Archive for the ‘Central Life’ Category

New Music – Zang Productions

January 13th, 2012

As you may have noticed, our new church website features several videos relating to different areas of church life. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at them yet, it’s well worth having a gander! They provide an excellent introduction to what Churchcentral is all about.

To make these videos the high quality products that they are we couldn’t rely solely on Russ’ chiselled features, Owen’s cheeky smile or even Sam’s comedy backwards leap (StarCity video- right at the end). We needed some decent music so decent music we did get! The soundtrack to all of the videos is provided courtesy of Zangproductions, a Moseley based independent record label ( All of the artists on the label are Christians (you will probably recognise at least one) and Zang exists not only to produce quality music but to bring the good news of Jesus to people in a relevant and thought provoking manner.

Interested in checking it out? Here are some recommendations:

Fiction Fight- I am a thief

Beautifully crafted worship music that breaks away from the usual Chris Tomlin/Matt Redman mould. Fiction Fight blend together a variety of musical styles which provide the backdrop for deeply  personal, profound songwriting. And you can pay whatever you want for it. Highly recommended!

(The King Edwards site video features ‘Love is brave’ and the Lordswood site video features ‘My rescue’)

Benjamin Blower- Pillar of smoke

Imagine Jeremiah the prophet crossed with Johnny Cash hanging out regularly with the Beastie Boys. That’s Benjamin Blower. He’s awesome and all his stuff is worth checking out but this is my favourite.

(The church homepage video from ‘Childhood by Benjamin Blower and the army of the broken hearted featured on the album ‘The darkness doesn’t love you’ )

Ickberg- Arctic Village Beaver

Some people may remember the DJ Shadow album ‘Endtroducing’ from the 90s. If you don’t recognise the name you will definitely have heard the music on various film soundtracks or adverts. Ickberg make a similar brand of(largely) instrumental hip hop. Another quality free download.

(The StarCity video features ‘Make me’)

Selina Blakeney- Russian doll

Zang’s latest release is really just Selina’s beautiful voice and very little else. Almost entirely accapella, ‘Russian doll’ combines layers of harmonies with heartfelt songwriting to create a moving, hypnotic mini-album and once again it doesn’t cost a penny.

Joel the Custodian- My organs are yours

Joel makes hiphop as it should be. His sound is crafted from reggae, electronica and even country music, with lyrics exploring themes such as the devastating majesty of God and the frail mortality of man. And, you’ll never guess, its FREE!

Categories: Central Life Tags: , , ,

Come to Mumbai

October 28th, 2011

India!  What comes to mind when you read that word?

Curry – lots of it, people everywhere, beggars and eunuchs, rickshaws – hold your breath!, noise – it seems to never stop, slums (Mumbai has the biggest in Asia), heat, and don’t forget the humidity as well!, and on it goes!

India conjures up all sorts of thoughts, reactions and emotions.

What else? A thriving business community – banks and call centres,  millions of young people, some amazing sights – Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Golden Temple, Bollywood, and some of the richest people in the world …and some of the poorest too!

India is a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and colours, causing so many feelings and emotions to rise up and swirl around in the mind.

Oh … and don’t forget the churches.  Amazing groups of Christians, often in the minority, pressing forward against the odds and making an impact through their changed lives.  Their lively worship, growing churches and various projects in the community – AIDS sufferers, Leprosy Care, Senior Citizens Care, Education etc. are always a challenge to us.

Are you interested in knowing more?  Would you fancy a trip to have a look, get involved, and to be stretched and challenged, possibly as never before?

Then come with us to India next year.

We are planning a trip to Mumbai and Nasik, visiting the church led by Sydney Nevis (he preached at Churchcentral in the summer), meeting some of the believers there, as well as visiting some of the projects.

If you are interested in knowing more, then please do contact John & Mollie as soon as possible for all the details or email

India awaits you – dare you rise to the challenge?!

Interest Life Groups

September 9th, 2011

When was the last time you met someone for the first time who was interested in the same things you are? It was fun wasn’t it?

