Partnerships are often crucial in the work of mission. In recent years, Derek French of GBM Radio has had a fruitful partnership with Gerard and Philippa Chrispin and their prison ministry. Here Derek and Gerard explain how that has been working.

A mature Christian couple involved in prison ministry, GBM’s Sound Words and Serving Today programmes, and pastors in Africa and elsewhere – what’s the link between all of these?

I first met Gerard and Phillippa Chrispin when the opportunity came to visit a prison to conduct Bible studies. Gerard and Phillippa had been involved in this work for many years, and they were leading Christian Prison Resourcing. Gerard wanted to write a book on Mark’s gospel that would be easy to read, cover the entire book in some detail, and be a help in his prison ministry. He was also aware that many prisoners either cannot read at all or can do so only with difficulty. The solution was to put the entire text of the book into audio on CDs and other formats. We were happy to help because we were eager to use our recording facilities to help this gospel venture to make Christ known, and the content and length of the material was ideal for our English language programming. Most of the listeners to our programmes do not have English as their first language.  

At that time we used the material on Mark’s Gospel in our Sound Words programme. Phillippa read the relevant verses from Mark and Gerard recorded the study on those verses. The material was put on CD for the prison ministry and, with careful editing, into Sound Words programmes. The book was called Mark Time and is published in the UK by Day One. Gerard made copies available for us to send to any listeners who requested them.  

More recently we went through a similar process with Gerard’s exposition of the book of Acts. Again, Phillippa would read the Bible passage and then Gerard would record his exposition. By this time production of Sound Words had ended, but when looking at the content on Acts we could see how readily it could be adapted so as to benefit the pastors and church leaders who listen to our Serving Today programme. One of our aims in Serving Today is to help our listeners in their preaching and teaching ministries. Working systematically through a whole Bible book is something many listeners are not used to doing, but they are seeing the benefit of such an approach. The programmes often suggest how to preach and teach from these studies. The book is called Amazing Acts, published by Evangelical

Press in three volumes that cover the entire book. We post these to any listener who requests them, and they are also available on CD. Why not buy your own copy, and then as a book owner you can also access the entire audio content via the web at one go free of charge.  

What has been good to discover is that this material is not only being used for prison and radio ministry, but also by UK churches in their evangelism and Bible studies.

Derek French

You and your church really can join Serving Today in reaching the world!

It all started with an idea to help non-Christians to hear the Bible being read and explained in their own time and space. We started with Mark’s gospel, and then we moved on to the book of Acts. Phillippa and I were helped hugely by Derek French and his GBM Radio colleagues at Abingdon. We recorded Mark Time and the Amazing Acts trilogy in the GBM Radio studios in Abingdon under Derek’s eagle eye (or perhaps eagle ear!) The audios were put on CDs mainly to enable prisoners to hear and read God’s word in their cells and in Bible studies run by Christian Prison Resourcing (CPR). Many free copies of Mark Time and Amazing Acts are now in prisoner’s hands and cells. Each day CPR receive, mark and return prisoners’ completed correspondence courses. Some have come to know and follow Christ through them.

Derek seized the opportunity to use the same audios and tweaked them to transmit overseas to Serving Today hearers, so sharing the gospel of our crucified and risen Lord far and wide through GBM Radio. David Harding of Christian Answer (one of the evangelistic organisations under the United Beach Missions (UBM) umbrella) has created websites for both Mark Time and Amazing Acts for seeking people. From around the globe people can tap into or to read and hear, on a chapter by chapter basis, the audio recordings of all of Mark’s gospel and Acts, and their short but hopefully clear commentaries followed by three key questions in each chapter.

The wheel has now gone full circle. Brief but comprehensive hand-out tracts offered at no cost enable our churched or unchurched friends to ‘read and listen’ through both websites on their mobile phones, laptops, iPads or whatever. Through a short written explanation of what Mark’s gospel and Acts cover, chapter by chapter the gospel is also presented.

So how can all this help your church to share the gospel and teach the Bible? Grace Church Guildford (formerly Chertsey Street Baptist Church and Guildford Park Church) encourages its people to take handfuls of the hand-outs to pass on to family, friends, neighbours, strangers, shop assistants, petrol station cashiers, students, work mates, waiters and waitresses, barbers, taxi drivers and anyone else. They also include them on their literature table outreach and recommend folks to ‘read and listen’ through or or both. Perhaps your church could do something similar?

Gerard Chrispin


To get your copies of the tracts, and to have them over-printed with your church details, please contact:

Jason Carpenter,

Spiral Colour,

Augustus Mill,

Buckley Street,



SK11 6UH

or email him at [email protected]

Mark Time and Amazing Acts
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