Pastor Robin Pifer first used Christianity Explored (CE) many years ago in British Columbia. Since then, he has used it in several other places and has found it to be very effective.
Around three years ago, Pifer arrived in Woodstock, ON as pastor of Oxford Baptist Church, a church founded more than 100 years ago and with a proud history, but a church needing rejuvenation in outreach and evangelism. Pifer has seen the church grow since he has been there so that they now need two Sunday morning worship services. But Pifer still saw a need for conversion growth through evangelism, so he decided to introduce CE.
Pifer’s strategy for building enthusiasm for using CE for outreach and evangelism is to introduce the course through the two Sunday morning worship services. This exposes the entire congregation to the CE content, helping church members grow in their love for the gospel, as well as giving them the confidence to invite their friends and neighbors when small groups from the church offer the course to the community.
How does he introduce CE on Sunday mornings? Early in the service, the church watches the CE video. Last Sunday, it was session 5, “Why Did Jesus Rise?”. Then later in the service, Pifer preaches from the Gospel of Mark. His sermon is an exposition from Mark that reinforces the message from the video without repeating the same content. The music in the service also reinforces the message.
Since CE is designed to be very relational with much discussion, how does the church handle the discussion when they run the course on Sunday mornings? The answer is through the Life Groups that meet during the week. The church publishes discussion questions for the Life Groups to use. Some of the questions come from the CE handbook, and some are from Pastor Pifer’s sermon.
When I visited last Sunday to see how this works, several church members expressed thanks for the CE course. One lady came up to me and said her family leads one of the Life Groups and they can’t wait to run the course again as a Life Group and to invite friends and neighbors.
Pifer says the course is good both for those who are seeking and for church members. He senses that the church-wide Sunday morning course is whetting the appetite for groups within the church to use CE with their unbelieving friends and neighbors.
Pastor Pifer reading scripture from Mark and the congregational fellowship after the service