Diversity is one of the truly amazing things about the Kingdom of God. So, while as Christians we have a family connection – things we commonly share – there is huge diversity among us. For instance, we all enjoy a huge variety of interests and activities.

We’re also passionate about sharing with others the one thing we have in common together – Jesus. That’s exactly the point of Interest Life Groups. All groups have a particular affinity that draws its members together, while reaching out into the city and communities in which we live, fulfilling the Great Commission and seeing God’s Kingdom come.

So, do you like cooking or critiquing others food? Do you have friends who would enjoy doing the same once a fortnight on a Saturdya evening? If so then sign up for the Cooking Club this term. Maybe you’re more into sports and are looking for an opportunity where your friends could come along too. Then sign up for our Badminton Life Group.

Global Gathering will meet each week with food and hosptiality the focus for the significant number of Internationals new to the UK in Churchcentral. Would you like an opportunity to be-friend those from other nations looking to make Birmingham their home? If so, sign up. Or maybe you’re free on a Wednesday morning and have friends that would love to hang out for coffee, share life life together and be offered the opportunity to receive prayer.

Interests groups are a great place to enjoy the company of your friends and introduce them to others in Churchcentral.

Categories: Central Life Tags: ,

Equipping Life Groups

September 8th, 2011

Have you ever been camping? Well, whether you love the great outdoors and sleeping under the stars, or whether you prefer your accommodation to have a different kind of star rating, the truth remains that if you are going to have a successful holiday you need to go equipped. Living life as a son or daughter of God, empowered by him and full of the Holy Spirit, is a wonderful adventure. However, no-where in the Bible do you find a promise that it will be easy. So we need to ensure that we are well equipped – equipped to live Godly lives in our families, our workplaces and among our friends. In fact in every area of life. Equipping Life Groups are for just that!

What kinds of areas can we be equipped in…? If you are married, then this term, sign up to the brilliant Marriage Course, that will give you time out to chat about the things you always meant to get round to (and maybe some you didn’t realise you needed to). You’ll be reminded of some things and learn others. It’s an enjoyable course that will help you grow in your relationship.

And if you have children, then we are running a Parenting Course using the excellent Positive Parenting material to help equip and support you in raising your family.  The course is open to parents with children of any age and in particular for you if you want to invite your friends who not part of Churchcentral.

As a Christian have you ever thought ‘this is great’ but surely there must be so much more!? A bit like you know the truth of God’s unconditional love; that you are free from condemnation, guilt and sin etc. but don’t always live like it. Then then sign up to the Freedom in Christ course.

In subsequent terms some of these courses will continue to run and we’ll also be adding in courses on money matters, how to read the bible for all it’s worth, getting started in the Christian faith and many more.

Sign up starts this weekend.

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Encounter Life Groups

September 7th, 2011

As you read through the pages of the Bible you can’t help but see ordinary person after ordinary person doing extra-ordinary things. How? They had an encounter with God which changed their lives and equipped them for the God-given task ahead.

If you are a Christian God has already done the extra-ordinary in your life, but we know it doesn’t just stop there. We want to be regularly pursuing God’s presence and encountering him. God saved us into a family, into his church, and we get to encourage each other, pray for each other and minister to each other using the gifts God generously gives to each of us.

Encounter Life Groups are all about encountering the power of God as we share our lives together over meal, pray for each other and expect God to change us.

Our Lordswood site has a choice of three Encounter groups for you to join on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night. If you go to our King Edward’s site then there are groups running on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you live in the north of the Birmingham then there is an Encounter group for you too. Details on student Encounter groups will be available as term starts.

Categories: Central Life Tags: ,

Life Groups

September 6th, 2011

At Churchcentral we believe that God has saved us into a wonderful family, his people, his church. We are part of a community of believers with Jesus at the centre. We value relationships with each other – relationships that celebrate, encourage, support and provoke one another to live life the way God intended. We also live in a magnificent city and are all part of local neighbourhood communities. In addition to gathering together on Sundays, we recognise how important it is to our lives, to the lives of those around us, and to the life of the church, to meet in smaller groups throughout the week.

