Open Minds, Open Hearts

Why we need to listen (to others and to our own story) before we share the Gospel

News March 10, 2023

10 March 2023 | St. Albans, England [David Neal]

Is there a new way not just to ‘do church’ but ‘be church’? What does it mean to share the values of the Kingdom of God? What is the role of listening – really listening to those we share the gospel with? And how does this work for a message driven faith?

These were the questions at the core of the joint Inter-European (EUD) and Trans-European monthly Communication & Media training webinar. Held on 28 February via Zoom and hosted by Vanesa Pizzuto, Dr Simret Mahary and Dr Tihomir Lazić engage in conversation on these matters.

Mahary is founder and director of PRESENCE kulturlounge, a cultural centre in Frankfurt city, which offers a variety of cultural, spiritual and life-related activities through which individuals are invited to encounter life, each other and the One who is in and beyond us all. He is also Pastor of the Frankfurt Central Church in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His background is theology (Theological Seminar Bogenhofen, B.Th., Friedensau University, M.Th.) and Transcultural Studies (Heidelberg University, M.A.).

In his foundational statement for the conversation, Mahary explains, “Open Minds, Open Hearts” means for me how we see God at work in this world in, beyond and sometimes even despite of us and how we can recognise, celebrate it and give it room, as we encounter ourselves, each other and the supposedly ‘Other’. I believe the Spirit’s work in this world is elemental and far reaching and I am deeply grateful to see Jesus at work in people’s lives including mine.”

Lazić is a Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Newbold College and a former TED director of Public Campus Ministry. He earned his doctorate in theology at the University of Oxford and specialises in contemporary ecclesiology. The sense of wonder and adventure that comes from the pursuit of divine truth, goodness, and beauty drive Tihi’s vision for life and ministry.

Convinced that story-telling is a key Christian Apologetic, Lazić in his foundational statement explains, “The story is one of the main tools in Christian Apologetics that aims to deepen people’s understanding of the intellectual, relational, aesthetic, imaginative, and ethical appeal of the Christian faith. Apologetics explores creative and successful ways to proclaim, explain, commend, translate, and defend the gospel to audiences that may be dismissive of Christian beliefs and practices. Knowing one’s message and the audience is crucial in finding effective modes and strategies of communication to remove barriers to faith.”

The “Open Minds, Open Hearts” conversation is essential viewing for those wanting to communicate the gospel in Europe today because it takes the viewer beyond ‘this is how we do it’ to a level of exploration essential in understanding those who we are trying to share the message of Christianity with.

Don’t take our word for it – view and engage with the conversation.

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