It certainly has been a full two days. I didn’t get around to writing a post yesterday as little Annelise took a bit too long to get to sleep, and I was too wrecked by the time she was settled, so will catch you up now.
Day 1 of the course, officially called ‘Multiplying Effective Evangelists and Disciples’ was largely focused on setting up a foundation of understanding evangelism. I think it’s fair to say that there wasn’t anything groundbreakingly new to the material, but rather was designed to make sure that we are all coming from the same perspective and place.
The course is actually broken into two parts, the second of which will be held in May next year. For the most part, this first week is focused on evangelism and the second part on discipleship, although of course, we all know that they are interconnected and very difficult to separate.
Day 1 saw us discuss definitions of evangelism, consider different visual representations of evangelism and discipleship, take a look at worldviews and their impact, and finally we discussed ways and stages of relationships.
Most of the work has been done in small groups of 4, 5 or 6 (depending on the table that we sit at), or as a larger group altogether. I think including everyone there must be about 25 people and so the group is a pretty nice size to be able to have larger group feedback, but also to get diversity, which always makes things more interesting.
I really enjoyed discussing various definitions for evangelism and working as a group to think about how we would define evangelism. I feel like that sounds nerdy and perhaps not so interesting, but I think that it was helpful in thinking through what are the central, essential components that make up evangelism. I really liked my groups’ definition which was, “To share what we’ve seen and known about the wonderful news of Jesus in a natural and relevant way.” While I don’t think this is a perfect definition, for me it captures sharing our own testimony of Jesus, the gospel itself, sharing our lives, and doing it in a way that isn’t forced and insensitive. All pretty good things I think.
Thinking through the worldview of our target people group, and the different ‘bricks’ that make up their worldview was helpful too. I sometimes worry though, that we can forget that we too have our own worldviews that need review and consideration as well. It’s always so easy to see the issues in someone else’s worldview, to see where there are ‘bricks’ that are simply unbiblical. It is a lot more difficult to see the issues with our own ‘bricks’. And sometimes we can think that someone else’s worldview is unbiblical simply because it is different to ours. But overall it is quite a helpful exercise.
Day 2 saw us begin the Chronological Bible Storytelling component of the course. It was great to think through what some of the advantages of storytelling are ~short, reproducible, no materials required, can be done anywhere, compelling, easy to listen to, opportunistic~ just to name a few. When Christine (one of the three main teachers) told the “Snake” story, as I listened with my eyes shut to this story that I already knew, I was again struck by the power of the common story. Much like music, a good story told well, quite simply, captures the heart. It captivates and engages. I love stories! So it’s interesting to think about how to use them to connect, share and encourage people towards knowing Jesus.
We also spoke today at length about ways to be ‘Contagious Christians’. Breaking the issue down into three sections makes it easier to remember. Christlike Character + Close Contact + Clear Communication = Contagious Christian. I’ve always loved the word ‘winsome’. I think the idea of being a contagious Christian is the same, but more modern. How are we being winsome? How are we attracting others to Christ? I think this is interesting to consider social skills, personalities, appearance, social status etc. For example: How does someone with very poor social skills, perhaps through no fault of their own, become a contagious Christian? I don’t know the answer, but I do wonder if this is perhaps harder for some than others.
I could go on and on, but this will have to do for now. What with Annie dislocating her little elbow tonight, a quick trip to a Chiropractor, and a few other bits and pieces that have been going on, it is now well and truly time to call it a night. Hope to update again tomorrow. Cheers!
~Thanks to those who encouraged me with my blogging/writing the other day. If you would like to receive my blogs in your inbox (so as not to miss any!) I would be so encouraged by that. Simply pop your name and email in the boxes to the right of the screen there under ‘Subscribe.’ Thanks everyone!~