30th January 2019
Talking Jesus course gives Christians a new voice to share faith
‘Now I feel confident talking about my walk with Jesus.’ That’s the verdict of Paula, a Yorkshire mum who has been on the Talking Jesus course and has been inspired to speak up.
She is not alone. The course is giving ordinary Christians across an extraordinary range of denominations, ethnicities and backgrounds, a new voice to share their faith.
Paula explained, ‘I'm not very good at speaking up and can never seem to find the right words. As a Christian I tend to avoid mentioning church at all to my non-church friends. That's what the Talking Jesus course changed for me. The videos were like windows; like being able to spy on yourself. Objectively watching yourself avoiding telling people the good news. Why? For me it was lack of confidence, but the course gave me the tools to address this, the words needed and the motivation along with a safe place to have a go.
‘The biggest change for me is that I now look and pray for opportunities to talk about Jesus and the amazing difference he has made to my life.’
The Talking Jesus course is a six-part video course available on USB or DVD. Paula did the course at St Michael le Belfrey, an Anglican church in York. They ran Talking Jesus for parents from the Mums and Tots group whilst their children were in a crèche.
Paula is one of thousands of Christians enthused by the course to talk about Jesus to friends, family members and work colleagues. Since the course was launched last year, more than 4,000 copies have been distributed and 18,000 booklets have been sold.
Edinburgh church minister Gordon Kennedy said, ‘The response to the course has been more than I could have hoped for. One man in his 50s, a regular at Sunday church but still young as a believer, spoke of having had three conversations with people he has met while walking his dog. Another older man spoke of how he has taken the opportunity to speak of his faith and hope in Jesus when asked about his treatment for cancer. All those at the course have spoken of how they are praying for the five names they wrote down on week one, and many have now had opportunities to speak to some of them about Jesus.’
The range of denominations, ethnicities, locations and size of churches using the course is unprecedented. The Methodist Church is giving a copy of the course and 10 workbooks to every one of its ministers. Revd Canon Gareth J Powell, Secretary of the Methodist Conference, said, ‘I commend the “Talking Jesus” course as one of the ways in which we might grow in confidence and witness to the love of God at work in our lives.’
And Britain’s fastest-growing denomination, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, has adopted Talking Jesus as part of their evangelism strategy. Pastor Modupe Afolabi, Executive Administrator of RCCG Central Office, says, ‘Hope’s creative and strategic resources couldn’t have been produced at a better time. The ideas are extremely useful as we face the challenges of a sustained programme of evangelism, church-planting, discipleship and social action.’
Several Anglican dioceses have also written the course into their mission strategy. Exeter diocese’s Mission Shed network is taking copies across Devon, churches across Cumbria are using it, and Chichester diocese has offered a copy of the course to every parish. Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes, says, ‘Talking Jesus is a simple way of equipping us to have conversations about Jesus with friends and family. I think any Christian could benefit from its encouragement.’
Roy Crowne, HOPE’s executive director, and one of the team behind the Talking Jesus project says, ‘The Talking Jesus course seems to have caught the need of the moment as people want to know how to put their faith into words. The course is being used by an amazing number of churches – large and small, black and white, in cities, towns and villages: RCCG, Methodist, Anglican, Baptist and new churches. Goldhill Baptist Church, King's Church London, across its three sites, and Catholic churches are using it too.
Bishop Mark o’Toole, who leads the Catholic Church’s Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis says, ‘The Talking Jesus resources have been immensely useful as we seek to support evangelisation and to encourage a new missionary impetus in the life of the Church.’
The course enables people to speak confidently and naturally about Jesus day-to-day. Izzy from York, who has attended the course twice, gives a typical reaction when she says: ‘I now feel I have been given a toolkit to use in all sorts of contexts, and I have had some fantastic conversations as a result. I know now that my job is simply to talk Jesus - the rest will be up to God!’
Talking Jesus - The Course pack includes a DVD or USB with six training videos, plus parable-style films and an accompanying 44-page course booklet. The DVD version costs £19.99; the USB version costs £24.99. Extra copies of the booklet can be bought separately for group members from £1 a copy. Order copies at hopepublishing.org.uk
The Talking Jesus course has been devised by Roy Crowne, executive director of HOPE, Dr Rachel Jordan-Wolf, National Mission and Evangelism Advisor to the Church of England, and Bible teacher Dr Andrew Ollerton.
The course presenters are Joanna Adeyinka-Burford, Anna Harris, Michael Harvey, Javan Hirst and Richard Smith.
The course was produced for HOPE, the Church of England, and KingsGate Community Church by Vivid Broadcast & Production Services.
Find out more about the Talking Jesus course, and the research which is behind it, at talkingjesus.org
PHOTOS: Here is a dropbox link to photos from Talking Jesus
For an interview with Roy Crowne, please contact the HOPE office 01788 542782