church programme

Introducing Transformed Living

We may know who we are in Christ, but how do we live this out every day? What does a transformed life look like in practice?

In the second half of his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul focuses on the unity and purity of God’s people. He shows us how living in relationship with Jesus can help us stand firm during spiritual warfare, find our unique place in the Church, and strengthen our relationships at home and in the workplace.

Building on the amazing truths found in Ephesians 1-3, this next 50-day journey unpacks how you can live in the light of what Christ has done for you. Explore Ephesians 4-6, verse by verse, and begin truly living out your transformed life.

Individuals, small groups and churches can all find extra resources online for free, such as sermon outlines, small group studies and more.

Find out more about Transformed Living here.

 

About Dave Smith

Dave is the Senior Pastor at KingsGate Community Church in Peterborough, Cambridge, Leicester and London. Dave became a Christian while studying at Oxford University and went on to complete a Doctorate. He and his wife Karen planted KingsGate in 1988, a lively and thriving church, which has obtained national profile on Songs of Praise and BBC Radio 1.

 

Resource of the Month: Transformed Life church programme

An invitation to discover your identity, belonging and purpose through Ephesians 13

As we move into the autumn term perhaps your small group or even whole church is seeking a new programme to study together up until Christmas.

Transformed Life is based around a successful teaching series created by Dave Smith and road-tested by KingsGate Community Church. As a Senior Pastor, Dave has become more and more aware that questions concerning identity, belonging and purpose are key for everyone. When we do not clearly understand who we are in Christ, all other areas of our spiritual growth are undermined and our purpose is lost. Watch the video above to see Dave Smith introduce Transformed Life.

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Underpinning the whole programme is the Transformed Life 50 day devotional book, written by Dave Smith. It is suitable for both individuals and small groups. Full-colour 16-page children’s activity books are available for Early and Primary Years.

If you have recently signed up on the Transformed Life website, we will be sending you emails during the autumn term to help and encourage you and your small group. And if you have already taken part in Transformed Life, we would love to hear your feedback, so please let us know how you got along at hello@transformed-life.info

Individuals, small groups and churches can all find extra resources online for free, such as sermon outlines, small group studies and more. Using all of the available resources will unite a small group or the whole congregation, enabling everyone involved to grow together and be renewed, challenged and transformed as they deepen their understanding of who they are in Christ. Visit www.transformed-life.info/home to find out more.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:11–12, NIV)

Find out more about our other Church wide initiatives here.

Coming alongside others in small groups

I saw an advert for a church recently that mentioned warm fellowship – it was definitely intended to be an incentive to draw people in. I don’t think the offer of ‘fellowship’ is really that enticing for many people … what is fellowship other than a hurried cup of coffee after a church service, before everyone rushes home to tend to roasting potatoes?

In Acts, Luke writes about how the Early Church made fellowship a priority.

‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’ (Acts 2:42)

Why is fellowship important?

Without getting too deep into a lesson in ancient Greek, there’s a word used in the New Testament that means fellowship, which is koinonia. Two main ideas stem from it: ‘to share together, take part together’, and ‘to share with’, the act of giving to others. But how do we effectively share with one another?

I think that small groups are essential for developing fellowship in a church. To share with and care for one another. Yet it’s often easier said than done, which is why teaching found in series such as Paraclesis: Journeying Together is so important. To learn how to journey with someone, to have real, effective and honest fellowship with one another, just as God calls us to do:

‘He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message)

The main premise of Paraclesis: Journeying Together is for people to share what they have learnt through their life experiences with other people, in order to help them through the challenges they are facing.

Paraclesis: Journeying Together sets up churches and small groups to experience and practice true fellowship with teaching, resources and creative ideas. It teaches us to come alongside one another instead of just standing side-by-side each other at the coffee morning.

For more information, visit www.paraclesis.org.uk

About Emily Owen

Emily Bio Pic smEmily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.

Introducing Transformed Life

Following on from the extremely well-received 40 Days with Jesus, Dave Smith’s exciting new resource, Transformed Life, explores the themes of identity, belonging and purpose found in Ephesians 1–3, which can transform our lives. Watch the video above to see Dave Smith introduce Transformed Life.

Individuals, small groups and churches can all find extra resources online for free, such as sermon outlines, small group studies and more.

Find out more about Transformed Life here.

Find out more about our other Church wide initiatives here.

 

Transformed Life: Summary Week

In this series of posts, we’re looking at the eight weeks of the Transformed Life church programme. This final update is the Transformed Life Summary Day.

As we reach the end of the Transformed Life programme, Dave Smith encourages us to reflect on the revelation of our new identity, belonging and purpose in Christ and apply these truths to our everyday lives. He provides for us a list of declarations for the promises, truths and prayers covered through Ephesians 1–3. You could list some of these in various places – on the fridge, on your computer, at work – as daily reminders to yourself about your own identity, belonging and purpose.

Here at Small Group Central, we hope you have enjoyed and been encouraged as you have worked through the Transformed Life programme.

