John Buckeridge reflects on change, challenge and crisis

I really enjoyed interviewing Katei Kirby for the October 2008 issue of Christianity magazine. I already knew her to be an amazing communicator – the interview confirmed her in my mind as a force for good. So six months later when Katei told me that the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (ACEA) was closing down due to lack of funds and that she had therefore lost her job as chief executive, I was sad and surprised. When in 2010 she told me she had not yet got a new job and had therefore lost her home, I was stunned.

The chances are, you know someone who has either lost their job in the recession or, having left school or graduated from university, is struggling to get paid employment. That’s why Katei’s article on page 40 is so valuable – it contains painful first-hand experience of redundancy and practical real-life advice on responding to joblessness.

Life throws up a variety of challenges – many of them unwanted. Whether it is unemployment, ill health, bankruptcy, the death of a child… who knows what might be around the corner for you or someone close to you? I believe that it is our response to change, challenge and crisis that most truly identifies how much we have grown to be like Christ – or not. It is one thing to live the Christian life well when things are going swimmingly…but what about when crisis hits? What will our walk with Christ look like then?

Change can be a major source of challenge and may even trigger a crisis, but it can also be a force for good. I hope the changes you will start to notice from this issue of Christianity magazine will help keep this a relevant read for you. These changes include:

Grassroots tells the stories of local churches seeking to make a difference in their communities. We begin this new series on page 16 with a church reaching out to nightclubbers in a seaside town. As well as identifying good practice and innovative transferable ministry ideas, I hope it will inspire and challenge you to think about what you can do in your area.

Amy Orr-Ewing is a new regular columnist who will be writing in six out of 12 issues each year. An evangelist and apologetics expert, Amy and her husband are about to plant a new Anglican congregation. Read her first column on page 47 and find out more about what makes her tick by visiting our website to watch a short interview.

David Instone-Brewer completed his amazing New Testament Scandals series last month. David is a world-renowned expert on the Jewish background to the New Testament who meets up with other Bible translators to work together on updates to the New International Version (NIV). As a senior research fellow at Tyndale House, Cambridge, he has access to one of the three best collections in the world of the earliest scripture manuscripts that have survived the centuries. So I’m delighted to announce he has agreed to write a new series starting in January, which will dig into verses from the Bible to discover more about the original context and how God’s word applies to our lives today.

A further change from next month, and probably not a popular one, will be the rise in cover price. We don’t like doing this, but we have to in order to cover rising production costs. If you are not a subscriber, this month is a good time to start and beat the rise – page 52 has the details.