Christians across western culture are facing profound challenges and fresh opportunities. The long era of ‘Christendom’ is coming to an end. We now live in a plural society, with multiple religious options alongside the prevailing secular assumptions, in which Christianity has lost its position of dominance and privilege and churches are on the margins of society. Although we seem to be declining in numbers and influence, this context offers many new possibilities – if we have the courage and imagination to grasp them..
Crucible is a training programme for Christians with courage and imagination, who suspect:
- We live in a mission context and need to think like missionaries.
- We need to think creatively about church in diverse and changing cultures.
- We serve the God who constantly does new things on the margins.
- on the margins of society among the poor and disenfranchised
- at the margins of culture, where creative thinking explores new possibilities
- within the margins of the familiar, those spaces all around us neglected or ignored but full of potential
What is a Crucible?
- A melting pot, where old structures are made pliable and reshaped for more effective purposes.
- A place in which different cultures or styles can mix together to produce something new and exciting.
- A time characterised by the convergence of powerful intellectual, social, economic or political forces.
- Watch crucible in action
Crucible, which ran for the first time in 2005-06, consists of three intensive training weekends each year to equip Christians to follow Jesus on the margins. In 2010-11, as last year, two streams will be available on each weekend, offering a wider range of subjects than before and addressing issues raised by participants in past years:
After Christendom (8-9 November 2014) investigates the opportunities, as well as the challenges, that the end of imperial Christianity presents.
Urban Challenge (7-8 February 2015) examines the dynamics of mission and ministry in multicultural urban communities, where Christendom has faded first.
Creating New Churches (16-17 May 2015) offers resources for pioneering new churches - and new kinds of churches - in emerging cultures, and renewing existing churches.
Restoring Hope (8-9 November 2014) asks how, in light of God's mission to bring shalom (peace) to all creation, we can live towards that hope and create communities of peace.
Becoming Human (7-8 February 2015) explores the dynamics of discipleship in a multi-everything culture and asks how we can become more fully human as followers of the Son of Man.
Jesus Unplugged (16-17 May 2015) imagines how we can re-tell the story of Jesus today in ways that connect with contemporary cultures.
Time, Venue, Cost
Where: International Mission Centre, 24 Weoley Park Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6QX
Times: Saturday 10.30am - Sunday 4.00pm
For participants who do not want accreditation but are simply attending one or more of the weekends (and/or an unsupervised placement), the fee is as follows:
One weekend: £65
Two weekends: £130
Three weekends: £170
There are reduced fees for unemployed participants: £55 per weekend or £130 for all three.
The Crucible course will be taught by a team of experienced trainers, all of whom will have practical experience of creating new churches on the margins and the ability to reflect theologically on the implications of mission in a changing culture. These include the course hosts:
Juliet Kilpin. Juliet is an Urban Expression staff member with responsibility for equipping and networking church planting teams. She and her husband Jim led the first Urban Expression team in East London.
Alex Alexander. Alex is one of the leaders of E1 Community Church in East London.
Peter Dominey. Peter is one ofthe leaders of Church From Scratch in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
Stuart Murray Williams. Stuart is the founder of Urban Expression and works as a trainer and mission consultant under the auspices of the UK Anabaptist Network. He has experience as a church planter in East London.
The Crucible course provides three forms of learning:
- Tuition and interactive learning over three weekends spread over a year
- Online learning material for home study between these weekends
- Placements for reflection on the practical application of this learning
Although it is possible to participate in the course without engaging in all these forms of learning, we hope that most participants will want to apply what they learn and so we regard the placement component as very significant.
We are offering three kinds of placements:
- Existing placements - where participants use the present location to work out the practical application of what they learn throughout the year.
- Arranged placements - where we offer opportunities for participants to work alongside church planters or others involved in urban mission for the year.
- Intensive placements - where we provide short-term block placements for participants who cannot be involved throughout the year in other placements.
Where participants bring existing placements with them, we will ask for some details of the situation and for someone to be designated as placement supervisor.
We will put participants wanting arranged placements in touch with church planters and others who are offering placements (and who will act as placement supervisors), leaving those involved to work out the practical details.
Providing there is sufficient interest, we will arrange an intensive block placement each year, usually in East London, and we will provide a supervisor for this.
We encourage participants to keep a reflective learning journal throughout their placement to reflect on issues that arise and experiences that are significant.
Food & Accommodation
The course fee includes tea/coffee throughout the weekend, but not food. Participants can choose to bring their own food, eat out locally or book in for lunch and/or dinner at the International Missionary Centre. Charges for meals are £15.00 for Saturday & £10 for Sunday (£25 for the weekend)
Participants needing accommodation can either make their own arrangements or book accommodation at the International Missionary Centre. The charge for accommodation and all meals from Friday evening until Sunday is £75.00 (or £80.00 with an evening meal on the Friday). The charge for accommodation and all meals from Saturday morning until Sunday is £55.00. If accommodation at the Centre is full, we can arrange other options in the vicinity, although the price may be slightly higher.
We have a limited number of bursaries available for those who are unable to cover the full costs of the course. If you wish to apply for one of these bursaries, please contact us.
NEW FROM 2013
Participants who are members of Baptist churches may be interested to know that the Crucible course is now a major component in the Baptist Union's new 'Equipped to Pioneer' course that can lead to recognition as a 'lay pioneer'. More information about this can be found at http://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/368850/Equipped_to_Pioneer.aspx.
Crucible began as the result of a partnership between Urban Expressionand The Salvation Army. It is now run by Urban Expression as 'lead partner' in association with a number of other partner organisations:
- Urban Expression (www.urbanexpression.org.uk) has been pioneering new churches in urban communities and networking pioneers in different urban contexts for the past 12 years.
- The Incarnate Network (www.incarnate-network.eu) connects and equips (mainly but not exclusively) Baptist church planters.
- Workshop (www.workshop.org.uk) is an exciting Christian learning experience, which has been running since 1983, involving intensive weekends in various venues.
- The Northumbria Community (www.northumbriacommunity.org) is a network of people united in a desire to embrace and express an ongoing exploration of a new monasticism as a new way of living Christianly in a changing world.
- BMS World Mission (www.bmsworldmission.org) is the main Baptist cross-cultural mission agency, with long-term and short-term missionaries in many nations, and increasingly involved in cross-cultural ministry in the UK.
- The course brochure can be downloaded below, as can a flyer for the next weekend.