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April update

Challenge

I recently asked a group of people interested in evangelism from different churches why Christians often struggled to share their faith in Jesus.  We had a discussion with most of the answers we would all probably say – lack of confidence, lack of motivation, fear of how others might react, don’t want to stand out from others and don’t know the answers to hard questions.  Then someone said “Because our churches don’t ask people to share their faith.”

Ouch.

I did not see that one coming but that’s a challenge.  Are we regularly encouraging people to share their faith?  Are we asking for feedback about how they find it, testimonies however small about when they have said something?  Or are we just assuming people do it?  Do sermon applications regularly have an application to this or are they applied too often to just peoples’ own faith lives?  Have other priorities got in the way of equipping people to share their faith?  But what could be more important than more people speaking about, more people hearing about and then possibly more people believing in Jesus?

Calendar

Last month:

Spirit of life festival planning meeting – stands for this are filling up.  Flyers for spiritual seekers are being produced to give to New age shops, friends who are spiritual etc so please pray they hit home to the right people.

Church of England Chelmsford diocese training for local church evangelists – a real privilege to explore evangelism with people for their own ministry as well as their churches, to ask and be asked some challenging questions.  There are more people wanting to do this already – please pray for when it is right to run it again.

Church at the pub with St Michael’s at Fox and Hounds – an evening of chat about all sorts before a great question about being saved.  Please pray for wisdom for the church about the future of these evenings.

St Luke’s evangelism team meeting – planning for their next event and agreeing that a review of evangelism is needed at the next meeting.  Please pray for a clear strategic direction to make the most of the relationships they have in the community.

Preach at CGC Basildon – some good comments about people encouraged practically to share their faith and some testimonies about people already doing it

This month:

After a break…

13th April Spirit of life festival planning meeting
18th April St Luke’s family event – with live animals?!
20th April St Michael’s evangelism team planning meeting
26th April Preaching at Kelvedon URC
27th April St Luke’s evangelism team review meeting

Plus some meetings with small group leaders at a couple of churches to be arranged to develop a culture of evangelism.

Celebrate

Easter is coming so celebrate it by looking at:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=-M8Yesnt1V8

It is Lego.

But the story is not just for kids.

It is for everyone to build onJ

Cards

Soularium cards are 50 good quality cards with photographs on of all sorts of things like a lizard, a man with post its on his head, an aeroplane, a man squashed into a cupboard.  The idea is to use these cards as a conversation starter with people.  So for example, to lay all the cards out on a table in a coffee shop with some people and ask them to chose three that say something about how they are feeling about their life at the moment and why.  Then they can be asked to choose another three that sum up what they think about God – even if they think he does not exist and why.  They are produced by Agape (http://shop.agape.org.uk/soularium.html) and have the aim of being used with students but they could be used in any situation where people are open to talking about life and spiritual journeys in particular such as in cafes, bars, dinner parties and pubs.

Community 

More and more churches seem to be talking about their local community and how to connect with people in it – either connect more or to start connecting – which is good as that is where most people are at the moment, in our communities and not in our churches.

Recently I was part of a group who went to a pub that was under new management.  A couple had just taken over running it and we got chatting.  The lady talked about their plans for it, how they wanted it to be a community place.  So she talked about quiz nights, acoustic music nights, bouncy castles, BBQs, reduced price lunches for pensioners and how they wanted to work with local groups like the drama society and the church.  OK so we casually leapt on that one and talked about her journey to take over the pub, how she described it as fate and we described it as God.

But what we realised afterwards is that in what she was hoping for the pub, that community feel, that community spirit, those community events, the same or very similar could have been said in many church planning meetings.

So is your church doubling up doing events that others in the community are already doing?

Would it have more impact to work with others in the community on initiatives so they can see we care about similar things and it builds relationships better?

Yes it raises the issue of it would be harder to bring up faith explicitly but if the aim is building relationships and impacting the community generally, it could work well.


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