In the video I say that I will give three days of time to the parish on average per month. I meant, three days per week on average, over the course of the month!
Links in the video
All the links mentioned in the video!
- Subscribe via PrayerMate (you will need to click this link on the device you have the PrayerMate app installed on).
- The Understand the Bible Supporters’ Newsletter
- Understand the Bible on Facebook
- … on Twitter
- … on YouTube
- Give via Stewardship
- Give to Understand the Bible via PayPal (see the bottom of the page).
If you’re a church leader, I also have some information including one or two ideas about how to use UTB on the page for church leaders.
The Understand the Bible website is here: understandthebible.uk
This is roughly what I said in the video above!
I’m here to ask for your support for two ministries which I believe God has called me to, one in a parish in Essex and one online. Let me explain who I am and my situation.
My name is Phill Sacre, I am married and my wife is also called Phil. We have two beautiful daughters – Lydia, age 6, and Zoe, age 2.
I was ordained in 2014 in the Church of England and then came to serve my curacy (a sort of 3-4 year apprenticeship for clergy) in the parish of Great Clacton, St John’s and St Mark’s, on the Essex coast. Now, I don’t know what you think of when you think of Clacton. The media coverage is often very negative: Jaywick, in our neighbouring parish, is often described as “the most deprived place in Britain”. Clacton itself achieved notoriety shortly after we arrived for gaining UKIP’s first MP, and the Guardian called it “Brexit-on-Sea”. It’s common knowledge that Clacton doesn’t easily attract doctors, clergy, and other professionals to come and work here.
However, our experience of life in Clacton has been very different from the media picture: there is a lot going on in Clacton and we really love it and feel settled. It’s a wonderful place to bring up children. There is a genuine sense of community, and we’ve got to know many families here. The church family at St John’s and St Mark’s is the most loving we’ve ever been a part of, and has many wonderful people who are giving sacrificially to support the church and community and to spread the good news of Jesus. By the grace of God we’ve seen a number of people come to faith in the past few years. I am currently running an evening discipleship group for people who have joined the church recently.
However, we are at full stretch just trying to keep up with everything – our parish is huge, about 25,000 souls, and new houses are appearing all the time. We could really do with several more churches just in our parish, and yet the number of full time clergy across the deanery is being cut. Here in Great Clacton, in the last 2 1/2 years we have gone from three full-time clergy (including myself as a curate) to one.
I feel a strong sense that God has laid this area and the church on my heart – my curacy finished almost a year ago and I have been looking for the right way to continue ministry to support the church and the parish here. I have spent the past few months exploring different avenues but have hit a number of roadblocks. One problem is that, although the church family are very generous, Clacton is not a wealthy area and there are many calls on the church budget. The Chelmsford Diocese is working towards a situation in the near future where every church will have to pay for the ministry it receives. At the moment we couldn’t pay for one full time minister, let alone two!
In the meantime, over the last couple of years I’ve been developing an internet ministry. I started uploading videos when I wanted to give something to people who’d finished a Christianity Explored course. I saw that there wasn’t much online which people could do themselves to help them learn the Christian faith. Over time, the ministry has developed into “Understand the Bible”, with its own website, YouTube channel, podcast, Facebook, and Twitter pages. I now have over 100 videos online on a variety of topics such as the New City Catechism, the Sermon on the Mount, and Justification. My aim is to make Understand the Bible into an online discipleship course which will help teach people the Christian faith step-by-step. This is not, I hasten to add, intended as a replacement for church, but a companion to it – a resource for churches which they can use to build up new and not-so-new believers in their faith. I genuinely believe that no-one else is doing this at the moment – there is lots of Christian content available online, but very little which is aiming to teach the faith in a systematic way from the ground up. I think there is a real and significant need for this kind of ministry.
I have discussed things with our vicar here, and we have come up with the following plan. I am going to give three days of my time per week, unpaid, to the parish – I will be helping to lead and preach, leading our midweek service, running the discipleship group and outreach courses, helping with the toddler groups at church and in a local community hall, and various other activities. I will spend another one to two days per week working on Understand the Bible. This will give me some flexibility to devote more time to the parish at busy periods such as Christmas and Easter, and to spend more time on Understand the Bible during quieter seasons such as the summer holidays.
I am hoping to fund this via Stewardship – more on that in a moment.
Which brings me neatly to the second half of this video – what am I asking for in terms of support? There are three ways you can support me.
1 – Praying
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.”Psalm 127:1
I don’t think I’ve ever been more aware of this than I have over the past few months! When you’re in a vulnerable situation, you’re particularly aware of your need for the Lord’s help. And yet, I’ve also seen some wonderful answers to prayer and God seems to be blessing the work in an amazing way. Things seem to be coming together, money has been provided where we’ve needed, somewhere for us to live, and many other things.
I’d love it if you could support what I am doing here with prayer. In particular, if you use the PrayerMate app (which I can highly recommend), you can subscribe to get prayer points for Understand the Bible on a regular basis. You’ll need the link to get the prayer updates, which will be underneath this video.
2 – Sharing
One of the biggest challenges I face is getting Understand the Bible to the right people. I’d really appreciate it if you could help me to get the message out. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, I’d be grateful if you could follow Understand the Bible there and it would be great if you could share it as well. Another thing that would really help is subscribing to the YouTube channel – it makes it more likely that YouTube will show these videos to other people. (I will put all the links down below.)
And – perhaps you could share with your church family. Maybe a church newsletter, or church Facebook page? Or maybe consider using Understand the Bible as a church – I have a page with some ideas about this, e.g. using it as follow-up to an outreach course. Either way it would really help get UTB to the people who would most appreciate it.
3 – Giving
As I said in the first part, at the moment I am not being paid to do any of this. I am hoping that Understand the Bible will grow over time and generate some income, but it’s still in the early stages as yet. If you believe that I am doing good and worthwhile work, perhaps you could prayerfully consider whether you might give regularly to support us. You can do that through Stewardship – the link will be down below as well. The good thing about Stewardship is that they process Gift Aid, so if you are a UK tax payer you can add 25% to your gift at no extra cost to you. They also ensure that the ministry I do is accountable, i.e. I’m not some cowboy who’s going to run off with all the money!
If instead you’d like to give to Understand the Bible specifically, rather than to support us personally, you can do that via the PayPal on the UTB website. All donations there will be used only for the expenses incurred for UTB, e.g. camera equipment, website hosting, etc.
Finally – If you’d like to ask a question about anything you can get in touch with me via email at phill at understandthebible.uk.
A massive thank you for watching this video, I appreciate it so much. These last few months have been a difficult time for us as a family, but God has really supported us and kept us going through it! And all the support we’ve received from people over the last few months means more than I can say. Thank you, and God bless you all.