Write up in this weeks BT online about the Big Hearted Tour.
A new resolve for evangelism– that was the response from the Southern Counties Baptist Association following the visit of Union president Chris Duffett at the weekend. Chris, on the third leg of his Big hearted presidential tour, was involved in nine different events across the vast Association, from Bicester in Oxfordshire to the Isle of Wight.
It took in an Olympic Torch, the giving away of free fruit, flowers and sweets, speaking at a café church and other training and youth events.
‘It’s not just about having a nice time with Chris,’ said regional minister team leader the Revd Grenville Overton. ‘It’s the sense that God is on the move and commissioning us to take seriously again evangelism as a duty and a joy. I think through Chris’ presidency we are re-discovering our heart for evangelism. It’s come at exactly the right time.’ Grenville said members of Roseberry Baptist Church were particularly buoyant when the church found itself directly on the Olympic Torch route as it crossed from Bournemouth to Boscombe. It opened its doors to the community, serving teas and coffees. Chris, who was wearing a clowns wig and making balloons for people, was able to have a number of significant conversations with those on the fringes of church life, yet or just about to make a commitment to Christ. It really was a fantastic opportunity for evangelism and its marvellous the way the Lord led people there, who showed an interest in the wider community of the church, said Grenville.
‘It seemed to show if we reach out, God is already there, doing things to fulfil his promises. If we are doing the right thing, God keeps his side of the bargain.’
Chris said he realised one of his roles was ro affirm what churches are already doing.
Writing in his blog he said, ‘The Southern Counties Tour revealed to me what an amazing good work Baptist Christians are doing to engage with people in their communities: my role over these past four days has been to affirm much of what is already happening and to add to that. He added, ‘you see, people need Jesus and no-one other than the Church will bring that hope to those who aren’t in the know. ‘What an encouragement to say “Keep going!”’