Crowdsource new Bibles for your church, school or youth ministry with GivingBibles.com

GivingBibles.com looks a brilliant new website designed by Hodder Faith especially for churches or other organisations that need Bibles but can’t afford them. Perhaps your church needs to replenish its stock of pew Bibles, or maybe there’s a growing youth group you’d like to give youth Bibles to? There are 30 different packs and individual Bibles to choose from, from individual gospels to packs of 20 church Bibles.

Whether you need Bibles for your church or school, or even for an Alpha or Christianity Explored course, Foodbank, Street Pastors’ group or for a local mission, GivingBibles.com is the place to come.

Anyone can set up an appeal, and it takes less than 5 minutes – just select the Bibles you need and write a short pitch as you might on JustGiving if you were running a marathon. Then share your appeal with your friends via email or social media.

GivingBibles.com from NIV Bibles on Vimeo.

Clearing 2016 – A step-by-step guide

Around 300,000 students will receive their A-level results on Thursday, and like every year, thousands of students will suddenly find themselves thrown into the Clearing system.

If you are among them, remember – ending up in Clearing is no reason to panic. University Clearing is there for anyone who has applied through Ucas but is without a place after receiving their results, whatever the reason.  Over 64,000 students found a university place through Clearing in 2015, according to UCAS – more than 10% of all university admissions that year.  So there is a good chance you will too, provided you are flexible and get your research right.

Here is a simple, step-by-step guide to Clearing should you need to get involved on results day:

1. Check Track

On the morning of results day, log in to Track on the UCAS website to see if you are eligible for Clearing. It’s a myth that Track is updated at midnight on results day. Only the Clearing 2016 Vacancy Search goes live at midnight; Track opens at around 8am.  If you’re eligible for Clearing, it will say so and you’ll be provided with a Clearing number which you should take note of so you can proceed (the universities you call up during Clearing will ask you for this).

2. Browse courses

You can browse Clearing 2016 vacancies at any time on results day, but you can’t make a formal choice until around 3.00pm when, if you’re eligible, an “add Clearing choice” button appears on your Track “choices” screen. However, you should call universities or colleges much earlier in the day to secure a provisional offer. Discuss your options with those who know your academic background and have been advising you up to this point. You might also find it helpful to talk to careers advisers on the Exam Results Helpline (0808 100 8000).

3. Be ready to act fast

Vacancies can be filled extremely quickly, and if you’re not around at the start of Clearing places on your chosen courses may have gone by the time you call the universities or colleges. Admissions staff will want to speak to you, not your parents or advisers.

4. Prepare to contact admissions staff

When you have found a course you like, call the university’s admissions office to confirm that places are still available and discuss the course demands. You should prepare for that phone call as seriously as for a job interview. Be ready to ask tutors intelligent questions about the course requirements, and make sure you are a good fit for them. You might want to ask how the course is taught, what assessment model is used, what materials you’ll need to supply, and about the accommodation arrangements. Admissions staff will ask for your personal ID and Clearing number to confirm they can consider you in Clearing (you’ll find these on the “welcome” and “choices” pages in Track). They can then view your complete application immediately on Ucas’s secure online system.

5. Add a Clearing choice in Track

If an admissions tutor offers you a provisional place, you’ll probably be given a deadline for making a formal commitment to the course by adding a Clearing choice on Track. You can only make one choice at a time. Before accepting an offer, research the course requirements and university carefully. You are committing to years of study and should feel confident that you’re doing the right thing.

6. Confirm or pick another course

Ucas tells the institution that you have entered its details on Track. If you are successful, you will see the acceptance in the “choices” section and Ucas will send you a letter confirming your place and giving further guidance. If you aren’t successful the “add Clearing choice” button will be reactivated so you can add another choice, and still more if necessary up until October 22. Vacancies in Clearing are a shifting landscape as people turn down offers and places are filled, so keep looking at the lists.

7. Consider applying again next year

If you can’t find a course in Clearing that matches your aspirations you can always apply again for next year. Courses for 2017 are already available to browse on the Ucas website. You can start work on your new application right now, although you won’t be able to submit it until mid-September.

8. Finding university accommodation

Once you’ve found a place through Clearing, the next challenge is sorting your university accommodation. This blog post from NUS will give you some tips on how to get applying (and why you really don’t need an ensuite bathroom…).

