Justin Welby: New evangelism course 'an amazing gift to the church'

A "ground-breaking" new evangelism resource will be released at General Synod later this month.

Faith Pictures will be launched by the Church Army alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury on 25 November in Westminster. Written by Mike Starkey and produced by the Church Army, the course aims to help people talk about faith.

Street preaching could be "counterproductive" and the new course, Faith Pictures, will hope to buck a worrying trend in unhelpful evangelismReuters

It was commissioned by the Archbishop's evangelism task group and Justin Welby has hailed the course as "an amazing gift to the church."

"It is doing just what we need – helping every Christian to share their faith with friends and family," he said. "It doesn't patronise or give standard answers, but stimulates each person to tell what they have experienced of God. It is fun, engaging and free. Please think about running this course in your church."

The Archbishop's Evangelism Task Group identified the need for a new resource and asked the Church Army to produce it

The course claims to take a "significantly different approach" from other evangelism courses and is designed to be run over six weekly sessions. Each session features a video including Archbishop Welby, comedian Milton Jones, theologian Paula Gooder and others.

Recent research suggested that speaking openly about faith can do more harm than good when it comes to spreading Christianity. The research, which will also be presented at the General Synod, found that Christians who talk to friends or colleagues about their faith are three times more likely to put them off God than attract them.

Out of a group of non-believers who said a practising Christian had told them about faith, only 19 per cent said it made them want to know more, compared with 59 per cent who said the opposite.

While 23 per cent said it made them feel "more positive towards Jesus Christ", 30 per cent said it left them feeling more negative.

"How many of us have walked along Victoria Street or somewhere in London and heard somebody standing there shouting things out?," said the Church's most senior lay official, the Synod's Secretary General William Fittall.

"Those of us who are of the faith sometimes feel that that is a counterproductive exercise."