Month: September 2012

Priority + Gravity = Immense Weekend

I ain’t gonna lie – this last weekend was exhausting, and the pressure leading up to it had been pretty intense too! However, here I am typing away on the following Monday morning and I’m BUZZIN! Let me set the scene…

Last year Steve Timmis informed us at Acts29 Europe that Lecrae was interested in coming across to the UK to launch his new album (Gravity) and that he was happy to be involved in an A29 conference should we be able to host one. This was rightly considered to be a dream ticket for us as Lecrae’s profile offered us the opportunity to engage with both young people with a heart for gospel ministry, and also those who are ministering in the inner city and representing a diverse range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. So when Steve asked for some volunteers, like a pair of nutters myself and my mate Kirk stepped up.


Lecrae – Man Up

At the Priority conference on Saturday, we have asked Lecrae to speak on what it means to be a Gospel Priority Man. We gave him this topic because we know that it is an issue that he and his 116 crew are all passionate about. The Man Up ministry that he and 116 have launched is evidence of this. Check out this track…

Lecrae – I am Second

So this coming weekend (Saturday 22nd) is the BIG ONE! Lecrae is coming to Manchester for a day of gospel ministry and musical madness. Priority + Gravity is going to be an epic double-header and I’m buzzin’ to be involved.

As the countdown to the 22nd begins, I’m going to be posting various Lecrae-ish stuff each day this week.

First up, an up-close and personal interview that Lecrae did for I Am Second.



Tickets are now shifting quickly for both Priority + Gravity. You can get yours here.

‘Depth’ a Poem of Testimony by Lois Franks

Today was Hill City’s fifth birthday and it was phenomenal! We made space in our morning gathering for members of the church to share the various ways in which God has blessed them over the last 5 years. It took a LONG time and was literally just story after story of God’s saving grace, God’s transforming grace and God’s sustaining grace. At several points tears were streaming down many cheeks. The whole series of MP3’s will be posted online during the week. However, I thought I’d post one of the testimonies online. It was given by one of our closest friends and one of our longest standing church members, Lois Franks. It was delivered in the form of a simple poem and I believe it gives God a lot of glory!

Hope you agree…


Returning from a Gap Year in 2008,

I decided to join this church on a Valleys estate.

With a burden from God to see the Valleys transformed,

A vision for churches to be planted and lives given to the Lord,

We’d hooked up with Dai who had a similar heart,

And so Ben had been here right from the start.

Now, I’d been going to church for all of my life,

And it was at a young age that I accepted Christ.

I loved my Saviour and wanted to make His name known,

But honestly my love for the Gospel and the Bible was a little shallow and not always shown.

For me faith was often dependent on experiential things;

A sort of fluffy feeling I’d get sometimes when I’d sing.

I mean I definitely did love the Bible and the cross,

But if Jesus wasn’t preached clearly at church, I’m not sure I gave a toss.

The Gospel wasn’t central to all that I did,

Behind less important ‘churchy’ things it often hid.

I’m not saying experiencing God is bad or untrue,

The issue is when that’s more important than deep-rooted Gospel conviction through and through.

That’s a little bit of background, just to set the scene…

I’m now going to try and explain how my time here has been.

The best place to start is to give God the glory.

It’s Him who’s orchestrated each part of the story.

From a crazy amount squashed in the Hankey’s front room,

To Trevolution banter involving a spoon…

We’re in the Cold Barn now and have been a while

And thinking of our journey always brings me a smile.

Anyway, since being at Hill City, my eyes have been lifted,

it’s like the Gospel’s sunk deeper and my priorities have shifted.

Before, I loved Jesus and was definitely saved,

But through the faithful Gospel preaching and joyful passion here displayed,

A transformation has occurred and a new way has been paved.

I now love Jesus more than ever before,

My Bible is a life bringing sword of that I’m sure.

In the past if a Bible wasn’t opened I’m not sure I’d notice,

But now I just think that it’s a blatant diss!

If the Gospel isn’t preached I feel cross inside…

I really don’t think that the world should be denied!

So I’m grateful to our leaders and to all of you,

For helping the Gospel to sink all the way through.

You’ve pointed to Jesus in all that we’ve done,

It’s never been about Hill City but always about God’s Son.

The preaching each week has been centred around the cross,

Anything else has been counted as loss.

You’ve faithfully brought truth every single Sunday,

And sought to guide us along the narrow way.

As leaders you’ve been totally uncompromising,

Giving Jesus the glory with whatever you’d bring.

So I’m grateful for how you’ve helped the Gospel sink deep

And for how you have shepherded this little sheep.

I love you all for how you’ve realigned my vision,

To focus on Jesus, through whose death, new life was given.

I know that Ben and I won’t be here forever,

But we’re mega excited for our future Gospel adventures.

