What's the best gift God could give Gosforth?
David Dargue (pictured) is the minister of Christ Church Gosforth in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He is married to Sarah and they have three children. After running Life Explored in his local area, he has shared his experience with us.
You’re a young church, in a well-established Newcastle suburb. A century ago the church buildings would have been centre stage. Today, they’re squeezed, surrounded, or sold-off. A metaphor perhaps for perceptions of God. How can he compete with the humming cafes and restaurants, miracle-promising health and beauty boutiques, and the dream homes furnishing estate agents’ windows? What do you do?
‘An evangelistic course’ is an obvious part of the answer. And as we started a year-long intensive Sunday evening training course last September, we were keen to include leading on the new Life Explored (LE) course as part of that bundle. Not just because LE was new, but because in being for those who don’t consider themselves religious, it’s speaking to many in our area.
"In being for those who don’t consider themselves religious, Life Explored is speaking to many in our area."
Creative opportunities flow from the lack of our own building. The Costa Coffee at the heart of our community immediately made themselves available, and we ran after-hours on a Sunday evening. People’s houses work well for Home Groups, but Costa is a far easier invite for something like LE. We just needed to bring our own AV kit in…and remember not to say anything significant while the milk frother was screaming!
We ran LE in conjunction with the other church in our network, and took the core of leaders from the training intensive. Our churches were more widely engaged, and invitations given at the carol services; but this group were the essential heartbeat. Beyond the leaders, a handful of less connected church members came along and a good number of people who don’t come on Sundays.
The questions had immediate interest for our guests and the videos are very well crafted. We weren’t a particularly arty crowd and were bothered by not always ‘getting’ some of the introductory films. Even so, good conversations usually followed.
LE is a welcome complement to our other evangelistic courses like Christianity Explored (CE). Most guests made it to two or three LE sessions at most, which worked fine and would have been harder in the more linear CE. However, CE is an obvious next step, both because no guests came to all the sessions, and for the clarity it brings in areas that LE isn’t able to cover.
"Life Explored is a welcome complement to our other evangelistic courses."
We’re planning a sex and relationships series for the New Year – perhaps the place that our culture most looks to as the best gift God could give. LE would run alongside this well because, as our groups discovered, it shows us that actually the best gift that God could give Gosforth, and everybody else, is himself.
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