Dear Friends,

I read an article1 this week about a couple from an Islamic country where it’s dangerous to be a Christian. They managed to escape to the US, but after some time living in the West they described what they called a ‘satanic lullaby’ to make them sleepy Christians, more concerned with the things of this world than the things of God and the salvation of eternal souls. Eventually they returned home, deciding that the physical danger of death and imprisonment was less than the danger posed to their souls by the comfortable West. It was a challenging read. But it was obvious that a great source of joy and motivation for them was sharing the good news of Jesus.

We live in complex and changing times. If we’re honest with ourselves, it feels awkward standing out as a Christian. And it can feel even more awkward starting a gospel conversation with someone. I personally believe enduring that awkwardness is one small cost of being a Christian in Australia. Sometimes the gospel is awkward to a culture that has turned its back on God. That shouldn’t get in our way.

But how can we start a gospel conversation? How do we respond when people object? What should we say when someone brings up a controversy in the media that stands at odds with the Bible?

That’s why Christians Engaging Culture (CEC) was formed. CEC exists to equip the members of St Thomas’:

A   To give a faithful answer in everyday cultural conversations, and
B   To turn those conversations to the gospel.

In a survey of our church last year, 70% of people said we need training in sharing the gospel. So we thought it was fitting that CEC’s first topic should be evangelism. We’re not here simply to help you respond when people bring up contentious topics. We want to help you share Christ. So over the coming weeks we will cover topics like:

This week we released a panel discussion of nine St Thomas’ members sharing the joys and struggles of telling people about Jesus in their daily lives.

On 7 and 14 July, John Mason will be running evangelism training between the 8am and 10am services (training will run 9:10am-9:50am). John and Judy are members of our church and John heads up the Anglican Connection in the USA and has run evangelism training for churches all around America.

We have gathered the best content we could find from around the world and we are releasing it on our website one week at a time in small chunks that you can digest and discuss with other church members. Our prayer is that this will equip you to give a faithful answer and to turn conversations to the gospel.

We are already preparing our second topic on Freedom of Religion and there will be more to come.

There are some things you can do to get the most of CEC:

  1. Check out our website each week (we’ll link to it in the weekly bulletin with a brief description of what we’re covering) –
  2. Subscribe to our podcast – (scroll down and click ‘Listen in your favorite app’ and choose the app you use on your smartphone). We’ve just been approved by Apple Podcasts, so if you had trouble subscribing previously, please try again now.
  3. Discuss the material with one another – we want iron to sharpen iron so we can be better prepared to share Christ. Each week we will have discussion questions on the website to help you.
  4. Pray for Christians Engaging Culture – that it would bless the members of St Thomas’ and equip us to faithfully answer and share the gospel.

In Christ,
Gerard O’Brien