Peter Lyndon
October 2017 event seminar descriptions

This year's Churches that Change Communities conference takes place on Saturday 28 October in Cambridge. In addition to two keynote talks, worship, networking, exhibitors and prayer, we also run a seminar programme. Here are description of the 10 seminars on offer this year...

Morning seminars

1. The Biblical mandate (Mike Betts)

Mike will give participants a clear picture of the full weight of Scripture directing us to build churches that not only remember the poor, but also to become churches that welcome all, and specifically, the poor.

2. Refugees and Asylum Seekers (Dave Smith and Karina Martin)

Dave and Karina will offer attendees a vision for welcoming those who are refugees and asylum seekers in our communities in practical and sustainable ways, as well as helping us to see how local churches can mobilise to become ‘home’ to people from other nations and cultures.

3. Building churches in deprived areas (Jim Harper and Martin Charlesworth)

A brief examination of the demography of the local church in the UK will demonstrate that most large churches and church plants are in areas of material and social well-being. However there is a growing wave of people who hear God’s heart cry to ‘remember the poor’ and are responding by planning and planting churches in the heart of deprived communities.  Jim is one of those pioneering in this response. He will share the prophetic leading, his passion and the practicalities involved, drawing on his experience. Martin will share both biblically and practically about the calling, and experience, of building and overseeing churches planted in deprived areas. Prepare to be challenged!

4. Social business: building the future (Ken Dickson)

This seminar is for people looking to or thinking about setting up and developing organisations, businesses, charities and social enterprises. It will be based on Ken's 'pillars of business success' model and will address the need that many people in local churches have expressed for proven principles, sound advice and illuminating experiences in this field.

5. Challenging our own attitudes: class, materialism and cynicism (Natalie Williams)

We can easily assume that, as Christians, we are unaffected by the prevailing attitudes of our culture. But in reality, our culture is a key filter that influences the way we see the world around us. Natalie will help us become more aware of our own attitudes when it comes to class, materialism, individualism and cynicism, and how we can begin to challenge these in ourselves and those around us. Don't come to this seminar if you want to feel comfortable!

Afternoon seminars

6. Leadership challenges in building a church for the poor (Martin Charlesworth)

Drawing on over 20 years of church leadership, Martin will address the many challenges inherent in obeying the biblical mandate, and present biblical and practical responses to assist church leaders in achieving successful outcomes.

7. Engaging with isolated elderly people in our communities (Stephen Hammersley, Jeremy Sharpe, and Sheena Glanville)  

(This will be a TED-type seminar, with three speakers each bringing a distinct contribution in a 15-minute talk, followed by a substantial Q & A opportunity.)

Elderly people are a growing demographic in the UK, and are among the most relationally poor people in our communities. They also represent a massive opportunity for us as Christians in local churches to demonstrate the love and goodness of God, as well as to share with those who desperately need the good news of the gospel, and the strength and fellowship of the local church. Stephen (from Faith in Later Life) will share his (and others) vision for local churches in the UK to bring radical change to those all around us suffering from crippling isolation. Jeremy will present practical ways that each of us, and our churches, can engage with, and transform the lives of local elderly people, and Sheena will share how Parish Nursing can enable local churches to equip, release and support their members to engage with those elderly people in need around them.

8. Addictions – a church-based response (Dr Joss Bray)

This interactive seminar will enable participants to ask all those questions that they haven't been able to ask before. There will be challenge and inspiration for the church to help equip us to be the good news to the poor that Jesus intended. This is particularly needed for people with drug and alcohol addictions – as well as for other addictions that are perhaps less well understood. Most churches will already have people with addiction problems in them and will definitely have people with families or friends affected. This often hidden problem is commonly a source of extreme and ongoing difficulty in many areas of life. Participants will consider ways of helping people both within and outside the church. The aim is not 'us' doing something to help 'them', but them becoming us and helping each other! Joss will explore how to equip the whole church to help and avoid common traps, as well as pointers to more focused programmes for those who want to take the help to a deeper level. If this rings any bells with you, please come!

9. Transforming lives (Angela Kemm)

Angela will share her compelling biblical vision for believers to bring the power and presence of God to change the lives of those we encounter, and graciously provoke and equip us to get stuck in.

10. Social justice: speaking up for the poor in words and actions (Andy Biggs and Natalie Williams)

The Bible is clear that we are called to stand up and speak out for the poor, and particularly those experiencing injustice. Andy and Natalie will look at the ways that we can do this personally, corporately, and publicly.

The early-bird rate closes on Friday 29 September. Book your place here.
For information about the seminar speakers, click here, and for the draft programme, click here.