There is silence as the new Christian takes to the platform. Their story begins… a search for meaning, purpose and love… with twists and turns. Their life story seems desperate and the congregation sit in wrapt attention. The story continues… and then suddenly there is a turning point in the story. Something like “…and then I met these Christians.” Or perhaps “…and so I started going on this Alpha course.”
The story ends as the new Christian talks about this new life that they have begun. They finish and hand over the mic. The congregation applaud and we celebrate. Our faith is strengthened and we thank God for all that he does. I love these testimonies of people finding faith.
But there is also another kind of story. The story we rarely hear, especially from our church platforms, the stories of losing faith. Over the past few months, I have spent time meeting with people who used to call themselves Christians. I have had coffee in swanky cafes; hot chocolate in city centres; a strong cup of tea on a rickety boat on the River Thames; and a pint of ale in a country pub beer garden, listening to people who have lost faith.
It is very easy to celebrate what God is doing as people come to faith but we must also listen to the stories of people who are losing faith. We need to understand what has gone wrong so that we can help them rediscover faith.
We often only hear the stories of people coming to faith. But perhaps we should start listening to people who lose faith. Having spent time listening and reflecting, I believe that we can help others keep their faith … that we can become a Church that reflects more of the risen Jesus.
Rediscovering Faith is a national tour exploring in more depth the issues of faith and doubt. Andy Frost will be travelling the UK with Dave Bilbrough in October and November 2010.
It will be visiting Southend in a joint at the invite of West Leigh Baptist Church, and Leigh Road Baptist Church & Love Southend.
Wednesday 17th November
Leigh Road Baptist Church, SS9 1NN
Doors: 19.00 Starts: 19.30 Finishes: 21.30
No booking required; £3 entry on the door.
Resources to advertise in your church, flyers, posters and the above video are available by calling the SJI office on 020 8944 5678