Gareth Jones serves as a Youth Pastor at Redeemer Grace Presbyterian Church in Flat Bush, Auckland.
Each year during STAND conference, there is at usually at least one evangelism-related session to encourage and equip folks to fulfil God’s Great Commisiion. At this year’s STAND conference, we’ll have the privilege of having Gareth teach a seminar on “Community Evangelism”.
Gareth shared with us a bit about his life, and what he’ll be speaking about during his seminar.
1. Briefly share your testimony of conversion with us.
I became a Christian while at university in Aberystwyth, Wales. From a mix of Christian Union talks and reading John’s gospel by my bedside, I recognised Jesus was the Son of God and I needed to repent and believe the gospel of grace. For the final 2 years of uni, God gave me a passion for evangelism rather than Earth Science so my grades were not great!
2. Why do you think what you’re teaching on is an important topic?
In the perfect church — which is the new creation — there will be people of all ages, cultures, tribes, nations. We will all gather to worship God and there will be no divisions of class, race etc. for it was such barriers that Jesus came to destroy through the gospel.
However, if we look at our local churches we are probably rather one dimensional — we’re middle class, and mainly mono cultural. The effect is these will be the only people we reach out to with the gospel regardless of the people who are on our doorstep, so perpetuating the narrowness of our make up. In this seminar I would like to show how we can reverse this trend, and become a slightly better reflection of the heavenly church.
3. What do you hope will be filling people’s minds and hearts as they walk away from your message(s)?
That this is not an impossible task, and if it matters to God then it should matter to his people.
4. Is there any passage of Scripture that sums up what you’ll be sharing?
Ephesians 2:11-22 – “… remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ… So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
5. How has what you’re going to speak on affected your own life?
When we lived in the UK, our church faced the situation described above. We’d effectively become a commuter church rather than a community church. We sought to undertake a community survey to find out the needs of the local community and to put faces to the church that had been in the area for a few years. Sadly in this instance apart from a few contacts made nothing else took place here.
At that time I was finishing a years study at theological college and was looking for new gospel opportunities. The Lord led us to NZ where we serve in a very mixed race, mixed culture, mixed everything church that seeks to bring people of all ages backgrounds to know Jesus. This is done through a committed few through the gifts that God has given us, which are remarkably diverse.
6. Can you recommend any books, articles, websites, or materials on this topic?
Would you like to join Gareth and others in rejoicing in the redeeming power of the Gospel?
For more details and to register for STAND 2013, visit: http://www.standforthegospel.org/conference/stand-2013/.
Update: Gareth’s seminar can be found here.