Your feedback

If you would like to share your experience of Transformed Life, then we would love to hear from you – contact us or send an email to hello@transformed-life.info

Spread the word

If you have already completed Transformed Life, we would love you to encourage others to take part this year. Transformed Life can be started at any time during the year, so please spread the word and let others know about this church programme.

What next? Transformed Living …

We are working with Dave Smith once again to produce a follow-on programme called Transformed Living. This will continue to explore Ephesians, looking at chapters 4–6, and is currently due to be released in 2017. We will keep in touch with updates!

We also have a number of other CWR church programmes that you may be interested in. Click below to find out more …
 

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40 Days with Jesus: What we love!

Week 1

We love persistence and devotion … particularly Mary’s persistence and devotion to Jesus on that first Easter Sunday morning. In Day 1 of the devotional, Dave writes:

Mary was clearly so devoted to Jesus that at the earliest opportunity after the Sabbath, she got up to visit the tomb. Then, as we shall see, having witnessed the empty tomb, she was determined to find the body of Jesus, in contrast to the male disciples, who went home. Although Jesus eventually took the initiative and appeared to her, it seems as if this is in direct response to her loving, persistent seeking of Him.’

Week 2

We love revelation … and how the scriptures reveal the true identity of Christ and the hope that we have in Him! On Day 11 of the devotional, Dave writes:

‘Just as Jesus first revealed Himself to these disciples on the Emmaus Road, so He wants to reveal Himself to you and me as we daily and diligently read and reflect upon the Scriptures. As we do, we can be assured that the risen Christ will Himself come to us, and by the Holy Spirit will Himself become our Bible teacher.’

Week 3

We love hope … and the new hope that Christ brought to His fearful disciples and still brings to us today. On Day 16 of the devotional, Dave writes:

‘The reality of the physical resurrection of Jesus is at the very heart of the new hope that is at the centre of the Christian message. Hence, after having declared ‘Peace’, Jesus sought to give the startled disciples clear and convincing proofs that He was really, physically alive … The great news of Christianity is that … whatever challenges and trials we face in this life, we can be assured that there is a glorious hope that will far outweigh all of this. Because Jesus conquered death, and is alive, we no longer need to fear death.’

Week 4

We love restoration … not only does Jesus help us in our present struggles, but He also comes to heal us from our past failures. On Day 26 of the devotional, Dave writes:

‘The habit of God asking us to face our shortcomings with a question rather than directly accusing us is frequent in Scripture … At the root of our greatest failures is our ultimate failure to fulfil the greatest commandment to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart … soul … mind and … strength’ (Mark 12:30) … God made you, has a plan for you and sent Christ to restore you – from both self-inflicted damage and from hurts caused by others. The wonderful news is that when He restores, He makes all things new!’

Week 5

We love purpose … and that Jesus not only gave us our true purpose but promised to be with us every step of the way. On Day 31 of the devotional, Dave writes:

‘Until I became a Christian, I had no real understanding of my life purpose, other than a vague desire to be ‘happy’. Yet as soon as I invited Christ into my life, I had deep and abiding sense that I was made on purpose and for a purpose. I quickly realised that this purpose involved being loved by, and in return loving, the God who had made me and saved me, and that this love was to overflow in making a difference in other people’s lives.’

Week 6

We love confidence … the confidence we can have that Jesus really is alive and is still transforming lives today. As we look back over the evidence from the last six weeks, Dave writes on Day 37:

‘All of this points to a stunning conclusion: the Jesus who had been crucified and lain dead in a tomb for three days, had come back to life. The testimony of the New Testament letters and the book of Revelation, as well as nearly 2,000 years of subsequent Christian history, is that Jesus remains alive today!’

Getting started: 40 Days with Jesus

40 Days with Jesus is about to run for its third time since it was launched in 2014. Over 15,000 people have taken part so far and we are excited to be getting the ball rolling again once more this year.

‘I have been a Christian for over 30 years and thought I had heard it all, but this book shed new light on Jesus, 40 days after His resurrection. I think it is a good resource for those exploring their faith as well as established Christians.’

Now, on the off-chance that you have not yet come across 40 Days with Jesus, here’s a quick look at what it is exactly and how you and your small group can get involved!

40 Days with Jesus is based around a successful teaching series that was run following Easter 2012, by Dave Smith, the senior pastor at KingsGate Church. For nearly 20 years, Dave had seen lots of guests come to the Easter services, many of whom had given or recommitted their lives to Christ. However, he found many more viewed this as a one-off event, and would wait until Christmas or the following Easter to come back again! So Dave decided to do something a bit different – hence the creation of 40 Days with Jesus.

Over six weeks, this programme explores the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus and the remarkable way in which He changed the lives of those He encountered. To support the weekly sermons written for the whole church and the 40-day devotional created for people to read each day, there is also a set of small group studies and videos ideal to use in between Sundays. Each video provides context and teaching on the subject of that week, and then the small group sessions offer questions and topics to spark discussion.

