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A few weeks ago Andrew and I tried a different way to communicate a message, a sermon. Sermon by text. We sat and discussed 2 Corinthians 5, one of my heart passages for evangelism, over coffee in front of the church, fielding questions sent by text as we talked.

Setting aside the question of my increasing follicle challenge (yes I am getting balder but I side with Elisha in 2 Kings 2:23-24), personally I thought that it went very well! It was a great opportunity to think about how we communicate the things of God in our modern culture.

At the end of June, St John’s College at Durham University published the results of a survey with some shocking findings:

  • 75% of respondents owned a bible
  • A 3rd of people said the Bible was important to them
  • Yet as few as 10% of people understood the main characters of the Bible
  • It was rare to find anyone who could name the 10 Commandments
  • 57 per cent of people knew nothing about Joseph or his brothers despite the hit musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and
  • 60 per cent were ignorant of the story of the Good Samaritan

Check out the article published by the Independent – Britain knows little about the Bible

Things like this get my creative juices flowing. The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results. A bit like church?

How much of what we do in church is cultural rather than biblical? Is preaching for 25-40 minutes biblical or cultural? Wasn’t a lot of Jesus’ teaching in the gospel done in the context of discussion rather than presentation?

The other Sunday we had the epic production of Esther, with a Star Wars theme. Sitting there, watching the story being retold accurately to the Biblical account (with the exception of the lightsaber fight between Mordecai and Darth “Haman” Vader) I couldn’t help but reflect – in our modern world – what a great way to help people learn the Bible stories and remember them.

Well done Richard and team.

If we really want to share this message of good news with which we have been entrusted, and believe that it is good news for our nation, our friends – the hope for our nation – then do we need to think about new wineskins for a new day? Do we need to find new ways to communicate? More relational conversations, lived examples, evangelism osmosis?

Personally I’ve reactivated my Facebook account, made contact with a few people I have lost touch with and discovered it can have a pastoral role!

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord.”

Psalm 19v14