Coming Up Soon: Godly Play Taster Morning


This event is designed for those who wish to experience and reflect on Godly Play. It will be held within a Godly Play space and is an opportunity to experience a full Godly Play Session.

Godly Play
• Is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture
• Can be used in a variety of settings Churches, schools, hospitals, care homes for the elderly
• Is based on long established, tried and tested approaches
• Uses symbols and objects as well as words
• Values process, openness and discovery
• Encourages people to make meaning for themselves

The Heart of Godly Play
• Creating Sacred Space
• Building and working in community
• Learning religious language
• Using religious language to make meaning

• Welcome and Introductions
• Full Godly Play session – sacred story, wondering, response and feast
• Debrief – Q&A

Godly Play can help you see and do things differently!

Tyndale Baptist Church
Whiteladies Road
Bristol BS8 2QG

Saturday 23rd September, 9.30am – 11.30am.

Breakfast butties & drinks will be provided.

Suggested donation of £5.

To book your place please contact Sian Hancock or Alison Summerskill.

Student Blog: Models for Youth Ministry

modelsforyouthministryThis semester Bristol CYM students have been reading and reflecting on Models for Youth Ministry by Steve Griffiths. They had some great things to say about it and we thought we’d share some of their thoughts with you.

One of the students summed up the content of the book like this:

“The book contains many different ideas about styles of ministry but each with a specific focus on the relationship between Kairos and Chronos time.  Griffiths sets out that Chronos time is the understanding of developing relationship with young people that then allows us to share our faith with them; the thinking that we have to earn the right to share our faith with those around us.  Griffiths goes on to talk about Kairos time, the shift in thinking to a position where we think about the quality of time we have, those moments when time slows and we enter this ‘golden’ time where much is achieved even without the relationship to back it up.”

After studying a chapter a week together they all found something useful in the book.

“At the end of each chapter there are helpful sections which address key points outlined in the chapter, and pose questions to inspire you to keep thinking about this in your own context. These ‘Pause for thought’ areas offer a light discussion base for you to work through as an individual or within a group setting. The questions are unavoidable directing your thoughts to the youth work setting you are involved with, which helps this book to assist you objectively and make a realistic impact in your work.”

And it’s not just useful for youth workers, one of our children & family work students had this to say about the book:

“A book about youth ministry might not seem an obvious choice for a children’s worker but Griffiths’ focus is on a change in outlook and overall methodology rather than on specific practical expressions of youth work. Although the focus of the book is on work with young people the concepts presented are universal and I believe the book would be of benefit to all those in ministry with people of any age.”

Another student agreed saying:

“Personally, it has revolutionised aspects of my practice, particularly in being more intentional in allowing space for, and seizing on, kairos moments within my group. However, during my studies and through discussions with ministerial students, I believe that it has almost as much weight for those who practice ministry in a more general sense. There are certain aspects of the book that definitely lend themselves to the title being models for ministry, as opposed to just youth ministry.”

Here at Bristol CYM we believe in equipping our students to be the best practitioners they can be, and studying a book like this together as a group is just one of the many ways we do that.

If you’re interested in training for ministry contact us on 01179 469 209 or email to find out more.

Student Blog: Welcome To My Week

Student BlogBristol CYM is an amazing opportunity to learn and become more than we already are.  In the two days a week we are in Bristol Baptist College we cover so much theory we feel prepared to take on the world.  But the theory is only a part of our formation; the ability to answer a question is one thing but having the strength and capability to really lead is something completely different.  In this blog post I’m going to walk you through what those two days at college looked like for us a few weeks ago.

Tuesday morning we had a set of lectures on the Old Testament. This theological backing helps us not only to be better teachers when working with children and young people, but it helps revolutionise the way we each read the bible, and our personal faith journeys are only enhanced by having a greater understanding of the Word of God.

In the afternoon we had a lecture on Informal Learning with Children and Young People where we looked at the use of dialogue, parables and story. We experienced a Godly Play session and learnt about the techniques Jerome Berryman developed, and we discussed David Wenham’s writings on parables. Both authors taught us to never limit ourselves to learning only one lesson from anything we read, especially the parables of Jesus.

Later in the lesson we took some time to look at the practical application of what we had learnt using a ‘forked road’ scenario as John Dewey writes about.  We used role play to enact a conversation between a young trespasser (Goldie), the property owner (Ted) and a mediator from the Citizens Advice office and to find a resolution that supported the needs of the young person and the home owner.

On Wednesday morning we assembled for prayers in chapel before starting our day. Then we stepped into our first session, a core part of formation, looking at spirituality and discipleship.  Today’s topic was spiritual companionship – those people we journey with in our faith.

From there we moved into a session on Identity in Ministry where we looked at confronting potential failures in leadership, seemingly a tough subject, but looking at topics like this isn’t to scare us off but to prepare us to meet the real challenges we each face in ministry.

After a break we had our final session reviewing the book Models for Youth Ministry by Steve Griffiths. We were joined by an American Youth Pastor working in a church plant in Bristol.  We shared our thoughts as well as our experiences and the differences between each of our roles and the role of our visitor both here in the UK and in America.  It was a great opportunity to learn from others and to look at how to apply what we have read.

That afternoon we headed to a local Mosque to continue our unit on Reflecting on Diversity in Practice.  Learning about other world views and beliefs is important and helpful.  We had an amazing opportunity for Q and A as part of the visit, helping us better understand the differences and needs of others from our communities.

