I recently had the pleasure of doing a Sunday of ministry with Dumfries Baptist Church in the Scottish Borders. We have several friends at DBC, not least their Pastor Alistair Purss who preached at my wedding, many years ago!
In the morning, I spoke on the subject, “Where is God in a world of suffering?” The church had arranged this as a guest service, so the message was really pitched at folks outside the church. The backdrop is of course that we are still emerging from two years in which the pandemic has dominated everything, so that was my starting point. It was encouraging to hear that there were several non-Christian folks who had come along, friends of church members, who had accepted an invitation to the service. My talk focussed on the phrase in 1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. Peter was writing there to Christian people who were facing Roman persecution, and he reminds them that their hope transcends their circumstances, because it is grounded on the resurrection of Jesus. That’s why Peter isn’t talking about a ‘dead secular hope’, but a living one!
The whole service is availale here, and Andy’s talk is at 39mins.
The evening meeting, billed as ‘Joined Up Evangelism” was designed for Christians. Starting off café-style around tables, with plenty of young people, it was sociable, informal and interactive. I did a series of short talks based on Acts 17, which were interspersed with discussions around the tables, and then we did a Q&A all together at the end. It was a different format to a normal evening service for us – but it worked really well. The Q&A only lasted about fifteen minutes, but it was clear from the depth of the questions and the levels of engagement that we could have done a lot longer had time permitted! The centre of the training we did that evening was Paul’s evangelistic method, which involved building a bridge to where the lost people were (in this case worshipping an unknown god) and bridging from there to the gospel. So we looked at what are the things in our culture that people are passionate about, and how do we use those and a springboard from which to explain the gospel and its’ relevance?
It was a really good day, spent with some terrific people, which I really enjoyed. It was also a great opportunity to really get into both sides of Solas’s mission. The morning was direct evangelism – proclaiming who Jesus is, in compelling, persuasive and relevant ways; and the evening – unpacking that evangelistic method to help other Christians do the same.