Book Reviews: Andy’s 2023 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.

CHURCHLESS – by George Barna & David Kinnaman

Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them – by George Barna & David Kinnaman.

If you are familiar with the Barna Group, you know that they do ongoing research focused on the church and aspects of the church. This book is all about what the unchurched in our world are like and what they think of the church. It may not surprise you that most don’t think about the church hardly at all, and when they do, it is either with a negative or neutral view for the most part. At the same time, there are still people out there who would attend church with you if you only invited them. They will be more interested in the church if the church is known for its care for the community and meeting real needs. A good sermon or music will not draw most of them in. If they want entertainment, they can find better stuff in the world. A good place to start in connecting with the unchurched is to develop friendships as many people are lonely. It’s a great book if you want some real statistics. If you want the most up-to-date stats go to

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2023 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.

SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH EASE: How the love of Christ can flow naturally from your life – by Thom Rainer

In Sharing the Gospel with Ease, Thom Rainer explains how sharing the gospel should be a natural experience for a follower of Christ. He reminds us of our calling in the Great Commission from Matthew 28 and our encouragement and empowerment in Acts 1. Thom points out that many of us use excuses for not sharing the gospel. We complain about having no time. But the average Christian is also apathetic about the gospel. We say that we realize unbelievers will miss out on heaven and end up in hell, but we don’t seem to care enough to do it. Thom Rainer encourages us to allow it to be a natural part of our life. And to pray that God would guide us and open doors for us to share. A good little book.

After the Party

If you are like me, you tend to feel a little let down after a big project or event. After working so hard for weeks or months to prepare, and experiencing growing excitement and anticipation, it’s suddenly over. So how can you make the best use of the days following the big event?

With Christmas now behind us, you may be experiencing the let down after your Christmas events and projects. We planned, prepared, and practiced, and suddenly it arrived and was over. There are some things we can do to make use of the “letdown” period. There are things you can do even as you are preparing your event, and there are some specific steps to take shortly after the event.

Because Christmas is still on my mind – and it is likely on yours as well, I’ll refer to common Christmas events when discussing steps to take before and after an event.

Use the event as a springboard for more. While planning your event include in your preparations what you will do following the event.

New Guests: You may have seen a few new quests at your Christmas events, and reconnected with some you may not have seen for a long time. It is important that each person visiting feels welcomed. Get their contact information, – and then contact them in a few days following the event. You could include a guest form on each seat and ask anyone new to fill it out, or even encourage visitors to connect on an app. Some churches even offer a gift if people take their filled-in form to a welcome centre before they leave. However you choose to connect with each guest, make it simple and clear, informing them how you will use the information you acquire.

Volunteers/ Staff: Throughout the preparations and during the event, record each volunteer and staff who contributed to the event and thank them after in a personal way.

Our church just did a Living Nativity led by one of our members. Our church’s average attendance is around 85-90 people, and the leader on this project counted 75 people involved. Most of the church participated in some way! Thanking as many volunteers as possible will go a long way. And who knows, it may encourage them to volunteer again? This is going to take some work but should bring you benefits down the road as people want to serve again because they felt appreciated.

Post-event Opportunities: Plan a class or training to follow the event. These opportunities will provide meaningful material that builds off your event. For example, after a Christmas event, plan to begin new small groups in January and invite those who attended the event to join a group.

You could also plan a course to begin shortly after your event and announce this at the end of your Christmas program and allow people to sign up that evening. The course could be all about Jesus or a series like the Alpha program.

Immediate After-Party Actions

Thankyou’s: Extend your gratitude via cards, texts, or emails the day following the event. Handwritten notes are probably best. Thank all the staff and volunteers who contributed. If you had sponsors, thank them with a note, and maybe even a nice card or certificate they would like to display in their office.

Offers: Send a follow-up thankyou to all who attended and offer something before inviting them to attend something else. More than getting them to the next event, you want them to have a positive memory of the even they attended and the experience they had in your church. Offer to pray for them and invite them to join you Sundays at your services.

Invites: Invite them to attend your upcoming small groups or classes. Put together an invitation  that describes the event and all the details of where and when and who will benefit from it. Do your best to present this as something that will benefit them, not you.

I love planning big events that are well-prepared and practiced and performed. It’s important to know what to do next. I hope you got some helpful ideas from the above steps.

I would love to hear how you use the time following events to connect with guests and develop relationships with them.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.

In Tangible, Chris Sicks introduces a concept that I have not come across before, an “apologetics of mercy”. The one who practices this is then a mercy apologist. He says if we were to help someone in need, like a single mother, for instance, then: “The merciful apologist steps into her life, addresses her physical burdens, soothes her emotional scars, and then presents Christ as the answer to her heart’s pain”. (p 26) He does an excellent job presenting the case that too often we Christians think they can win someone to Christ by giving them a great argument, by telling them about Jesus. The truth is, many people are not interested. But when you show people you love them and care for them in practical and real ways, they begin to wonder why. Now you can tell them its because of Jesus. When people experience God through your presence in their lives, God can love them through you. And often they will respond by surrendering to Jesus, because you spent time with them and loved them and just went out of your way to show them the love of Jesus. Sicks refers to this a “show and tell”. Don’t think telling people about Jesus alone, don’t think about showing people God’s love alone, but do both together and see what a difference that makes as people experience the God you are talking about through your relationship with them. Show and Tell.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.

KINGDOM IMPACT: Living Like Jesus in a Broken World – by Putty Putman

Putty Putman has written a challenging book on how to move beyond just impacting individuals for Christ, to impacting larger entities like business and other nations. Chapter 4 “Reclaiming the Planet”, introduces an idea that was new to me, but made me think. He states that all the nations did not just have gods they conjured up in their minds, but that these were truly other gods who were assigned to all the nations. He ties this in to the role we have of reaching all the nations, not just individuals. He challenges us to the task of reclaiming cities and social systems for God. A challenging read!

