“Christianity: Irrelevant, Out of Date and Intolerant?” Outreach in Ellon

It was a joy for the Solas team to head up to Aberdeenshire to serve with Ellon Baptist Church again. Ellon Baptist had previously hosted a Confident Christianity conference, and invited us back for an outreach event. The aim of the evening was to give non-Christian folks in Ellon the opportnity to hear something about the gospel of Christ – and to help them think through some common objections to Christianity.

The evening began with a great welcome from the church community, the building was alive with conversation as tea and coffee flowed and plates were loaded up with an array of cakes and snacks. There was a good crowd present, and the church were encouraged to note that several people who do not have Christian faith had felt willing to join us for the evening.

Andy Bannister was given the topic, “Christianity: Irrelevant, Out of Date and Intolerant?” and half an hour to work through that most profound series of objections many people have to even considering the claims of Jesus, or reading the Bible for themselves. It is increasingly the case that people today are only willing to investigate the truth-claims of the Christian faith, if they are first persuaded that it is desirable. Parts of the media and secular commentary are relentless in asserting that the Christian faith falls at this hurdle. The problem with that assertion is that it rests on a whole series of assumptions which are highly questionable!

Andy delved into the concept of “Freedom”, and showed that there is little grounding for genuine human agency in atheism, with a raft of quotes from Atheist thinkers to prove the point. Freedom has two sides to it, Andy explained; Freedom From and Freedom To and these can be in tension with one another. Christian ethics, which can be misportrayed as restricting freedom actually deliver other kinds of freedoms – notably the freedom to live the kind of relationship with God for which we were designed. Andy used the illustration of marriage and parenthood. In chosing to get married, someone willingly restricts their autonomy and parenting is a massive commitment with costs in time, money and emotional ties. Yet – countless people say that the thing they are proudest of in life is what they invested in their children. What if these costs are not terrible restrictions on freedom, but a freedom to be involved in this a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human. Andy painted a compelling picture of the kind of freedom that Christ offers, and commended it to everyone. This led to a really good time of Q&A with a wide range real-world questions and examples. The Q&A got off to a slow-start, but as is so often the case, once the first question was raised the rest came in a deluge.

The pastor of Ellon Baptist Church, William Butchart was pleased with the way the evening went and wrote:

As a church we are very aware that our culture can be an intimidating one to speak about the gospel in. The ministry of Solas is so helpful in giving Christians ways of speaking about their faith. We were delighted to host Solas last year for a training evening which really benefited the church and were looking for how we could build on this with an evangelical evening that people could invite others along to.

We held this event on 14th May and it was very well attended with quite a few non Christians coming along. Andy did an amazing job highlighting how our culture promises something it cannot deliver and the questions that came following this showed a good number of people were pondering this message. Feedback has been that it has generated a lot of conversations and some seeking are watching all the material on the Solas website! Working with Solas has proven to be such a blessing to us and we hope to do so again in the future.  

We were also really inspired by the plans that Ellon Baptist Church have for their new building in the town and to see the plans. It’s exciting times for Ellon Baptist as they have moved forward with their bold plan to build an up to date facility in which to meet, worship and share the gospel.

If your church hasn’t tried a community outreach event for a while, but would like some help in putting one together, please do get in touch with Solas. It really is one of the things we love doing most – and are happy to travel all over the country to work with churches who want to reach their communities.