J John visited Christ Church W4 and was interviewed by Bishop Ric Thorpe…
How would you explain what Christianity is all about?
Really important to listen to what the question behind the question is with whoever you are talking to… I use lots of different ways in with different people, but I often say that Christianity is basically an invitation..
…an invitation with a rsvp
When you get an invitation you need to know:
- who it is from
- who to
- what about
It is an invitation from Jesus, to you. Jesus is offering forgiveness from past, new life for today, hope for future (John 3:16), It has got today’s date on it… and I don’t know if it has tomorrow’s date on it as we don’t know if there’s a chance tomorrow… so important to respond today…
Encourage (Ric Thorpe)
Affirm and bless church members and people in the community anytime they do something Jesus might be doing… let’s be known for blessing people and blessing what God is already doing through people… give people confidence in what they are already doing and help them see what God is doing through them already. Be known as people who make a difference and then don’t shy away from the opportunity to point to Jesus.
How do you change culture in church? (Chris Lee Q)
Culture gaps: Jesus vs Samaritan woman – social, moral, racial and religious barrier to the conversation… Jesus in John 4 deliberately goes into a taboo area… He complains of religious people that ‘you nullify the word of God by your traditions’. What Jesus does is talk about what they have in common – the need for water…
We can be good at caring, but we need to move to sharing too… Jesus moves beyond being nice to being challenging… and that is what brings liberation to her.
Note: It is the woman who brings Samaritans to Jesus… the disciples don’t bring anyone back with them from their shopping trip – they don’t realise how much Jesus is willing to meet those with supposed social, moral, racial and religious barriers to being part of his family.
Like the friends of the paralysed man we need to lift the roof of our barriers to people meeting Jesus.
Start Christmas planning at your first staff meeting in September
Have a carol event each week in December – different styles.
Give out 20 invitations per member on 1 November.
9/10 ministers are not praying for their friends, neighbours etc to become Christians… why not start praying systematically … J John tells some encouraging stories here (available from Friday 8 July on christchurchw4.com/talks )
Is when the church becomes alive. If that happens then the people of God become alive everywhere and transformation occurs.
Is it hard or is the harvest ripe? (Mike Neville Q.)
J John the ground currently feels fertile…
the ‘gaps in the cloud’ are getting bigger… maybe we’re entering a kairos time.. this is an opportunity to seize…
Lets say 100 people pray for 10 people a day every day… (he has 36 on his list atm – prays for every day of week, every week of year).
If 1000 people are invited to Christmas service see what happens…
Ric: ask God which ones on the list are ready and then pray specifically into that.
Ric: The number of times Justin Welby quoted on national media now is extraordinary – there is such a respect for the church…
How do we release people to be evangelists?
If you analyse your staff in most churches the majority are there for just for worship and well-being?
You only release evangelism by practicing it and illustrating your sermons with it…
‘exhortation without application leads to frustration’…
Keep inviting people to become followers of Jesus at the end of talks… give an appeal.
Fan the flame, do the work of an evangelist and it will be infectious.
How do you keep sharing faith in long-term relationships?
Friends often see you as a parachute – they’re glad you have got it but they don’t want to use it… but there will be seasons to come when you are the person they will need… stay on their radar sensitively- it’s down to timing
Jesus ‘my time has not yet come, my time has not yet come….. my time has come’
Jesus experienced this too… in his lifetime many of his family hostile, but later became leaders of church (e.g. James, Jude, even Mary… )
Is it all about praying and telling your own story?
I still think people need proclamation…
STORY: chef who says whenever you come to our restaurant we like it because you bring an aura… J John invites him home to Sunday lunch – cries because no-one has ever invited him to Sunday lunch before… they have a baby, all exciting, go to local church 5 minutes late and the door is bolted shut and no-one lets them in when they wave through the window.
This session was recorded and can be heard on christchurchw4.com/talks from Friday 8 July