Andy Bannister writes:
“I’m back from a really exciting weekend of mission in Liverpool, working in partnership with a local church, called “The Lane”. It was a series of training and evangelism events which is exactly the kind of thing we love.
On the Friday night we kicked off with an event at the local golf club. One of the things we do at Solas is to encourage churches to use neutral spaces such as coffee shops, pubs or restaurants; but in this case the church had rented the local golf club. There were 85 people there for a dinner, about half of them were not Christians. They’d asked people to submit questions, and for about an hour after dinner, I engaged with people’s questions. It was everything from ‘God and Science’ to Hell, to suffering, all kinds of questions came.
There was a really good mixture of people there. At a table right in front of me there was a very enthusiastic atheist guy about my age, called Chris. He fired question, after question at me. He didn’t quite heckle, but very much raise his hand and interject into stuff. Actually it really worked, the audience really enjoyed the way that it became more of a dialogue. He came to speak to me afterwards about his personal story and why he had ended up in Atheism, having come from a very Catholic background.
Some of the other questions and conversations afterwards went to really good places. I was hugely encouraged that we had people signing up for the Alpha Course. That was the church’s goal, to use the event to promote Alpha, and now people are starting that journey; we trust towards Christ.
Then on the Saturday morning we did a training event. We love doing these training events for churches. This one was just half a morning, people came for 9:30AM, and we fed them breakfast, and then I had a couple of sessions with them. We were training them and helping them to think through how to answer some of the big questions of our age. We landed with a session on ‘how we can be sure that the resurrection of Jesus actually happened’.
Then on Sunday, I preached to the church of about 200 people. It’s been really encouraging to see this church growing. The pastor there, is an old friend of mine, and a few years ago it was a church of 60, now its around 200. They outgrew their church building and are now meeting in a local school. Now they are outgrowing the local school and are struggling with the question of where to move next! It’s exciting to see growth and exciting to see lots of young Christians and it was really good to be able to be part of that.
One of the things Solas loves to do is to partner with local churches. So if you are reading this, and you’d love to have Solas come and work with your church, in terms of reaching your community, or training folks to be more confident in their faith; do reach out to us, we will happily come to you!
PS: (From the editor) The local church were encouraged and added the following to Andy’s report:
“I would recommend Andy Bannister to any church that is interested in engaging with some of the more challenging issues of our day. He has the ability to combine serious philosophical argument with a winsome, friendly and humorous style. He is a very gifted communicator both in the answering searching questions and in preaching ‘the word’”: Nick Johnson, Pastor, “The Lane”, Liverpool.