One of the key insights from our book of the summer, Honest Evangelism, was that we need to face up to the way our society has changed in the past twenty years. In the past, Christians had to remove certain objections people had about Christianity (such as it being boring, irrelevant or untrue) and once they had done that, people would often be willing to give the gospel a hearing.
Today things are different. Rico Tice writes:
…people don’t tend to object to faith having engaged with it; they simply dismiss it. Jesus simply isn’t on the agenda; he isn’t even an option to be considered. People hardly ever think about why they don’t agree with your beliefs; and if they ever do, they put it in the “it’s fine for you, but not for me” box in their head (p87).
Of course, there is no silver bullet solution to this, but it’s worth noticing that the one form of gospel proclamation that seems to be bearing significant fruit in recent years is evangelistic one to one Bible reading.
The great strength of this approach is the currency it operates by. It works by trust. If you’re not a Christian it’s a big step to go to a church meeting or Christianity Explored Course – you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for, but opening the Bible over a beer/coffee with a Christian friend is much less of step, because you trust your friend. You know what they’re like. You’ve seen something of their life. So, although opening the Bible with them might be a new experience, it’s easier to give it a go because you’re doing it in a safe environment.
This is why we gave out sample Bible studies at the carol service as the main way of investigating things further, and it’s why we have a whole stack of free “Uncover” booklets available , which contain six further Bible studies on John, for anyone who wants one. They’re nicely produced and there is a well-designed companion website that’s worth checking out.
So why not pick up a couple of copies, have a nose through it, and pray for a natural opportunity to ask someone you know if they’d like to look at the Bible with you?