The first time Simon* ever hosted a CE course, it was a flop! In spite of the unimpressive outcome, Simon can remember thinking to himself, “Yeah! The material is good! I like the idea of doing evangelism over a period of time so that people can make a carefully thought out decision."
What do you need to know about CE? It's an evangelistic tool to help explain the essential facts you need to know in order to understand who Jesus is, what he's done and why we need to follow him. It's based on Mark's Gospel. It's easy to use and makes the gospel really clear.
"It was life changing for them."
In conversation one day, a friend explained how she would sit around chatting on the beach with other surfy chicks, and if anyone was interested, she would take them to a cafe and do CE with them, one-on-one!
This was a significant revelation to Simon, and over the years of using CE in China, it has become his preferred way to use CE. God is so gracious, that he chooses to bless CE in groups and with individuals, and Simon shared a more recent one of these accounts from his time in China.
".... there was a big heart level change - something very very real had happened!"
Whenever people introduced Simon and his wife, people would say, they have three children and they are well behaved! This gave credibility to their teaching on marriage and family. The proof was clearly visible. Praise God!
A group came to the pastor of an underground church, and just happened to request some teaching on marriage and family.
God created a wonderful opportunity for Simon and his wife to become involved, allowing the pastor to save face and not be seen to be teaching his elder brother, who was a member of this group! Once Simon and his wife had exhausted all they thought the Bible had to say on the topic, the group wanted more.
". . . .the look on his face . . . he was happy, not embarrassed."
Simon suspected they just needed to understand the gospel and he believed CE would help! The problem was, how to introduce CE, without insinuating they were not already saved and risk offending everyone?
God had a plan.
At that time, a retired couple came to the underground group and said, "We are not Christians, but we like what we see. We want to know more." This paved the way for Simon to suggest that the whole group do CE for the sake of the new couple! It worked brilliantly, and at the end of the 6 weeks, they went straight into discipleship studies.
"The transformation that God brought was clearly visible."
Prayer was the topic for week 4. Simon explained that prayer is a normal part of the believer’s life, and that this is what they would do together that day. If they were not used to praying, it could be as simple as one sentence praising God or thanking God or asking God for help.
That day, every member of the group prayed out loud, at least one sentence. And they continued in this manner each time they met from then on! That was the point when there was a big heart level change - something very very real had happened!
"I was just blown away!"
The story does not end there. In June 2014, Simon returned to spend a few weeks in China, and visited this group. The transformation that God brought was clearly visible.
The wife, from that visiting retired couple, had become a follower of Jesus and Simon was shown photos of her baptism. Unfortunately, her husband has stopped attending altogether! Please pray that God's Spirit will speed on the gospel in his life, that he may repent and believe.
"The Chinese pastor's wife would take his visual aids and he never got them back!"
The pastor’s sister was married to a party official. This is what Simon said about him:
“I was just blown away! I think he understood the gospel, but he’d never called himself a Christian and had never been baptised! He hadn’t known his Bible, even though he’d been involved in church for years.
"In December he retired early from his senior position in the party and got baptised! There he was in the group, sitting there, reading his Bible, flipping backwards and forwards, leading in prayer, and the look on his face. . . he was happy, not embarrassed, and part of the group and taking leadership!" If you ask Simon about what role CE had in their lives, he would answer, “It was life changing for them!”