To be honest DIY is not my strength. My dad, Jim, was terrible at DIY and it seems to run in the family. My wife, Anne, was concerned about the lack of shelving for books in the house and I was commissioned to find the right tradesman. Imagine my delight when I found an advert in the local newsagents promoting the work of a local 'handyman' who specialised in shelving assignments. I rang up Ron and the next day he arrived at our home full of the joys of spring. Within ten minutes we had a deal and I knew that Anne would be pleased.
There is a crisis in the church. Christians are not confident and imaginative when talking about the Christian faith. They might be bold when they talk about recipes, diets, sermons and holidays but they lack confidence when it comes to talking about the kingdom of God with non-Christians. There is a pervasive fear that if you talk about Jesus you will be cut down and ridiculed. Think World War 1. If you put your head above the parapet the machine guns will get you.
No one enjoys being shot at either with real bullets or conversational bullets.
A powerful way to disciple friends and neighbours is to compare and contrast different faiths. Instead of preaching at people, you are offering insights about ‘religion’ and then sharing important truths about Jesus. This approach is gentle, respectful and non-confrontational.
Here’s how it works.
Delighted that the Baptist Times has published my article on Serving God in schools and on the streets. I am trying hard to get people thinking about a worldview-infused way of doing mission and discipleship. Please write to the BT and join the discussion.
RealityBites works in schools but we also work on the streets serving students, homeless people and passersby with Christian hospitality and good-humoured conversation. We set up our stall opposite the Library pub situated on the edge of Hyde Park, next to the Leeds University campus.
RealityBites is a ministry that is part of ThinkingFaithNetwork.
What do we do? Here is one of our projects.
My good friend Mark Yeadon and I reach out to students by telling stories and sharing the good news of Jesus. We are inspired by the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). We follow Jesus by telling fascinating stories and asking provocative questions. We make ourselves vulnerable by serving hot drinks to students and homeless people outside the Library pub on Woodhouse Lane in Leeds.
The recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is, of course, tragic. Many heroic doctors, nurses and medics are struggling to contain the virus but did you know that some hardened secularists would welcome this outbreak?
Consider the following story.
Tudor History is a gold mine for evangelism. Porcine, flatulent Henry the 8th is on the throne. You are a prisoner in one of his foul-smelling dungeons and the vicious torturer is placing heavier and heavier stones on your chest. You are suffocating and the pain is unbearable. Suddenly Jesus comes into the prison, disarms the torturer and throws him against the wall. He takes off the heavy stones. He washes your rank, rancid body and He heals all your wounds and then He leads you out of the malodorous prison. You emerge into the warm summer's day.
Delighted that the Baptist Times has published my parable about the football genius Maradona.
Picture it. We are enjoying Sunday lunch with friends and the conversation turns to football. It could be Brexit but it isn't. Before you know it, the diners are debating that pressing question. Who is the greatest footballer of all time? Jackie plumps for Pele. Frank is a Johan Cruyff fan. Susan urges us to consider Cristiano Ronaldo. Roy puts in a kind word for George Best. The conversation is noisy and passionate.
In this short piece I want to explore the power of crafting and asking good questions.
Picture it. I am talking to a non-Christian social worker, let's call her Susan. My wife and I are foster carers for a young man from Eritrea and so this is just part of my work life. I have already told Susan some of my stories and she has been responsive and positive.
I have been studying Psalm 110 and I ask this question. "What do you think Jesus is doing right now?" She smiles warmly and tells me: "I think Jesus is very unhappy with all the horrible things going on in the world."