Reaching out beyond church walls

Reaching out beyond church walls: Jesus7 in ireland

News from around the world.

Dublin, Ireland—Belfast pastor Adam Keough reported that up to 150 people visited Jesus7, a neatly laid out exhibition regarding significant places in Jesus’ life and ministry. They also enjoyed sampling foods similar to those eaten at the time of Jesus. Artistic images provided opportunities for contemplation as visitors entered into the world in which Jesus lived.

There was also a Jesus7 seminar that took place nightly in the Belfast church, which was streamed live to other venues across Ireland.

Similar exhibitions were held in two Dublin venues and Londonderry.

Pastor Stephen Wilson and Lindita Vani said, “We were praying and think­ing about how we could give people an opportunity to see, read, and hear, or perhaps even make something as part of a real-life experience here in Dublin. We wanted to help people engage at a deeper level.” The first day’s focus was on Jesus, the Greatest Gift, so they gave each attendee a beautifully wrapped gift box full of Bible promises from Jesus. As visitors opened the gift, they were invited to share in front of a video camera how they felt. This generated a few smiles and giggles and reflection on how we receive Jesus, the Greatest Gift.

Another group of Dublin young people invited people to copy the Gospel of Mark by hand. Deborah Koizumi, a student, reflected, “In the beginning there weren’t many people coming toward the table to copy the Gospels, so the vicar suggested that we put the board right next to the entrance. This time the response was better. People now participated in the activity at the beginning of their visit, not at the end.”

In addition, across all the venues, 25,000 Jesus7 leaflets were distributed, and the various venues were promoted on Facebook and other media outlets, including an appearance on local radio.

Nightly Jesus7 presentations

The daily exhibitions and activities led toward a series of evening semi­nars, presented by Janos Kovacs-Biro, ministerial secretary for the Trans-European Division. Presented live from the Belfast church, they were streamed on the Web site.

The focus was once again on reach­ing beyond church walls. The Belfast church was transformed into a café studio for the event, with drinks and refreshments available on the tables during the presentations.

With up to 45 in attendance each night, Pastor Keough was particularly encouraged by the 13 visitors who attended as a result of visiting the exhibition and the 17 visitors who came as a result of a personal invitation.

Other small groups also got involved. A Dublin Ranelagh church member watched the program in a friend’s home with seven other Christians. “She thought that it was important that the program was not trying to be sectarian, which would have put people off otherwise. They were disappointed the series fin­ished so soon,” reports Pastor Gavin Anthony.

Betty O’Rourke reports from the west of Ireland that pizza was a motivation to Galway church youth and their friends at the home of Telia Daiwoo. She says, “The youth particu­larly liked the interactive style and the visual aids used to convey the story of Jesus’ walk on this earth.” In Limerick City, church members and friends gathered at the home of Bruno and Nuala Basil. They reported that both college and secondary students took time away from their usual studies to study Scripture.

During a Friday evening appeal, four people in Belfast requested bap­tism, including one individual who had come into the meetings from the street.

In Drumcondra, an English tour­ist attended the Wednesday evening meeting. She came back every night and stated she wanted to be part of our “community” when she returned to England.

Londonderry church members celebrated the end of Jesus7 with an Easter Sunday church breakfast. They spoke with enthusiasm about the friendships that they made, including a visitor who attended four of the evenings and asked to join the church. There was a sense of accomplishment and pride in a project that was very well done. [Adapted from Weiers Coetser, BUC News]

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July 2014

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