It was great to be back in Edinburgh recently where I had been invited to speak at a Scripture Union event. SU RUN “Equip!” evenings in various parts of Scotland, designed for young people aged from around thirteen to eighteen. We had about twenty-five to thirty young people on the evening I visited them in Edinburgh.
At Solas we have a great relationship with Scripture Union Scotland, and have done all kinds of work with them over the years. Some of the things we have done for them have been aimed at encouraging and equipping their staff – at other times we have been engaged in direct youth work alongside them. So, knowing their work well – it was a joy to be invited to talk to their young people on one of my favourite subjects; “How to Talk About Jesus Without Looking Like An Idiot”. That’s also the title of my new book. The idea behind that book is to write an accessible, funny, down-to-earth and practical guide to evangelism today. One of the intended audiences from the start was students, in fact a lot of the material in the book has been taught and tested in front of audiences of students and young people over the years.
The young people at SU Equip in Edinburgh were very engaged and receptive to the talk and they even laughed at my jokes which is very gratifying (‘unusual?’ – ed). I shared some stuff from the Bible on the way that Jesus went about having conversations, and then taught some tools that we can use today in everyday conversations with friends at school. Then we split into discussion groups, and what was really exciting was to hear the noise level grow as really great discussions took off all around the room. That led into a really good time of Q&A with some terrific questions. I was so encouraged that the young people were really thinking about how to share their faith with their friends. Many of them said they were finding it hard but they were wrestling with it. Some of them had been in conversations and had brought back questions their friends had raised. So it was a really lovely opportunity to help those Christian kids feel that little bit more confident in talking to their friends at school about their faith.
It was also really good to get some copies of the book into the hands of the young people. We had managed to get them a ‘student discount’ price on it, and lots of them came to buy it. Overall it was great to be part of what SU are doing. We love working with them and have a huge amount of respect for their ministry.
Jenny Thomson from Scripture Union wrote: “It was great to have Andy with us at Equip in Edinburgh. This was the first Equip of the academic year, so we had some young people in S3 there for the first time, who laughed at Andy’s jokes and entered into lively, on topic, discussion at group time. Andy only brought four of his books with him and there was an appetite for more. It was a great topic to start the new school year with as young people try to stand tall for Jesus in difficult places.”