Solas at Hillbank Evangelical Church

It was a great privilege for Solas to spend two evenings doing evangelism-training with Dundee’s Hillbank Evangelical Church in the east of the city. Hillbank is a very friendly church, which is really committed to mission – and this was our first visit to them.

Matty Blakeman from Hillbank welcomed Andy Bannister and Gavin Matthews to the church- and Andy kicked the first session off with a new version of his talk on conversational evangelism entitled, “how to talk about Jesus without getting fired”. This explores helpful gospel conversations and the ways in which asking questions such as ‘why do you think that?’, or ‘have you ever wondered..?’ can move conversations forward. Jesus was of course, not just the master parable-teller and teacher; but also asked over 300 questions in the gospels to challenge, disturb, expose or explore his message and mission.

Hillbank Church graciously invited Andy and Gavin to tell them a little more about Solas’s work and so they gave the church a quick update on the evangelism and evangelism-training work Solas does, around the country, in-person and online. The evening concluded with a great time of Q&A. One of the great things about this session was that the questions submitted were clearly not just hypothetical ones such as ‘”If I ever meet someone who says……” but real life ones such as “how do I start a gospel conversation with my friend who is gay”, and “should we do our evangelism events in church, or out in the community in neutral venues?”

On the second week, Gavin Matthews returned to Dundee and introduced the people there to some of the stories from our Frontlines interview series. These short interviews are with people in all kinds of trades and professions who actively share their faith in Christ in their secular workplace. These include William, running Christianity Explored in the City of London finance sector, Stephen a Scottish science teacher, and Georgie a nurse – and many more, all sharing the gospel in different ways. The church then divided into discussion groups to talk about what might work in their context. Gavin brought the session to a close with some thoughts from Ephesians 2 on why the gospel of God’s grace and forgiveness in Christ really is good news to share.

Church leader Matty Blakeman said: ‘What impressed me most about the evangelism training was the fact that both speakers, though obviously well read, spent very little time quoting authors or unpacking complex apologetic arguments. The emphasis was very much on how to help and encourage the ‘every day Christian’ wherever God has placed them, whether in the workplace or in a group of friends or neighbours. This made things so incredibly relatable for all who attended. Two excellent nights that we’d hope to replicate sometime in the future.’

From Solas’s perspective, we really enjoyed out visits to Hillbank, had a wonderful welcome, enjoyed real fellowship together and made new friends. We’d love to go back there again!