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If you are looking for an evangelism program to use in your church, I strongly urge you to consider Christianity Explored. Although there are several good programs out there, we decided to go with CE several years ago. We appreciate that the CE  videos go through a book of the Bible (Mark) and does not skip over the doctrine of sin.

To give you a feel for CE, I thought I would interview Bruce Jeffries, the elder who has spearheaded the program at our church.

Me: How many times have we done CE now?
Bruce: This is our fourth session, five if you count the training session. My comments reflect our experience. As you know, most of our guest have been internationals, as much as 90%.

Me: How many new people do you estimate have come each time?
Bruce: Attendance varies greatly over the course of the program. Usually a low start (3 is the smallest we’ve had the first night, and 9 is our largest), but by week four or week five we reach a “normal” level of attendance, ranging from a low of 20 to a high of 28/29 for the past three sessions.

About 10% to 15% of our guest are repeats, either they started part way through a prior session or they are repeating the whole thing. I think we get two waves of people, the early adopters are the first wave and then they invite their friends for the second wave. Our Asian guests are very perceptive of our hospitality strengths and weaknesses. They see Americans as friendly and quick to make contact, but slow or absent on follow up. So the process of spending dinner together for ten weeks and intentionally asking personal questions about their lives is very disarming, but in a good way.

Me: What fruit have you seen through CE?
Bruce: Again these comments are specific to mostly internationals. CE Training materials stress that your job is to “sow the seed” and the Lord will produce the harvest. We have seen that time and time again.  Fruit we have seen can be grouped into three areas.

1. Gospel Knowledge.

Many of our guest come from an atheistic culture where they have received formal education denying God’s existence, teaching a “naturalistic worldview”, etc. In these cases our fruit is explaining a Gospel worldview where GOD, who does exist, is THEIR creator and THEY are his creation. And it is God’s design for HIS creation that THEY know and worship Him by loving and serving his son Jesus. Mostly apologitics. We have had a number of guest complete CE and on their final evaluation form write that they now “believe God exist” but that they are not convinced that “Jesus is God” or that Jesus is their “Savior” .  While not a believer yet, the change in worldview is nothing short of miraculous.  It is our prayer for them that other Christians will minister to them later.

2. Conversion

When we see confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior, it is generally where others have already planted the seeds and we are providentially fortunate to be there for the new birth. As for numbers, I would guess we see maybe one new professions of faith per session.  Follow up is the challenge. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell where people are, language barriers, traditional belief systems still flavoring their worldview to some extent.  Sanctification will continue the process.

3. Spiritual Growth  We always have a number of young believers. CE materials are helpful to clarify and re-organize gospel truths in these cases.

Me:What is the basic structure of the evening?
Bruce: We organize things like this:

6:30 Dinner
7:30 Discussion 1
7:50 Video
8:20 Discussion 2

I think a real important aspect of the CE program is the use of the dinner time for the CE host to personally invest/know in their guest. This process/information is absolutely important as later CE sessions will provide opportunities for the host to help the guest to make connections to the Gospel.

All 10 video presentations include all the three main content areas: 1. Jesus  His Identity, 2. His Mission, 3. His Calling.  The earlier sessions focus on who Jesus is, then they transition to His death and resurrection and end with His rightful claim on your life. As you know Mark is used to look at Jesus.

*****

I’m thankful for everyone at our church ministering through CE, from cooks to babysitters to table leaders to everyone who invites a friend. It is a good program, bearing more fruit than we imagined, especially among internationals.

Check out Christianity Explored here. The website also has information about Discipleship Explored and other variations of CE.

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Comments:


14 thoughts on “Christianity Explored”

  1. Rob Lombardi says:

    Someone actually handed me a copy of one of the study guides to look at for my study group. It’s really basic, so I can certainly understand it fitting into an evangelism context. I happened to have a group of Christians that really needed something more meaty. So I decided to go with John Piper’s Battling Unbelief and they are really benefiting from it.

    I noticed they also have Discipleship Explored & Training Explored series. I wasn’t aware of those. Anyone have experience with these other series?

  2. Matt Cast says:

    I’m going out and buying one of your books today… kinda excited. thought you should know! haha JUST DO SOMETHING. I’ve been wanting to follow an author this year and didn’t know what the lord wanted… this will be interesting. Oh and awesome blogs… totally blessed.

  3. Rob Lombardi says:

    Matt, perhaps you already know this, but Christianity Explored is not one of Kevin’s books; he’s recommending it.

  4. Matt Cast says:

    Oh yea I know. I hope the one I just bought is his though right? =) thanks rob!

  5. Faber Austin says:

    As a DeYoung “fan” (..not emergent & ..love the church) I was very pleased to see this blog talking about their Gospel Ministry thru the uses of Christianity Explored! Our Church in Oregon has used this course over the past 5+ yrs and I’ve had the privilege of leading the course around a dozen times. This course is powerful… not due to clever presentations or superior methodology, NO, this course packs the power of the Gospel told without reservation, spin or apology. Don’t get me wrong, Christianity Explored is well made and even entertaining. It presents the gospel in a gentle and winsome manner, yet it maintains gospel integrity and relies on Gods sovereignty to open blind eyes! Great to use for evangelism and also as a firm foundation for anyone who has been called out of darkness!

  6. I’ve had the pleasure of leading this course twice and am equally enthusiastic. One of the things I really appreciate about CE is that it doesn’t rush to “close the deal.” Participants are brought to an understanding of their sin, the authority and plan of Jesus Christ, and are finally called to repentance and faith. Those who made professions of faith in this class did so knowing what they were doing… and the rest of them left with the Hound of Heaven nipping at their heals.

  7. Steve Vanderwey says:

    Kevin
    I know churches use CE but we did the course in our home for our nieghbors. Had three couples come. Two were unchurched. Highly recommend CE!
    Steve

  8. Peter Sholl says:

    Hi all. Just to let you know that Christianity Explored is also available in Spanish! Its been great for our ministry here in Mexico. I encourage you to get it into the hands of Spanish speaking brothers an sisters.

  9. Rob Ham says:

    What better way to get non-believers face-to-face with Jesus than walking through Mark’s gospel with them, not teaching them bits and bobs, but showing them a non-airbrushed Christ and his claims. One massive positive of CE is the fact that you’re showing people completely alien to Christianity how to read the Bible – it’s straightforward, it makes sense, its grounded. We’re using it as part of our church’s outreach here in the UK, and I’m full of thanks for it!

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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