Simon Elliott leads The Big Table, a church plant in South Perth. Simon is a man of many talents, one of which is running. The run club he operates – The BT Run Club – is jam packed with runners of all shapes, sizes and stations. It’s also a great place for Christians to spend time with those who do not know Jesus yet. In the first of our church planter videos, I asked Simon about the interface between “doing church” and the missional opportunities that run club affords.
Hi Guys, just watched vid. I can’t help but thinking that while your intentions may be good, it does just appear like you’re using a social situation as a backdrop to conversion/introduction to Christ and therefore your way of thinking. It leaves me with a very important question I think you should genuinely ask yourself and discuss; And that is, how would you feel if you were invited, to what appears, a group of like minded people under the pretense of a social activity only to find out the the group really only wanted to tell you about their doctrine/product/cult/religion etc etc? Would you not (as I would) feel ripped off, angry, conned, duped & manipulated?
This idea, this belief, this which all religions share now seems more poignant to me than ever before and if adhered to will liberate all of us. And that is; Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.
I’ve just come across this group called TED. Check out this amazing lady and her followup vid and what I’m talking about will hopefully become even clearer.It certainly has touched me profoundly and enabled me to see even clearer the ‘stuff’ of Christianity that just gets in the way of compassion.
Let me know what you think.
I will get to the video soon.
The first thing to say in response is that there is no agenda to “bait and switch” with BT run club and The Bible Table. In fact my observation is that people who come to run club are the ones asking the questions of Simon and those involved with the church. It is a very open group and people feel free to have spiritual discussions. No one seems remotely angry. In fact Simon is very open about who they are, what they do and that the run club is committed to helping people achieve their running goals. But as you know, plenty of people are interested in spiritual conversations. As it is, human beings are “joined up” creatures – every bit of their lives invades every other bit – it’s impossible for that not to happen. No one gets invited to run club – they sign up. If all they want to do is run that is all they do. They occasionally get invited to events. Some come. Some don’t. The relationships are not determined on the basis of their agreeing to come to a Christian event. I will say this for the club: many of those non-Xns who belong to it often remark to me about what a good club it is because it is so accepting of people – fast, slow, fat, thin, runner-for-life, or just-getting-off-the-couch. I actually put that down to Simon’s understanding of Jesus and his desire to imitate how he treated people.
Secondly I would say that you draw a strong distinction between Christians manipulating and other perspectives. You are being conned every day by every ad that tells you to live for yourself, that stuff makes you happier, that beauty is the highest goal to achieve and that your family should be the most important thing in your life. There is NO neutral! Everyone is giving off messages about themselves and what they believe all of the time. Besides I am up front with people about what I believe – no con needed – I always look for an opportunity to tell people I meet the gospel. Why? Because I believe that unless they repent and believe it (and submit to King Jesus) they will face God’s righteous anger for their sin. Now you may not like that, but it’s never going to be a sneaky sidetrack. If people end up angry at me they can be angry because of what I plainly say, rather than what I try to con them with.
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