Saturday, 31 October 2015

Keep Talking Jesus

You might have seen the headlines in The Telegraph kicking the church yet again by saying "talking about Jesus puts people off".  Oh yes, that got my blood boiling.

And then I read the whole article and I was almost apoplectic; the Church of England says this itself?  What planet are we on now?

Let me be clear, I've read this report. In fact I was at the first ever presentation of the report and has fascinating conversations about it's findings and the HOPE it brought to me as a pioneer that our country is open to Jesus conversations.

So, I hear you ask, how can these two paragraphs be talking about the same thing? And I'm with you in that question.

But you know what?
I think it comes down to one simple thing.
We either think positively about what we CAN do and HOPE and PRAY that it does some good.
Or we curl up in a ball and allow every possible problem to overwhelm us and give up for good.

I know which one of these options Jesus showed us how to do.
He went out and met people
He talked to them and healed them
He shouted at some and prayed with others
He took risks
He didn't turn his back on a challenge
And he never gave up

So neither shall I.
I see clear hope and possibility in this report when it says that when we talk about Jesus 20% of people want to know more.

20%
One fifth
One in five

That's a better hit rate than a lot of marketing strategies manage; and I for one am going to take that and run with it.

We met almost 100 kids this week at our HALO holiday club. That means, on these statistics alone, 20 will want to know more about Jesus.  Hallelujah.

I talk about my faith in God through my own ill health and over 190 people read it; that means that 38 people may want to know more. How awesome is that.  And that's only if I'm average. And I'll leave that decision to you.

I refuse to focus on the 80% who aren't interested every time I speak about Jesus; it's not that I don't care about them, but that I don't worry about them.  I will only focus on sharing my faith widely and being alongside those who are wanting to know more right now. 

Now all I have to do is convince the lay chair of synod to feel equally as positive.  Here's praying.

You can read the report and see all the results and presentations at talkingjesus.org

3 comments:

Kevin Lovell said...

Someone once said to preach the gospel at all times, and where necessary, use words. Perhaps one thing which churches do, is to place too high a value on the words we use, compared to our actions. Words are important of course, but only one part of the way Christians communicate with those around us. 😀

Emma Major said...

Here's the reply I received the William, the lay chair of general synod. Just shows how we have to take press quotes with larger pinches of salt.

"Dear Emma

Since I entirely agree with you it is a little difficult to know how best to reply. If you look at the article again I don't think you'll find anything in what I said which was designed to discourage fellow Christians from sharing their faith and gossiping the gospel. Indeed I explicitly said-though it's not reported- that we all have a responsibility to give an account of the hope that's within us. 

The press were focusing on the research repot finding which suggested that people were less likely to be interested in Jesus after Christians had spoken to them about him. So their question to me was wouldn't it be better if Christians stopped trying to talk to others about their faith! I said no but made two points: (1) that we need to learn to do it well not simply shout at people in an off putting way as some do on the streets if central London and (2) that many people listen better once they've been drawn in by the good things Christians do such as running food banks and meeting social need in other ways.

The whole point of the research is to help us understand how we can communicate better with those whom Christ wishes to reach through us."

Emma Major said...

Absolutely Kevin. In fact I was just having a conversation on Facebook that way before speaking about my faith I get to know and love the person, and that's the key.