Ahead of her coming to speak at St Mark's Haydock in November we spoke to National Adviser for Mission and Evangelism for her perspective on how we do evangelism.
Speaking to national mission adviser Rachel Jordan you can hear her passion for sharing her story. When describing her experiences of living in community and opening her home to that community you get a sense of someone who is looking for the opportunity to show how important her faith is to her.
For her belief is that this is what people respond to “people like to see how, as Christians, we demonstrate how Christ has been working in our lives, how we experience him on a day to day basis. We can use our story, and God’s story to engage other people.”
This will be the core of her message when she joins us at St Mark’s Haydock in November at “Sharing Jesus – putting our faith into words”.
Rachel insists that this form of storytelling evangelism is effective, enthusiastically received and crucially modelled by Jesus. “We live in a postmodern world where people are fascinated by our experience of God, Jesus and prayer. It’s a new form of apologetics which reaches to the heart of our common experience.”
Rachel is clear that this is what Jesus did. He invited his disciples in to share His story and then sent them out to live in communities and share their stories where they lived.
This begs the question that if it is that simple then why are we not all doing it? Rachel attributes that in part to fear. Because of the fear of losing friendships, being ridiculed or ignored as ordinary Christians we prefer to leave the conversation to someone else. Very often the clergy. Rachel recognises this as a key issue and wants to equip the church with a vision for sharing their story and the tools and encouragement to do this effectively.
For it’s not something that we can do in isolation. We have to build relationships with others. That’s where are living and working in conversation, our clubs, our outreach our Foodbanks and the many activities we do come into their own. “It’s not about one thing or the other but both. We need to join up our actions with our words. So on a simple basis to the Foodbank client we can get to the point where we can say I volunteer here because of my faith in Jesus.”
Rachel, who having worked for YWAM and Youth for Christ, followed our new Bishop, Paul Bayes, in the role of National Mission and Evangelism Adviser. She lives out her life according to her principles, living in community and opening her flat for a meal once a week for Christians and non-Christians. In this way she is both sharing her life and her faith. It’s a vision of church that goes out beyond the building impacting on the day to day.
And it impacts on our growth agenda. By offering an attractive vibrant version of or faith we can help church grow, not just in numbers but in the spiritual depth we seek. It’s a compelling vision, made more so when you hear Rachel speak with passion in her voice.
Which makes hearing her at St Mark’s an intriguing prospect.