Ken Riley - Wondrous Things
Jun 13, 2013
Who was that guy stood at the front of each worship time with the biggest smile you've ever seen?
That was Ken Riley, former front many of yfriday, and now worship leader and Director of Worship at City Church Newcastle, Ken's focus is to connect people to God through worship, to lift up Jesus so all men may be drawn to Him and to write songs that enable this.
Ken has also just released a 6 song EP. Many of these are already being sung in churches and conferences (including the Catalyst Festival) the EP is receiving excellent reviews.
As well as travelling internationally for 10 years as the front man of yfriday - a band whose mission was to see many people encounter God & with over 15,000 finding salvation - Ken may be more well known for the church classic Everlasting God co-written with Brenton Brown and for which he received 2 ASCAP awards for the song being in the top 20 most played songs across all genres of US radio.
If you want to buy this EP then go to Kens website.
Why I Loved Catalyst Festival 2013
Jun 13, 2013
Two weeks ago we held the first ever Catalyst Festival at Stoneleigh Park. Over 3600 people turned up to worship God, learn more about him, get connected to world mission and to celebrate who we are and what we can be. It was great to see so many people there, not just from this nation but from all over the world, from different people groups and languages, coming together to praise God as one.
Ken Riley and Tim Williams did a fantastic job leading worship for the main sessions and were followed by very gifted preaching. A personal highlight was seeing Andrey Bondarenko preaching in Russian with Narina translating, they have a great rapport together which they used for both an entertaining and engaging preach about growing in God. Throughout the week in the main sessions and the zones we saw many people meeting with God and having their lives impacted by his presence.
I received a lot of great comments and feedback from people during the festival of things we did well and things we can improve for next year but one of my favourites was from one of our overseas visitors who said it felt like they were seeing a tour of the Newfrontiers family values on display. Getting people connected and to feel part of the global family that makes up Catalyst and Newfrontiers was one of our big intentions for the festival.
On the Tuesday I had the opportunity to spend some time going around all of the Catalyst and Festival zones and was greatly encouraged by the wonderful atmosphere and what was going on in each of the zones. Particularly in the family encounter zone where I saw families sitting and praying together about how God wants to use them as a family and asking ‘how and where are we called to serve God together?’. What a great counterexample to our western stronghold of individualism.
It was outstanding to see the generosity of those at the festival as we raised an offering of over £170,000 to go towards our mission together, planting churches, equipping leaders and serving the poor.
On the practical side of running the festival I am very grateful for the exemplary effort put in by all the servers, leaders, organisers and everyone who helped make the festival happen. It was wonderful to see so many people serving and giving up their time and using the skills that God has given them to making the festival actually feel like a festival.
I had a great time and a lot of the people I’ve spoken to have shared very positive comments of their experience as well. I look forward to being there again next year and am excited to see even greater things happening.
Have You Got Skills?
May 08, 2013
Interested in creating a festival atmosphere at Catalyst? We need you!
We’re looking for people with any of the following skills or anyone willing to make lots of noise and fun to welcome the happy campers on the opening day!
Things to get involved with…
- Circus Skills – (Juggling, Diablo, Fire Breathers, Unicyclists, Stilt Walkers etc.)
- Busking – Can be originals or covers!
- Got a bit of rhythm? Join our mobile Samba or African Drumming Band
- Breakdancing – Please get in touch if you have any skills whatsoever!
- Gymnastics, Acrobatics, or Tumbling
- Any weird, freaky abilities, which should be seen at Catalyst!
- Comedians and Compères
Any performers of any sort please get in touch if you think you can help add to the festival atmosphere on the opening day at Catalyst.
Hope Church Saint Petersburg
May 03, 2013
I recently had the privilege of traveling to Saint Petersburg in Russia to spend some time with Hope Church and its leaders, as well as with the other churches in that area.
David and Hannah Henson founded Hope Church three or four years ago. They had previously gone to live in Russia and started learning the language in Tver while also getting involved in the church. At one of our team meetings for the Russian speaking world, there had been a very clear prophetic word for them to move on to St Petersburg and this resonated very much with the unspoken desire that David had in his own heart. Scilla and I went out to join them for three months shortly after they had moved to St Petersburg and the church came to life through wonderful meals in David and Hannah’s home. During that time we sought to lay a good foundation and we have been delighted to see that Hope Church has since grown and become well established.
