Brian Dare’s report on the initial meeting of the Front Range hub:
On July 12th, five of us converged on Castle Rock, near Denver, to discuss the future of the Christianity Explored (CE) ministry in the Colorado Front Range area. The conversation was stimulating, and enthusiasm was high. This diverse group of pastors and church lay leaders couldn’t stop talking about what they have seen God doing through the ministry of Christianity Explored in their respective churches. In fact, the conversation was so invigorating that it was difficult to get to the business at hand.
This gathering was the first of our Colorado Front Range “Hub Meetings” to discuss the promotion, training, and expansion of Christianity Explored to other churches. Western region director Kevin Allen has been doing a spectacular job meeting with pastors, training leaders, and helping churches launch CE in their particular congregations. However, he wanted to multiply these efforts exponentially across the Front Range area. What better way to see fruit from CE than from pastors and church leaders already successfully running the program and enthusiastic about its mission?
The five of us have been excited about the results of this ministry and the lives that it has touched. However, we’ve all come to realize that CE is not a program that you purchase, place it in the microwave, and out pop attendees and converts to Christianity.
We’ve all discovered it takes commitment, relationships, personal invitations, work, and a willingness to stumble your way through some difficulties and even failures.
I was one of those pastors who did my research on curriculum to introduce Christianity to our neighborhood. I purchased the CE program, ran my first CE series hoping that after some good marketing un-churched people would show up. I even had some soft wins that first go around. Two unchurched people attended once. But my first course resulted in some unmet expectations and disappointment. So the course sat on my shelf collecting dust for the next four years.
A sit-down meeting with Kevin helped me understand what it took to get the program off the ground and that some disappointment in the first few attempts is normal. I recommitted myself to the discipleship-making path of a CE ministry, and I have since then run LifeExplored, Christianity Explored and Discipleship Explored. We’ve seen individuals come to know Christ. We have had people from several different faith traditions (Muslim, Buddhist, Animist, Jewish, Agnostic, etc.) in our church building discussing the truths of the gospel together.
The five of us meeting as the initial hub team think there are many individuals in the Front Range area who have either tried to run the program or have purchased the program but need just a little nudge to start gospel conversations with the people in their neighborhoods through CE. There are many other pastors and church leaders who have never heard of CE but would love a platform for inviting friends and neighbors to talk about our faith in Jesus.
The next steps for this team are to try to connect with those pastors who have either purchased or attempted to run the course – to encourage them and their people to develop those relationships that introduce people to our Savior. Beyond this, we hope to expand awareness of these gospel resources, and then encourage pastors and church leaders to start their own CE ministry.
As we launch this hub, our prayer is that more individuals who do not currently know Jesus will be introduced to Him and His life-giving gospel.