First Steps

First Steps

September 13th 2021
Advice / Seasonal

Written by Carolyn Skinner – Third Space Ministries Chief Executive

Last Season

The events of the last 18 months have been traumatic to say the least. Our worlds have been turned upside down. We are living through history, facing a new, unknown landscape, and in the midst of this something spiritually profound is taking place. 

During the last 18 months I have taken walks with friends who don’t yet have a faith in Jesus, but have allowed themselves to be vulnerable as they’ve let down their guard and asked me questions about the gospel, forgiveness, prayer, healing, eternity, purpose.  I believe that the season we are going through has brought to the surface a level of thinking and awareness of deeper, spiritual issues that we haven’t seen for some time.

Many of us may be familiar with the statistics showing the increased online search for prayer:

A 50% surge, described by The Telegraph as a global phenomenon.

The Telegraph online 22nd May 2020, ‘Pandemic prompts surge in interest in prayer, Google data show.’

One in four people across the UK have engaged in some form of online worship since lockdown began.

Premier Christian News 24th August 2020, ‘1 in 4 people have engaged in some form of online worship during lockdown, poll shows.’

Online Alpha Course sign ups tripled during lockdown.

Premier Christian News 5th June 2020, ‘Alpha course sign ups triple during UK lockdown.’

This is indicative of a new season that we are in and one that we cannot ignore. The spiritual temperature appears to be rising. We are still faced with a world of unknowns, and we are still processing the trauma that we have all journeyed together, and this will continue to trigger spiritual searching.

New Season

What should our response be? We can respond to rallying cries to seize the opportunity with urgency and sign up for every mission available.  For those with energy, confidence and fervour this might be just the thing.  But I am also aware that I hear the exhaustion in the voices of many who feel depleted and cannot take on one more thing.  I believe that it doesn’t have be an ‘all or nothing’ situation as we explore evangelism in this new season.  Yes, it is a season of opportunity, but God made us all unique. He understands your circumstances and capacity.  And in this place he will position you among the people he wants you to love, those that you can impact with the light of his truth that shines through you.

First Steps

So often we simply don’t know where to start. I would suggest that the best place to start is with the people in front of you. Consider your world, the people who are in it, those who you’ve spent time talking to over the last year, faces that have become familiar as you’ve sat in the same café or walked the dog or chatted over the garden fence.

Who is God calling you to drink coffee with, or go for a walk with?  Who is he laying on your heart to be praying for?  How can you be more intentional in those relationships?  Maybe there is simply one person that you need to invest in right now.

Sharing Jesus in your Everyday

I have written a course for those of us who find evangelism hard, who need the initial steps to get started.  “First Steps: sharing Jesus in your everyday” aims to remove the fear of evangelism and explore how we can share our faith naturally.  Over 6 weeks there is space to develop new habits, try things out, and be released into an evangelism shape that works for you.

This course comes as a result of spending the last 10 years at Third Space Ministries, sharing faith with those that would often never set foot inside a church. Sociologists describe the first place in society as home, the second place as work, and the third places as those environments where people meet to develop friendship, discuss issues, and relax. These are places of leisure such as gyms, nightclubs, pubs, cafes etc.  It is these places which form the backdrop to the mission we pursue at Third Space Ministries, seeking to demonstrate God’s love in creative ways and through the ministry of presence.

I’m sure there are Kingdom opportunities all around us that we just don’t see because we are not expecting to see them. Let’s ask God to give us his eyes, to see what he sees when he looks at our community.  And let’s offer him what we have, however inadequate that may seem, and see how he uses it for his glory.

Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.

Romans 12: 1-2 (MSG)