Recently our Outreach Group held an online event to help us think about reaching others with the good news of Jesus. We thought about the current climate and the challenges of event based ministry during this time.
Although we have adapted and enjoyed running several online events including both Christianity Explored and Life Explored in 2020 the group wanted to encourage us to think about one to one ministry.
We looked at three examples in the bible. Of course there’s nothing new in this but a refresher is always helpful.
As part of our discussion we looked at John 1:43-46 and Philip & Nathanael and observed the following;
- Philip’s first port of call after an encounter with Jesus was to find a friend and tell him.
- Often friendships are fertile soil for introducing individuals to Jesus.
- We all have a natural circle of contacts and existing relationships.
- In the context of a relationship individuals sometimes feel free to raise objections in a straight forward manner as Nathanael did!
- In the context of a relationship we are able to respond to these objections and not only talk about faith but show our faith as Philip did.
- The experience was infectious and people sometimes ‘catch on’ to what is happening. Thankfully Nathanael took the right step.
We then looked at Jesus & the woman at the well from John 4:1-26 and observed the following;
- Jesus opened up a conversation with this individual in a very specific manner. The water and the well lead to a specific discussion about the water of life. Often individual life experience throws up specific connections to the gospel that can be made.
- The conversation gets personal. It is easier to open up on an individual basis and the conversation goes deep. It gets spiritual and theological and personal.
- One to one helps to bypass tradition and conventions that are sometimes a barrier! At the time it was unusual for a man to speak to a woman in public in this way. Although life is different today, in our modern context there are other perceived traditions and conventions about church that can prevent people from taking a step toward Christ. Sometimes these can be bypassed when dealing with people individually.
- This woman loved Jesus. In life people are sometimes surprised at how much they like Christians when they actually get to know them on an individual basis.
- We see once again that the experience can be infectious – this woman does the same as Philip. She tells other individuals about what has happened!
After this we looked at another Philip and an Ethiopian from Acts 8:26-31 & 35 and we observed;
- The Ethiopian was reading from and thinking about a specific section of scripture. That gives a good starting point already! One to one allows us to connect with people on their terms.
- They put the pieces together. Individual ministry can help us to do that as you talk out someone’s approach to the bible.
- Philip stands nearby and looks to see what this guy is up to. It is sometimes easier to spot how interested or genuine someone is on a one to one basis.
- The Ethiopian had gone to Jerusalem to worship. Sometimes people are lost in the general sweep of life but dealing with people individually allows us to figure out what journey they are on and if we can point them to Jesus. It allows us to pick up on people who are on the way in life (or coming back!) and thinking about God.
- God can direct us to individuals or put individuals in our path and the question is whether we will respond like Philip.
We then looked at some resources for doing one to one;
This from the word one to one.
This from UCCF.
This from Tim Keller.
There are of course plenty of other resources. Some of us have been doing this within the church but is there someone you can think of who would be interested in finding out more about the gospel? Why not ask them if they would like to do a book or a bible study together?