Grant Memorial Baptist Church, a church in Winnipeg, has been running Christianity Explored since 2008. Susan Moore, Director of Adult Ministries shares with us the impact that the course has had on their church community.
Why did Grant Memorial Baptist Church decide to use the Christianity Explored course?
We came across the Christianity Explored course after experimenting with other evangelistic courses. We were very pleased with the format and theology. The curriculum was well thought-out and well produced. We have not looked back since 2008!
“the most effective evangelistic tool we have”
How many times a year do you run the course? What is the format/structure of each session?
We offer the course on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm at least twice a year – once in the fall and once in the winter. For the last couple of years, we have also offered a course in the spring, primarily for visitors who have indicated interest in the course while here for Easter services. We always follow the same format. Supper is at 6:30pm. Discussion and video starts about 7:15pm and ends at 8:30pm. We currently have 5 table leaders and we usually have about 15 participants. It is a small class but considering we have run the class about 16 times, we are always encouraged that new people keep attending.
“high percentage of participants that come to faith”
What are some of the highlights from using CE in your church ministry?
We are always amazed at the high percentage of participants that come to faith in Jesus Christ through the course. It is by far the most effective evangelism tool we have. The highlights are always the stories – the transformations in people’s lives. We had one young man who attended to please his Christian girlfriend. He was a very good thinker, full of questions. He made a decision for Christ, went for ministry training and is now pastoring in another church in our city. Keith and Rose Robinson are also wonderful examples. They came, they listened, they did their homework, they came into a relationship with Christ. They wanted to know their spiritual gifts and as soon as they took a course we offer on that, they started serving. We had them apprentice in the fall and they are table leaders this time around. I just had them as table hosts at our Newcomer’s lunch as well, as they are friendly and welcoming and know what it’s like to come in to a large church and find a place to belong and a place to serve.
“well thought-out and well produced curriculum”
What lessons have you and the other table leaders learned from running the course regularly?
- Creating a welcoming, comfortable environment for people with questions. Our table leaders need to be “unshockable” as people come to the course from all backgrounds and current realities. In our current class, there is a young man who has already spent significant time in prison sitting next to a well-dressed professional woman. It’s a beautiful picture of the Church.
- Christianity Explored is the first step in to the church. We try to provide good follow-up in terms of offering next steps and providing spiritual guidance for new people.
- A supportive church body. We need our people to invite and bring people and they are doing that. Some of our small groups cook and serve one meal each session so that we can show the guests that our people are glad they are here and want to serve them.
- The gospel never gets old! We have also learned that some people who have been Christians for a long time also benefit from learning the “basics” again.
How has the Christianity Explored course impacted your church community as a whole?
We video record people’s faith stories after taking Christianity Explored and we play them in a Sunday morning service to invite people to come to the next class. Our people hear of Christianity Explored when new believers are telling their stories in the baptismal tank, so people see the results of the course and value it.
“high quality, plain speaking, and engaging”
We noticed that you also run the Discipleship Explored course. How have you found this course as a follow up to the Christianity Explored course? What has been the general response to the course?
As a follow-up to Christianity Explored, we have run the Discipleship Explored course a number of times, especially when we feel that the group members have bonded together, but are very young in the faith and need to move on together as a group to the next course. We always try to have at least one of the table leaders from Christianity Explored move on with the group to Discipleship Explored so that there is continuity and comfortability for these new believers who still feel a bit insecure in a Bible study setting. In our current course that started three weeks ago, we are offering the two courses concurrently with everyone having supper together. This keeps the element of community that we have found to be so vital to keeping these people engaged and making them part of our church over the long haul.
“The gospel never gets old!”
What would you want to say to a church or pastor who was considering running a Christianity Explored course?
I would offer great encouragement to a church who is considering offering the course. It is high quality, plain speaking and engaging. When you add in some good food, some compassionate table hosts and the Holy Spirit, the results are incredible.