23 February 2017
Member of the Month: The Word One to One
This month we're featuring The Word One to One, which works to evanglise through one-to-one reading with non-Christians.
What is The Word One to One and how did it come about?
The Word One to One material was published in 2012 by Richard Borgonon, a financial services executive in London, but its concept is as old as the Christian faith — evangelising by reading the Bible one to one with a friend who isn't a Christian. Richard started doing this several years ago with friends and colleagues in London, using notes based on teaching from William Taylor of St Helen's, Bishopsgate. Together they have produced a series of booklets using John's gospel. Richard chose John to start with because the first 18 verses are an overview that is unique in the entire Bible. They introduce the reader to the saviour of the world - Jesus Christ who steps off the pages as we read them together.
The material is attractively presented and is very easy to use — it's accessible and more socially acceptable than getting out a copy of the whole Bible. The Word One to One has spread widely throughout the world and many Christians have found it an invaluable tool in sharing their faith.
Who can get involved with The Word One to One?
Absolutely anyone. Full details on our web site here. The notes raise the relevant questions and then go on to answer them, meaning there is no room for embarrassment as we live in an age of serious biblical ignorance. It acts more like a book club where we can explore the Bible together. No leaders notes and little training is required, making the process of reading the Bible together as simple as possible. The Word1to1 also fits in very well with courses like Christianity Explored or Alpha, but also works for people who perhaps wouldn't yet be willing to do a course.
Why did The Word One to One become a member of the Alliance?
We see our role as supporting local churches and their members. The Word One to One is simply a tool for countless 'ordinary' Christians to share their faith. The notes bring to every Christian a support mechanism that is so encouraging by enabling us to do personal evangelism. The Evangelical Alliance is the largest and best known organisation that supports and represents evangelical churches so we were delighted to join and support its activities.
What have been some of your organisation's highlights?
One to one Bible work has a long and wonderful history. Consider how John Bunyan became a Christian in the C17th. "Upon a day, in one of the streets of (Bedford), I came where there were three or four poor women sitting at a door in the sun, and talking about the things of God; and I drew near to hear what they said… I heard, but I understood not; for they were far above, out of my reach, for their talk was about a new birth, the work of God on their hearts, also how they were convinced of their miserable state by nature; they talked how God had visited their souls with His love in the Lord Jesus. They spoke as if joy did make them speak; they spoke with such pleasantness of scripture language, and with such appearance of grace in all they said, that they were to me as if they had found a new world."
Since The Word One to One was first printed, around 50,000 copies have been sold globally and countless free copies have been downloaded from the website. It really works. The Bible is powerful; God's word does not go out empty! Research has shown the drift away in the UK from some kind of ill-defined Christian belief is not to atheism, but to 'none of the above'. This often has its roots in biblical ignorance. It's staggering that, for example, a very large number of people in the UK seem not to know that Jesus was a real person, not mythical like King Arthur or Robin Hood. How can we tackle this? CH Spurgeon said: "There seems to me to have been twice as much done in defending the Bible as in expounding it, but if the whole of our strength shall henceforth go to the exposition and spreading of it, we may leave it pretty much to defend itself. I don't know whether you see that lion — it is very distinctly before my eyes; a number of persons advance to attack him.... many suggestions are made and much advice is offered. This weapon is recommended, and the other. Pardon me if I offer a quiet suggestion. Open the door and let the lion out; he will take care of himself."
If we take a simple step of reading the Bible with our friends, "the lion" is out of the cage. The Holy Spirit will work.
What are the challenges to The Word One to One?
Fear. We either think: "Lord send someone else," or: "I can't do it." We tend to think that evangelism is a job for someone else - pastors and evangelists. But in fact, evangelism as the Bible tells us is something for everyone who is a follower of the Lord Jesus, not just the "clergy". This is fundamental to the New Testament. For example, 1 Peter 3:15-16, Acts 11:19-21.
Feeling inadequate is actually a very good thing — because it's the truth, we are inadequate. Thankfully it's not about us, but rather about how God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, uses His word.
How can Christians be praying for The Word One to One?
That God would continue to use His word to bring people to faith in Him. That we would have God-given courage to overcome our fears. That people would meet the Lord Jesus through John and the notes and that He would change their lives for ever.
Fine out more information on The Word One to One website here.