We call these gatherings Life Groups. They are all about being community together to serve and reach the communities in which we live. We launch our all-new Life Groups this term with 14 new Encounter, Equipping and Interest groups starting from 27th September. Each day through this week in the blog we’ll focus on one of these different types of groups, exploring what the purpose is and how you can get involved. Sign up starts next weekend.

Categories: Central Life Tags: ,


July 1st, 2011

EMERGE has arrived! It’s been a long time in the planning, development and strategising, but at last, it’s on the map, in the calendar and finally, last weekend, on the road! Andy Back takes up the story…

I have long been committed to the age group of young teens between 11 and 14 years – kids who are too old for Sunday School, and yet too young for a traditional Youth Group. It’s been fulfilling, hilarious, sad, exciting and brilliant to see young people packed with potential, to help them to discover the truth about God and his love for them, and to see many of them flourish.

So it is with the young people at Churchcentral. They many not be many in number at the moment, but they are certainly noisy, energetic, constantly astonishing, competitive and rewarding.

Nathan, Ben, Olivia, Josh and Wei Xi (plus our most recent addition, Reuben) have enjoyed our first few meetings, so we decided to put their skills to the test with the first-ever (but probably first of many) West Midlands Spycatcher Caper, which is a fancy name for a clue-based tour/puzzle/orienteering/supervised rampage, which included having to spot various team members disguised as shoppers in Wolverhampton’s shopping centre. I was alarmed to see several of them set upon a nice gentleman calmly reading his Sunday paper (James Serpell) and then surrounding a dear old lady, who turned out to be Becky Wilson. Pam Serpell wore some extremely bright clothing and a well-pulled down cap and bamboozled several, while my waterproofs, bushy beard and tam o’shanter fooled no-one but got loads of double-takes from other shoppers as I strolled around before I was challenged by the EMERGE youngsters.

It was a jolly day, with great weather, fine food, lots of fun and laughter, and some of the most appalling e-number-ridden green fizzy pop I’ve ever encountered, which had an alarming effect on already-hyper-enough-thank-you young chaps.

It was great to have Jo Chumbley with us to lend an air of calm, and Pete Halford as well towards the end of the day, when we discussed a Scruples question about dodgy friends, wild promises, parental love and some significant theology about God’s protection.

I believe being a part of EMERGE will have a positive effect on these young people and the many more who will, in time, be entitled to attend. Please pray for us as we seek to honour the excellent work the parents of these young people have done to provide us with a group of lively, informed, spiritually receptive and highly delightful young people.

Categories: Central Life, Events Tags:

Pete Walker

May 13th, 2011

Pete Walker recently joined the Churchcentral staff team in what we believe is a crucial role as we look to multiply further sites across the city.

CC: Pete, could you could start by telling us a little about yourself

PW: Hi! I am Pete, a civil engineer, (or as a good friend once put it: Civil Pete Walker, Engineer). I became redundant 18 months ago, so am now semi-retired. Me and my amazing wife Lizzie moved to Birmingham 3.5  years ago to join Churchcentral.

CC: …and in 20 words can you tell us what your staff role is at Churchcentral?

PW: I was asked a few months ago to take on the part-time role of  Logistics/Maintenance Officer for Churchcentral

CC: Exactly 20! But maybe you could tell us a little more about what’s involved.

PW: I am working with others to prepare both our sites for Sunday morning meetings and making sure the venues are set-up in an efficient and welcoming manner, as well as being set-down tidily with due regard to the requirements of the schools we meet in. My role is to help release others to do other tasks; for example we have reduced the work for our set-up team at our Lordswood site as I (with others) now go in on Friday afternoons to set-up. Another part of my role is the maintenance and improvement of equipment, so running repairs, and the making of trolleys has been a major part of my work so far! We hope to develop a system that will enable us to move to other venues and resource the set-up of multiple sites in the future.

CC: How is it going so far?

