Living Christianity
Various, The Christian Institute, 2019

£25.00 (Approx)
4.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Most Christians will have little problem explaining the gospel message in terms of our redemption from sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However many miss that God’s great salvation plan includes all of creation and affects every area of life.

What do you get?

Either downloadable leaders’ and participants’ material, plus online video streaming, or booklets of each and DVDs.

‘Living Christianity consists of 5 studies, each lasting just over an hour. Each session has a video, Bible discussion and some time for prayer. It’s aimed at groups and individuals who want to be equipped to engage our contemporary world.’

  • episode 1 concern for society: engaging with today’s world as disciples of Jesus
  • episode 2 Christians and the world: holding a biblical view of the world and our role in it
  • episode 3 Christians and work: getting clear on our calling to live as Christians at work
  • episode 4 life, gender, marriage and family: valuing God’s good design for all areas of life
  • episode 5 Christians as citizens: embracing our Christian citizenship in society today

All material available to download or stream via www.livingchristianity.org.uk at the introductory online offer of £12.00 (July 2019).; alternatively the physical versions are obtainable via The Good Book Company here. Free student access.

Who is it for?

Small groups, Growing, Adults.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Convincing and beautifully-produced resource aimed at encouraging and enabling Christians to be salt and light in their community, and in society at large. Practical, thought-through and inspiring.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    ‘Over these 5 sessions we hope to get you to value the truth that following Christ transforms all aspects of our lives.’

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Crystal clear presentations of all the elements of this resource, from leaders’ note through to videos. Very easy to use via an online code, or purchased (see What do you get?). Each of the five sessions comprises: introduction to the topic (10 mins, input and relelvant question); video (15 mins, basis for the following discussion); discuss the Bible passage (40 mins, putting together the video and the biblical material); prayer (10 mins, suggestions as to how to put lessons learnt into practice); intro to topic for next session plus encouragement to use Further reading suggestions. General aims and specific practical tips on group leading are given. Transcripts of the videos are also provided. Total time: 1h 15m approximately.

    Who could lead it?

    Living Christianity reminds us that ‘leading any Bible study requires a prayerful commitment to helping the group benefit from God’s word.’ Could not have put it better.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Either as download or booklet, the material is clearly laid out, including icons which lead through the sessions, and plenty of room for making notes.

    How good is any digital material?

    Videos are shot on location throughout the UK – great variety, mostly cities, nicely done. Dr Chris Sinkinson is the presenter, with others contributing: Richard Cunningham, Rev Pete Nicholas , Caz Dodds, Michael Ots. All communicate very well. Videos are around 15 minutes long. Bible passages appear on screen when quoted.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Familiarise yourself with the material, make sure you have enough of the participants’ notes and set up the video.

    Is there website support? Links?

    www.livingchristianity.org.uk works well, is quite cool and has extra material for leaders.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Los of discussion and good questions.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Mix of video, discussion and prayer.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Addressed to Christians who may need encouragement to engage with their context as a Christian, whether at work or play or trying to relate to contemporary moral and philosophical challenges.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Lots of opportunities to discuss the points raised in the videos, which not all will agree with necessarily or immediately. The presentations are helpfully thought-through, clear and concise. Action is encouraged, through praying about our responses. We are reminded that we must be ‘gracious and compassionate’ if we are called to swim against society’s tide, and approach topics and people with love and humility.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Lots of biblical material back up each session’s themes.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Each theme takes passages from both Old and New Testaments to explore. The discussion focuses on one of these; there is follow-up Bible and other material suggested.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    This is a strength of the resource, as the themes revolve around applying biblical principles to everyday life, in this case, focused on our response to the challenges of contemporary culture. Difficult issues are tackled head on with careful exposition of the issues, and backup material provided. Steps back from the problems and helps us to think about the big picture of what is going on in our society.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Comes from a firmly conservative background; aims to challenge a Christian viewpoint that detaches itself from ‘the world’, and encourages thoughtful and committed engagement instead.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    In line with the aims of this resource, the material encourages us to resist a Christian ghetto mentality and get involved in our communities, issues and society. This is set in the context of living fully as Christians – which includes blessing and challenging the environment in which we find ourselves, despite the rapidly changing culture.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    The sessions encourage all to take the issues of the day seriously, and to engage with them. The Bible passages and accompanying questions should help group members to both understand and work out how to respond for themselves.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Clear challenge to view the world through God’s eyes, rather than detach ourselves from it. This leads to involvement in social and political issues where appropriate or necessary – such as when they contradict God’s ways as shown in the Bible. It also leads to renewed attitudes to our everyday activities, work and so on.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    The aim of the resource is to build a biblical basis for engagement with real life issues, on national, local and personal scales. This is very well done; though not all will agree with all the conclusions. The resource carefully balances any social initiatives we may attempt with a recognition that a moral code never saves anyone; only Jesus does that. Neither will it be helpful for us to be seen as ‘negative’ or ‘reactionary’. It also balances being a responsible, tax-paying citizen with taking action when needed – for example, reminding us of William Wilberforce, and the many times that Christians in the UK have faced very big challenges.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not a strong focus, but implicit. The resource makes the point that God’s design for healthy living in all respects is good for all, not just for Christians.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    This is a basic motivation behind the resource. It encourages Christians to think through difficult issues, within a traditional biblical framework. It seeks to balance the power of the Gospel with our own ‘active influence which honours God and benefits our neighbours’.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    While focused on mainly UK issues, many also apply beyond our shores. We are not the only ones wrestling with the issue of transgender, for example.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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