Do you ever feel that your evangelism skills could be honed? Do you long to get the gospel message through to your friends but struggle to communicate? Or perhaps you worry about the difficult questions that might get thrown at you should you share your faith.
If you can identify with any of these feelings, or similar ones, then worry not! Help is at hand in the shape of CMF's Confident Christianity evangelism training course. This tried, tested and popular day conference began in 1989 and since then has been run at scores of venues up and down the country and even abroad. Hundreds of students have been encouraged, equipped and enthused to communicate their faith more effectively both on and off campus.
So what is Confident Christianity? It is a 10am-5pm day conference run by experienced trainers in several modules. It's interactive, fun and above all highly relevant to students.
One of the most important requirements to sharing the gospel is knowing what it is! Yet it's easy to spend time talking about peripheral issues instead of what's really important. The 'What is the gospel?' module looks at apostolic sermons in Acts to tease out the essential requirements of a good presentation.
But once we know all that, how many of us still find ourselves fumbling around, using 'Christianese' language that non-Christians don't understand, or rambling when we should be getting to the point? The section on 'A gospel outline' uses a simple method (God, man, God, what if I do, what if I don't?) to help us remember the key facts and talk briefly or at length depending on the situation. Skills are immediately put into practice as students are given two minutes to convince their friends before nuclear disaster wipes them out (OK, so the last bit doesn't really happen!).
Dialogue is an important concept to be grasped. So many evangelistic talks give little opportunity to raise questions afterwards, but the apostolic method was to do evangelism in a language people understand, in an environment where they feel comfortable and with the opportunity for discussion. This is explored using the excellent example of the apostle Paul.
Perhaps one of the most paralysing fears that stops us from sharing our faith is the idea that our friends will be full of impossible questions that we can't even begin to answer. It's a comforting fact to know that most of these questions fall into a few categories that get repeated time and again, such as 'is Jesus the only way to God?', 'why do the innocent suffer?' or 'isn't the Bible full of errors?'. These are known as the 'Seven Deadly Questions' and learning a basic response to each goes an awfully long way towards allaying our fears. After all, if I went into an exam knowing what the questions would be, I would make sure I had done my homework, then lighten up and enjoy myself! Hence part of the day is spent going through the Seven Deadly Questions, followed by role plays with the trainers, who get to have a bit of fun playing the agnostic!
Confident Christianity is not about dry theory, but about helping you put essential skills into practice so your friends can hear and respond to the gospel. As well as the role plays, there is a session about putting on evangelistic events that are tailored to non-Christians, such as dialogue suppers, where they can enjoy good food and the chance to ask any questions, with non-Christians outnumbering Christians! The day is a great preparation for a CU mission or other evangelistic outreach.
Students receive the comprehensive Confident Christianity manual and an excellent evangelistic booklet, The Greatest Person?, whilst copies of Bernard Palmer's very useful Cure for Life will be on sale at reasonable prices.