John Orchard a friend who is the Education Outreach Officer at the University of Essex, wrote some comments from his perspective as someone who works at a university and will be answering clearing phone calls this week:

  • It is SO important to read up on courses and universities BEFORE making any phone calls. We don’t mind answering specific questions but it’s really important that students have a good idea of what they’re applying for before they ring.
  • If you’re applying to a university through clearing find out if they have a clearing open day or tours running and make it a priority to go if at all possible.
  • Please be patient with us. We will process applications and get a response to you as soon as we can Sometimes taking time out to reflect and re-applying the following year is the best thing. Rushed decisions are more likely to be wrong decisions.
  • Please be patient with us. We will process applications and get a response to you as soon as we can”

A-level results – how to help your teenager

Here are some top tips on dealing with A’ level results:

For parents:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about the results, either before or after.
  • Don’t shy away from the disappointment your child is feeling. Encourage him or her to talk about it.
  • Keep talking about the many possible future paths available.
  • Emphasise how hard they’ve tried and the work they’ve put in – and why this shows they have qualities that can take them far.
  • Explain – preferably with real examples – that many successful people have taken “a zig-zag route” to reach their goals.

For students:

  • If you’re worried, don’t wait till the last minute. Ring up and ask for an appointment with your tutor or careers adviser to look at options in case you drop a grade, so you have a real plan B. Find out too if there’s someone you can talk to at school or college in the days and weeks after results.
  • Be aware of the hype around A-levels day – TV images of ecstatic students, for example – which can inflate the importance of the results beyond the reality.
  • Develop a broader perspective on your future – talk to your friends, your family and especially your teachers or tutors, who may be well placed to help you think about alternative but equally rewarding ways forward.
  • Plan to do something positive on results day, whatever your grades. And stay in touch with people, to remind yourself that there is more to life than A-levels.

Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect

The Home Office and the Department for Education have launched a consultation on reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect.

They are seeking views from the public on the possible introduction of a mandatory requirement for teachers and other professionals to report child abuse and neglect. Read the consultation documents and fill in the survey using the link above before the deadline on October 13th 12pm.

 

Fight for Justice over the Olympics

The It’s a Penalty campaign harnesses the power of sport to protect children from exploitation and abuse around the world, and at major global sporting events.

Throughout the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, It’s a Penalty reached over 300 million people globally. There were 11,252 calls to the Brazilian national crisis line reporting child exploitation.

For the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games, they’re striving to do the same.

It’s a Penalty Informs, Equips, Educates, Spreads Awareness and Communicates about how to make a difference in the global community to protect these children.

Together we can put an end to it.

Youth Evangelism Officer appointed

jimmy_dale__002_Jimmy Dale has been appointed as the Church of England’s first national Youth Evangelism Officer.

In response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s focus on evangelism. Jimmy will take up the role in October. He will hold a national remit to develop and disseminate models of evangelism among 11 – 18 year olds.

This new role aims to promote the mission of the church to and by 11-18 year olds. In collaboration with Dioceses, Jimmy will develop, pilot and evaluate effective models of youth evangelism that enable young people to reach their peers with the Gospel. Working alongside bishops, clergy, youth advisers and youth workers, he will then ensure that parish leaders have ready access to those models.

Speaking after his appointment, Mr Dale said:

“I’m so excited to be starting in this new role and the potential that it brings. It’s brilliant to see young people as they evangelise to their friends and support them in that, and helping churches reach young people with the good news of Jesus. I am really looking forward to working alongside people across the country as we seek to support and promote where youth evangelism is working well, as well as dreaming together of new ways to reach young people with the gospel.”

Mr Dale will work with both the Mission and Public Affairs Division (MPA) and the National Education Office of the Archbishops’ Council, as part of a small team focussed on youth evangelism.

Jimmy Dale comes to the post having worked as Centre Director and founder of Newham Youth for Christ and with previous experience in youth work. He holds a BA (Hons) in Youth Work and Applied Theology from the University of Gloucestershire.

Welcoming the appointment, the Director of MPA, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, said:

“I am very pleased that we have appointed Jimmy Dale to this important new post. It represents a creative response to the priority of youth evangelism which combines the resources of the Education Office and the Mission and Public Affairs Division and will start to address the challenges of reaching out to a generation which can confound our assumptions about how they see the world, the church and the gospel.”

Chief Education Officer, the Revd Nigel Genders, added:

“The priorities set out in Going for Growth include every young person having a life enhancing encounter with Jesus Christ and the Christian faith and recognises the vital need to enable the capacity of young people as agents of change and transformation. We are delighted to welcome Jimmy to bring a specific focus on youth evangelism to this work and look forward to working with others across the church as we seek to enable young people to reach their peers with the good news about Jesus.”

