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Friday, 14 September 2012

Changing the Conversation

I met Kaye and Jane on the train home from this year’s Baptist Assembly in London. I knew where they’d been because of the packets of fairtrade biscuits poking out of their bags - we were all given chocolate chip cookies as part of our lunch during the Saturday Day Conferences.

Soon I was sitting with them and chatting about the conference they had attended. The title was ‘Pass it On’ and taking part was the newly appointed Baptist Union President Chris Duffett.

“Chris told us stories of giving out free fruit marked with the fruits of the holy spirit,” Kaye told me,  “standing in the market with a sign offering free hugs, leaving a pile of stones in the high street – each one marked with an encouraging Word of Hope - and then watching as God guided individuals to the message He wanted them to receive...  These words sent tingles down our spines and we felt filled with a ‘get up and go’ feeling – this motivation of wanting to ‘give this a go’!!

Giving out roses as part of a Big Hearted Tour event

 “With those words ringing in our ears we went out to eat our lunch under the shadow of Big Ben... as we sat there a man approached us and clearly wanted to chat... so we did.  “Jane offered him a sandwich and the three of us joked together about the weather, tourists, inane engaging chatter really. 

“He then told us that he had been working really long shifts and that he had hurt his back badly when he chased a burglar out of his garden - it was at that point that Kaye had an out of body experience and heard herself asking if he would like us to pray with him... he laughed and walked away.  Not put off, Kaye called after him and he agreed that we could pray for him after he had gone... so we did!!  We could not quite believe it when he came back… we both felt that he was probably embarrassed, and we were pleased he had not just scorned and left.”

By the end of the train journey, Kaye and Jane had begun a conversation about God with the young student who was sharing their table. They had also offered their church, Clarence Park Baptist, as a venue for a very special WEBA training day on Saturday 13th October. We’re calling it Big Hearted Living.

Chris Duffett will be joining us as part of his Big Hearted Tour of WEBA, and sharing some of his unique brand of street art with us in Weston-super-Mare. Conversations with strangers, however, aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – and there are other ways we can all change the conversation about God.

Table Talk takes the form of a game you can play with any group of friends

Table Talk is a simple game you can play with the family and friends you already have. It provides a safe place for people to begin to have conversations about the important questions in life, from ‘how do you live a meaningful life?’ to ‘how rich are we?’

Paul Griffiths will provide an opportunity to play Table Talk at Big Hearted Living, as part of his seminar How People Journey to Faith.

There will also be seminars by Alisdair Longwill (about transitioning your church into a mission-shaped congregation) and Stuart Earl (about doing youth work in a Big Hearted Way)

If you want to live every day as a disciple of Jesus Christ, this day is designed for you. Clarence Park Baptist Church is within easy walking distance of Weston-super-Mare railway station, and it’s also accessible from the M5. The cost for the day is £5 per person with big discounts if you bring a group of four or more. You can book online   at bigheartedliving.eventbrite.co.uk or go to http://www.webassoc.org.uk/event_det.aspx?id=380 to download a postal booking form.

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2012 edition of WEBA news.

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