Features, Highlights

MCS launching evangelistic course Christianity Explored

THE Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) will launch the highly successful evangelistic course, Christianity Explored, here.

The 10-week programme will be introduced to Methodists at a full-day seminar at the Aldersgate Convention 2006 at Methodist Centre, Barker Road, on May 27.

The DISCIPLE Agency of the MCS, which is headed by the Rev Paul Nga, is working with the course project team to finalise the launch of the programme.

Aldersgate Convention 2006 will open with the Aldersgate Service at Lee Kong Chian Auditorium, ACS (Barker Road) on May 24 at 7.45 pm.

The keynote speaker will be the Rev Dr M. Robert Mulholland, Jr, a New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has taught and written significantly in two areas — the New Testament and spiritual formation.

The Aldersgate Service, to commemorate the anniversary of John Wesley’s experience of assurance in 1738, will be followed by evening talks to be held at Barker Road Methodist Church from May 25 to 27 at 7.45 pm.

An annual event of The Methodist Church in Singapore, Aldersgate Convention is aimed at bringing the Methodist family together to be renewed according to key themes in our Wesleyan heritage. This year’s theme is “Scripture”.

Except for the seminar, admission to all the other events is free.

The registration fee for the seminar is $65 per person, but those who register before April 28 will only have to pay $50. Groups of 10 will also be accorded the special fee of $50 per person even after April 28. The fee includes lunch, tea and handouts. Registration forms will be available soon.

The Rev Rico Tice, who developed Christianity Explored (see related story on the back page), will be in Singapore to introduce the course and conduct the seminar himself. An Associate Minister at All Souls Church in London, he will be assisted by Mr Barry Cooper, the Associate Evangelist of Christianity Explored.

The course, which is similar to the Alpha Course and is gaining worldwide recognition, is now being run in hundreds of churches in Britain and the United States, and in more than 250 other churches internationally, in addition to individual homes, prisons, schools, universities, hotels, cafes and youth clubs. It focuses on Mark’s Gospel.

It has received endorsements from many well-known evangelists and preachers, including Dr John Stott, who had said: “What I welcomed about the Christianity Explored course is that, in taking us through Mark’s Gospel, it emphasises truths which are often neglected – like the gravity of sin, the centrality of the cross, the sufficiency of grace, and the necessity of repentance.”

The target audiences for Christianity Explored include enquiring non-Christians, Christians wishing to equip themselves to be more effective in sharing the Gospel, and church leaders who recognise the need for increased support in evangelism.

“Most importantly,” says a publicity paper, “Christianity Explored is for those who are deeply concerned that, despite Jesus’ stark warnings about the seriousness of our sin, the reality of hell and the inevitability of God’s judgement, these unpalatable truths are increasingly being watered down or forgotten in the desire to present a message that might be more attractive to modern tastes.”

The publicity paper adds that Christianity Explored “provides an open, friendly, non-threatening forum for Christians to share the Gospel in all its fullness so that God may be seen in all his greatness”. It is also a great forum for Christians to train in evangelism.

There is already in print a “simplified” English version of the course for those for whom English is not a first language.

The course was developed by the Rev Tice in 1995. In 2001, it was published as Christianity Explored by Authentic Lifestyle as other churches began to be interested in using it.

The widespread response led to the development of a global vision in mid-2002 when the Rev Tice headed a specially formed project team to create and implement a strategy to expand Christianity Explored, first across Britain, and then around the world.

By late 2003, the team had revised and published a second edition of the printed course materials; professionally produced a complementary 14-programme Video Series; authored an evangelistic book based on the course selling 10,000 copies within nine months of publication; launched a comprehensive website which now averages 1,800 hits per day; and conducted initial training and promotional tours across Britain and several areas in the United States, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The course materials are now published by The Good Book Company and the team continues to run training conferences all over the world.

In a nutshell, Christianity Explored is a 10-week course with a two-fold aim – to present the Gospel … to all nations, and to prepare God’s people for works of service; and it aims to help people answer three questions that cut to the heart of Christianity – who is Jesus, why did He come, and what does He demand of those who want to follow Him?

Besides relating the Gospel faithfully to non-Christians, the course equips Christians, too. Included in the course material are a wealth of training exercises designed to inspire, encourage and inform course leaders in their evangelistic work, whether in the context of a Christianity Explored course, or beyond.


Tice: Pastor who developed the course

THE REV RICO TICE (above) is an Associate Minister at All Souls Church in London. Born in Chile to British expatriate parents, he spent his early years in Uganda and Zaire before being educated in England.

He had a year working at a church in inner city Liverpool before going on to read history at Bristol University (where he was captain of the rugby team). After graduating, he worked for Hewlett Packard, then went to theological college at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

As a passionate evangelist, he has spent the last 10 years developing the Christianity Explored course. He also works with Christians in Sport and often conducts student missions.