Information about Going for Growth can be found here

Naked Attraction and Holy Lust

Rachel Gardner has written a brilliant blog on ‘Naked Attraction’ the latest Channel 4 trashy attempt at a programme linked to sex and relationships:

the problem with ‘Naked Attraction’ is that it hasn’t been done out of this spirit. The progressive liberal spin that says ‘this is art’ seems blind to the blatant fact that people will be getting a kick out of seeing full frontal nudity of bright young bodies. The creators of the show may be using nudity as a tool to provoke us to explore the true identity of the people we date, but how does focusing on the girth of a penis help anyone discover the hidden depths of someone’s character? Are they less likely to emotionally scar you if they have good pecs? Are they more likely to cherish your hopes and understand your insecurities if they have huge breasts?

The truth is that the internet has killed the idea of censorship, so if you’re a producer wanting good ratings why try and beat porn sites that blow your viewing stats out of the water when you can join them? Programmes like ‘Naked Attraction’ and ‘Sex Box’ aren’t about addressing the relational well- being of young people. They’re not about helping young adults find love in uncertain times. This isn’t a positive contribution to empowerment or education or art. This is voyeurism dressed up as freedom. This is our ongoing submission to the pornification of culture. It’s about broadcast numbers and money – and it’s a dull exchange.

But as shallow and distasteful as these shows invariably are, they none the less demonstrate something unknowingly redemptive.

Go read the rest of her blog to find out how the show unwittingly brought something redemptive to our screens.

YLG2016: State of the World

The third Lausanne Young Leaders Gathering is happening in Jakarta.  YLG2016 is a gathering of 1,000 younger leaders from over 160 countries who will connect, pray, and discern together God’s leading of their generation for his global mission.  It’s a privilege to be here and to share my notes of Jason Mandryk and Molly Wall from Operation World as they give their State of the World address.

Largest religion by country & population

Most religions still tend to be concentrated in particular regions, especially Hinduism, Buddhism and to some degree Islam.  Christianity is the most global religion, 2.3 billion Christians in 38,000 denominations in every single country, with more cultures, ethnic groups, languages represented.  It is easy to see the prayer Jesus prayed for his disciples to have unity is still as challenging as before.

 

For about 100 years Christianity represents one third of the world population.  In 1960 29% of Evangelical Christians were living in Africa, Asia and Latin America, now in 2016 it is 78%, by 2020 it will be more than 80%.  This is true not just for evangelicals but every stream of Christianity.  We see that Evangelical Christianity is growing in 1960 there were 91 million (3%) now in 2016 there are 600 million + (8%).

 

Partnership

There is a greater degree of partnership and collaboration.  This is partly due to the size and complexity of the church and mission but also an increased willingness and even desire to partner together.

 

Prayer

The global church is seeing a deliberate focus on prayer, for every one initiative you know there are ten you probably don’t know such as the Holy Ghost service in Nigeria seeing 1 million praying together, and others much smaller.  Prayer is changing the church and the world.

 

Mission

In the last 25 years more people have entered the kingdom than in any other point of history.  A lot of this has happened in the context of persecution and suffering.  In 1960 50% of the world had never heard the gospel, now in 2016 it is about 29%.  There are 600-650 ethno-languages that have not yet received any part of the gospel.  Definitely mission has shifted from the West to the rest onto everywhere to everywhere – polycentric mission.  There is also a lot more reverse mission, former receiving fields are sending missionaries to the sending countries, a lot of people trying to reach places such as London.  The world’s mission force is more diverse in nationality, location, organisations and the range of activities we engage in.

 

Global Context

The story of humanity is a story of urbanisation from the garden of Eden to the City of revelation.  From 2008 the world population shifted over 50% urban population.  Cities contain not just the most people, but influence, energy, and more.

 

Human lifespan

Human lifespan is increasing, and the birth-rate is decreasing.  By 2050 there will be as many people aged 60 and over as those aged 15 and under.  In 1980 there were 100,000 who reached the age of 100.  By 2050 there will be 4 million who reach the age of 100.  This will impact employment, retirement and pensions, medical care, but also our Christian service opportunities.

 

Population Growth

As populations of global north decline (Japan, Germany etc.), half of all population growth will be in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, D.R. Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia and Uganda.  Or in other terms half of all population growth will be in Africa.

 

Poverty

Only 10% of the world lives in ‘extreme poverty’ according to the UN.  That still means over 700 million are living in injustice, exploitation, environmental degradation.  The 62 richest people in the world own as much wealth as 3.6 billion people (50% of the population).

 

Migration

Migration factors are the tip of the iceberg of the next 40 years.  They will be the context for much of the most fruitful ministry.

 

Data

Which movie gets 7 sequels in the cinema and which one goes straight to DVD, which advertisement and posts you see in social media is decided by data.  As the volume of data increases we are relying on others to prioritise and sort this.  We are influenced by those most closely aligned to our own values which narrows our learning and prevents us from relating to those who are different to us, and so we then abuse them.

 

What does it mean to be human?

