SG Story

"At the end of the night it was really encouraging to see the youngest man in our group being encouraged by another man as we were leaving. The same young man was then encouraged by the actions of a different man from the group when he asked for some advice about his car. Eventually there were just 3 of us left in the Church carpark. The young man, another of the men from the group and me. 

We spoke for a short time and then the young man, who I was sure wasn't yet a Christian, remarked about the uncertainty of the direction of his life. I told him that the only important thing about the future was to make sure Jesus was in it. I put my hand on his shoulder and asked him if he would like me to say a prayer with him to ask Jesus into his life. He said yes and my heart leaped with joy. There in the Church carpark, late on a cold bitter night I had the privilege of leading the young man to Jesus."

International Students

Hey Guys,

Here is something we would love to highlight with the nations gathering!


International Friends

What is “International Friends”?                                                                                    International Friends is an interdenominational group of local people from different churches in the greater Coleraine area who seek to offer friendship within a family setting to international students studying at The University of Ulster at Coleraine. (UUC) 

What does it mean to be a “link person/family”?                                                                 Being a link person/family means that you will volunteer to befriend a student or students from the university and be their “Link family” for a semester or first year while they are at UUC. Twice a year, there is an intake of foreign students at UUC and many of them decide that they would like to experience some local hospitality. They are matched with a “link” who will then receive their details. We suggest that initial contact is made with the student within two weeks of receiving their details. Any later and they will contact us to see what’s gone wrong.

Your student or students will appreciate being invited into your home and, although they enjoy home cooking, they do not expect elaborate meals! They will also be glad of your help, advice and a listening ear should problems arise, but it is probably best to leave legal and financial problems to the appropriate agencies within the university. 

What nationality are the students?                                                                                          Our students come from all over the world and usually stay for between three months and a year. We have an agreement with the university to respect their religious and cultural identities, so an invitation to a student should not be regarded solely as a chance to “profess the gospel.” Whatever witnessing we do should be in the context of genuine friendship and interest in them as a person. Remember the words of the song, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love..” 

Some suggestions: 

  • Be definite about the time, date and place of your first meeting with your student. Don’t just say, “Drop in any time!” or “Let me know when you feel like coming.”
  • If possible, collect him/her/them the first time or meet them off public transport.
  • Make it clear what the invitation includes. A lot of students are unsure what is meant by, “tea”, “lunch” “supper” or “come over for the day.”
  • In some instances, you may be able to ask your student to bring a friend, perhaps from their flat or halls of residence. This can make it is easier for you.
  • Please be really clear about dietary requirements before they come for a meal. You do not want to serve pork to a Jewish or Muslim student, for example, or meat to a vegan or vegetarian student!
  • Please keep in regular contact, whether by email, phone or in person.
  • Remember, you do not always have to entertain them at your home. You could go for a walk, meet them for a coffee, take them to the cinema or a play.
  • We would implore you to PLEASE support all the events that International Friends organises throughout the year for our students. It means so much for the students to see their Link families joining in and enjoying the events with them!

What if I have any difficulties or questions during my time as a Link? 

Please contact either your church representative (Gillian Alcorn or send an email to:                                                                                                  

 We in International Friends have all found being a host a uniquely enriching and beneficial experience and we hope you enjoy hosting your student(s) as much as we have done and continue to do.    Thank You!                                                                                                                              NOW, please register on-line as a LINK PERSON at our new International Friends website. Then we can contact you and keep you up to date with our events! 

Go to and click on, “Link person’s registration.” 

Week 2

Hey Hey,

Hope you all had a fantastic first group time together last week! 

We are already beginning to hear some exciting feedback and some exceptional stories from various groups.

Just a reminder that the closing date for anyone signing up for group is Sunday 22nd February. So keep on inviting

"The No Show's"

I would encourage you this week to follow up with the sign-ups who didn't show last week. There could be different reasons why they didn't show however a wee phone call could encourage them to come along. We want to make sure we have done everything we can to invite our sign ups and make sure no one is left behind in this journey.

"The Show's who didn't sign up"

I know there were some groups who had people show at their group who didn't sign up online or at Church. Even if you are full or even if they are part of another group, could you still email me their names as it is vitally important for us to see who is connecting in a smallgroup at Vineyard. 

We are praying for you this week,



P.S. Not long now until the launch of our Evening Service. Can you remind people at group? 6.30pm this Sunday night with Mike Pilavachi, it is set to be an exceptional night!

Week 1

Hi there SG Leaders,

Hope you are all doing great!

We are so excited as this is the first week of our Spring Term (If only the weather realised!). We have 65 groups running and over 640 unique individuals have signed up to be part of this journey. It is all very exciting.

Overseers Update
As mentioned before, during these 8 weeks we have overseers for the different categories who are there for you if you need an extra bit of support. If you have never met them, they will be in contact via email over the next little while.

General Groups (Coleraine, Portstewart, Ballymoney) - Ali Knight and Andy and Shirley Rogers

General Groups (Ballymena, Magherafelt) - George and Thelma Campbell

Women Only Groups - Ali Knight

Interest Groups (Excluding Women's) - Russell and Vicki Kelly

Courses and other Life Stage Group (Excluding Women's) - Me

Smallgroup Portal
We are excited to trial a new portal we have created for smallgroup leaders. This is an online area where we share news, share resources and share stories. We will be adding to this over the term and would love to hear your feedback and suggestions for it.

To sign up for the network, go to:

Then signup and register a new account then you should gain access to it. 

We are praying for you this week as your smallgroup launches,

Thank you for playing your part,



Welcome to the Portal

Hi there Smallgroup Leaders,

Welcome to the Smallgroup Leader Portal This is the one stop shop for everything relating to smallgroups!

On this portal, you will be kept updated with any news, you can share stories of what is happening in your group and can get hopefully learn from other's experiences.

There are a number of different areas:

- News: Alongside the weekly emails, this will be one of the ways we will communicate with you 

- Training Resources: On here we will put some resources that could helpful.

Material Ideas: In this section, together we will share some "material ideas", ideas on how to structure the term and suggestions of what you can do in your group.

View All Groups: You can see what else is running this term

Submit a Question: This function is for you to ask any questions you have about the term or if you have any recommendations for the smallgroup term.

Dates for Your Diary: pretty Self Explanatory!

FAQs: This is some questions many ask about the term and here you can find the answers.

We hope this is a helpful resource!