Pastor Jonathan Bond recounts his church’s first experience of using ET’s evangelistic Christmas issue.
Jennyfield Evangelical Church (JEC) is a small church (30-plus members) seeking to share the gospel on an estate in Harrogate (N. Yorks.) with well over 3000 homes. With the exception of a small Saturday night meeting run by the local parish church, we are the only Christian witness on this large estate. We have therefore a wonderful opportunity as well as an awesome responsibility.
For several years JEC undertook a Christmas leaflet delivery to almost every house on the estate but with little effect. However, Christmas 2005 was to bring an added challenge!
Around September, I was reading in Evangelical Times about the experience of some churches who had chosen to deliver the Christmas evangelistic issue to houses in their vicinity. This seemed like a good idea, and after praying about it I decided to order 3000 copies for us to deliver along with our A5-size leaflet.
On the day the papers were delivered I was somewhat taken aback as the pallet was unloaded to see the size of 3000 copies of ET. I wondered to what I had committed our small membership – loyal, enthusiastic and faithful as they are! Nevertheless, we proceeded to stamp all the copies with our contact details and split them into batches which mirrored the number of homes on each road.
It became apparent that to carry in one’s arms more than about 30 copies at a time was going to prove difficult. However on the Saturday of distribution (which happened to be extremely wet) we had people arriving with a variety of carrying means, including variously sized haversacks. [Editor’s note: the old-fashioned shopping bag on wheels is an ideal solution.] Over that day and the following week we managed to deliver almost all the copies, which was a commendable effort.
Historically we have had very little response to our Christmas leaflets. This time, however, we have had a far more positive response. I received ten phone calls from people, all commenting positively on the contents of ET and I have been able to visit four of these to discuss the issues with them further.
Most of those who phoned were people who ‘used to’ attend various places of Christian worship but for a variety of reasons no longer did so. It really seemed to have acted as a prompt to some of these people to re-investigate what the church has to say in this materialistic age.
Two at least have started re-attending one of the Church of England churches in the town – they couldn’t bring themselves to attend anywhere else but we pray that the Lord will speak to them there.
Attending Christmas services
We also thank God that about half a dozen attended at least one of our Christmas services as a result of the distribution. One lady has been meeting with us regularly since and seems to be settling with us.
We rejoice over the way the Lord used the December ET on the Jennyfield estate last Christmas. We pray that even now he will continue to speak to people about the things they have read – and that any who still retain their copy may be caused to re-read it. I pray also that this coming Christmas we, as a body of believers, will have the same enthusiasm as last year – to ensure that the gospel is delivered into every home on the estate where we have been called to serve our glorious Saviour, Jesus Christ.