Evangelism gets creative

|PIC1|When Alan Jenner earned his degree in physics from the University of Birmingham, he was not a likely candidate for a creative profession. He went on to qualify as a teacher and to teach science.

Yet even then, he wanted to share his Christian faith and engage with non-believers in creative ways.

Today art, drama and music help him achieve his evangelistic goals. This began to become a reality when he met up with Korky Davey, the OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) Evangelist in the West Country.

In October 2008, Alan Jenner was accepted as an Associate Evangelist with OAC. However, he explains, "It’s really acknowledging what has been a long standing relationship, dating back to the 1980s. I began as a volunteer member of the OAC West Country Team. The evangelists were amazing, communicating with adults and children where they are.

"To begin with, it was a matter of working alongside team members, from street work in Bath to school assemblies. Then, with experience and confidence, I was able to present the Gospel messages myself."

Apprenticeship is the way Alan describes his early days of observing and putting
techniques into practice. This was especially true of learning to paint on a sketchboard to accompany Bible stories.

Years of experience were formalised by training with OAC at the Bristol School of Evangelism.

But Alan emphasises, "Although an organised approach helps to present the Gospel effectively, creativity is what is really needed to relate to people where they are. You need an understanding of people, spiritual insight. It takes sensitivity to be able to say there is a better way."

A self-employed evangelist since 1988, Alan Jenner has been an active member of the OAC team during this time. He appreciates the creative training he has received, which together with his scientific background enables him to give a reasoned and logical presentation of the Gospel.

As he uses creative means such as painting sketchboards and puppetry, Alan is sometimes joined by his wife Linda. Musically gifted, Linda is a songwriter who sings and plays the guitar. The team’s creative approach to evangelism appeals to people of varied backgrounds.

Alan sums up, "We’re looking for others who also see what God can do through ordinary people. It’s just using the individuality that God has given you."

On the web: www.oacgb.org.uk