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December update

 Stay Sharp

Have you ever tried to mow the lawn with a blunt blade?  I did that recently in my ‘last cut of the year’ .  It was not clever – it was hard work and the result was poor.  Most of our grass is moss and weeds at the best of times so it does not look great, but this looked more patchy than usual.  The blade certainly needed sharpening and maybe even needs replacing.

Part of the work I have been doing with churches has been to try and sharpen people in evangelism, as “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27 v 17), in what they are already doing.  This can be in the personal relationships people already have with people who are not Christians or in current programs that churches already have, which are not reaching people where they are or seeing growth in.  There have been some interesting similarities across churches, for example some great community engagement with young families but no spiritual growth seen.  It is a real privilege to sit down with church leaders and churches to discuss why this is, what the issues are and to talk about how to take things forward.  It is not easy to do this with someone ‘from outside’, but that is what gives me an advantage in being able to see things differently, and takes trust and openness from them to ask me to do it.  It is also gives me an opportunity to learn about different contexts and ideas from them.

So I am thankful to God for these opportunities with churches and please join me in praying for more, to sharpen more existing evangelism next year as the the need is great.

Looking back…

Evening at Fox and Hounds pub including a great conversation with a couple and the possibility of going to their house to pray for peace over it.  Please pray as some of us from local churches follow this up.

Reviewed with St Michael’s evangelism team their Mission weekend and they agreed to put together an annual evangelism plan and look at a whole church strategy for it.

Met with Journey into Wholeness team about Spirit of life festival in Chelmsford next year.  They agreed that they need to target their promotion to spiritual seekers.  Please pray that the right Christian ministries come forward to be part of this festival.

Preached at Tile Kiln church about sharing faith with feedback that people had felt encouraged to do it which was the aim!  Also attended a meeting with the church about what the issues with evangelism have been.

Attended SYM (schools work) board meeting and proposed a training and mentoring initiative for young people to equip them to share their faith and mentor other young people too in local schools to do it, that we are considering further.

Preached at Great Leighs Free church about sharing faith with some encouraging feedback and heard the leadership team had been talking about some of the things raised about strategy when I had met with them last month.

Attended St Luke’s Christmas crafts and bakes event which had some new families come along to it and it was great to see the church engage them in conversation.

Looking ahead…

1st December Meeting with Tile Kiln church about plans for next year to work with them.

4th December Meeting with CGC Basildon church about the possibility of working together.

7th December Fox and Hounds pub Christmas carols night with local churches.

21st December Speaking at The Compasses pub Christmas carols with Broomfield Road Evangelical church.

Evangelism Christmas list

For you: Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus by Bruce Fisk
Christmas is all about Jesus but the danger is we get very blase about it as we think we have heard it all before, especially if we have been going to Christmas services for years.  I heard Tom Wright recommend this as if you had to read one book about Jesus this should be it so that made me take note.  This is a unique book combining a (fictional and funny) travel log to a trip around Israel with a scholarly critique of approaches to the New Testament including the historical and synoptic approaches, an analysis of the middle east situation and applications to life and belief today.  It is very accessible whether you are a student studying theology or just want a different take on the life of Christ.  Warning though: Jesus is on the loose, He’s not locked up safely in a man made tomb.

For your friends who are not Christians: The Cross DVD by Billy Graham (available for free from http://shop.myhopewithbillygraham.org.uk/?)
A DVD lasting about 20 mins designed to be shown to people who are not Christians in homes one to one or in cinemas in large groups.  It uses the power of story with two people telling their story of how Jesus changed their lives interwoven with Billy Graham explaining the cross and it’s meaning for all of us.

For your church: The natural evangelism course by J.John
An updated course by J.John for home groups or small groups covering why evangelism, what is the gospel, friendship evangelism, social action and being empowered to do it.  It includes his usual mix of questions to discuss, funny illustrations and stories and biblical passages to look at.  If your church has never done a course like this or not for a while, why not pass this onto your church’s leadership team to have a look at and action next year?

Have yourself a merry little Christmas..

Thank you for all your support this year.  We are looking to have a rest over Christmas as a family as I am  sure you are and are looking to God for direction for the future of this work to help churches communicate Jesus not just for Christmas but for life.


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