Andy Warhol said we could all be famous for 15 minutes, but what could you do to help make Jesus better known? A new website Make Jesus Famous launches tomorrow Tuesday – 30th June. It would be brilliant if everyone who read this blogchecked it out and registered their ‘idea’ for sharing faith in their neighbourhood. All you need to do is briefly describe your everyday work … easy! You can then upload your photo or a suitable image, and make it part of the homepage ‘image wall’.
You can pre-register at www.makejesusfamous.org.uk right now, and you will be sent a reminder email on the launch day.
Hopefully, Christians who will inspire each other withtheir ideas, achievements and comments to spread the Good News . This in turn will build an ever-growing evangelism resource, harnessing the Christian creativity at work throughout the nation. If you ask why does Jesus need making famous?- the answer was given in a piece of research published only a couple of days ago when it was reported that a fifth of the population have no idea about the death and resurrection stories of Jesus.
Give it a try! Please help us Make Jesus Famous by pre-registering today. Many thanks – you will make a huge difference if you take part.
In the opening chapter of Acts the resurrected Jesus tells his followers not to leave Jerusalem but to wait there for the promises of the father- The Holy Spirit. The disciples are excited at the prospect of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel- they still don’t get it! Only a few verses later Christ tells them to be his witnesses on Jerusalem, all Judea, and Samaria and the ends of the earth and then he disappears! As my friend George Lings would say, the message may have reached the ends of the earth but the church has set up a number of mini-Jerusalems. How many Christians effectively reach out beyond church walls other than through blitz events like Hope and Soul in the City and specific ministries like Street Pastors?
Some would say that the church is obsessed with Jerusalem and making it look better, bigger, slicker and brighter- when the real need is to set up camp in Samaria or even venture to the ends of the earth. As a church we tend to focus on people who are like us- Churched- those comfortable to be our people. What about the de-churched on the fringes of Samaria who are at least 3 times bigger than we are and many of whom don’t like who we are? What about the non-churched where we could come into contact we a group amongst the under 45s who are 6 times greater than that age profile in our churches? There is some excellent news and stories around the Back to Church Sunday initiative for which we should praise God, but we can’t ignore the facts that around 40% of the populations have had some experience of church yet have not returned- was it really their fault. My friend George suggests that the complex DNA have the church has dominant Anglican genes called worship and pastoral care and that evangelism and mission genes are recessive. For a national church, the Church of England, the number of people who appear to be deeply alienated from us is disturbing. It’s time to leave Jerusalem.
In today’s Church Times Peter Graystone, who works for Church Army developing pioneering evangelism projects, writes about the Business Committee of General Synod cutting an entire day of debates at its next meeting. Peter says that; “the true cost of this decision is the loss of the reports that would have filled this summer’s group of sessions with hope and inspiration. In particular….. the absence of the report…. painstakingly to mark the fifth anniversary of the occasion when Synod debated and commended Mission Shaped Church: church planting and fresh expressions of church in a changing context. Ironically, that report challenged the entire Church, including General Synod, to make mission initiatives to the non-churched a priority – the very thing that has not happened in its exclusion from next month’s agenda.”
Peter adds, “The saddest aspect of this decision is that the narrative of five years of pioneering mission is one of hope and encouragement. Synod members will now not hear of the parts of the Church of England where, as a direct result of the principles advocated by Mission Shaped Church, the Kingdom of God is growing in ways that are beautiful and life-enhancing.”
Too often we moan and wring our hands about the decline of our churches and yet, on this occasion, those responsible responsible for organising the business of the Anglican Churches’ policy making body have missed an opportunity to hear stories of hope and encouragement. I know I’m an unfinished Christian but this really does sound like unfinished business- why can’t the Business Committee make space for General Synod to hear great news, God knows they need to?
Hi, I’ve only had seven votes from you on how easy you find it to share faith. If you haven’t voted yet, please let me have your view see https://unfinishedchristian.wordpress.com/2009/05/07/your-views-please/
Yesterday I heard the well-known evangelist J John address an annual consultation from the Group for Evangelism in London on the theme ‘For God’s sake say something!’. Around 70 people responsible for co-ordinating evangelism and mission across a variety of Christian denominations gathered for a discussion on the subject of proclamation evangelism- has it had its day or does it still have a role? J John may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with great humility and purpose his keynote address provided a real challenge for the audience. He talked about a letter he had sent to 1,500 church asking them if they provided any sort of training programme to their congregation in how to share faith. Out of the 1,017 replies only 36 said they had something in place. Isn’t that just the problem with sharing our faith- it’s always somebody else’s responsibility. J John has developed a programme called Breaking News to help equip churches with some techniques and guidance on how to share faith: but is training without prayer or a real heart enough?
Jesus said the gospel is based around two prinicples: loving God and loving our neighbour. So how many of us care enough to pray by name for our neighbours ?(in fact how many of us really know our neighbours well enough to tell them that we are doing so?). J John went on to explain how his family are known locally as the ‘neighbours from heaven’ who care enough to help put and infirm neighbours to bed each night; to put out the bins of their elderly neighbours who can’t manage it, and to visit the dying son of a woman in the street who isn’t a Christian. They are ready to respond to need where it is because that’s what Jesus would do- even when they feel inadequate for the task.
I am becoming more convinced that praying, loving, caring and sharing is the best mission strategy we can have. This is how we can live out the gospel; this is how we can make a difference ,and this is how we can introduce Jesus- the saviour who loves- because that is what we’re meant to do. We don’t need a branded week/month of action to do this and then go away- hit and run mission has little legacy. We need to build it into our service for our neighbourhood day-in-day out and pray without ceasing. We then have the credibility to talk about the one in whose name we do this and people start to listen when they see what this love has caused us to do. Could there be a better calling card?
For more on breaking news see http://www.philotrust.com/shop/viewproduct/66