This is the end of our 24th year in ministry. From next month we will be in our 25th year – a remarkable testimony to God’s grace and intentions!
And how different are things since we began…
It was started by several of us, including Africans, all graduates of the University of Wales. The aim, then, was to reach students and lecturers in higher education. James even had a running battle in the local university newsletter on the issue of evolution. We were first known as the Christian Research Institute, but decided to change the name when we discovered a group of the same name in the USA that had one or two dubious beliefs.
At first, we produced the ‘CRI Pack’. This was a mammoth task and so it only came out every quarter. It consisted of an illustrated mini-newspaper and several full-length Articles. It took all that time to gather together each quarter’s Pack. This is because it was done the old-fashioned way!
First, I had to write each piece in longhand, and then type everything out on an old typewriter. I provided all the illustrations, some by cutting out and others by drawing. Then, I had to cut and paste every illustration into the typed short articles for the newspaper, having firstly leaving suitable space for them… not an easy feat using an ordinary typewriter! After that, James took it all to a secretary in his department, who made it look smarter. Then, everything was photocopied and I had to staple it all together into individual packs. Oh yes, then I had to write out the envelope labels and stuck them onto the clear plastic A4 envelopes. It was hard work and traumatic, as I had to meet the deadlines.
We then had a brand new IBM office quality golf-ball typewriter! Wow! What a leap forward in technology! But, even that didn’t help much, because I still had to do everything by hand. And, once a quarter was really not good – people needed faster and more information! That was when personal computers began to show their faces, and I had one. Actually, it was really for James’ business, but I could use it after work. It was then that things began to show true benefit! We went over to monthly articles, and stopped the illustrated newspaper: I simply couldn’t do everything myself, and the sheer mechanics of the work stopped me writing articles. Then, We were asked to take over the Beacon, and we suddenly had subscribers!
Today, things continue to move on apace. I tried starting several blogs, but they took too much time. So, I decided to offer political and other articles to outside publications. The best so far is the Canada Free Press. Articles on hotels and travel came along, because I thought I could at last get an income following my dramatic exit from the working world. But, those articles don’t pay me anything, so I have lost interest in the main, though I do get a free holiday or two from it, every so often!
(Sorry for repeat information – this is for readers who have joined us recently!). The future is in God’s hands. However, certain themes seem to continue and, we hope, will expand. We hope this because the need for truth and genuine doctrine is paramount in today’s world, where there is a growing desire to eliminate truth and God’s word.
It seemed that the ministry would be crushed back in 2005, when gays attacked me time and again. (If interested – and only if genuine – individuals may ask for the complete account of what happened, and what my present situation is).
However, God is good, and He provided sufficient defence and funding, even though the money came in literally as needed. Even today, we do not know, from week to week, where the money will come from. But, God does! So, we trust Him to provide. Indeed, this was one of the biggest lessons we had to learn in the whole 24 years of ministry. Today, even fewer Christians supply our needs, but we are grateful to them for their faithful support, so like the support shown through Paul, by Christians in Macedonia, for fellow believers they didn’t even know in Israel! Ministry funding is still mainly from our own pockets, though this is rapidly declining.
So, our 25th year in ministry may be full of surprises! Will it continue, or not? We really don’t know, but we pray for God’s guidance in the matter. I am trying my best to get everything on computer, so that the work can run mainly like clockwork. But, we really do need to get out there to meet the people and teach personally. If you wish to pray for this, please do so, with our gratitude. As one who receives information from around the world on a daily basis, including political news, I know what is coming. Thus far it follows Bible prophecy to the letter! Christians will be hard-pressed, as communist leaders try to destroy faith and witness. Many Christians are unsure and have bad teaching. This is why God set up our ministry in the first place, to stand in the gap and protect the city of God from harm, along with a handful of similar ministers whose task is equally tough.
What’s coming? I am not yet sure, but I do know we must fight to keep freedom of speech so that we can continue spreading God’s word. Our ministry was set up by God, to teach fellow believers the truth, so that bad teaching and wrong doctrine can be dealt with. Only as the ministry developed did we start to help unbelievers who were ‘seeking’. Usually, this is done privately, so few know my role in this, and the almost daily plea for help from folks who contact us.
We also get many contacts from people who once attended a church but have been driven out by bad pastors and teachings. To these, we are a kind of proxy church, though we don’t claim to be a substitute. However, there is a vast need to communicate with these huge numbers of believers who have been ‘unchurched’ by their pastors and teachings. They need contact and support. So, that’s what I do, almost daily, before I get on with other parts of the ministry. These daily contacts are not mentioned by myself, because they are private to the individual, but they are a big part of the ministry.
Our original vision was to open a large building to house ministry and visitors. We hoped to provide respite weeks for hard-worked pastors and other individuals, especially if they are unpaid like I am. They need refreshing, often having given many years non-stop service to those they care for, or are going through bad times. They also need basic theology training, which is best given in short spurts for unpaid pastors, rather than as three-year degrees!!
The place would also serve to offer day courses and maybe be the core of Sunday study sessions. It is in God’s hands; it may even be that the vision has not been given by God, but is just wishful thinking! We will only know as the year unfolds.
Meanwhile, we continue to hold Sunday study sessions. A few readers have visited us personally to attend actual Sunday meetings, though I always warn them our meetings are unlike any others they may have attended! However, it is very nice to see them. Mainly, Sunday studies are sent on by readers, and reach many hundreds of people every week, as do the various Beacons and articles.
The new website will hopefully reach many people – the old one reached thousands! It will be more dynamic than the old one, with a number of new sections. There will also be photos and videos as part of the ministry, plus a small Christian employment section for those seeking work or looking for employees. We also hope to have a section on holiday accommodation in the UK and abroad. But, all that will come with time.
The emphasis Barry has is always given by God’s promptings. For example, the first major call from God was to highlight the real causes of AIDS and homosexuality. This topic dominated the very first CRI Pack we published. This was followed by rapid production of hundreds of articles on topics much needed by all believers.
Then, in the mid-1990s along came the Toronto Blessing and a massive rise in charismatic heresies. This was a dramatic time spanning several years. Barry had to work full-time, completing ministry work on his times off and before/after work, starting before dawn and ending after midnight., even on work days. God gave him special strength for this as he helped tens of thousands of Christians caught in the charismatic web. Then came a lull, followed by more articles for the website.
In 2005 came a short emphasis on homosexuality again, followed by a time on the environmental wickedness, when Barry discovered what was really behind the green movement – communistic hatred of Christianity. The intensive part of this has now finished, at least for a while, and Barry is again waiting to see what comes next! Meanwhile, he is back on articles for the website, and more theology books.
The new website (www.christiandoctrine.com) will need new (unpaid) personnel, who will head up the various new sections. They must be dedicated to spreading God’s word, and being an editor of their own sections is definitely a ministry in its own right. If anyone wishes to offer a section, please contact us – it might even include ideas we have not yet considered. The main point is to show that our faith covers every aspect of life. Hence, sections are needed on health, medicine and pharmacology, psychology, politics, state benefits, crafts, and much more. You can even add photos!
And if your church wants us to speak – just say. We only need travel expenses (though gifts are fine). Or, you might need a seminar on a specific topic. Again, just ask.
We hope for a bright, ongoing, and exciting 2010, as we finish our quarter century of ministry! We sincerely hope you will all wish to see the ministry go further, because it is much needed in a time of increasing darkness.