This interview is from the Methodist church in Bicester…. In May this year for 10 days I will serve with them in loving Bicester! The hope is we will have 100 small groups each reaching out in creative ways to show and tell the good news of Jesus.
What hopes and prayers do you have for Love Bicester in 2014?
Firstly my hope is that people who have yet to hear and connect with the Christian message may have an opportunity to do so. Most people in Bicester have yet to hear that there is a God who loves them and knows them. Love Bicester will certainly show and tell this amazing message to lots of people in our communities.
Secondly, my hope is that followers of Jesus from all the churches in Bicester may have confidence in the good news!
I’m guessing an evangelist’s life isn’t a 9-5 routine. What does your typical day involve?
Working for The Light Project is a varied job! Each day is very different for me. I’ve just come back from speaking at a conference for Baptist ministers, scary! Most weeks involve some practical ‘get out there’ type of evangelism leading teams in practically reaching out to all kinds of people, young and old, business people and people who are homeless. Every Friday I serve as the city centre chaplain in Peterborough too. I also enjoy writing and producing resources that others can use to creatively reach out into their communities. Locally, I spend time encouraging people to consider the Christian faith. Occasionally this entails meeting with people ‘down the pub’ as well as being available to listen to people at the school gate when I take my children to school.
You have your own blog (weblog) site be the light . What role do you think online and social media can positively play in Christian mission?
It is remarkable how much good news is shared on-line. A friend of mine who is homeless whom I meet up with every week went missing and tried to end his life. I asked for prayer for him on Face Book as soon as I found out. Not only was the support tremendous for me as I worried about my friend, but when I finally met up with him again he shared how he had literally ‘felt’ the prayer support from many of my on-line friends.
Some of the most heart-breaking honest pleas for help have happened on-line or through Face book from people who wouldn’t consider themselves Christian.
Love Bicester is using the power of social media very creatively. Not only have we got our own Web site: www.lovebicester.co.uk – but we also have our own Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LoveBicester2014 This makes sharing information, key dates and good news stories very easy! So, if you haven’t ‘liked’ us on face book yet, please do!
You are a published author of books too. For you, what is the place of printed Christian books today with so many other formats and sources of information and opinion available?
Many of my books are sold electronically through Kindle and other e-book resources. I believe in the need for both ‘actual’ printed books (there’s nothing like holding a good book!) but also for electronic versions. Reading is still a great way of gaining information and being inspired as Christians. The availability of so much information can cause somewhat of an overload, so being disciplined in reading and learning is vital when the temptation could be to whizz through lots and lots of information without having actually read anything. By the way (bit of a plug) this is the link to my books on-line! http://www.gileadbookspublishing.com/chris-duffett.html
Love Bicester is a local ecumenical initiative, and nationally the Methodist Church also works jointly with the Baptist Union on many social issues. Any helpful tips for working together?
Prayer and worship gatherings bring a sense of being brothers and sisters gathered before Father God. Yet, mission brings another dynamic: it is the glue for unity. When we serve together in God’s mission we encounter Him ‘out there’ in fresh and exciting ways. Somehow Church politics and differences fade into insignificance when we look out to those who so desperately need what we have. In the midst of doing something to further the Kingdom of God ‘out there’ in a broken and hopeless world, when asked how many Churches there are in Bicester, the answer naturally flows: ‘There is one church in Bicester!’
Finally Chris, any Bible passage that is speaking out to you right now, as you look ahead to the Love Bicester events in May?
There are two passages that have leapt off the page for me this week! The first is from Philippians 3:16: ‘Only let us live up to what we have attained.’ As Christians we have attained all we need through Jesus to change this world for His glory. Mission and ‘getting out there’ is often a catching up with what we already have! Time and time again as I lead Christians into mission I hear Christians say, ‘I wasn’t expecting that! The barrier to the gospel isn’t out there, it’s within our Churches!’
The second passage is from Isaiah 6. It’s a story of Woe to Go. Isaiah has an encounter with the Lord and in witnessing His glory and holiness feels unclean and dirty. He says ‘Woe is me, I have unclean lips…’ The Lord cleanses his lips with a ‘live coal!’ He then asks, who will go for me? Isaiah is able to say, I will go, send me!