go live in April and features an interactive map to help people find an evangelist and their details; an easier to read calendar of monthly events plus more videos, latest news and social media updates. John Wilkes, CEO of Counties, said:

“Counties brand has evolved over the last few years and we felt it was time our website reflected this through the use of new images and messaging. “We are really pleased with the updated site and as well as it looking fresh and contemporary, we think it will help people find what they are looking for much quicker with our simple menu bar and options.” Information on Counties history, its values and its work in schools are all included, as well as simple ways supporters can get involved. We would love to know what you think! Please email office@countiesuk.org or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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The new homepage of Counties website.


News

GLO-ing outreach with international students (Gospel Literature Outreach - GLO) on Team Mission Evangelism – which is part of a one year course in biblical studies and hands-on ministry experience for people in Europe. One Christian teacher from Southampton told Gordon: “Thanks for bringing your students to us. The kids absolutely loved it. And the staff were really interested too. 85 kids having two hours of testimony and Gospel teaching! Bring it on!” The team included: Erika Raigné (Argentina), Ebony Webb (England), Emilio Martinez (Argentina), Emily Garcia (US), Laura Gotta (Italy), Stephen Trelogan (Thailand/Scotland), Iemima Piu, Cristina Filip (Romania) & Anthony Chitambala (Zambia).

Students from across the world were keen to learn about local mission when they joined Hampshire evangelist Gordon Curley for a week. A team of eight students from Argentina, USA, Italy, Thailand, Scotland, Romania and Zambia gave a helping hand to Gordon’s local church – Duncan Road Church in Southampton - during a week of varied outreach. Local mission activities included taking assemblies in four junior schools and one senior school, ‘Grill a Student’ lessons, (where the students were asked questions regarding their country of origin and their faith), literature distribution, visiting regular church clubs and youth events.

Gordon added: “Having a GLO Team really boosted everyone at our local church. It was good to meet these willing workers and to help provide them with some opportunities to gain practical experience in evangelism.” GLO is a Christian mission organization dedicated to bringing the good news of Jesus to a world that is lost. Its vision is to establish church planting teams throughout Europe and to support them through short term mission trips. As part of its mission to bring the Gospel to Europe, Tilsley College places its students from around the world to work alongside evangelists, pastors, youth workers and missionaries for various periods of ministry experience throughout the UK and Europe. For more information visit tilsleycollege.com

The students were from the Tilsley College

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Features

Gavin Calver speaks at the conference in Slough.

Reaching and keeping new generations Popular Christian speaker Gavin Calver has encouraged Counties evangelists, staff and supporters to reach out to younger people through evangelism. The director of Youth for Christ was speaking at Counties annual day conference, held each year to equip and inspire people for evangelism. More than 200 people gathered to enjoy the teaching, as well as spend time in fellowship, prayer, encouragement and worship. Speaking at the event, Gavin said: “How are we investing in new generations? We

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should look to Jesus and how he worked through empowerment, sharing the right values, forgiveness and reaching out. “Jesus wants people involved, he wants people to have the chance to do. We have got to become people who empower others even though at times it would be easier to do it ourselves.” Gavin used the example in John 13 of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet to talk about sharing values. He said: “In one moment the Saviour of the world, who threw the stars into space, reverses the economy of life. As he gets a bucket and a towel,


Supporting innovative evangelism and outreach Welcome to the new style TES update. Under Counties management, this 150 year old trust continues to support pioneering evangelism projects. Here are some recent stories from groups which have benefited from a TES grant. Teenagers in Northwich have been encouraged in their faith – thanks to a new united youth event in the town. A £750 grant from TES to Youth United Northwich has helped the group to hold youth-led events with guest speakers and worship groups. Caroline Bishop from Youth United Northwich said: “Each event has been significant in encouraging local young people in their faith at a time when church youth groups in the area can be relatively small. “By providing a youth-led, youth style contemporary event, there has been regular opportunity for young people to worship God together, use and develop their talents, receive relevant teaching as well as an opportunity for them to reaffirm their faith.