No two weeks at college are ever the same, so to end this post by saying we’ll do it all again next week would be inaccurate, but hopefully I have given you a taste of what life at Bristol Baptist College looks like.

Student Blog – Quiet Day

Student Blog

This day promised a lot.

A ‘quiet’ day, wedged in the middle of a busy week, in a busy term etc. etc. But I had signed up to a Franciscan style quiet day; hoping to take my mind of the deadlines of my essays, and to catch a break from the rushing around of my usual days.

A college day normal starting at 8:30am, on this day we had the luxury of a late start, and I arrived at the college lounge for 10am. After a coffee, a catch up and a rundown on how the day was going to flow, we began the quiet.

In my head there had been quite a build up as to what the quietness was going to behold. But, alone with my thoughts and in the stillness of the room, I found this day was the perfect time to reflect on my journey so far. Just over half of the way through my course, I took time to think back to the term I began my course in, right up until now. I feel massively blessed in how the years have turned out, and in taking time to really think over the changes that have happened and the curveballs that I have managed to dodge – my hope and strength is restored in God once again.

But less about me: What about it was Franciscan? St Francis of Assisi was a humble man living in 13th Century Italy. If he was around today, he would hate the thought of his famous status, and how much he is looked to as an example. However, the way he led his life in pure simplicity, not living within the security of money or work or even clothes, but just following in light of these three commands of the bible:

Matthew 10:10 “Take no bag for the journey, or extra shirt or sandals or a staff…”

Matthew 19:21 “”If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Luke 9:23 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Many people began to literally follow in the footsteps of St Francis, and soon the brotherhood was formed. His life details many accounts of how he was committed to God, and how God worked miracles in his life. Hearing of this saint, I found it humbling and inspiring to know that someone can be so blessed when they have so little.

This day helped me to think about the extra bits of stuff I could shake off to help make my life simpler. Even just as much as portioning a part of your day to be quiet in that you don’t look at your phone, or spend money, or answer any emails etc. Think about how you could simplify your life, and let it be blessing to you.


Hearts and Minds 2017

Bigger and better than last year, and with a new venue too. Hearts and Minds is a conference for Baptist Ministers where you will have an opportunity to present or listen to papers within a friendly, supportive environment.

This year’s keynote speaker will be David Kerrigan, General Director, BMS World Mission.

Hearts and Minds will take place on Tuesday 4th April, 2017, 9.30am- 4pm at Regent’s Park College, Oxford.

Cost: £10, to include refreshments and lunch

To offer a paper, contact Anthony Clarke by 13th March:

To book your place, please contact Sharon Merry by 20th March:

It’s sure to be an exciting day and we hope to see you there!

Incarnational Living

After 25 years of urban mission in Melbourne and Bangkok, Ash Barker with wife Anji and son Aiden are now immersed in the life of Winson Green, Birmingham, where they have founded and lead Newbigin House. Ash was the founding director of Urban Neighbours of Hope, and is the current director of Micah Global’s International Society for Urban Mission. Ash recently visited Bristol Baptist College and led a session where he reflected on the questions: what have you learned about the nature of incarnational missional communities through your time in Bangkok? How might these insights both shape and challenge our approach to mission in a city like Bristol? Have a look at some of the highlights in the video below.

Upcoming Event – Whitley Lecture 2017


Dan Taylor was a leading eighteenth-century evangelical General Baptist minister who was founder of the New Connexion of General Baptists. This lecture provides new light on his theology and asks questions about the origins of evangelicalism and the way it was shaped by the values of the Enlightenment. Taylor was an innovator, a thinker and a pioneer, and worth our attention when contemplating the missional challenges of the 21st century.

Led by Rev Dr Richard T. Pollard – Minister & Team Leader, Fishponds Baptist Church, Bristol

Held at Bristol Baptist College on 7th February 2017 at 7.30pm, with light refreshments from 7pm.

For more information or to book your place please email

Upcoming Event – Ash Barker: From Bangkok to Bristol

What can we learn about incarnational living?

After 25 years of urbaashbarkern mission in Melbourne and Bangkok, Ash Barker with wife Anji and son Aiden are now immersed in the life of Winson Green, Birmingham, where they have founded and lead Newbigin House. Ash was the founding director of Urban Neighbours of Hope, and is the current director of Micah Global’s International Society for Urban Mission.

Ash has been invited to reflect on the question: what have you learned about the nature of incarnational missional communities through your time in Bangkok? How might these insights both shape and challenge our approach to mission in a city like Bristol?

The event takes place on 2nd November, 2 – 4.30pm at Lawrence Weston Baptist Church, BS110QP.

Tickets are free to book but we ask for a £5 donation on the day.

Please book your tickets online in advance at:

Hearts and Minds

We recently hosted an inspiring ‘Hearts and Minds’ day conference, in conjunction with Regent’s and South Wales Baptist Colleges. We heard some excellent papers from ministerial and other colleagues who are engaged in ongoing research and reflection.

A personal highlight for me (and I was unable to attend all the papers, due to parallel sessions) included a paper on disability theology by Revd Martin Hobgen, who drew our attention to the historic shifts in societal attitudes towards disability, and offered a theology of friendship as a possible paradigm for a more inclusive church.

The keynote address was given by Revd Dr Ian Stackhouse, who reflected with honesty and clarity on a family encounter with dementia, and offered theological insights around the issues of presence and personhood in this context.

The conference was well-attended, and a straw poll at the end of the day indicated a definite appetite for another one next summer. Watch this space!

Revd Dr Helen Paynter
Coordinator, Community Learning