Our recent trip began with a meal for pastors and wives provided by Hope church on the Friday evening; there was a great atmosphere of fellowship as we ate together, after which I spoke on being like fathers and mothers within the life of the church. On Saturday we taught on making disciples, and the churches participating all felt that there was a lack in each of their churches, both in terms of bringing new believers through to discipleship and raising new leaders.
On Sunday we gathered Hope Church and All Nations Church, plus a few leaders from other churches in the area for a morning service. There was a combined worship team, a full hall and a powerful sense of community between the churches that was a joy to see and be a part of. I spoke again on discipleship from the perspective of the long-term family style relationship between Paul and Timothy.
David & Hannah are currently based in the UK as David recovers from major surgery and builds up a business to enable the family to live in St Petersburg for the long term. It has been encouraging to see that the leadership team at Hope Church has been doing very well in David’s absence.
David had begun to gather various pastors in St Petersburg who were seeking to find fresh ways of working together. On the Monday morning we met with this group and debated some of the issues involved in working together to be a blessing to one another and to the city.
It was a fruitful trip and I am already looking forward to returning!
Why Paul Could Contextualise
Apr 19, 2013
God’s choice of Paul would almost certainly have brought some questions into the minds of the early Christians. When he first arrived in Jerusalem the disciples there were afraid of him, not believing he was really a disciple. With the benefit of being able to look back we can see how well placed Paul was to be able to reach the people he did.
Paul could become almost an ‘insider’ in four cultures. He was a Hebrew/Aramaic speaking Jew, both groups had very different cultures. He addressed the Council in Jerusalem in Aramaic in Acts 22:1 and God spoke to him in Hebrew in Acts 26:14.
He was from Tarsus, so would have lived amongst Hellenic Jews there (a Hebrew speaking family in the Diaspora was rare). They kept the law, often more zealously, but the difference in culture is reflected by language.
He had a Greek education, with outstanding knowledge of Greek language, writers, poets, philosophers and rhetoric. In Acts 21:27 he even spoke idiomatic Greek, recognised to his surprise by the tribune.
He was a Roman citizen. This was a great blessing for Paul as it gave him a helpful passport that would have allowed for relative ease of travel as well as ensuring that he would be listened to by certain people. It helped him to identify with Romans and he also uses his citizenship sparingly to get out of trouble as seen in Acts 22:26.
Understanding a culture and its people is a crucial step in sharing the gospel and Paul was uniquely placed so that he could have understood and related to, at least in part, the people he sought to reach.
Easter in Izmir
Apr 16, 2013
We've recently received some exciting news from the church in Izmir. For the past few months the average Sunday attendance has been about 180 people each week. This in itself is encouraging. However, when they had their Easter Sunday service at the Lighthouse, they saw record numbers in attendance. The greeters/ushers counted well over 400 people. And there would have been even more, but many of the latecomers could not find a seat and didn't stay. Just a few short years ago this kind of turnout for a church service was only something dreamed about. Many of the visitors responded to the invitation at the close of the service to receive prayer and learn more about the Gospel. God's grace is clearly at work in a dynamic way. But there is still need to keep it all in perspective -- 400 attending church, in a city of more than 4,000,000. There is still much work to be done!
But here comes the best part: the Easter service was predominantly led by our Turkish brothers and sisters. The meeting leaders, most of the worship team members, the preacher, the greeters/ushers, the children's church workers, and the kitchen workers were all Turks! There were also two special songs, recently composed and sung by Turks. Our dear Turkish brothers and sisters are taking on more responsibility in the church
In the following week one of the elders was reflecting on the joy of having such a large crowd in their church, and was hit by a rather scary thought, "What if they all come back again next Sunday?!?! Are we prepared to run an Alpha course for 300!? Are we ready to start 30 new life groups!?” Frightening thoughts for any church leader to have to consider!
Please remember Izmir church in your prayers that they might be able to continue the great work they are doing there and see many people saved.
Keep On Learning
Mar 20, 2013
At the last Catalyst Prayer and Fasting gathering in February 2013 I spoke about some things that I have learnt recently.
It's important that we keep learning through out our lives. God keeps teaching us and so I want to keep listening to him.
Here is a film of the talk -
We Want To Tell Your Stories
Mar 12, 2013
We want your content.
Catalyst Network is a group of churches. It’s not very complicated!
This group of churches has a communication team. The Comms team want to communicate your church. We want to tell the stories of what all the different churches in Catalyst are up to.