A recent Youth United event.

“Some are also beginning to invite their peers, with many invitations given out to unchurched young people in local colleges and schools.” Caroline explained that there have been many encouraging testimonies from the events. She continued: “Two young people at the same school only realised they were both Christians after they met at the united event. “Another young person travelled quite a distance at an important time of decision in their walk with God. They were greatly reassured by the prayers of one of the team members who previously knew nothing of their situation. “Last year, four teenagers publically gave their hearts to Jesus for the first time. “Thank you so much TES for supporting this venture!”


New mobile unit hits the streets of Warrington Warrington Youth for Christ are using a £2,000 TES grant to help create a mobile youth facility for the town. The mobile unit – called TAB will help Warrington YFC reach out to young people in the town using local parks & public spaces. Karen Norman, from Warrington YFC, said: “The team is grateful for the financial support which will enable us to take the good news of Jesus to the young people of our town.

“There are lots of exciting projects coming up and we look forward to seeing what God is going to do in our town in the coming months.”

A £1,000 TES grant helps fund the work of chaplains.

Busy year for chaplains in Oxford schools A £1,000 TES grant has helped fund the work of chaplains who visit schools in Oxford. The Oxford Schools Chaplaincy team regularly visit Christian Unions in four secondary schools, supporting Christian young people and providing information on Christianity to those exploring in a safe environment. They also teach in local schools, with lessons on subjects such as Christmas and Easter, with question and answer sessions with local clergy. Alix Gould, from Oxford Schools Chapliancy, said: “It’s been an exciting year with many more opportunities to engage with local schools, in no small part, due to becoming more established in Oxford.

YFC’s new mobile facility TAB.

“It is a privilege to see God at work in student’s lives and to be part of this work.”

TES Supporting evangelism across the UK


Painting God’s creation

Kevin Moore with one of the paintings plus young people show off their creations.

A project in Bedfordshire to help young people combine their passion for art with their faith was a success – thanks to a donation from TES. A grant of £1,000 helped the Face2Face Educational Trust take a group of 9-17 year olds away for a week of inspirational painting and Bible teaching. The Sketchpad art holiday is held in the grounds of Chellington. Devotions are followed by art sessions outside, giving young people the chance to develop their artistic skills, as well as discovering more about capturing themes from the Bible and creatively presenting them. One young person said: “Drawing and painting helps you

tune into God’s creation. You notice the wren on the wall, the hare in the field, you hear the green woodpecker and marvel at the sunset. You wonder, how did He do it?”

A grant of £1,000 helped the Face2Face Educational Trust

Kevin Moore, who organised the holiday, said: “Everyone was enthusiastic about the week and found it an inspirational experience. Sketchpad is very enjoyable and creates opportunities for young people and adults to learn about the world of art.

“It encourages people to express themselves capturing the beauty of God’s creation around them.” As well as painting and drawing the local landscape, the young people produced large pieces of artwork which reflected a biblical scene. Themes included ‘the Communion table’, ‘the cross and the empty tomb’ and the ‘life of Jesus.’

tes.org.uk


Dynamic youth event in Birmingham

Young people entertain at event.

DJs, rap artists, street dancers and football freestylers were all part of an event to reach hundreds of young people with the Gospel. Birmingham City Mission’s Fulfil youth event, supported by a £1195 grant from TES, was geared towards 11-18 year olds and featured live music, café, games, competitions and video. John Platt from Birmingham City Mission said: “We run various local projects in order to build relationships with young people and to provide constructive activities for them. We seek to provide a positive alternative to the numerous undesirable and hazardous pursuits available to youngsters, especially during the evenings. “The Fulfil event aims to develop the child as a whole person, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

Birmingham City Mission’s Fulfil youth event was supported by a £1195 grant “We provide opportunities for young people to dive deep and consider faith-based issues. They hear key Christian principles and values and in particular to consider the claims of Jesus.” “They are presented with the Gospel message at the Fulfil event through different means – music, videos, testimonies and discussion. We are very grateful to TES for its support which benefits so many young people in our city.”

