The Marriage Course
The Marriage Course is a sevenweek course for any married couple wishing to build a strong and lasting relationship.
We’d been married ten years and various factors such as work-life balance, bereavements and fertility issues meant our marriage had grown strained.
We’d forgotten what it felt like to hang out with each other, forgotten how to communicate and weren’t prioritising time with each other.
Earlier this year we did The Marriage Course at Holy Trinity Brompton and really enjoyed it. Even just sitting down and having a meal together before the session started was a real treat.
It was a relaxed environment where you could broach challenging topics and there was a really happy medium – it wasn’t as intimidating as seeing a specialist one-on-one, but you also didn’t have to over-share with people you didn’t know in the group setting.
We discovered early on that we were assuming things of each other which might have been true ten years ago, but weren’t true anymore. It was quite alarming how we weren’t on the same page! From the very first week we were aware of the problems and knew what we needed to work on to understand each other better.
The course leaders, Nicky and Sila Lee, taught us ways of working out an issue – asking the right questions and repeating back to your partner what you think they just said.
We’ve hugely felt the benefits and would love to do it again. We wouldn’t be afraid to recommend it to non-Christian friends either.
Hannah and Simon Martin
Christianity Explored gives people space to think about the big questions of life through studying the life of Jesus as recorded in Mark’s Gospel
Having trained as a secondary school RE teacher and been taken to church as a child, I knew lots of Bible stories and had a good understanding of Christianity. But there was something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on.
After having my first child, I was drawn back to church but still had so many questions, so I went on the Christianity Explored course.
We were coming to the end of the course and I felt drawn to go to an evening service at the church. As I stood for the opening songs, I felt really emotional. Everything in that service spoke to me, especially the words of the songs and the story of the prodigal son. I was suddenly hit with the realisation that the only answer I needed to all my questions was Jesus. I was loved so much that Jesus was willing to die for me. Then I couldn’t stop the tears; God’s love was completely overwhelming. The Christianity Explored session on grace was such an eye-opener. Although I thought I knew about grace, it was like I was really hearing about it for the first time.
Since then my faith has developed. There have been ups and downs but I know that I’m not in it alone. I used to be quite reluctant to tell people I went to church, and it wasn’t until another Christian commented about me being bold in my faith that I realised that I’d developed a new confidence.
I’m now the children and families worker at Fleet Methodist Church. It’s such a privilege to have opportunities to share God’s love with others.
The Prayer Course
Designed to deepen your prayer life, the Prayer Course consists of six short video interviews with Pete Greig and is free to run.
Prayer is one of those areas of discipleship that everyone knows is vital to a healthy relationship with God, but at the same time many of us struggle with. When I was part of the team at Haywards Heath Baptist Church we had a great breakthrough in this area, thanks to the Prayer Course.
We’d already run a few 24/7 prayer weeks where people in the church would take turns to pray continuously for seven days. But as anyone who has come home from an event like New Wine or Spring Harvest knows, it can be tough to take the passion and the fire of a one-off event, and see it fan a flame that burns throughout the whole year.
That was where the Prayer Course came in. The video series with Pete Greig is based on the Lord’s Prayer and looks at a variety of topics including adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and spiritual warfare.
We decided to run the course during our evening service. We’d been struggling to get more than 20 people to come to these services. However, when we started the first week of the Prayer Course, 42 people turned up! We’d wondered if this would just be a one-off, but it wasn’t, with more than 40 people coming every week. It was a time of real encouragement, not just for us as a church, but for all those who came to fan into flame a passion for prayer in the reality of their day-to-day lives, and a deepening of their relationship with God.
The Word One to One
The Word One to One is an evangelistic course designed to help Christians walk their friends through the good news, as found in John’s Gospel.
The Word One to One is the single most important step that I have taken in my life. I was brought up in a Christian home and attended a faith-based school. My confirmation took place at 11 years of age. But it wasn’t until embarking on this course that I began to gain a true understanding of the power of God’s Word and the great gift of grace that awaits all people. It's all there in the Gospels, the message is unlocked and the Prophets fulfilled. This new understanding has taught me to guard against religion or man’s intervention into faith, allowing me to give myself up to the love of Christ and his great sacrifice.
I learned how to form a loving relationship with God and how to lift my concerns, great and small, to him. I learned to ask for and receive his guidance. I now see the whole world in a new light as I do my best to follow Jesus and walk in his footsteps. I understand that I am far from perfect but that God in his infinite grace forgives my weakness and has a place for me and all who love him in heaven.
Community Bible Experience
Community Bible Experience is billed as “a different way to read the Bible: less like a reference book, more like a story”. Comparable to a book club, rather than a Bible study, the course aims to reignite Christians’ passion for Scripture.
Craigavon Presbyterian Church was a small and declining congregation in the heart of one of the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland. I was called to be their minister in May 2014 and as a church re-planter I was tasked by the denomination with focusing on church revitalisation. Although conscious of the enormity of the task, I decided to try running the Community Bible Experience and prayed hard that we might get 20 people to take part. I was blown away to have 90 people sign up to read the New Testament together over an eight-week period. We didn’t even have 90 people in our church!
We had a launch service on the first Sunday and then met together in small groups (Book Clubs) each Sunday evening to discuss what we'd read the previous week. Rather than having the usual drop off, the number of people taking part grew!
It was clear that God was using the course to bond us into a closer fellowship. But the conversations about scripture weren’t just limited to Sundays. It even became the talk of the Monday night men’s football and unofficial groups were also meeting up in local coffee shops to chat more about what they were reading!
At the end of the course we celebrated with a thanksgiving service and supper. It was amazing to hear one lady share her testimony of how she came to faith during the course, as well as several others who had recommitted their lives to Jesus.
Since running the course our small group ministry has blossomed, several more people have come to faith, our Sunday worship attendances have doubled, our kids’ ministry has grown significantly, but most importantly we have seen a spiritual reawakening in the congregation.
Who would have thought that something as simple as reading the Bible could revitalise a church!