Living Faith on Long Island
Living Faith Christian Church, a non-denominational church in a largely Roman Catholic area in New York, has been running Christianity Explored twice a year for more than four years. But as Jim & Josephine Casella, one of the connection directors share, they have done something even better.
Christianity Explored North America helps people love, live and tell the good news about Jesus Christ. To learn more about our resources visit christianityexplored.us.
We use Christmas and Easter as our main “fishing net” events. Living in a largely Roman Catholic area, people are open to invitations to church during these holidays. Then one week after the Christmas season, and one week after Easter, the Christianity Explored course starts. People who come to the Christmas and Easter services and events are invited to come learn more about Christianity in a non-threatening way.
Usually we have around 40 – 50 people attend at the beginning of each course, but the attendance tends to drop by 50% over the seven weeks. We have seen at least one person come to know the Lord Jesus as Savior during each course.
As we train our leaders, we challenge them to see where God is at work in a person’s life, and then seek to join God in that work. One tool we recommend them is The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations by QPlace Ministries. The 9 Arts are: noticing, praying, listening, asking questions, loving, welcoming, facilitating, serving together, and sharing.
What we have seen is that our 12-15 core leaders are now on fire for sharing their faith in all kinds of places. As they go through Mark’s gospel with the guests, they are watching the same videos and doing the same homework that the guests are doing. Each leader gets a chance to witness the gospel having an impact in the lives of the guests, and it has given them courage in their own lives to live and tell the good news. One leader shared with us that on the day away, “God’s Spirit came alive and I really see him leading in my life now.”
Jesus sent out his 12 disciples as he prepared them to be witnesses after he was gone. Like the disciples, the leaders at Living Faith learn to step out and see what God can do. And as we disciple them, they are able to put the gospel to work and break through their fears.