Most people who become Christians do so through the influence of a Christian friend or relative. With this in mind, St. Stephen’s hosted an evangelism training evening for parishioners, held on Tuesday. We were invited to participate by preparing and running a number of seminars, both to explore how to answer tough questions and to grow parishioners in their confidence with turning conversations to Jesus.
Tom, the Rector, has been surveying the questions his parishioners have about sharing the gospel, and they’ve complied quite a list of questions, queries, and concerns. A seminar thinking about the question ‘Why does God allow suffering?’ explored the Bible’s perspective, what God is doing about suffering, and saw one team member share her testimony as a hands-on, real-life example of the way Jesus shapes our thinking and living through suffering. A seminar on the question ‘Doesn’t religion bred violence?’ discussed what makes tough questions tough, what might be behind the question, and the history of the relationship between religion and war. One student conducted a seminar training people to deliver a brief gospel presentation, while another gave practical advice about how to get to the gospel conversation in the first place.
My favourite seminar of the night was a discussion about developing the confidence to have gospel conversations. We explored what the Scriptures have to say about the power of God’s gospel and the work of the Spirit in convicting people. We were reminded that what God asks of us is to be speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ; the turning of hearts to himself is his own work. The parishioners and mission team members alike left encouraged to trust God to work and that our weak words, when faithful to the gospel message, are powerful in His hands.
Pray that St. Stephen’s might continue to develop a strong evangelistic culture, and that the information and practical techniques that were shared might encourage and equip our Penrith sisters and brothers in practical ways to speak confidently and winsomely about Jesus with their friends. Specifically, pray what St. Stephen’s Rector, Tom, has asked us to pray: that each person attempts one conversation with a friend using something they’ve learned, in the next 10 days.