Saturday, 7 February 2009

When preparation is preaching to yourself

Today I was privileged to be able to go back to my old university CU, University of Manchester Christian Union, to do a seminar looking at God's role and our role in evangelism. I'm going to post my notes in three parts over the coming week, looking first at Our role, then at God's Role and finally at some great truths we can hold onto as Mission Weeks approach.

But before I start posting, I thought I'd say that preparing for it was wonderful.

It was great to have an excuse to spend time re-reading JI Packer's brilliant Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, which I think might be one of the most influential books I've read so far as a Christian. It's one of those books that are available via Amazon's market place at a few quid, so buy it if you haven't read it and are involved in evangelism in some way!

And it was also a timely kick up the butt to remember that evangelism is not about me. It's God who gives belief (Ephesians 2:8), who gives repentance (Acts 11:18) and who rescues us (Colossians 1:13). We don't do any of that, all we do is tell people the gospel (Matthew 28:18ff). God saves. We do not.

It was a timely reminder because for the next three weeks I will be in some way or another involved with a CU mission week in Greater Manchester.

Next week is the Distribution week at Salford Uni CU, where they are aiming to hand out a couple of thousand FREE gospels (Mark's Gospel in trendy covers!) to students in Salford. During the day we'll be spending three hours chatting to students around campus, whilst in the evenings we will be knocking on doors in halls of residence.

The following week is Salford CU's Events week, where they will be holding three evening events during which Tim Hanson will explain the gospel to students. The events are a JazzCake (jazz and cheese cake, a bizarre combination which Salford students seem to love!) evening with a talk, a Grub Crawl with a talk, and a talk over tea and coffee. You might notice that CUs love providing food! I've yet to find an atheist society that is as keen to feed their fellow students!

The following week is Week 1 of the Manchester Mega Mission (University of Manchester CU, Man Met Uni CU, Royal Northern College of Music CU) during which I will be a CU guest, supporting the work of University of Manchester CU as they try and reach students with the gospel. I will be seconded to a few hall groups to support them in their evangelism in their halls of residence, as well as doing first contact evangelism on streets around the unis and talking to people at events.

So, it's good to remember that in these weeks that when I become progressively more exhausted (which I will!), God still remains strong and, as it's him that saves, I can remain confident that he will be at work convincing students of the truth of the gospel as I tell it the them.

There were some other amazing things that God really taught me as I worked through the prep, but you're going to have to wait for me to upload the talk for them...

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