So if your church has a story to tell then I want to hear those stories. Maybe you started a new social action project or a brand new worship event. Maybe someone gave their life to Jesus and they have an exciting testimony. Maybe some people in your church got creative and came up with…..I don’t know! You get the picture.
If you have blogs, videos, pictures or some other form of content then send them to me.
I will use the power of the various Catalyst twitter feeds, facebook pages and blogs to help you tell the world about what God is doing in your church community.
Don’t get caught up thinking it needs to be high quality. The story is more important than production values!
Let me give you an example. I recently went to Yalova in Turkey because Christ Church Manchester did a special offering for the church there. We wanted to stand with them and cheer them on in all they were doing, so we took them a pile of cash.
While we were there we shot a video. Spielberg didn’t direct it, John Williams didn’t compose the sound track and at one point there is some seriously bad “pastor dancing” but it tells a story.
Have a watch –
It's quite low tech but it doesn't matter.
So, if you have stories to tell then get in touch in any of the following ways –
If Social Media scares you then you can email me. Please only email me links to content you have online so my inbox doesn't get clogged!
Team Newfrontiers UK
Mar 04, 2013
As I am sure you are aware Newfrontiers UK is now made up of five different groups/spheres/apostolic movements. These five different teams are now developing distinct visions and strategies. Andrew Wilson wrote very helpfully about this on the Think Theology blog.
When we think about how these spheres develop and how they relate to each other I suspect that we will all become cheerleaders for each other! So with that in mind, I want to point you in the direction of the different websites, facebook pages and twitter feeds. Have a look, have a read and then pray that God blesses them greatly.
I would also like to point you in the direction of a video that Commission produced that nicely explains the recent Newfrontiers transition.
Paul - The Early Years
Feb 15, 2013
I am currently blogging about contextualisation and culture. I wanted to look at this subject through the life of the Apostle Paul. To do that affectively I thought it would be helpful to look at some of the events earlier in Pauls life.
Saul was born around 5AD in Tarsus, a major university town in Cilicia (eastern Turkey). His father or grandfather must have performed some noble task for the Roman Empire as Paul was born a Roman citizen, an honour that many would have had to purchase. When he was a young boy, around 5 to 10, his family moved to Jerusalem and he studied in the school of Gamaliel, the foremost Jewish teacher of the time.
He stayed in Jerusalem and joined the Pharisee party, probably one of the more extreme varieties and it may well have been the “missionary” group who Jesus refers to in Matthew 23:15. Although he was a Hebrew speaker he may also have associated with the Greek speaking synagogue of the “freedman”, who also came from Cilicia. They rose up against Stephen for speaking against the temple and after hearing his preach they stoned him with Saul accepting responsibility.
Under the authority of the council Saul led a vicious persecution of Christians, causing many to flee Jerusalem. However Jerusalem had an extradition agreement for those from Judea in Damascus and elsewhere which had been granted to the Jewish priests by Julius Caesar which he planned to use to full effect in Damascus which he departed towards.
On his journey a light from heaven shone around him and he heard a voice speaking to him in his mother tongue. The experience left him blinded such that he had to be lead into the city by the men traveling with him where after 3 days an otherwise unknown believer called Ananias came and laid hands upon him, seeing him healed, baptised in the Holy Spirit and commissioned to take the gospel to the nations.
Paul chose not to return to Jerusalem; instead he went to the country of the Nabatean Arabs for 3 years and preached the gospel away from the mainstream Christian development. He preached to the nations well before he met the Jerusalem church or its leaders. The first people group he preached to were Arabs. I used to think that Paul's references to spending time in Arabia was to meditate on truth but I now think it more likely that he was working out his understanding of the revelation that had come to him in preaching already to the Gentiles. We don’t know how effective he was during this time but we do know that he incurred the anger of king Aretas IV, who pursued him to Damascus where he had to escape in a basket from the governor.
Equip For Ministry (1)
David Devenish (8)
Story Telling (1)
Relational Mission (1)
Catalyst Festival (4)
The Apostle Paul (3)
Ken Riley (1)
Understanding Culture (2)
Contextualisation and the life of Paul (3)
Christ Central (1)
Jeremy Simpkins (1)
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Ken Riley - Wondrous Things (1)
Lighthouse Church Izmir (1)
Guy Miller (1)
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New Ground (1)
Catalyst Churches (2)
Hope Church St Petersburg (1)
City Church Newcastle (1)
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