Interested in applyling for a grant or supporting TES with a donation? Then visit tes.org.uk for more details. Trust manager C/O Counties, 30 Haynes Road, Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 3HD.


Features

Evangelists held a range of seminars.

A bookstall proved popular at the one-day event.

he changes the values of life from status, opportunity and winning into love, mercy and service. “What a transformative moment. The disciples would have been stunned as Jesus washes their feet, how undignified, but Jesus is prepared to be undignified to show us that humility matters more than status. “What do the people around you think matters to you? Because what you are sharing with them is what they catch. And if what matters to you is you looking dignified and comfortable and you looking good, then we’re in trouble. If what matters shows you that you are living under a higher authority, that you are living to a different rule set, and you are going off doing different things in the world – that will change things.” He continued: “We need to be people who start to forgive more quickly. We do not give younger generations enough time because when they get it wrong they are out. What would it look like if the church in this country never went to bed on an argument? The way the devil gets at the church is to bring disunity. Let’s destroy the devil’s power and be outrageous forgivers. “Finally we need to reach out. Actions aren’t enough - we need to go and tell and get uncomfortable. This nation is hungry

for Jesus, it just doesn’t realise it and we need to stay firm to the rock we believe in but innovate in the way we share, living as hands, feet and mouths of Jesus in our world. We need to help new generations be authentic and genuine, by empowering them, teaching values that are different, living in a way which will bring more towards him, be forgiving. “Do I believe that in my lifetime this nation will be changed? Yes! In WH Smith six years ago they decided to put the Christianity books into the history section. It’s about time they were in the middle of the current affairs because God is on the move, let’s find Him and join Him!”

Share Counties vision with new film A new DVD was launched at the conference to highlight the difference three evangelists are making in their communities. The 3 DVD from Counties features Tim and Joy Ayrton who run the Sudbury family support centre Number 72; Colin Johnson, a strong advocate of community door to door visiting and John Hardwick, who produces CD’s, DVDs and holiday club material on the Gospel. Email office@countiesuk.org for a free copy of the five-minute 3 DVD. Ignite | 7


Features

John hits the right note with songs for the older generation John Hardwick talks about his music.

Singing old Sunday school songs to people in nursing homes, retired groups and churches is helping a Cambridgeshire evangelist connect older people with God. John Hardwick has produced the Sunday School Favourites with a Swing album featuring hymns and old songs to help engage the older generation in worship and remind them through familiar music of God’s love for them.

“I started singing some old time songs and the older folk instantly started to sing and clap along. People commented how much they had enjoyed the whole afternoon but especially hearing the old Sunday school songs again.

Songs include This Little Light of Mine, Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam and Jesus Bids us Shine sung by John to swing/jazz rhythms – a style popular at the time the songs were written. John got the idea for the album after speaking at a retired workers group. He explained: 8 | Ignite

John sings to a retired group at Histon Baptist Church Cambridge.


Features

John recording one of his popular songs (top) and some of John’s other resources.

“I remember seeing a man well into his 90’s who looked delighted, he was singing and clapping along with a big grin on his face! This gave me the inspiration to produce the album as a giveaway at the end of a singing session and to start visiting old people’s homes, day centres and midweek church groups.” John believes the old songs help people remember God. He continued: “Many of the older generation did go to Sunday school and learnt these songs. Then for all kinds of reasons they may have drifted away and now they are coming towards the end of their lives. It’s important to be able to reach out to them and remind them about a God who loves them and longs for them to be part of his family for eternity! These songs remind them of this message. “Older people often feel left out of modern church services. One lady said that she

had been told by the worship leader that they wouldn’t do the old hymns or songs because they wanted to reach the new generation. She was obviously upset by this. “Another once said to me: ‘I have nothing against the new songs but my eyes aren’t what they used to be so I can’t read the words; my ears aren’t what they used to be, so I can’t hear the words; so I struggle to join in with the modern songs! But when a hymn is played I can instantly join in and engage in worship!’” Ann Fishpool from Histon Baptist Church said: “Songs you learn as children stay with you throughout your life. When you are all singing together, praising God – it’s just great!” For a copy of the CD or for other resources John has produced visit johnhardwick.org.uk. Ignite | 9


Regulars

Help children in the UK discover the story of Jesus Martin Buckley.