PW: Having spent an exciting and interesting life working with teams of people, building underground railways; aircraft hangers; multi-storey buildings; (just to name a few) this is my first opportunity to practically help in building a church. I think it’s right that the timely putting out of chairs, signs, setting up PA while liaising with the staff  of our venues to ensure the smooth running of our meetings is considered such an important part of growth. If we cannot do that well, then it’s unlikely people will feel as welcomed as we want them to.

I want to thank so many people who take such an interest in what I am doing, and have come up and offered to help, and also those who take part so consistently. I have to say that if I had not taken this role, I would never have had the experienced the droll wit of the PA teams as they solved yet another impossible problem; or the priceless demonstration of Andy Back and Pete Halford on how NOT to put a drum kit together. It is good, I enjoy it and the hard work has kept my trouser belt on its last notch!

Categories: Central Life, Interviews Tags: ,

Overcoming Temptation – Part 5

April 1st, 2011

Part 5. Conclusion

It would be wrong to gloss over the fact that this passage in Genesis 39 ends with Joseph in prison – that’s inspiring isn’t it! Obey God, resist temptation and you could end up in prison! Let’s face it, this is hardly the most compelling of ways to persuade anyone to resist temptation.

Joking aside, I guess our problem is that we tend to always ever focus on the immediate. We fail to see the bigger picture. We resent what happens to us, we feel as though God has forgotten us, we rile against the injustice of our situation, when all the time God is working things out for good if only we would trust him.

If you’re familiar with the story, you’ll know that prison was the place Joseph needed to be in order to step into a position of authority in the whole nation. Because of Joseph’s faithfulness he was in the right place at the right time to become prime minister of Egypt, the most powerful nation on earth at that time. God was working through the trials and temptations of Joseph’s life. So, when you suffer a backlash for faithfully obeying God and resisting temptation, just think about Joseph’s life and recognise that the same sovereign God is guiding your life.

Right now you may be facing a temptation that you have one hundred reasons to give in to. Maybe you can think of one hundred reasons why you would be happier, why it would be better, why your future would be brighter if you just gave in to that temptation. Obey God. Run from that temptation. Let there be no excuses, remember that the LORD is with you, call sin what it is and go to extremes. You have no idea how God might use your obedience. You don’t know who is watching. You haven’t a clue how future generations might be affected by your faithfulness right now.

Categories: Central Life, Preaching Series Tags:

Pete Halford

March 11th, 2011

CC: We know you are a Student in Birmingham. Where and what do you study?

PH:  I’m reaching the end of my four years at Aston University, studying Business & Computer Science. The time has flown by (especially the year I spent on my Placement, working for Churchcentral) and my intention is to stay in Birmingham to continue to be a part of what God is doing here.

CC: What is it like being a Christian at Uni?

PH:  Being a Christian while at University has definitely been a lifestyle choice. I make no secret of my beliefs, and my friends accepted me like that. I’ve found that many students are spiritually open and willing to debate and discuss Christianity. However, it’s not always been easy but at last I have managed to get two of my friends to agree to come on an Alpha Course!

CC: What have you seen God do on campus while you have been at Uni?

PH: God is certainly at work on the campus, especially at times when groups like Agapé and the Christian Union have been active in mission. I am certain there’s a time of reaping ahead at Aston – as Jonny Mellor prophesied the other week ‘there has been lots of seed sowing at Aston University; now it’s time to reap the benefits of this labour’. The start of the Alpha: course near campus although a small step is a highly significant one.

CC: What is it like being a student at Churchcentral?

PH: Student life in Churchcentral is brilliant! There’s always something going on, and it’s good to be in a church setting which is young and vibrant and yet which contains wise and mature Christians. Student lifegroups are where it’s at, and the Loft (our fortnightly gathering on the Birmingham University campus) has taken off with some great times of worship and teaching. With so many great families in the church we get to share fellowship with them in their homes, enjoying their hospitality and being included in their lives. As a student in Churchcentral you can be fully involved in church life and part of the wider loving community with our own unique contribution to make.