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how-to

Help people along their faith journey The Christian faith is a process that everyone experiences differently, as shown in a recent Christian Research study exploring faith journeys. Benita Hewitt and Phil Green find four ways in which the findings can equip churches...

1. Let people know it takes time to become a Christian Of those surveyed, nearly two thirds said that becoming a Christian was a gradual process. People need to be prepared for it to take time to become a Christian; for most Christians it takes between one and four years, although for some it’s much longer – a lifetime even. We must reassure them that this is normal and that it is unusual to have a Damascus Road-type experience like the Apostle Paul did. People should not expect to come to faith suddenly or to feel they are less of a Christian for not having had a remarkable experience. To paraphrase one person's journey: “There have been gaps, but I’ve always been part of the Church. I’ve been part of the Christian family as long as I can remember, but really began to explore what this meant through the promises I made in Scouts. After getting married and leaving home the attachment to church was loosened. I still had faith,

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but God played a smaller part in my life. So my faith journey began gradually, but at the age of 25 there was a sudden call to discipleship.” It’s probably wise for us to move away from the terms “sudden” or even “gradual” and instead acknowledge a mix of ongoing background activities sometimes punctuated by more dramatic moments.

2. Focus on the building blocks for children and young people Christian faith is usually firmly established when young: a third of people claim they knew they were Christian before the age of 12; 40 per cent knew somewhere between 12 and 19; 16 per cent in their 20s; and just 9 per cent aged 30 and above. The Faith Journeys project has revealed that the foundation built during childhood and adolescence is highly significant. “I started attending church at the age of 8 after being invited to a

Profile for Evangelical Alliance

idea September October 2010  

In this edition: "Ordinary Superheroes", "How to 'Help people along their faith journey'", "Banking on virtue", "Destination known", "The ba...

idea September October 2010  

In this edition: "Ordinary Superheroes", "How to 'Help people along their faith journey'", "Banking on virtue", "Destination known", "The ba...