Journey to Faith: A Local Church Training Course
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Journey to Faith: Evangelism as Heartbeat not Hiccough in the local rural church.
“Sharing our faith with others is not just something for the professionals or for the specially holy or gifted but needs to be at the heartbeat of the local church, woven into the fabric of our life together”
Evangelism is part of the local church’s ongoing life but many rural churches struggle with it. A lack of understanding or experience, fear or confusion over roles, and small congregation sizes are all factors that can contribute to this struggle.
Journey to Faith is a simple training programme, produced by the Arthur Rank Centre, which is designed to equip local rural congregations The programme can be run by any local church or group of churches over two half-days. No outside help is required and all the necessary materials are free to download below. We also provide optional supplementary resources, links to useful material/ideas elsewhere and a Resource Manual for every participant to take away.
Downloadable PDFs and two PowerPoint presentations for two sessions (suggested timing of two hours fifteen minutes each). PDFs include facilitator notes plus Participant’s Resource Manual. Optional further ‘Supplementary Material’ ranges from ideas for Back to Church Sunday and other Useful Resources.
Specifically targeted to rural church communities. Adults, perhaps older youth. Growing.
Clear downloadable material with a welcome focus on exploring the motivation and methods for evangelism in rural UK churches.
Aims clearly explained for each session.
Introduction for ‘facilitators' explains the helpful icons used throughout the A4 material. Each of the two sessions links well with the PowerPoint presentations. Clear timings for Aims, Outline, followed by a mixture of input, group times, feedback and discussion. Easy to follow. Different font plus layout flag up the various sections. Clear rather than designed or professionally produced. Definitely worth putting in the time to familiarise oneself with the material.
While the material would be easy to facilitate, it would be great to have a couple of ‘leaders', one who finds evangelism comes naturally, and one who finds it harder.
Friendly and accessible. Picks out the key concepts from the course, plus some extra text regarding the challenge of rural settings, and resource ideas. Again, clear rather than designed or professionally produced. Downloadable A4 sheets.
Interesting material on website – dedicated to all things rural, especially resourcing churches.
Easy to download; some paper shuffling and printing out to do. Practise the PowerPoints, read the material, including the supplementary to see if you want to use it. Worth reading the participant's manual as well, as extra material in there. Invite people to come.
Lots of resources and encouragement on www.arthurrankcentre.org.uk.
Lots of group work, both in small groups, and all together. Discussion and tasks which encourage honesty and creative thinking about appropriate evangelism.
Mix of discussion, input, visuals in PowerPoints, a couple of activities. For two sessions, it does pretty well.
Targeted well to rural settings, and the likely participants.
Good encouragement to do this during the course, and in all resulting approaches and activities.
Motivation for evangelism comes from New Testament quoted verses.
Participants encouraged to engage with the biblical material, allow it to challenge, and to connect it to their own experiences and motivations.
While the quoted verses pull no punches in spelling out the need for evangelism, the surrounding material is realistic about where participants might be starting from, and the likely variety included in that.
Recognition that participants may need to think through their theology of evangelism, and that there may be a range of starting points. Assumption that evangelism is necessary.
Telling one's faith story may well be a stretching experience for some, but the course is accepting and encouraging. Some memorable concepts help create the basis for this, and for understanding the journey to faith: the Five Bs, Five Is, ANN and BEN…
Opportunity to articulate own faith story has got to be good; exploring the reasons for evangelism is also. Much of the evangelism is community-based. The aim is to inspire all to do what they can, rather than avoid evangelism because they don't know how.
Suggestions for creating opportunities for evangelism centre around the natural life of the church, based on the theory that evangelism should be ‘found in every warp and weft'. Focus is on using anything and everything as opportunities, and being alert to opportunities.
Great to have a resource that recognises the particular challenges of rural church life. Realistic yet hopeful.
Realistic and non-threatening opportunities to think through one's own journey of faith and learn how to articulate it easily. Recognition that all journeys are different.
While this course is focused on evangelism, it explores how the life-cycle of the church interacts with the community it serves. Encourages full and appropriate involvement with the community. Further resources suggested may well include more creative ideas – the emphasis here is on using what already exists, or taking one step forward.
Not a focus.
Not a focus.