Counties has launched a campaign to help reach even more school children through its popular Life exhibition.

Over the next three years Counties aims to increase the number of visits to different areas by 50% - but needs help to make this happen. That’s why the Friends of Life campaign has been launched – with the aim of raising enough money through a monthly gift scheme to help subsidise the cost of the exhibition. Martin Buckley, Life co-ordinator, explained: “It costs £3,000 to run an exhibition each week, this is already subsidised by Counties enabling churches to pay only half of this. But many more churches are keen to hire Life but simply cannot afford the hire costs.

Pupil enjoys the Life exhibition.

“We hope with the support of people - who are passionate about children hearing the story of Jesus - we can reach many more venues.” Through Friends of Life, supporters can donate a monthly gift, starting at £5, to help fund the exhibition. They will receive regular prayer updates about the difference their gift is making.

The new Friends of Life promotion material.

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To request a Friends of Life gift form and leaflet please contact office@countiesuk. org, call 01373 823013 or to donate online visit countiesuk.org


Regulars

World Cup mission

Andy Hodson.

West Midlands evangelist Andy Hodson is making preparations to fly to Brazil for a World Cup mission project this summer.

Andy, who leads the Lakeside church plant in Stourbridge, plans to take out a group of people during the World Cup in June to help with local football-related projects. Andy said: “The intention is for each person going to take another person with them as an opportunity to disciple them through these projects as well as exciting them about the kingdom when they return.”

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Cracking Easter resources Looking for an Easter give-away for an outreach event? The ‘Cracking Easter’ booklets from Ivor Cooper are now available to order - just 25p each or £10 per 50 plus postage. Stocks are limited, so please get in touch with Ivor (cooper@ countiesuk.org) as soon as possible.

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COUNTIES 30 Haynes Road Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 3HD

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Your local evangelists 1. Charles & Elizabeth Addoco 2. Will & Lynne Andrews 3. Tim & Joy Ayrton Tony & Ruth Hood 4. Kevin & Anita Baldwin 5. Jonathan & Heather Brain 6. David & Lindsey Brown Andy & Isobel Hodson (CPI) Paul & Vanessa Willmott 7. Ian & Sally Carr 8. Tim & Charissa Cooke 9. Ivor & Angela Cooper Bob & Rita Telford 10. Clive & Fiona Cornish Mike & Janet Thomas 11. Tim & Katrina Cracknell (CPI) 12. Gordon & Penny Curley 13. Ray & Carol Dadswell 14. Phil & Sheila Davies 15. Martin & Rachel Erwin 16. John & Rachel Hardwick 17. Colin & Linda Johnson 18. Mike & Su Strange 19. Matt & Nicola Rich 20. James & Naomi Richards 21. David & Katie Symons 22. Robert & Sarah Watson

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CPI - Church Planting Initiative

Seniors and widows Grace Anderson Tom & Madelene Bathgate Jean Campbell Geoff & Isobel Carr Roger & Hazel Chilvers Lionel & Mavis Clargo

Rose Geary Stephen & Jean Gillham Victor Jack Andy & Miriam Jelfs Phyllis Jenkins John & Hettie Hall Wendy Iliffe

John & Jane Martin Elsie Newman Dennis Pierce Ruby Powell Dick & Betty Saunders Margaret Stokes Gladys Whittern

All Counties evangelists are self-employed, receiving support from our funds, as the Lord provides. We welcome approaches from new evangelists, potential trainees or associates, particularly in vacant counties. Call John Wilkes on 01373 823013 for an informal discussion.

countiesuk.org

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