28 May, 2015 Gerry Straker
Here’s what we’re doing at Church by the Bay in Morecambe this summer to help our evangelism. We know that putting on events doesn’t mean we are doing evangelism – but we find that we need events to help us do it!
Socials with ‘Gospel intentionality’
Each Real Food (small group) is organising a summer social. Each group is putting on a low-key, easy-to-organise event. The group members run it together and invite their colleagues, neighbours, friends and family to their group’s event.
So, we’re putting on a teddy bear’s picnic, a barbecue, a picnic in the park to hear a brass band and another barbecue. These are all outside, but Morecambe is the sunniest place in the North West!
With each group running an invitational social rather than organising everything centrally, our hope is that there will be group ownership of an event; as more people will be involved, as they help to run something, and as they invite people to their event. We pray this will mean more people taking a step in evangelism.
At the same time, the plan is that the rest of the Church can use any of the events for their friends:
- Oh I’ve got a friend who I’m talking to and I’d like something easy to invite them to – what’s next on the calendar?
- I’m not in the Mums’ group, but I’ve got a friend with a young child – the Teddy Bear’s Picnic would suit them nicely, I’ll invite them to that.
- My friend can’t come to my own group’s social but they seem interested, so I could invite them along to another group’s social.
Although there isn’t a Gospel talk at these events, the socials do have ‘Gospel intentionality’. We are praying for relationships to develop and for Gospel conversations, and these socials are building towards our ‘Sunday Funday’.
The aim is to provide a ‘next step’ for people who have come to one of our summer socials, and for people we’ve got to know for whom Church on a Sunday morning is too big a step - people who haven’t come, despite our invitations. (We’ve tried ‘guest services’ and for whatever reason, other than at Christmas and Easter, they haven’t worked). It’s also for people living around the school where we meet – so that we can introduce ourselves.
Our Sunday Funday will be a cross between a summer fair and an open day: there’ll be the usual barbecue, bouncy castle, some stalls and so on, with the aim of introducing people to our Church family, our venue and what we’re all about. There’ll be a ‘taster talk’ of a few minutes, introducing ourselves and the Gospel and inviting people to Church and Christianity Explored. We’re praying that this will be a helpful stepping-stone for people to come and hear the good news of Jesus with us.
That’s what we’re up to his summer. How are you reaching your area this summer? Let us know your ideas!