40 Days of Good News
In the period between Easter and Pentecost Baptists have been encouraged to proactively share the Good News of Jesus
Called 40 Days of Good News, it emerged from the vision for each association to participate in one way or other in ‘on the ground evangelism’ with the churches they serve. Associations are using the period from 10 April - 15 May (Pentecost) to bring this vision into particular focus, and are responding in different ways.
South Eastern Baptist Association has produced a flyer called 40 Ways for 40 Days, with ideas in six categories covering social action, bridge building, preparation of pre-evangelism, direct evangelism, evangelism among others churches, and among young people.
‘When we are confronted by the challenge of mission and evangelism the first question we must ask is where we shall start,’ it states. ‘This leaflet is designed to answer that very question. It is an ideas leaflet… Read it with an open mind. Ask whether any of the ideas suggested are appropriate for for your church.’
Central Baptist Association has produced a flyer, which offers a range of church and personal ideas. ‘Doing something brave as a church is at the heart of this initiative,’it states, ‘wouldn’t it be great if every church in the CBA did ONE BRAVE thing over this 40 day period, stepping out beyond where they feel safe?’ The neighbouring Eastern Baptist Association has adapted the Daring Greatly flyer and distributed it to its churches.
The West of England Baptist Association team is engaging in 40 Days of Good News by resourcing its churches in three ways:
creating a document bringing together 40 ideas for showing and telling the good news; offering one of its team to visit the church for a service or special evangelistic event during this period;
providing a series of very short animated videos to use in churches during the 40 days of good news period, to challenge the congregation to try one simple challenge each week.
‘As Christians we are ambassadors of Jesus, sent out to share his great message of grace and mercy,’ said WEBA Regional Minister Alistair Longwill. ‘During these 40 days we particularly want to encourage each other to SHOW and TELL this message in ways that are best suited to each of our geographical and relational contexts.
‘Let’s encourage each other to step out of our comfort zones and explore ways of being good news in our communities and networks. And let’s pray for and motivate each other to discern and create ways and opportunities to tell our neighbours the wonderful message of Jesus.’
A number of events have already been organised in the East Midlands Baptist Association: Oundle Road Baptist Church has hired a soft play area for mums and tots with a children’s Christian entertainer presenting good news; Blaby Baptist Church has organised a sleepover for the Brownies (which meet regularly at the church) with a Good News focus; regional ministers Dianne Tidball and Mike Fegredo have already been booked to speak at supper events. EMBA has offered ideas which follow Laurence SInglehurst’s “Sowing, Rowing, Keeping” pattern.
It states, ‘‘Sharing faith is not so much about ‘telling the truth’ as the ‘outworking of love,’ not so much about requiring people to ‘make a decision’ as being part of a process and what the Holy Spirit is doing in a person’s life over time, not so much about making converts as about making disciples, not so much about a few gifted evangelists proclaiming ‘the truth’ as about every Christian being good news in their neighbourhood.’
Northern Baptist Association is encouraging its churches to engage in evangelism, either through their regular programmes or by running additional events, activities or initiatives, with the intention that these should not merely be one-off projects but ones which can be meaningfully built upon into the future. The Association has an ongoing 'prayer relay' where each church in turn has a week as a focus for the association's prayers: the churches who will be hosting the prayer relay during the 40 days period are being encouraged especially to undertake something evangelistic.
A number of churches in the North Western Baptist Association took part in something similar during Holy Week in 2015. They included the People’s Church in Partington and Greenfield Church in Urmston which teamed up to organise an acoustic evening at a local Costa coffee shop with a mutual musician friend, who performed his own songs, interspersed with a little more testimony. Regional minister Phil Jump then spoke about Jesus and the woman at the well.
‘It was an easy thing to invite people to, particularly those on the edge of church life,’ said Partington pastor Jonathan Boyers. ‘It was a natural progression – come and find out more about the faith that fuels us.
‘We had a relaxed evening, and were really happy with it as an event. The people who came along appreciated it. Costa is open to us doing something similar. We’ve taken confidence in inviting people, and it’s challenged us to think about we know and who we are connecting with.’
A statement prepared by Association Team Leaders said that while for some the period between 10 April and 15 May could present an ideal opportunity to engage in some kind of intentional event in which a clear invitation is given for people to become followers of Jesus, for others "it might not be the right time or context".
However, it could be an opportunity to “consider the challenges it raises,” the statement continued.
‘One probing question that we might all reflect on, whatever role we might have within our Baptist Union is “for all that we are doing and seeking to become – how many people have become followers of Jesus in recent times through our shared endeavours?” As we reflect on our responses to this question, what might the Spirit of God begin to say to us? How can we pray together for a renewed openness to the message of the Gospel?’
The statement concluded with a number of points for prayer and reflection:
Please pray for this initiative and all those churches and individuals who are involved.
Please pray that women and men, young and old might be touched and inspired through this initiative, to become followers of Jesus themselves.
Please consider how your church could become involved by engaging in some form of intentional evangelism or through reflecting on your own mission vision.
Are there other local churches that you could support and encourage as they seek to engage in this initiative?
Encourage the members of your church and congregation to pray for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with the people they come into contact with through their daily lives.