Happy Christmas – and have a hope-filled New Year
Time to celebrate
What an amazing truth we celebrate at Christmas: ‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood…’ (John 1:14 Message). This is the message of hope that we have to share with our communities. Jesus comes to show us what God is like and invites us into an eternal relationship with him. Let’s pray that the life of Jesus will fill the church in a fresh way this Christmas – spilling out through our words and actions into our villages, towns and cities, as we begin HOPE 14 and this year of mission together.
Roy Crowne, Director of HOPE
New Year prayer
Start 2014 praying together for your community. Download HOPE's New Year prayer ideas here to pray together as a small group, as a church or with other churches in your area.
We are getting reports from across the country from sports clubs where community carol events have been held in the run-up to Christmas. More than 1,200 people attended the Bolton Wanderers community carol event. The service was recorded and is going out on local radio (107.4 Tower FM) on Christmas morning at 6am. It will then be available on their listen-again service on the Tower FM website from 7am. Farnborough FC’s Carols on the Pitch included performances from Bagshot Concert Band and Aldershot Military Wives Choir (watch the video here). The Bradford Bulls event was also a great success (read their report here). These are just three of the many events held this year. With overwhelmingly positive feedback coming from the clubs, we are now planning for 2014. Details of how to contact your stadium and how to plan a community carol event for Christmas 2014 will be available soon.
Training for mission
The church at the heart of every community – that’s HOPE’s dream. And to equip churches, HOPE has teamed up with Fusion, Messy Church and other ministries to train and inspire churches to engage with local communities. The training focuses on four strategic mission opportunities as part of an annual rhythm of mission through the church calendar. Find out more here and download the training brochure here.
May’s Big Weekender
There are exciting plans coming together for the HOPE Revolution Big Weekender from 3-5th May 2014. This youth-led national initiative is being backed by churches and youth ministries across the country to spread hope with a weekend of practical action. Watch out for more news in January when the full details will be revealed. As Mike Pilavachi says in this video clip: ‘Get stuck in! Bless your community.’
Sharing Jesus – together in words & action
Together in words and action: that’s HOPE’s distinctive. HOPE’s resource book HOPE – The Heartbeat of Mission focuses on putting faith into action (order one today from the HOPE shop). Now HOPE and Share Jesus International have published a new book, Sharing Jesus which focuses on how to put faith into words. Copies will be available to order in the New Year. Churches in London are already signing up for the Sharing Jesus training programme as part of Crossing London. We’d love to bring the Sharing Jesus training to your area. Contact us to find out more – admin a_t hopetogether d_o_t org d_o_t uk
HOPE’s partner Bible Society has published Who? – The Story of Jesus pulling together the accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke to tell Jesus’ life story in contemporary language. Find out more and order copies here.
Tell us your plans
We are updating the HOPE website in the New Year – especially the map showing where HOPE mission plans are taking shape. Send us news of what’s planned in your area, so we can put you on the map too. Email Carole at admin a_t hopetogether d_o_t org d_o_t uk
More than we could ask…
Thanks for being part of HOPE in 2013. We are so encouraged by all that has happened in the past year as we prepare for 2014’s year of mission. We are amazed that so many people are standing with us in prayer and it’s been fantastic to see the HOPE vision catching the imagination of so many churches. We are thrilled to hear of the villages, towns and cities making plans and investing funds in mission under the HOPE banner. We are so grateful to the leaders who are backing us, particularly the Archbishop of Canterbury who visited Cornwall’s Mission Academy and hosted the HOPE launch at Lambeth Palace. Even the little things like the growing number of Facebook followers have encouraged us. Thanks to all who re-tweet HOPE’s tweets and follow us on Facebook.
Roy Crowne and HOPE chairman Steve Clifford rounded off the year as guests of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria. They brought greetings from HOPE in the UK to the congregation of 1 million people gathered in Lagos. Roy said, ‘A million people gathered in one place to pray is mind-boggling and inspiring. The denomination is the fastest growing in the world. From just nine people meeting in a home in 1952, there are now thousands of parishes around the world with more than 670 in the UK. Let’s follow their example in prayer and trust God for great things in the coming year.’
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Have a wonderful Christmas and a hope-filled New Year!
Love, from the HOPE team.