Reaching parts of the community others can’t - part 2
In my last blog, I shared about how social action seems to enable connection to people who are not at a place where they would be interested in Alpha or equivalent courses and how churches are seeing growth from these initiatives.
At some point, Christians need to be able to tell the gospel to people they are connecting with the gospel. It should not be up to the church leader or an evangelist at an event. The gospel is not something we come to church to hear, it is something we go from church to do and say.
How can we all be equipped to talk about faith matters naturally and honestly?
In this blog, I've focused on evangelism training resources that churches can run themselves. There are many training courses that people can go on but that is impractical for a congregation-wide approach. There are also offers from evangelists to come and train your people - I've not covered these.
Here are six courses that could help (I'm sure there are more - apologies to those not listed):
The Natural Evangelism Course
This small group six-session course from J.John is a result of J.John’s own experience of preparing hundreds of churches for mission on six continents. It provides a simple, yet insightful training programme for all churches wanting to encourage and equip their members towards more effective friendship evangelism. The Natural Evangelism Course provides churches with a ready-made training programme to help members engage actively in evangelism; providing insights, activities and talking points to help individuals understand how to share their faith and become more confident and effective in connecting with people of the twenty-first century.
Covering the ‘Why’ of evangelism as well as defining the correct message of the Good News and the meaning of friendship evangelism, the course advises Christians on how to tell their story, how to demonstrate the good news in their lives and actions and how they can be empowered for evangelism.
Blowing Your Cover
Blowing Your Cover is a unique and fresh approach to evangelism, that is designed to equip and release Christians to confidently share their faith and impact their community in a way that best fits their character and personality. It has been run in nearly every denomination across the UK, including Anglican, Baptist, New Churches, Salvation Army, Catholic, Elim and many others across the world.
One of the key features of Blowing Your Cover is that you can put your stories, your testimonies and your 'style and flavour' of church onto the course and make it your own. It includes workbooks and access to videos on Vimeo. Here's a trailer:
Becoming a Contagious Christian
Becoming a Contagious Christian is a proven course from Willow Creek used with nearly 1,000,000 people and designed to equip believers for effective evangelism in today’s world. It avoids stereotyped approaches that feel intimidating to many Christians. Instead, it shows ordinary believers how they can share the gospel in a natural and powerful way while being the person God made them to be. Each session’s exercises, discussions, self-assessments, and video vignettes give step-by-step guidance to help participants become effective communicators for Christ to those around them through relational evangelism.
It consists of; six, 50-minute training sessions on DVD, DVD vignettes, including dramas, testimonies, person-on-the-street segments, and a vision-casting segment for leaders. Two teaching options: teach the course yourself, or use the DVDs and let Mark Mittelberg and Lee Strobel teach for you (a great option for small groups). CD-ROM with reproducible promotional materials, including posters and bulletin inserts for use in an all-church campaign. Becoming a Contagious Christian works with any size group, from small groups of 4-9 to Sunday school classes and other large groups of 10 to 150 or more.
2 Ways to Live
The 2 Ways to Live training course is a user-friendly and effective course for every Christian. The seven-week course is designed to equip every Christian with two basic and essential things:(1) a sound and thorough knowledge of what the gospel is, and (2) the ability to share it with someone else clearly and naturally when the opportunity arises.There is a start-up bundle which contains one Leader's Manual, five Participant's Manual and one Training DVD.
Faith Pictures is a free, six-session course designed to help Christians talk naturally to friends, neighbours and colleagues about what they believe. It is mainly aimed at small groups meeting in a home setting. It is for people of any Christian tradition and none. It has been designed to appeal particularly to people who would normally run a mile from courses on faith-sharing!
The heart of the course is about helping people to identify a single picture or image that embodies something of their faith. This is because the kinds of communication which best stick in the mind are concrete and rooted in story. The course aims to be accessible and light-hearted, without jargon or inflexible methods. It has a number of emphases not always found in faith-sharing courses. These include the avoidance of one-size-fits-all models and the importance of honesty and listening. Each session contains a short video and encourages discussion in pairs and as a whole group.
Just Walk Across the Room
Pastor Bill Hybels’s firm conviction is that the highest value in personal evangelism is being attuned to and cooperative with the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This means playing only the role you are intended to play – walking when the Spirit says to walk, talking when the Spirit says to talk, and falling silent when the Spirit suggests that you’ve already said enough.Today, the goal for every Christian is to reflect Christ’s love and follow his example by taking simple walks across rooms.
Just Walk Across the Room – Curriculum Kit. This dynamic four-week campaign is designed to equip and inspire your entire church to participate in the same pattern of grace-giving by taking simple walks across the room – leaving circles of comfort and extending hands of care, compassion, and inclusiveness to people who might need a touch of God’s love today. Expanding on the principles set forth in Hybels’ book of the same name, Just Walk Across the Room consists of three integrated components:
Sermons, and implementation guide, and church promotional materials provided on the DVD-ROM to address the church as a whole.
Four small-group video sessions with study guide to enable people to work through the material in small groups, connected circles of community.
The book Just Walk Across the Room to allow participants to think through the concepts personally.
Hope the above help you and the church as they meet people in their community and workplaces.
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Geoff Knott, 13/09/2016