Today I used an idea that I nicked from the 1st year light team students based in Chester. Naughty me.
Two week’s ago as part of their class room study they were set a task by their lecturer Cyd Philips, to let people in Chester city centre know something about the Christian faith. They did a good job, I must admit, and chose to buy as much sliced bread and butter for £30 they could possibly get and offer it to people as a free gift. In doing so, when people asked what they were doing they spoke about their faith and how they thought Jesus was the best thing since sliced bread!
I thought I could develop it a little bit more and take the central theme of ‘best thing since sliced bread’ and add a ‘and before sliced bread’ angle and also look at Jesus being the ‘bread of life’ which I based this from John 6.
The free bread worked well, yet I don’t think I was as busy as the light team in Chester were, I had a steady flow of people, unlike the Chester crew. In Peterborough we didn’t really have queue’s at any time. On the cards that I gave out I had ‘Jesus, the best things since…’ Now, most people who have been brought up in England pre- 80’s would get what this meant. Today half the people my volunteers and I spoke to were from Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Pakistan, India, Sudan, Nigeria and China etc etc… ‘Best thing since sliced bread’ just doesn’t translate all-together well into Chinese or Czeck. Nor does it mean much to people under 25 I soon discovered. So, over half the people I met today whom I sought to ‘connect’ the good news of Jesus with just didn’t get the connection! ‘Best thing since sliced bread’ seems to be a phrase that is dwindling to describe something really good-Doh! Yet, despite the trying a bit too much ‘clever marketing’ the offer of something free just worked well, as did the explanation of a ‘man who once said that he was the bread of life.’
This is my experience on quite a regular basis though. people seem to appreciate the free gift or symbol of the message, and are often very happy to ask questions while tucking into a free muffin or apple or slice of bread smothered with Nuttela.
I was very encouraged by some people who commented on the ‘way’ the message was communicated. ‘Relaxed,’ some one man, ‘ you allow people to ask for more information, I like it,’ said a lady who stopped in the middle of doing her shopping.
The atmosphere was light-hearted too. Unlike around the corner where a zealous young lady had also taken to the streets to share Jesus. A friend of mine asked if I would go and ‘have a word’ as she was shouting about Jesus rather angrily. This was in contrast to the cheerful shouts ringing from the bread stall of ‘get your free bread here!’