The thing that I’m sure of wherever we head,

What we’ve learned at Hill City will set us in good stead.

So my rhyme might have been simple, I’m sorry for that,

I just wanted to say thank you through this little spat.

It’s still all about Jesus I have to declare,

so thank you for giving me this time to share.

 Stay tuned for the MP3 collection of all the testimonies…

7 Reasons I’m buzzin’ this September

So after an enjoyable summer break (especially our holiday to Northern Ireland) September is now well and truly underway, and there are 7 reasons that I’m buzzin!

1. Twins Birthday

Today we celebrate the double birthday of our beautiful twins Ezra and Anastasia who are 2 years old! It’s crazy how time has flown since that phenomenal day in 2010 when this beautiful tag team entered our lives in one of the most mind-blowing moments our family has known. Along with our other 2 beauties these guys have brought so much fun and laughter to our home. I’m a blessed man to have a quiver-full of such awesome arrows! Happy Birthday guys!

2. Launch of a New Porterbrook Term

A few weeks ago it looked like we were going to be unable to run Porterbrook Cardiff this year due to low numbers. However, by God’s grace we now  have had to order extra books. Personally, I’m excited to get my teeth stuck into the material for the advanced year.

3. Hill City’s 5th Birthday Celebration

Next Sunday (16th) Hill City Church are going to be celebrating 5 years (to the day) since our first ever church service in Trevethin – a very simply service that involved me, Michelle, a 1 year old Elen and Boaz (our old dog)! By God’s grace things have really changed since then! Seeing people saved and growing in grace is EPIC and we intend to celebrate with sung worship, stories of grace, more baptisms and a fat munch! You’d be welcome to join us!!!

4. Hill City Baptism Service

Like I said, we thought one of the best ways we could celebrate 5 years of Hill City Church is baptising more new believers. So 7pm at Pontypool Leisure Centre – that’s what we’re going to be doing! This is particularly exciting as we’ve already got the baptism bug following our Garn plant’s first baptism service last Friday! God is good!

5. Official Launch of the Hard Corps

Dunno if you guys had picked this up – but I have a new book being launched this month. The Hard Corps is being released for general sale on 22nd September. I AM VERY EXCITED! That is all. Stay tuned for an epic promotional video!

6. Priority Conference

One of my favourite Christian artists is the rapper Lecrae, so you can imagine how stoked I am to be involved in bringing him over from the US to speak at a conference that we are organising as Acts 29 Europe. Lecrae’s lyrics have always inspired me, but I’ve never heard him preach before, so really looking forward to that! As well as Lecrae we also have Pastor Leonce (Lecrae’s pastor), Duncan Forbes and Steve Timmis speaking. Gonna be a great day! (Why not join us?)

7. Gravity Album Launch

Last week Lecrae launched his new album ‘Gravity’ which shot to the top spot of the iTunes chart. The album is a certified banger that I have been duly rinsing ever since I downloaded it. However, live performances are a whole other ball game and having never had the privilege of catching Lecare live, I’m proper looking forward to topping off a great day by enjoying his live set!



The Hard Corps: Endorsed by Mez McConnell

Mez McConnell is one of the most inspiring church planters I know. He leads Niddrie Community Church on the Niddrie housing scheme in Edinburgh and is committed to seeing a shed-load more churches planted on similar schemes across Scotland. His testimony is compelling (check out the video below) and also his book). His blog is essential reading too. Here’s what he had to say about the Hard Corps:

“To be honest, when I saw the title of this book, my heart sank as I thought, “Oh no, not another one of these gung-ho let’s all be bare chested Christian, male, super heroes” type of books that seem to be all the rage in certain circles these days. I am glad to say, however, that in this case I was happy to be very wrong. This is a warm, witty and practical book that could be used significantly as a study guide with young male believers in our churches. Based on king David’s ‘Mighty Men’ each of the 7 chapters offers us some insight into how to live the Christian life boldly, confidently and adventurously for the glory of Jesus. The language is decidedly quirky, simple and yet warmly engaging as the author challenges men to stand up and be counted as disciples of Jesus Christ. Each chapter is followed by a set of questions to help us think through the issues discussed and to consider relevant scriptures to the topic at hand. As the author so eloquently puts it: “Let’s be men who leave behind us a legacy of grace-changed lives. And may Christ the King get all the glory for it.” A good tool for young men and warmly recommended.”

