Halfway through Lord of the Rings, Frodo feels like giving up. Darkness is gathering. It seems as if evil will win. And Sam turns to Frodo with these words:
“It’s like the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But, in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even the darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.”
I think some of Tolkien’s Christian faith comes through in Sam’s words. His hope is not just for the world to go back to what it was, but that it will be even better. That is resurrection hope.
Weariness, confusion and exhaustion are at an all-time high. What better message is there to bring this Easter than the resurrection story? It’s a story of hope in times of fear. Passion for Evangelism (PfE) exists to empower, equip and encourage women in evangelism. We’re delighted to be partnering with APFL this Easter. Here are some ways that you can support your sisters and encourage them to grow as evangelists.
From the cradle to the grave, women were the first ones to witness and share the good news of Jesus. At Easter time churches across the UK will be taking part in a focused month of mission, as part of the A Passion for Life movement. The hope is that this month will fuel churches to continue sharing this good news in years to come.
As you look at your planned events, how many of them involve women publicly communicating about Jesus? Our evangelism must include prayer, personal conversations, small groups discussions and public communication. Public evangelism is vital if the gospel is to be heard by those who don’t have any Christian friends. It’s also a great way to start a conversation with those we see and interact with on a regular basis.
As you look at your planned events, how many of them involve women? I don’t just mean women organising or planning events, (however important that may be) but women actually speaking and sharing the gospel, whether that’s a testimony, a talk, a short video or hosting. There are many women in your churches for whom the pull to share the gospel is strong. There are many women who would like to give this a go but always defer to the expert. There are many women who would love to be asked but feel unable to offer themselves. In PfE we want to identify these women and equip them, so that, like the women at Jesus’ tomb in Matthew 28:8 who were “afraid but also filled with great joy,” they may be eager and able to pass on the message we have all been given to proclaim.
Invest in women
In PfE we love learning together, focussing on character and skills with an emphasis on peer feedback.
Why do we call our mentoring scheme The Greenhouse? Imagine planting a seed outside at this time of year. If it survives the frost, once growing it will struggle with snails and slugs. Put in a Greenhouse with warmth, encouragement, and support, it will be ready in no time to face the outside world. Many, like the women in Matthew 28, are afraid to share the gospel. For some, this is because of a lack of experience or training, or a belief that someone else can do it better. Many are left feeling paralysed when sharing the gospel with friends. We want to enable women to start their journey of sharing the gospel in public. To do this many need a period of time in a Greenhouse first! The majority of the mentoring happens in small groups over a five-week period. This gives women a chance to give and receive feedback. We also have training videos, pre-reading, a live Q&A and 1:1 time with the mentor. This scheme is for any woman who wants to grow in confidence and skills in communicating the gospel.
Here is what others have said…
“I would really recommend The Greenhouse to others! I found when I came to deliver my talk I was much more calm and I felt I knew the material really well. I don’t think this was due to the amount of time I took to write it. I think it was the discussion and thinking and prayer around it, that made my talk something I delighted in, as well as a message to share with other women”.
Many of us shed a tear as we read those words from Sam in Lord of the Rings. Stories help you to feel, they help you to identify, and they take you to places you’ve never been to before. In PfE we want to equip women to do this too. We want to journey together to see afresh the story of the resurrection. And then, in collaboration with each other, we want to learn how to be creative in our communication. We want to communicate the hope in times of fear that Jesus can bring to our friends, whether that’s on social media, at an event, or through a video, spoken word poem or blog.
These are all things that women in our Christmas Greenhouse did. 26 women from across the world joined us. Here is what one of them said…
“I have joined the GH because I would love to learn more about evangelism. I want to try and see how I can best use my creativity for this purpose. I am not exactly sure what that would look like for me yet, so I am excited to try something new”.
What can I do?
Are there women passionate about evangelism in your church? Why not invite them to come along to the webinar we are doing in partnership with A Passion for Life, and send them to be part of the Easter Greenhouse? Encourage women by inviting them to speak at evangelistic events, share their testimony or perform some spoken word poetry. Some may prefer to share the gospel on social media. Take time to support them as they share the gospel creatively around Easter time.