And we encourage individuals, small groups and churches to do this together. So following the success of our summer reading challenge we are setting up a five-week challenge to support you as you encourage more people to come to hear the real Christmas story.
Bring One Friend is a simple idea. As we ask God for a bigger church to make a bigger difference the Bring One Friend idea is an encouragement. It is an encouragement to all ages in all places to think around how we can start others on a discipleship journey.
Last year we encouraged you to bring one friend. This year we are putting more structure into this by guiding everyone through step by step. You can be part of this by signing up to an account at www.ruleoflife.org.uk
. Sign up before October 20th and you will then receive a Monday reflection from Bishop Paul and a Friday challenge to do. Through these, we will give you theological perspectives on inviting complemented by step by step actions to give you the confidence to invite a bring one friend to church.
If you are already signed up then you will automatically receive these emails but the more who take part the better this is. So instead of doing this on your own why not encourage all members of your worshipping community, house group, church, fellowship circle to sign up and you can do the challenge together.
We are also including Sunday schools in this and will have some material and challenges for our younger members.
As we do this challenge together we are reflecting on the parable of the lost sheep considering the efforts the farmer took to bring the lost sheep back and the delight he showed when he achieved this. It is that sense of persistent search and joy in achievement that we want as part of the Bring One Friend challenge so more can know the kingdom of God.
Over the five weeks, we look at why inviting people is important; who we ourselves can actually invite; we think about the type of service or event to invite a particular friend to; how to actually go about the invitation; and what to do when they accept.
We do this at this time of the year because we know the wider world are talking about Christmas. That gives us a chance to speak into a national conversation. We do this at this time of year because the national church put a great deal of effort into the FollowTheStar campaign which gives every church the opportunity to benefit from their efforts. We do it at this time of year because it’s the time when we have more services – crib, Christingle, carol services – to invite people to. We do it at this time of year so we can start people on a journey through Christmas to Easter and beyond.
The idea to Bring One Friend is a major way we hope to achieve our vision of seeing a bigger church making a bigger difference. The more we all get involved the more people we will see knowing Jesus?
Will you take up the challenge?