Here’s Mez’s testimony:

[vimeo 48528415]

Priority Conference Schedule

Proper buzzin’ to be involved in bringing Lecrae to the UK later this month. I’m especially excited about the Priority conference that he’s speaking at during the day on September 22nd. Here’s what the day is going to look like:

09:30 Registration

10:00 Welcome + Worship

10:30 Session 1. Gospel Priority Men // Lecrae

11:15 Coffee

11:45 Session 2. Gospel Priority Churches // Duncan Forbes

12:30 Lunch (bring/buy your own)

13:30 Worship + Prayer

14:00 Q+A // Lecrae, Leonce + Pastor Efrem

14:30 Seminars *

15:30 Coffee

16:00 Session 3. Gospel Priority Areas // Steve Timmis

16:45 Worship

17:00 Close

* Seminars

  1. Music, mission and gospel integrity // Pastor Efrem Buckle
  2. Building bridges – the gospel & cultural diversity // Pastor Leonce (Lecrae’s Pastor)
  3. The Hard Corps – combat training for the man of God // Dai Hankey
  4. I’ve got the gospel itch – so what do I do now? // Steve Robinson
  5. Gospel Priority Girls – the role of godly women in gospel ministry. // Sian Robinson, Clare Lawson, Mandy Crager

As you’d expect, tickets are selling fast for Priority. You can get your tickets here.

Grateful to God for a Week of Grace

So after a whirlwind few days of travelling and ministry (including the most random wedding I’ve ever attended) I’ve finally found a bit of time and headspace to post a few reflections on our recent holiday to Bangor. Our 6 day family adventure to the beautiful coastal town of Bangor (Northern Ireland) could have gone one of 2 ways. It could have been a total disaster – a first ever ferry crossing with kids, a long drive on the other side of the Irish sea, squeezing our already large family into a house with another already large family, 5 of whom we’d never even met before!! Or it could have been an unparalleled success – a journey that more than justified the ‘gamble’! Praise God, it was very much the latter. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it was the best family holiday that we’ve ever had. Here’s why: Basically, there are 6 reasons why it was such a great trip. Those six reasons are called Glen, Janine, Abigail, Jessica, Joel and Noah (aka the Mitchell Massive!) Truth is it was TOTALLY the family that we got to hang out with, learn from, pray with, laugh with and make memories with, that made it so special.

Prior to our arrival we had only ever met Glen (a friend of mine through Acts 29 WE) and had got to know Janine a little thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter and email. But we had never met the kids before and had no guarantee whether their little people and our little people would even get on! But they REALLY did. We all REALLY did! We could have been staying in a drafty barn in Siberia and it still would have been awesome. There are so many things that I could write about here, but it would take too long. So here’s a couple of highlights (in no particular order!)

  1. Being with a couple that totally understood the pressures of trying to balance a happy home life with loads of kids whilst leading a church.
  2. Never once feeling like we were intruding (a mark of true grace and hospitality!)
  3. Seeing both sets of kids learning to share, to learn and to have fun together.
  4. Feeding my caffeine addiction with the Mitchell’s phenomenal coffee machine!
  5. The encouragement of witnessing God’s clear hand at work at King’s Church and the privilege of preaching there on the Sunday.
  6. The humbling experience of hanging out with Glen – one of the most godly, gracious, kind and calm men I know, and an inspiring church leader.
  7. The blessing of being around Janine – such a fun-loving, grace-giving, compassionate, creative and Christ-like woman and a frankly wonderful mum.
  8. Buying McDonald’s for the whole tribe (see photo above!) It was the closest thing to Cheaper By The Dozen I’ve ever experienced.
  9. Helping each of the big kids to paddle out in the sea and to climb a ladder up the rocks to Glen at the top. (Gotta love dad adventures!)
  10. The Prayer Bubbles, Worship Bopping and Bible time we had with the kids on the last night.
  11. The correct decision to go to Pickie Park (EPIC family fun) rather than go the North Coast (beautiful scenery but not as good for kids!)
  12. Getting to enjoy a Lamb Jalfrezi at Archana in Belfast (my favourite curry house in the world, that I hadn’t visited for years!)
  13. Joel giving Josiah his toy bat and Josiah giving Joel his truck as leaving presents. #bredrinz
  14. Stopping off in Dolgellau (our honeymoon town) for tea on the journey home.
  15. Checking my bank account after arriving home and finding a C not a D at the end of the figure. (God is so faithful!!)
  16. The pleasure of coming home knowing that we have made genuine friends for life!
I’m sure there was a load of stuff that the other guys will look back with on with fondness. I guess that’s what the comments section is for! For what it’s worth I just want to go on record to thank the Mitchell’s for pouring more grace into our lives in 6 days than we ever would have received supping cocktails in Barbados for 6 months without them! I want to thank my dad for his generosity in helping to us to get there at all! Above all I want to thank God for the gift of good friends that provide colour, vibrancy and epic grace for the gospel adventure!

Right, glad I got all that off my chest.

Time to crack on with the mission of making Christ known in Trevethin…