At Hillbank Church prior to COVID, we would have men’s outreach evenings around three times a year. Throughout COVID, our focus, like most churches, turned inward and the job of shepherding the flock took precedence over reaching the lost. Since then, things have very much taken off and our church has grown – meaning church maintenance has kept us all very busy. But truthfully, we have struggled to prioritise evangelistic outreach and have been eager to address this.
After Gavin preached at one of our Sunday services a few months back, we decided to press on with a men’s evening and invite him to speak. We have many in the church who are regularly engaging with non-Christian friends, family and workmates throughout the week and we wanted an occasion where they could invite these people to an informal event where they could enjoy food and hear something of the Christian message. We know events like these are central to the heart of Solas so we were really pleased Gavin could be part of the evening. Around 30 guys came along, maybe a dozen or so would have been non-Christian. Many more were invited but we’re aware that events like these won’t appeal to everyone. We enjoyed a curry together before Gavin spoke.
Gavin’s message was on point. He looked at the topic of Men of Integrity. He initially spoke about how integrity is in short supply in the public sphere, looking at examples in politics and pop culture before considering how, in reality, all of us fall short in this area. Suffice to say, everyone could in the room could relate to this. Gavin went on to share how only in the gospel of Jesus can we know true acceptance and forgiveness from God despite our failures. The message was simple, clear, relevant and very easy to listen to. No prior Bible knowledge was required which was a great help for the guys who came along.
Our hope going forward is that events like these help to serve as one step among many in our evangelistic engagement with our non-Christian friends.
Matthew Blakeman is Community Pastor at Hillbank