This is increasingly important to us as morals, ethics, science and technology pushing up against boundaries.  Forming a sound biblical world view and ethic is essential.

 

As we look ahead we are facing critical unprecedented change.

 

The first Human Geno was sequenced in 2004 and cost hundreds of millions and took years.  Machines can do 18,000 genos in 1 year.  Long term strategic planning is nearly impossible

 

Complexity

The world is getting increasingly complex.  It is impossible for one group to understand everything.  Increasing uncertainty as the push of a button can end the world or the release of a virus.  Our lives have never been more secure and comfortable and yet insecure.  Terrorism happens everywhere.

 

The capacity to do the most good: all these technological changes mean we can communicate the good news to more people.

 

Secularism

We hear the narrative that religion is dying out but the global statistics doesn’t show that, in 2025 around 90% of the world will be religious.  Secularism declined since the 1980s due to China and Russia.

 

Future Growth

Most future growth of the church will happen in Africa, Asia and Latin America, partly due to higher birth rates as well as large numbers of conversions.  The global south will become an ever larger majority of the church.  They will increasingly provide leadership and set the agenda for the global church.  This is delayed somewhat from being proportionally represented as Western Christianity is very comfortable being in charge.  But many current key leaders are from all over the global South: Pope – Argentina; World EA – Filipino, IFES – Chad, OMF – Hong Kong, SIM – Nigeria, Interserve – India, OM – Singapore

 

The % of unevangelised is smaller (50% down to 29%) but due to population increase it is actually 600,000 more people (1.5 billion to 2.1 billion).  80% of those working in cities live in a slum context and yet only 1 in 6 Christian missionaries work in a slum.  Rural ministry can’t be ignored yet either.

 

There are 230 million migrants (5th largest population by country size) with an average stay in a refugee camp of 17 years.  They are not camps but cities.

 

81% of the world’s non-Christians don’t personally know a Christian.  For hundreds of millions of people they are the only gospel they may encounter.  There maybe Christians in every country but the spread is very uneven 90% to 0.001% of population.

 

Our Response

It is about the tough slug of discipleship and making disciples throughout the body of Christ and the world.  We have to radically demonstrate the power and the love of the gospel.  We must do it because the King of Kings has commanded us to do it, we must obey; but we can do it as the one with all power has commissioned us to do it and therefore we can.

How to support siblings of children with additional needs

This is a brilliant blog post by Phoebe on the challenges siblings of children with additional needs go through.  Read and share this with others:

“She ruins everything!” I said to my mom when I was six and my big sister bumped into an art project I’d been working on all day.

And again when I was twelve and she wanted to hang out with me and my friends at my slumber party.

And again when I was seventeen and she snuck upstairs when I was watching a movie with a boyfriend.

Being fourteen months younger than my sister with Down syndrome wasn’t always easy. We were a grade apart in school, in a town where everyone knew everyone else. I was occasionally referred to as “Syble’s sister” instead of by my own name. When people made jokes about the kids on the short bus or “retards” I had to decide if I was going to stand up for my sister and bring more attention to myself or just let it go. And even at home, I tried to be perfect and low maintenance to make up for the extra work and attention my parents had to put into her.

And that’s why when I look into the eyes of my son David after he’s just said “He ruins everything!” referring to his brother with autism, I get it. I so get it. I get the frustration and the fear. I get the exhaustion and the embarrassment. I relive the moments I had at each stage I went through as a special-needs sibling. And it’s because of that experience I try to remember a few things.

Go read Phoebe’s blog for her advice on what she tries to do for her son, it includes:

  • I don’t shame my typical son for the way he is feeling in the moment.
  • I remind him our feelings can lie to us.
  • I celebrate the accomplishments of both boys.
  • I give him opportunities to grow in areas of interest.
  • I make sure we have one-on-one time together.
  • I say thank you every day.

Autumn youth mission resources

Because You’re Loved – free resources for autumn youth mission

If you are going to Soul Survivor look out for news about HOPE Revolution’s schools’ mission week 17th-23rd October 2016 – Because You’re Loved. All the ideas and resources are free to use. Find out more here and get planning on where you will be bringing the love this autumn.

Sir David Attenborough narrating Pokémon Go

You might think that David Attenborough and Pokémon Go was a marriage in heaven waiting to happen.

Who better than the beloved naturalist to narrate a popular game where people go hunting for exotic creatures in the wild?

Thanks to Lovin’ Dublin, the dream is now reality.

The mash-up features Attenborough describing Charmander as a “top predator” and giving a brilliant understatement on a Spearow – “It is, of course, a bird.”  But the best one might be his comment on those irritating Zubat: “Bats, with their fluttering zigzag flight are not easy targets.”