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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Secret

What's The Secret? Tom Wharin, minister of Wotton-under-Edge Baptist Church, was actually only too happy to spill the beans for us:

The secret is still a work in progress, but the long and short of it is that with some help from Mike Sleggs from Cirencester B.C. we made a DVD called ‘the secret’ containing six testimonies of how God has changed people’s lives and gave a copy to every one of the 2500 households in town.

The films are entitled ‘the secret of hope’,  ‘the secret of peace’,  ‘the secret of new beginnings’, ‘the secret of self worth’ and ‘the secret of contentment.’   The DVD also includes a short gospel message ending with the suggestion from Rob Axford, the vicar of Wotton, that if people want to hear more about ‘the secret’ they could ask someone displaying the ‘ask me about the secret’ window sticker.

After 6 months of prayer and film making, we put posters advertising ‘the secret’ all around the town and on all the main entry and exit roads late on Easter Sunday night.  We asked the Christians to keep quiet about it and didn’t put any posters up on or near the churches.  The following Saturday night we removed all the posters and put a copy of the Secret DVD through every door in the town as well as setting up a facebook page & website (wotton-secret.co.uk) and asked every Christian household in Wotton to display the sticker.

It’s a bit early to say what the result is.  I’m convinced that everyone in the town is aware that there’s something called ‘the secret'. One or two folks were woken up by their dogs when the DVDs arrived and a few have been scandalised by the exclusivity of the Christian message on the DVDs, but generally the reception from those that have seen the film has been positive.   The number of views and hits on the online resources has been encouraging and we’ve had some new folks visiting the Sunday services.   The best thing so far though is that the people who recorded their testimonies (and some of us who have been wearing ‘ask us about the secret’ t-shirts) have had loads of new conversations about the secret / faith / Jesus over the last couple of weeks.  We’re looking at using puzzling questions in the near future to follow up on some of these conversations & in the mean time we’re devising new ways to nudge people into watching the DVDs which are sitting on their junk mail piles.  

We’ve gained a few insights into how not to do things we’d be happy to pass on, but generally speaking we’re encouraged by the way God has already used the project and are looking to him to do more.
Tom is happy to talk to any other churches who are interested in trying 'The Secret' in their own communities - please get in touch via the WEBA office, office@webassoc.org.uk