As we face at least another few weeks in lockdown here in the UK and the novelty of online church and Zoom small groups wears off, it might feel as if our opportunities to serve and grow are dwindling.

But it’s our prayer at Christianity Explored Ministries (CEM) that many Christians might take hold of the new and unprecedented opportunities presented by this crisis for sharing their faith.

Idols stripped away

The pandemic has taken away so many of our country’s idols – sport, health, prosperity, family – causing a collective awareness of our human fragility and prompting many to ask big questions about life. On top of that, being forced to stay at home means people have a lot more time on their hands.

Sponsored

We have seen a 30 per cent increase of traffic to our evangelistic website, chris​tian​i​ty​ex​plored​.org, since lockdown began, with visits to the page If God exists, why is there suffering?’ doubling.

Christianity Explored

At CEM we create resources to help people explore questions like this in a relaxed and informal way. Our flagship seven-session course, Christianity Explored, is designed to introduce people to Jesus through the pages of scripture and help them discover who He is, why He came and what it means to follow Him.

Ordinarily the course is run in person, with guests often sharing a meal before hearing a short talk (given live or using our filmed talks from evangelist Rico Tice). This is followed by a discussion and short Bible study in Mark’s gospel.

Taking it online

Because Christianity Exploredis designed to be flexible, churches have found it relatively straightforward to move their in-person courses online. We’ve made all the course films available for free until the end of June on YouTube so that they’re super easy to watch and share, and you can get hold of a digital copy of the Guest Handbook and Leader’s Guide, which will take you through how to run each session. 

A real benefit is that unlike in-person courses, where you may need to plan a venue, food and other logistics, running the course online does not require much lead time. Paul Brennan from The Tron Church, Glasgow, explained how their church only decided to run Christianity Explored on Zoom a week before launch. 

A plentiful harvest

Wonderfully, it seems that people are increasingly open to an invitation to Christianity Explored. One of our colleagues in the US has been meeting with his granddaughter over Skype to go through the material one to one.

My own church started running the series on Zoom a few weeks before Easter. With the course moving online I found I had new opportunities to invite people who don’t live near me. For example, my brother and his wife live in a different town but have been able to join every week. So far they are really enjoying it and have told me how helpful it’s been. 

We’ve heard from several churches that they are seeing a bigger uptake than ever before. Paul Brennan said: This looks like it will be our biggest course by a long way – we’ve already got 14 people signed up and expect more in the coming days.”

If your church isn’t running anything like this and you’re in a position to set up something, this could be a brilliant way for you and your congregation to get involved in outreach over the next few weeks. If not, and you have someone in particular in mind, why not bite the bullet and give running Christianity Explored a go yourself? 

Find out more

For more ideas and inspiration, visit our website. Here you’ll also find more about how to run a Christianity Explored course online, real-life stories and tips from church leaders about how to get going.

Image by Karolina Grabowska

Because Christianity Explored is designed to be flexible, churches have found it relatively straightforward to move their in-person courses online.