Slavegirls & Gaolers: loving, serving, and reaching our local community

Ray Evans & Jon Putt

How do we reach beyond the cultural context of our own congregation?
Is it possible to build a local church that truly reflects the local community?
What can the place of ‘deed ministry’ or ‘social action’ be in a church’s activities?

“When it comes to UK models of how our churches can faithfully and fruitfully engage our local communities, the principles and praxis developed by Ray Evans and Jon Putt have been my go to example for years.”

– Dr Dan Strange

‘Slavegirls and Gaolers’ is a short course in two stages, designed to help church leaders and their local teams to work through the principles and practicalities of being churches that love and serve our local communities.

Book now for Stage 2

Learning aims and outcomes for the course:

  • Explore Acts 16 as instructive of how the gospel can be brought to people from different backgrounds
  • Apply the implications of Acts 16 for church-based word and deed ministry
  • Unpack how variations in church size and community context influence practice
  • Share lessons learnt from twenty+ years of seeking to apply Acts 16
  • Begin to shape what might be possible in other local contexts and communities

Is it for me?

Stage 1 is primarily for leaders and there will be a mix of theological discussion and practical application.
Stage 2 in early 2023 is designed for leaders to participate with other members from their local churches so they can begin to apply the principles within their local context.

Stage 1 (Nov 2022): Catching the vision and establishing the framework. Two sessions, designed for leaders, in which Ray and John will walk us through Acts 16 and help us to develop a biblical framework for learning to see and love the community where God has placed our church families.

Stage 2 (Q1 2023): Assembling the team and the art of the possible: Three workshop-style sessions, designed for local teams to take together (ideally in the same room, joining on zoom) where Ray and Jon will walk you through a practical process of contextualising the framework for your own community: mapping out together what you can do, in the community you’re part of, given the people God has brought together in your church.

NOTE: Most groups participating in Stage 2 of the programme will be groups whose leaders have already taken stage 1, either in the November cohort or as part of recent Crosslands Seminary teaching sessions. If you would like to have a group participate but don’t have a leader available for the stage 1 dates, please get in touch with us to discuss options.

Course dates and times

Stage 1 of the course will consist of two sessions (online on Zoom):

  • Tuesday 15 November (12.00pm – 2.00pm)
  • Tuesday 22 November (12.00pm – 2.00pm)

Stage 2 of the course (booked separately) will consist of three sessions (online on Zoom):

  • Tuesday 24th January (7.30pm-9pm)
  • Tuesday 21st February (7.30pm-9pm)
  • Tuesday 21st March (7.30pm-9pm)


Cost for Stage 1:
£50 for one participant
£75 for multiple leaders from the core leadership of the same church attending both sessions together.

Cost for Stage 2:
£75 for a group

Discounts are available for Partner Churches, find out more here.
Should the course fee prevent you from attending please contact to discuss a discount.

Book now for Stage 2

Taught by: Ray Evans and Jon Putt

Ray is married to Jenny and they have four grown-up children and seven grandchildren. After completing two degrees at Cambridge, Ray moved to Bedford in 1980 and has served in the leadership of Grace Community Church for 35 years.

The church has been involved in several church plants and has also seen its main congregation grow to nearly 500 attendees. Ray has learnt much ‘the hard way’ and is now assisting other leaders in overcoming some of the barriers to gospel growth that are faced in today’s world.

He has authored Ready, Steady, Grow (IVP) and Church Leadership (10 Publishing) to also provide help and encouragement.


Jon is the Associate Pastor responsible for small groups and coordinating pastoral care at Grace Community Church in Bedford, and formerly served as the CAP Debt Centre Manager.

Before arriving in Bedford with his wife and two sons he spent four years at Oak Hill College. In addition to serving at Grace and helping mobilise the church family to reach their friends, neighbours, and colleagues with the good news of Jesus.



Book now for Stage 2