RealityBites in Churches

RealityBites offers a number of courses, workshops and talks for churches, home groups and youth groups.

Courses

The Daily faith course is £400 plus travel costs (£100 per session) and the longer Talking About Faith and Ideas Have Legs courses are £600 plus travel costs (just £75-£86 per session).

Daily faith: following Jesus Monday to Saturday

Four-session course or one-day conference  |  Level: introductory

This course explores what it means to develop a 'baptised imagination' in our day-to-day lives, whether we are at work, are unpaid volunteers, carers, parents, students, or anything else! It unpacks biblical teaching on work, rest and play. It tells inspiring stories of Christians who have been salt and light in their day-to-day lives. It challenges a common view of 'calling' that focuses on Christian ministry as the highest calling. And it provides inspiration and space to explore how to 'live life in all its fullness' from Monday to Saturday.

Talking About Faith: equipping you to talk confidently about Christian faith

Eight-session course  |  Level: intermediate

Why is talking about faith often awkward and filled with clichés? Why do our conversations about faith rarely grip people and intrigue them?

Mark Roques has spent his life tackling this issue and is convinced that our evangelism can be transformed if we learn to understand and engage with the beliefs that shape our world. In this course Mark will move us step by step through the world of religious and secular beliefs, equipping us to talk about the Christian faith in a way that is both engaging and insightful.

  • The biblical story: How to understand the Bible
  • Pagan Religions Part 1: How to talk to people who believe in fate, astrology, magic and the pagan gods
  • Pagan Religions Part 2: How to talk to people who love New Age ideas
  • Eastern Religions: How to talk to Buddhists and Hindus and those who believe in karma and reincarnation
  • The Enlightenment: How to talk to people who worship science, technology and progress
  • Romanticism: How to talk to people who believe in themselves, their dreams, and the pursuit of celebrity
  • Naturalist Dogma: How to talk to aggressive atheists and materialists
  • Postmodernist Confusion: How to talk to people who create their own religions and say that all truth is relative.

Ideas Have Legs: radical philosophy transforming God's world

Seven-session course  |  Level: advanced

Many people think philosophy is about trying to prove that tables and chairs exist. It seems remote, highly abstract, even ludicrous. But it doesn't have to be like that: philosophy, when done in the light of Scripture, can open our eyes to wisdom, flourishing and shalom. It can help us to rediscover wonder and joy in the amazing way that God has created his world. Philosophy can give us a map for other subjects – a comprehensive approach to the whole universe. We can philosophise about people, crocodiles, stinging nettles and rocks. We can philosophise about schools, churches, governments, hospitals and comics. We can philosophise about shrugs, grimaces, winks and ironic smiles.

This course investigates the history of philosophy, unravels some of its mysteries and suggests a richer way of doing the discipline of disciplines. It introduces you to key ideas of the great philosophers in a way that's clear, accessible and entertaining. It will also introduce a kind of Christian philosophy that helps us to rethink and re-imagine schools, churches, banks, hospitals, farms and even the Internet. It will also help us talk intelligently and imaginatively about Jesus and his kingdom.

  • The Greeks: What's at the heart of Plato and Aristotle? Where did the idea of the immortal soul come from, and where does it take us?
  • The Church Fathers: Why did St Augustine insist that farming, business and comedy are but 'rivers of Babylon'?
  • The Reformers: John Calvin and Martin Luther had a very positive view of work and study. Even cobblers can please God!
  • The Italians and French: How did science and technology become gods in our culture? What happened to Christian faith in the Enlightenment?
  • The Scots and Germans: The big ideas in David Hume and Emmanuel Kant: enter scepticism and secularism.
  • The Darwinists: Are we nothing but animals? How does biological idolatry impact education and society.
  • The Dutch: How can Christian philosophy help us to re-imagine farms, businesses, hospitals, schools and even football?

Talks and workshops

Each one-off talk/workshop is available as a 45 minute version for £120 plus travel costs, or a 90 minute version for £200 plus travel costs.

Stories that Save the World: new ideas and stories for evangelism and discipleship

45 or 90 minute talk/workshop

We live in a world of stories - stories are the way in which we understand the world around us. But how do we make sense of our own and other people's stories? And how do we share God's story in creative and innovative ways?

Mark Roques tells stories in schools, on the streets, in prison and around the world. In this event he will:

  • explore the power of storytelling
  • inspire you with new ideas for evangelism and discipleship
  • share real examples of telling stories to strangers, friends and colleagues
  • equip you with five stories to take away and tell

If you'd like to understand the power of a good story, or to explore innovative and creative ways of sharing your faith, then this workshop is for you.

