The Claudy Water Fellowship is part of Glenabbey Church, which Solas has had some involvement with over the last few months. They meet every Monday night, usually with about thirty people, to study the Bible, pray and encourage each other in their walk with God.
Gareth Black was asked to do a session for them on ‘Conversational Evangelism’ – which is something really central to the work we do at Solas. He took them through both Biblical and practical aspects of this important subject. He kicked off the workshop-style interactive session by talking about a man who he had helped to come faith in Christ – at a university mission. The key thing about that story was that this man’s journey to faith hadn’t involved huge stadium-sized evangelistic events, or famous preachers – but informal conversations with Christians who were willing to take time, to listen, to engage and share God’s word with him, and answer his questions.
Then Gareth looked at some of the reasons we find sharing our faith so difficult. Whenever we ask people to consider this issues such as fear of rejection; or of not knowing enough to answer people’s questions adequately always come up. Gareth asked the folks at Claudy Water what question they would least like to be asked by a non-Christian enquirer, and then looked at ways of approaching those.
Cultural issues were next on the evening’s schedule, and Gareth took them through some of the reasons that evangelism is difficult today, especially in terms of how the church and evangelism is perceived by people outside. Christianity is seen as irrelevant, irrational – and increasingly as immoral and so Gareth looked at how we minister faithfully in that context.
Gareth then focused on a key Biblical text. He showed the folks at Claudy Water Fellowship the way in which 1 Peter 3:14-17. This text debunks a lot of myths that surround ‘apologetics’, such as that it is only a niche, highly academic discipline which doesn’t have much to do with the everyday lives of ordinary Christians. Rather it is something relevant, accessible and which God calls and empowers all Christians for.
The evening came to a conclusion with a practical look at the use of questions in everyday evangelism. Gareth looked at why questions matter, and why we should take people’s questions seriously. Finally Gareth developed a framework for looking at people’s questions –looking at motives for asking those questions; always remembering that the aim of the exercise is to win people not arguments. He looked at the art of asking ‘open questions’ which allows people the opportunity to explain their assumptions and experiences; before then looking at ways of responding persuasively and allowing a helpful conversation to keep flowing.
Numbers were limited because of Covid restrictions and some of the logistics meant that Q&A was limited; but the folks at Claudy Water Fellowship were positive about the evening and want to explore this further, and put it into practice.
If you would like a Solas speaker to come and do a training session for your church, or small-group; we’d love to come! With speakers on the ground in Scotland and Northern Ireland we are always happy to come and help equip your folks with helpful, biblical, practical tools for sharing their faith. We are flexible around working within whatever the Covid-restrictions are at the time; and also work extensively online where this suits local fellowships. If we can be of help, please do get in touch through the ‘connect’ button at the top this page.