That’s the question of this year’s Balham’s Big Question.
We’ve posed it online here, on various social media sites and in person on the streets of Balham.
But how has it got to this? Honestly, how on earth have we got to a situation where people are genuinely asking the question ‘is Christianity good for the world?’ To us Christians, it’s inconceivable that anyone should be in any doubt about the answer. After all, when Mark began his gospel he started with these words, ‘the beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ – the Son of God’ (Mark 1:1). Mark wasn’t unsure. He was convinced that Jesus Christ is good news. That’s what the word ‘gospel’ means. Jesus Christ has always been and will always be very good news for the world.
But in our neck of the woods, the good news has become the bad news. At least that’s the perception. And we’d like to change that. We’re putting on a week of mission events as one of the things that CCB can do to help the people of the Balham area hear the good news of Jesus Christ. We want to do so with events that they can access, in language that they can understand and in venues with which they’re familiar.
We’ve got a Question Time tonight at which people can pitch their questions and hear some answers from our panelists Andrew Nicholls, Leonie Mason and Nick Tucker. We’ve got a Men’s Curry Night on Friday at which I’ll give a talk entitled ‘Is Jesus just for girls?’ (The answer is no – but I’m planning to have a bit more to say than that). We had a women’s evening last Monday with their ‘Girls’ Night In’. I’ve blogged about that here. On Sunday we have a guest service in the morning when I’ll speak on ‘Christianity: a faith for people who don’t do religion’. And Sunday night we’ll reveal the results of Balham’s Big Survey and Dan Strange will answer the question ‘Is Christianity good for the world?’
We’re pleased with what we’ve ended up with. We’re hopeful that this will work. But please pray so that our efforts to help our friends, neighbours and colleagues are not in vain? We’d love to help them see that the answer to the question ‘is Christianity good for the world?’ is emphatically yes.
Read Full Post »
Monday night was the Girls’ Night In. I didn’t go. Wasn’t allowed to, what with not being female and that. But at half ten that night I got the full debrief when all I wanted to do was watch the highlights of the Quins Northampton game from the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as keen as the next man for women’s evangelistic events. But there’s a time and a place for everything! And this was neither.
Joking aside. And, yes, it was a joke. Monday night’s women’s event went off like a storm.
The event was billed as an evening on which to take time out, relax and find sanctuary. Guests were greeted with an stunning array of beautifully crafted canapés (a rapidly diminishing number of which still reside in our fridge). Different women in the congregation offered a variety of pampering treatments ranging from make-up, hand massage, nail treatments and the like. (They may be boring accountants, teachers and nurses by day, but by night they clearly transform into talented beauticians!) But the focus of the evening was a talk by Julie Marriner. During the traumatic pregnancy, delivery and now upbringing of her youngest daughter Hope-Tia , Julie found her ultimate sanctuary in God. By all accounts she spoke openly and with heart rending honesty about Hope’s life. But Julie and the family will continue to face a number of heart-wrenching decisions as they respond to Hope’s very serious heart defect. But in the midst of this ongoing turmoil, Julie is adamant that we have a God in whom we can always find refuge.
Commenting on the event one recent newcomer to CCB wrote this in an e-mail to her small group,
Those of you that were around last Wednesday know that I was planning to ask my flatmate to come along. She said yes and then told me how excited she was about it. Then yesterday I think she got cold feet and said that she wouldn’t stay very long but would still come along, so I prayed about it. Anyway, we arrived and it was just a haven of loveliness! She felt really welcome and said how friendly everyone was. The food and drinks were beautiful too! So after being there for about 15 minutes she decided that she definitely wanted to stay longer and hear the talk - hooray! The talk really moved her and we had quite a long chat about Christianity and our faith afterwards (previously unexplored territory!)
Anyway, she really enjoyed the evening and on the journey home even said she might try and go to the Bedford on Wednesday night and also said she’d like to come along to CCB.
Before the event, when they were still facing the anxious uncertainty of whether it would work, I tried to convince the girls who organised the event that if only one non-Christian came then it was worth all the effort. I still believe that. But how good was God!! Isn’t that terrific. We’ve got more events to come; the Question Time at the Bedford tonight, the Men’s Curry Night on Friday, the guest service on Sunday morning and Balham’s Big Question on Sunday evening. We’ll keep you posted. But we’re praying that God continues to exceed our expectations and do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Read Full Post »