‘What is the best gift God could give you?’
‘What we desire most in life determines our dispositions, our decisions, and ultimately, our destinies.’
These words begin the leader’s handbook of Life Explored, a new evangelistic course from Christianity Explored Ministries. Our church spent last autumn using Life Explored as an evangelistic springboard to reach into our community. We chose to do so because we believed it to be a visually engaging tool, with a contemporary resonance, which contained a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus which we could share with our local community.
The nuts and bolts of the Life Explored package are seven sessions entitled, ‘The Good God’, ‘The Trustworthy God’, ‘The Generous God’, ‘The Liberating God’, ‘The Fulfilling God’, ‘The Life-Giving God’ and ‘The Joyful God’. Each session runs for about sixty minutes and follows the same pattern. It begins with a short film, designed to get people thinking, which is followed by a brief discussion. Then you read a passage from the Bible, before watching another 15-minute film and gospel presentation. You end with a look at a second Bible passage and a longer discussion which is based on questions from the passage.
The sessions are built around a ‘Nathan moment’. When Nathan was called by God to confront David with his sin in 2 Samuel 12, he did so by sharing a story. The story drew David in and not only allowed him to recognise the fault in the story, but more importantly confronted David with the opportunity to consider that story’s echo in David’s own life. This ‘Nathan moment’ is the basis of the short story told in the film, which explores a big question to reflect upon. This question is then taken further by considering a passage of Scripture. Each of these big questions is relevant for each one of us. Some examples are, ‘What is the best gift God could give you?’ or ‘What keeps you going in difficult situations?’
In a media savvy age the film productions are commendable for their high quality. They are well put together, visually effective and have engaging story lines. There is a clear presentation of the gospel message in each session and as much as I like and appreciate Rico Tice, it is refreshing to have two other presenters engaging the listeners too! The package worked well in our small group but could be used just as well in one to one studies and can be staged anywhere you can plug in a TV and DVD player.
It’s a typical Christianity Explored apologetic approach which works well and I was hard pushed to find any reservations with Life Explored. In general, though, I do wonder if the evangelical world is becoming too obsessed with a certain type of gospel presentation to the unbeliever? We always seem to come over as ‘Middle English BBC’ type folks. The gospel is for everyone! However, this little negative should not put you off seriously considering using Life Explored in your local community. Our own church area in West Cardiff is hardly middle Wales, let alone middle England!
So, did it work for us? Yes, is the answer. We found people open to talk about those big life questions and willing to engage with the answers the gospel provides. It was a wonderful opportunity to sit down with non-Christians and in a congenial atmosphere talk about why everyone needs Jesus Christ.
The leader’s kit (including DVD) is priced at £33.99 and the participants’ handbooks are £2.54 each (discount for five or more). The leaders’ handbook is well laid out, easy to follow and full of good advice for how to best use Life Explored.