Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Christianity Explored

CCB is so committed to helping enquirers get to grips with Jesus Christ that we've taken the decision to 'cancel' Sunday Evening Church and run Christianity Explored instead! Not for ever, just for six weeks. We start on February 1st.

Christianity Explored is a hugely popular course used by churches up and down the country. You can find out more about it here. It's my preferred course for helping people keen to investigate Christianity. Using Mark's gospel, it concentrates on who Jesus is and why he came. Those are two critical questions when exploring Christianity!

In the way we run the course, there are six sessions in total

1. What is Mark's Gospel?
2. Who is Jesus Christ?
3. Why did Jesus come?
4. Why did Jesus die?
5. What on earth is grace?
6. Why did Jesus rise?

Within each session there'll be time for the following things

1. a look at a passage in Mark's gospel
2. a talk from the front by Perks, Pete or Alex
3. a time for discussion and debate in small groups
4. a chance to hear from others with interviews

We'll meet in the hall around small tables. One of the Knowing God group leaders will host the discussion and keep things moving along, though we all have a responsibility to make others welcome. There'll be no congregational singing and no corporate prayer. This is an evening for non-regulars.

It may sound a little radical cancelling church. We're not really cancelling church, we're just making some concessions. But rest assured, this is something that we tried, with great success, a few years ago in Wimbledon. We found that the great strengths were as follows

1. We were able to provide the large group setting that produced a great atmosphere for stimulating discussion and also allowed people to enjoy a degree of anonymity.

2. We found that people were more enthusiastic about coming out on the weekend than giving up a weekday. After all, have you seen what's on TV at that time?!

3. We found that it was helpful to be doing this together. There was real benefit to meeting one another's friends so that they could discover that Christians weren't the unhinged, brain dead bigots that they'd anticipated! But the different areas of expertise and different perspectives people brought to the discussion meant that the group times were hugely productive.

4. We found that we got very excited about Jesus Christ and explaining his significance to others. And that's no bad thing!

We start on 1st February. What can you do? Four things.

1. pray for its success - ask God to bring enquirers along and to help them find answers to their questions
2. invite your friends - this is a fabulous opportunity for people we hold dear to investigate things a little further
3. pitch up regardless - we need 'all hands on deck' to make the evenings work, please don't take six weeks off from church!
4. read Mark's gospel - we'll be looking at this together over the six week period