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Guitar lessons strike a chord for evangelism

If Christians don’t have social circles, how can they evangelise? Gary Gibbs catches up with Mike Preston to find out how he’s struck a chord with his community in Kilsyth

When Paul encouraged his spiritual son Timothy to ‘do the work of an evangelist’, he was not expecting Timothy to somehow change his core ministry. Essentially, the Apostle was trying to motivate his apprentice to pastor as if he were an evangelist. The challenge for each one of us is the same.

Whether we work in an office, a factory or the outdoors, whether we are simply being neighbours in our street or in full-time education, the question is: what would it look like if I lived my life or did my work as if I were an evangelist?

Pastor Mike Preston, from Kilsyth Church of God in Scotland, made a decision 14 years ago to purposefully find a way of being involved with people outside the church. This is his story…

?Being a pastor, it is sometimes difficult to know how to personally meet, befriend and witness to unchurched people. Nicky Gumbel on the Alpha Course talks about this, and his solution was to join a gym so that he could personally evangelise to unchurched people.

Whilst praying about this back in 2005, I realised that my real passion was for music and particularly the guitar – and definitely not the gym! I decided to teach guitar as a means both to inspire and encourage potential future worship leaders but also in order to evangelise.

Being self-taught, I had to carefully devise a simple beginners’ guitar course, and I began to teach both churched and unchurched people from the community for free. I have probably taught around 200 people in the last 14 years, and I always use ‘How great is our God’ as the song we learn together over four sessions with an opportunity to then perform the song in the morning service at church where the unchurched guitar group members could bring their families and I would preach a gospel message.

Over the years I have seen guitar group members come to faith through this ministry.

In February this year I advertised the free guitar lessons on the Kilsyth Facebook page and took eleven people from the community through the course.

One man came to church with his wife as a result and said the ‘big yes’ to following Jesus.

They have been coming every week since. Two other group members have been to recent church events too.

The seven group members who carried on with stage two and three guitar lessons ended up learning ‘Amazing Grace’ and the old classic ‘Let There Be Joy’.

No one objected to playing Christian songs, and they really enjoyed the whole experience.

It has been a way for unchurched people in the community to cross the threshold of the church and will make it easier for them to come again.

For me, the key to evangelism was simply to use my passion for the guitar.

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Gary Gibbs writes: If at present our lives only orbit around church activities, and our friendships are almost all with fellow believers, it’s worth asking the creative, missional Holy Spirit to show us what we can get involved in to connect meaningfully with lost people. Then we will be able to function, love and serve others as if we were evangelists!

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