Each edition of Country Way magazine contains a pull-out resources section. Here are a selection of resources designed to help you share faith in your rural community.
Evangelism is simply the process of sharing good news. The term ‘pre-evangelism‘ suggests that before the good news about Jesus can be shared, something else needs to happen in order for the hearer to be receptive to the good news we’d like to share. While some prayerful thought and a sensitive approach is needed when sharing our faith, I find myself reflecting on the account of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well in John 4, and wondering when the evangelism began in this story.
The call to share in God’s mission has been a key challenge in churches across the denominations over recent years. National and regional initiatives have been promoted. People have been appointed and tasked with making churches more missional. However, for many small rural congregations this often feels uncomfortable, if not threatening. Given some appropriate support, it can become a joy.
Churches and church schools can be the hub of community life, especially at Christmas. But how do we make sure that Church is not just for Christmas?
HOPE is working with churches across the spectrum of denominations to make Jesus known in 2018. HOPE’s dream is a growing church, showing Jesus’ love and telling the Jesus story at the heart of every community. HOPE is committed to supporting and resourcing churches to make 2018 a year in which we see the Church grow throughout the UK.
A former colleague of mine, the late Revd Canon Marion Mort, said these words at a conference called Making Christ Known. I have never forgotten them:
‘Mission is one and it is God’s mission. We are invited to share in his work of reconciliation, and that reconciliation was achieved by the blood of the cross. We come therefore as Christ’s Ambassadors, delivering the message of the King in the language of those to whom we are sent. It is therefore about moving on from where we are, or even sometimes going back to the community from which we came.’
Jo Hibbard, Trustee of the Churches Visitor & Tourism Association and Director of Engagement for The Methodist Church in Britain, explores the value to mission and evangelism of opening our churches to visitors.
‘Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year, church buildings proclaim “God is in the midst”,’ asserts Canon John Brown, Chair of Churches Visitor & Tourism Association (CVTA). ‘Church buildings are far more in the forefront of mission than any congregation or evangelist!’
In his inaugural address as President of the Methodist Conference in Southport in 2015, Revd Steve Wild challenged each Methodist church in Britain to aim to bring just one person to faith in the coming year, saying:
‘Let’s take God seriously. I want to help us in the task of evangelism, to put mission on the agenda and give our churches an aim to win a person for Christ.’
The Community Chaplaincy team, pioneered and funded by Melton Mowbray Baptist Church (MMBC) and supported by the other local churches, can be found in their distinctive blue hoodies around Melton each Tuesday and Wednesday where they encourage people to stop them for a chat over a cup of coffee and find out more about Christianity.
Almost every day we are likely to find ourselves asking someone how they are. In many situations this is little more than a polite greeting, but sometimes the question is asked sincerely. I was brought up to understand that ‘How do you do?‘ was not an invitation to pour out a list of all that is wrong in our lives. However, between friends it can be a genuine invitation to share personal information. In such circumstances I sometimes feel prompted to offer to pray for that person; I am no longer surprised that the offer is often well received.
Over the last three years the benefice churches of St Marys Long Sutton, St Nicholas Lutton and Christ Church Dawsmere in the Diocese of Lincoln have worked with the Baptist church of Long Sutton in a co-ordinated way to focus on spreading the Christian faith through mission and evangelism.
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