29 Ways to Share Jesus with Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Hear it

I am a Christian. I love Jesus, and am greatly thankful for the salvation He has given me. I want others to have that same experience with God, to find purpose in life, and peace and joy today and for the future. The reality is that some people do not want to hear about church or Jesus.

It is quite difficult to share Jesus with people who do not know Jesus and have clearly indicated that they do not want to know Jesus. All of us associate with people who do not yet know Jesus.

How do we share Jesus with them when they have already said they don’t want anything to do with Him or with church?

I think this is an especially difficult reality for those living in smaller rural towns. You know people, and you know their families. People know you and your family. You may have grown up with many of them and went to school with them. They know you are part of a church, and you know they are not. It seems that there is no way to help them see they need Jesus because they have clearly told you they want no part of that.

Some say they don’t come to church because it is too hard with kids. Others say they tried church and didn’t like it, or they were hurt by it, or “they are all hypocrites there.” So inviting them to church seems like an impossible and useless endeavor.

Ok, then. If we are to be faithful to share Jesus “as we go into all the world,” as we go on with life and all of its activities, what can we do to reach them with the good news of great joy? Let me share a bunch of ideas that can all be part of sharing Jesus with unbelievers. These will all lie on a spectrum between no interest in Jesus, to asking how they can become a Christian.

  1. Pray for at least 3 people you know who do not know Jesus.
  2. Invite your unbelieving friends into your home for a meal. And just do what you normally do, pray for the meal, have your conversations, enjoy time together.
  3. Remember their special days. Wish them Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, etc. Maybe even get them a gift for Christmas.
  4. Be a good friend.
  5. Tell them you are praying for them. This might work best when they are facing a difficult issue in their life. Maybe pray for them right there if the situation is right.
  6. Bake cookies and share them. While I was driving truck, my coworkers sure enjoyed days when I brought cookies my wife baked and left them in the breakroom. If you don’t bake, buy your coworkers a dozen or two of donuts or bring in coffee.
  7. Give them a hand. If you are good with mechanics, offer to help whey they are having car trouble. If you are good with construction, help them out when they are building a deck. If they are sick, take them supper. Use your experience and skills to help your friends.
  8. Share your stuff. Lend your ladder, or pizza pan, or air compressor. Let them borrow your truck if they don’t have one.
  9. Do something for them. Take their stuff to the landfill when you take yours.
  10. Include them in a party or get-together you are having. This is good when you are already having a bunch of church people over. They get to see that everyone is normal – hopefully. And then your friends can pray with you for this unbelieving friend.
  11. Workout together. I did this for quite a while with one unbelieving friend who was checking out our church. I got to baptize him later.
  12. Read the Bible together. Some people are interested in the Bible, even if not in church. One member of my small group shared that her neighbor came over weekly to read the Bible together. You can help them understand what things mean.
  13. Host a backyard BBQ. Invite them to join your family.
  14. Offer to house sit for them when they go away for summer vacation.
  15. Share rides back and forth to work.
  16. Give them a book on a prominent Christian. They may be interested in reading about a certain athlete who did well on the field, oh, and happens to be a Christian.
  17. At Easter, invite them to watch the latest Easter movie with you.
  18. Ask questions. Don’t be a pest, and don’t be a reporter, but be interested in the other person’s life.
  19. Share a hobby. If you find out you are both interested in chuckwagon races, plan to go together.
  20. Share an answer to prayer with them. People can’t argue with something that you experienced. They may not be interested, but they can’t say you didn’t have that experience. You prayed and God answered in a way you felt was just for you.
  21. Give them a Bible on a special occasion. For example, when their child graduates, gift them a Bible for Graduates.
  22. Share your testimony. This doesn’t have to happen all at once, but share bits of your story when it fits in conversations you have over the years. Tell them your experience with God. Tell them how that has helped you in life.
  23. Invite them to church for special occasions. Christmas Eve or Easter might be good times to invite them. Or if a child is getting baptized, invite them to the celebration. They may come to celebrate with you even in they are not interested in Jesus or church. Who knows what God might say to them in that church service?
  24. Ask what they believe. Invite them to tell you how they view life. This may make them question what they truly believe, and maybe start them searching.
  25. Tell them about a good sale. If you found a good deal somewhere, let them know, or even ask them if they would like you to pick something up for them too.
  26. Speak of Jesus and church naturally. It’s amazing what sometimes gets talked about at work, or after a game. Some conversations may naturally lead you to make a comment about something that happened at church, or what you read in the Bible about Jesus.
  27. Say Grace. Sometimes we hesitate to pray for our meal when we are at work or out with friends. Don’t make a scene, but just quietly do what you would normally do.
  28. Invite them to go with you on a missions trip. This might be a little tricky, but if it is more of a hands-on serving trip, rather than an evangelistic trip, it might be quite okay to have an unbeliever join you.
  29. Go hunting together – whether for a moose, or for that perfect pair of shoes for your daughter’s graduation.

I hope you get the point. If you truly want to win someone to Christ, you need to be a friend. This is not about seeing certain people as a project but just becoming friends with people you are in contact with already.

You may think some of the suggestions in the list are really just about being a good friend and not really about outreach, but that is exactly the point. You need to be intentional, in making friends and being a good friend. The idea is to find ways to be friends, and then talk with them about Jesus as you already do with the friends you already have. We can pray for them regularly, asking God to draw them and work in their lives. It may take years, and then when it happens, it will be so exciting!

Keep looking up