So if this has sparked your interest, why don’t you watch the video below? Or if you would like to get signed up and start preparing for you and your small group to get started, click here!

Introduction to 40 Days with Jesus from CWR on Vimeo.

 

Transformed Life: Happy, effective and fulfilled

In this series of posts, we’re looking at the eight weeks of the Transformed Life church programme. This week Emily Owen shares her thoughts about Transformed Life Week four.

I had sort of dismissed Transformed Life as a nice title rather than an actual thing that could happen. But week four has made such an impact on me that the way I’m thinking is genuinely beginning to transform and change.

This week the Bible passages started by focusing on how bad things were before we were saved. It served as a harsh reminder that I so easily forget that without forgiveness and salvation there is no hope, there is no future without God’s redemption in my life. I’ve definitely become a bit numb to how much of a big deal this is!

Sometimes I think that my life wasn’t all that bad before I was saved, so the idea of being ‘saved’ doesn’t really mean that much to me. Honestly, I used to wish that I had a more dramatic conversion story! But Dave Smith’s point, ‘if you became a Christian at an early age, thank God for what He has saved you from’, had never crossed my mind before. A non-dramatic conversion is a gift. I’m going to stop wishing I had an impressive conversion story about suddenly leaving behind a life of crime or drug addiction, and be thankful that God saved my life before I had the chance to lose it.

I’ve been in small group discussions before that turn into competitive conversations between people trying to get one-up on each other when answering the question: ‘How has your life changed since becoming a Christian?’ So it was great to reflect on how amazing it is that Jesus has saved me from what could have been, and a relief not to have another competitive discussion that makes me feel like making up a story to sound cool!

The concluding thought this week really challenged me. The Christians who are ‘most happy, effective and fulfilled’ have one thing in common: ‘they have never got over getting saved!’ – I’ve had a new realisation of how incredible it is that God has saved me – and I want to remember it so that people describe me as ‘happy, effective and fulfilled’.

Find out more about the Transformed Life church programme here.

About Emily Owen
Emily Bio Pic sm Emily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.

Transformed Life: Reflecting on the introduction

In this series of posts, we’re looking at the eight weeks of the Transformed Life church programme. This week Emily Owen shares her thoughts about the Transformed Life introduction.

I find it difficult to read a whole Christian book through to the end. I also find it tricky to keep a good habit going and I’m forever deciding that ‘this is the week’ I will get up a half hour earlier to make sure I read my Bible and pray every morning. So, it is with hopeful optimism that I’m approaching Transformed Life as, knowing myself, I’m expecting to find it difficult.

Starting with the introduction – Dave Smith doesn’t mess about, he jumps straight in with three BIG questions: ‘Who am I? Where do I belong? What am I living for?’ These questions could come across as pretty intimidating but the easy way that he writes made me feel like I can trust Transformed Life not to be too ‘full on’. It might be tackling big questions but it’s going to make it easy to find the answers.

Sometimes in a small group setting I hold back on sharing or taking part in discussions for fear of sounding stupid – there are always people in the group who are more confident, or seem to know a lot more than I do. If the intro is anything to go by then Transformed Life doesn’t assume that you already know everything. It’s got a good balance between teaching and encouragement without overwhelming you with loads of new information. It was good to read the historical context of Ephesians – I feel like I’ve already learnt something before the study even begins.

One standout line from the intro makes me really excited about exploring Ephesians and continuing to read Transformed Life: ‘Ephesians 1–3 paints a wonderfully full portrait of our new identity, belonging and purpose in Christ.’ Identity, belonging and purpose now seem like exciting things to discover rather than big questions to answer!

Find out more about the Transformed Life church programme here.

About Emily Owen
Emily Bio Pic sm Emily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.

40 Days with Jesus: A brand new journey…

Week 6 brings us to the end of this 40-day period and looks at how Jesus prepared his disciples for the Ascension. Rather than this being the end for the disciples, this was the start of a brand new journey.

As 40 Days with Jesus draws to a close, our hope is that those in our small groups and churches are aware of God’s ‘new journey’ for their lives, and that they may be filled with confidence in the power of the resurrection.

What we love about Week 6…

We love confidence… the confidence that we can have that Jesus really is alive and still transforming lives today. As we look back over the evidence from the last 6 weeks Dave writes in Day 37:

“All of this points to a stunning conclusion: the Jesus who had been crucified and lain dead in a tomb for three days, had come back to life. The testimony of the New Testament letters and the book of Revelation, as well as nearly 2,000 years of subsequent Christian history, is that Jesus remains alive today!”

What an amazing truth. Let’s pray that those in our communities, small groups and churches may be convinced of this reality.

Want to find out more?

40 Days with Jesus is a new post-Easter resource, for individuals, small groups and churches. At its heart is an invitation to actively explore the accounts of the risen Jesus.

To help make 40 Days with Jesus as easily accessible as possible we’ve created multiple resources which allow the whole church to learn together, including free small group studies, free sermon outlines and a 40-day devotional. To find out more just visit www.40days.info