James Bond, Rat Worship and Postmodernism

45 or 90 minute talk/workshop

How would you respond to a Jedi worshipper? Why do rats in Deshnok get the best buffalo milk? What would James Bond say about a rat temple? And how can rat worship help us to talk about Jesus? This talk will help you to understand and respond to postmodernism - the prevailing 'state of perpetual incompleteness and permanent unresolve' of our culture today - through the lens of the unchanging truth of the gospel.

Mafia Stories, British Values and the Problem of Evil

45 or 90 minute talk/workshop

Participants are invited to explore true stories of Mafia gangsters, as well as the inspiring people who have resisted the 'brotherhood'. The talk explores five different ways of understanding evil and criminality that are seldom probed and analysed, looking at Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan Materialist, and Christian perspectives on evil and suffering.

Celebrity Culture, Trafficking and Responsible Citizenship

45 or 90 minute talk/workshop

Starting from a familiar value system, celebrity culture, this talk lifts the lid on the quirks and wonders of this modern-day cult, helping people to understand the hugely influential mindsets of consumerism (I shop therefore I am) and materialism (everything is just physical), and how these beliefs impact such issues as the dignity of life and human trafficking.

Hear stories of people who are resisting this mindset and explore the Christian and secular views on ethical business, citizenship and social responsibility.

Lottery Winners, Money and Religious Faith

45 or 90 minute talk/workshop

In this talk, exploring issues of economic stewardship, participants are invited to think critically about the responsible and irresponsible ways in which people use their money. They hear the heart-warming story of Sheelah Ryan, who won $55 million in 1988 and used her jackpot in an imaginative and responsible way which contributed greatly to her community. This is contrasted with the story of William 'Bud' Post who won $16 million in the same year but ended up a sad and bankrupt man, the target of a hit-man hire by his brother to kill William and his sixth wife. How is faith present in all these stories of money madness? How would participants respond if they were to win the lottery?

The Presenter

Mark Roques (BA MPhil PGCE): teacher, author & storyteller

Mark RoquesFor eleven years Mark taught Philosophy and Religious Studies at Prior Park College, Bath. As Director of RealityBites since 2005, he has developed a rich range of resources for teachers and is a popular speaker at educational conferences in the UK, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Mark is the author of three books, including the Religious Education textbook The Good, The Bad and The Misled, and his innovative approach has led him to appear on television (Channel 4) and radio.

For more information, to book any of these courses or to discuss a bespoke talk, sermon or workshop, please contact RealityBites.

Mark has created a unique and incisive approach to sharing the good news in our culture. Not only does he use tons of thought-provoking and sometimes cheeky stories, but the emphasis that comes through again and again is that following Jesus is about the whole of life. These resources connect and engage and are easy to use. In my parish I've used Mark's stories in many different contexts, and found that they work every time.

Rev Guy Donegan-Cross, St Mark's Church, Harrogate

In my work as an evangelist on London's roughest and most deprived estates I have taken Mark Roques' style of evangelism, used it on the estate and the outcome has been brilliant! I have used RealityBites material to share the Gospel and it has entertained and kept the attention of drug addicts, alcoholics, offenders, and book-illiterate for the whole session. Also the RealityBites story of Cadbury always delivers the Gospel well on estates like this and I can use it again and again! RealityBites' way of evangelism is what the 21st century needs!

Craig Dowling, Greenwich

It's vital that churches and youth groups ground their young people in thinking that helps them connect their faith with the world around them. RealityBites does just that with fantastic stories that equip people with a truly Christ-centred worldview and teaches them not only how to understand the culture around them but also to impact it. An invaluable tool for teaching Kingdom values in a way that will engage any young person.

Jason Gardner, Youth Pastor, St Peter's West Harrow

I'm writing to let you know how helpful I'm finding the RealityBites material in youth ministry. I recently did a talk on money, sex and power to a group aged 15 plus. Exasperated over what to base the teaching on, I looked at some of the stories of the characters that Mark has put together. The young people were fascinated. It made me aware of the benefits of the lost art of story telling, and I for one will continue to use this excellent resource, and promote it amongst those I work with. Indeed, whenever I'm looking for a way of tackling a subject to teach on, one of the first places I turn to is RealityBites.

Richard Townend, former Urban Saints Regional Director