The word that has characterised these past five days for me is ‘pioneering.’ It’s this very subject that has taken me to England, Wales and Scotland to teach and show by example simple ways of how to meet strangers, who may become friends who hopefully will become disciples.
Part of this focus is due to a new emphasis on my work programme as I embark on a role to promote and sow the vision of the pioneer collective, a vision to see 400 new baptist pioneers go to where church isn’t, do what Jesus does, and see what happens.
I taught an amazing bunch of students at Ridley hall Cambridge on practical ways to do evangelism in the city. Some went to set up ‘listening posts’ some to ask people to chalk up on two boards what they love and what they hate. Two people went out with a mirror and simply wrote what they reckoned God thought of them…
Another idea was to sketch in an art Gallery and give the pictures away. I met a couple of people who were grateful for a simple painting.
In Penarth I worked with Penarth Tabernacle… Around 50 people joined the training day, nervously agreeing to do some practical ‘go and tell’ experience. The church is excellent at saying to people in their community ‘come and hear’ but less so at going to engage with people ‘out there.’ This is what one of the church leaders wrote about the experience:
As you know I was a bit worried that few, if any, of our members would want to take part in prophetic treasure hunting but it was the largest group and they came back with amazing stories of people with great need e.g bereavement, serious ill health who had no hope and we were able to show them in a tangible way that they are known to God who loves them. To see two of our members giving out free hugs was another major highlight for me. They had a wonderful time. Your teaching seemed to just free us to go out and do something. The suggestions were at different levels so everyone could take part. This was life changing, kingdom building stuff.
Mission is for everyone and God gives us the power to use our particular gifts to show God’s love to people. We just don’t realise it sometimes…
I was so encouraged as people engaged with new ways to meet people and show the love of God to them.
In Scotland I led discussions for the board that looks after mission initiatives in the Baptist Union of Scotland. There is an openness and desire to model and do something new for the sake of the nation. I was also encouraged by the way those ‘leading’ and were part of the conversation were willing to seek to have a story of pioneering and lead by example. I also got to paint some of things I thought God may be saying to the team…
It is such an honour to do what I do, to encourage more and more Christians to pioneer for the sake of a world that needs what they have. What makes it the best is that more and more Christians are having the confidence to go and lovingly share good news with those who have yet to hear it!