You’ve asked a friend to read the Bible with you, and praise the Lord, they’re keen. You could simply pick up the word, read through a gospel together and talk about it, or use one of the many tracts available to help you along. Or perhaps you need some training before you start? Then again, maybe you’re afraid of rejection and don’t even ask the question in the first place?
We’re encouraged to always be prepared to give reasons for the hope we have in Jesus, but it’s easy to doubt ourselves and wonder whether we’ll know how to handle someone’s questions or negative pushback.
The national director of the Ministry Training Strategy, Ben Pfahlert, became a Christian through reading the Bible with a friend more than 30 years ago, so it’s something he’s very passionate about. He takes part in regular training events at his church, Park Road Anglican, where members learn various evangelistic or Bible reading tools and how to use them.
Mr Pfahlert wanted to add The Word One To One – a booklet and reading plan that originated in England, which helps a Christian guide someone through the gospel of John.
“I love it, it’s just awesome,” he says. “We want to make it one of the things our church does, reading the Bible with their mates and introducing them to Jesus. But meeting Jesus in the Bible for yourself rather than, ‘This is what I think Jesus is’.”
Mr Pfahlert rang up the office of City Bible Forum, distributors of The Word One to One (TW121) in Australia, to ask about a linked course he assumed they must have. Except they didn’t. So he asked if they could work together – write a course that he would run as a pilot at Park Road Anglican – and the answer, of course, was yes.
CBF’s facilitator of The Word One to One, John Board, sat down and wrote a seven-part course, and last month video elements were put together for it in MTS’s Sydney office.
“We want the training to be simple,” Mr Board says. “We have been running free monthly online training for TW121, and for some people that one hour is all they need. But what we found was that the majority of people had questions about some of the practicalities of it. They find they need some extra support from friends or pastors, or they write to us with questions.
“So, this is how I think about the material that we’re producing. This is everything we want to say to people that we don’t put in one hour! We’re trying to record a lot of video testimonies of people who have used the material, as well as people who have become Christians. Or even non-Christians who might be reading and might be willing to talk to us.”
Mr Pfahlert expects the course will need some tweaks after its first run-through at Park Road. However, he’s really excited about what it shows and teaches participants.
“It’s about transformation not information,” he says. “By week two we want people to have asked five non-Christian friend to read the Bible, so that, by week three they’ll have actually started doing it. As the course goes on, you’ll actually be doing it – rather than just feeling better about yourself because you learned it but never actually doing anything.
“It’s full of testimonies of people who have invited non-Christian friends who said ‘Yes’ and what happened afterwards. So... by week three, you’re reading with your non-Christian friends and in week five you invite one of your Christian friends to come too, which de-freaks out your Christian friend: ‘I just read the Bible with a non-Christian and it wasn’t that weird!’. Week seven is getting that Christian friend to invite other friends to use it.”
For information about the course email here.