Here is last month's column from the Church of England Newspaper:
Back from the charismatic shindig New Wine B at the Bath and West showground. Woke up; smelt the cattle. Highlight for me was Baptist Minister and RE teacher Mike Fuller taking us through the entire history of western philosophy in fifty minutes. He also did the same for the church, the Bible and the world’s religions. You can download his PowerPoints from his website. It’s a longish job, even on Broadband.
Mike’s seminars were also a lesson in how to use the PowerPoint presentation tool well. If you do use PowerPoint regularly you can download free backgrounds at Brainy Betty, Powerbacks, Graphicsland, Presentation Helper and the humbly-named Awesomebackgrounds.
If you have to travel this autumn why not drop into IAGT (is anyone going to?) first. It’s a site for this who want to share transport on long journeys and may help rebuild the ozone layer over the Bath and West Showground. Talking of getting around, Backofmyhand says, ‘Got a favourite clothes shop, bar or restaurant? Follow the same pre-match routine when you go to watch your football team? Is your town full of hidden gems? Use your local knowledge to make a collection of the important places in your life and share them with the world...’
September 30th is Back to Church Sunday. This is a great opportunity to invite people to return who have ceased attending with a special event which the web-site supports. At my church we are also making it a try-not-to-be-away Sunday so we can encourage each other by the size of the congregation when every one turns up.
Getting together over a coffee is always popular but Coffeehouse Challenge takes things one step further. ‘It's about getting local people to come together over coffee to talk about community issues they care about and to take action for local change.’ You could organise your own subject or join in a pre-existing one.
Fancy a laugh? Many comedians have web-sites to support their work, often with extra material. I regularly drop in to Marcus Brigstocke, Bill Bailey and Dave Gorman. Writer James Cary, who manages to be on the side of the angels whilst still getting occasional comedy mileage out of them, has an excellent blog.
A project from the BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship) called Foundations 21 looks good. ‘Do you want to deepen your faith, but you don't have easy access to books or conferences? Are you busy with work or family, but want to keep your spiritual life fresh and vibrant?’ This foundation course enables you to fit study into, for instance, your lunch break and ‘...explore discipleship in a way that suits your lifestyle and learning style.’ It costs, but with good discounts for groups or multiple purchases.
If you are interested in material that helps unpack the whole Bible you might find nuggets at FFOZ (First Fruits of Zion), ‘...an educational ministry dedicated to proclaiming the Torah and its way of life, fully centered on Messiah, to today's people of God.’
Another very popular tool for small group discussion and evangelism is the Nooma series of DVDs. Rob Bell (author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God) introduces a subject with a sharp, well-produced ten minute film. It includes a lot of him talking to camera but he is a gifted and highly effective communicator. You can watch clips of the films at the web-site.
If you want some inspiration for great communication through the web visit Rapier – ‘an independent communications agency that is comfortable in a state of perpetual flux and embraces rapid change.’ Campaign magazine voted them Direct Agency of the Year. Read their recruitment blurb and you may find yourself going for a coffee with them.
I don’t know how many times you’ve wanted a quick tutorial. Help may be at hand at VideoJug where you can view short films. I just watched ‘How to back up your emails’ and managed not to be distracted by ‘How to undo a bra with one hand’ or ‘How to make a four seasons pizza.’ I suppose you need something to do with the other hand.
Finally, for some fun-in-the-sun (remember sun?) you will find a brilliant archive of Non-competitive games at the site of that name. Should it be raining then some simple, peaceful and beautifully designed, on-line games can be found at Orisimal.
Need more? Visit Mustard Seed Shavings for last month’s and all previous columns.