Blog post by Kevin Allen, Western Region Director
The Christianity Explored Church Journey
There’s no silver bullet when it comes to evangelism. While telling people about Jesus isn’t complicated, it’s also not easy.
We’re convinced that as we open the Bible and help people discover who Jesus is, why he came, and what it means to follow him – many will come to know and love Him. However, building an environment where this is modeled for your church or ministry can take time, and it will take intentional steps to get there.
The reality we have seen repeatedly as churches have begun using one of our Explored evangelistic series (Christianity Explored (CE) or Life Explored (LE) –we’ll refer them simply as CE) is that a church begins running CE as a class, then as their vision for reaching the lost expands, they run it as a course, and eventually they catch a bigger picture for how they can be a part of something even greater – a ministry.
Let’s briefly overview the dynamics of each of those phases:
The first time (or first several times) that CE is run is often as a Class. A pastor, or another leader, might use a class to introduce the material to his congregation. This helps the congregation become familiar with the content because they are more likely to bring their friends to a course when they have confidence in what is being taught. As a result – in this initial class, the focus tends to be almost entirely on the content. Often with the class, the leader tends to put little effort into building relationships, and frequently there is little or no training of leaders. The message of CE comes through but not the methodology.
The next stage is running CE as an ongoing Course. At this phase, the pastor or other leader has a vision for CE being a powerful tool in evangelism because they get the relational methodology behind the course. However, there may have been no intentionality of bringing other leaders along with them. Therefore, there is limited training and CE is held tightly by a few in the church.
The desired stage is running CE as a Ministry. This is where things really get exciting. When CE becomes a ministry in your church you’ll find several characteristics:
There are multiple points of entry for someone in the church to begin to be involved in the CE ministry. They may have helped out with the hospitality or food, they may be a repeat visitor (we love repeat visitors because the vision is seeping in overtime!), they may be an assistant table leader, a table leader, a host or facilitator (a great role for pastors!).
- Training becomes a regular component of the ministry – and even veteran table leaders understand the need for refreshers on asking questions and not talking too much. Leaders gain confidence that the Word of God does the work.
- Everyone involved with the course is intentional about bringing participants with them – they are not relying on publicity but rather on personal persuasion. This means working months in advance on relationships they are building with the goal of bringing people to a CE course.
- At this phase, they have a long-view of the ministry and know to expect delay, disappointments and dramatic results along the way.
- They prepare people who come to Christ through CE to become leaders to help others come to Christ.
- They own the mission of seeing the gospel advance in their city and region, beyond just wanting to see the growth of their local church. They spread the word about CE to other churches, individuals and ministries and help offer regional training.
That’s the overview. We’ll get more into the depth of it in coming blog articles.
Feel free to contact me at kevin.allen@ChristianityExplored.org with any questions.