A Mixed Up Minister?
What insights does the book of Jonah have for ministers today?
Led by The Revd Tom Stuckey, a former President of the Methodist Church.
You’re an Angel
This book is brilliant. What I really like about it is the way in which it covers so many things but makes it all accessible. You really can be yourself when sharing your Christian faith: and this book is a handy guide to show you how to do it.
It is not an academic treatise, or a simple ‘to do’ list. It is a conversation between two friends who obviously know each other well: think of The Two Ronnies. One is more serious while the other tells the story, often in a vulnerable and lighthearted way. Throughout you get headings like ‘Over to you’, and at the end ‘A word from David’ and ‘A word from Peter’, which reminds me of ‘So it’s good night from me ... and good night from him’.
With a light touch they cover serious subjects like vulnerability, identity and mystery in a vibrant, readable and highly applicable way. Based on the Robin Gamble observation that ‘angel’ is in the middle of the word evangelism and that we are an angel when we do something good for someone else, Neilson and Currie tell us to ‘relax and just be yourself’; and you don’t have to be angelic.
They go even further and surprisingly say that ‘evangelism itself can be a barrier to belief’, quoting Nick Spencer’s ‘tactless evangelism is second only to intolerance as a modern sin’. This shows how realistic, honest and knowledgeable the authors are, as they then show how we should be hospitable, welcoming, empathetic and ‘good news’ when we share the gospel; just like an angel.
One of the best things about this book is the frequent reference to the Gospel accounts under the heading ‘Learning from Jesus’. Jesus himself, rather than Paul and modern day prophets, provides the model for effective evangelism, even though plenty of the latter are quoted. It is to Jesus that they look and point us as we share his story as ‘everyday evangelists’.
So don’t be put off by the distinctly Scottish nature of this conversation: it is for everyone. Commend it widely. Currie rightly asks if yet another book on evangelism was worth writing, but this one is certainly worth having to help people in the unfinished task. And as you read it, you might try to work out who I thought was Barker and who was Corbett!