Newfrontiers Vision & Values | 1a Building churches that are evangelistically relevant | Relational by Terry Virgo & Simon Virgo

(Transcript of Video)

1. Building churches that are evangelistically relevant

a) Relational

>> Relational

>> Relevant

>> Evangelism

‘A gospel-preaching church that is loving, righteous in its lifestyle, involved in world mission and reaching the unsaved in its community by both public and personal activity.’

Simon Virgo, “When you first became a Christian you noticed a lot of people who were excited about Christianity but weren’t necessarily excited about the church, but you obviously are excited about the church. When did you begin to become excited about the church?”

Terry Virgo, “I guess for me like many I got saved on the back of the Billy Graham crusades actually and I think I came into church life fairly typically. It was only later that I began on reflection to see that it was a pretty lonely place and especially as I had been raised with a group of friends who were very close, talked about everything until late at night, shared their lives and then church going was lonely and the pastor even who is a wonderful guy preached tremendous sermons was at the door to shake your hand and then you went home, and I think I really felt, “hey I need more friendship, I need to get alongside people.”

Simon Virgo, “Yeah, so would you say that the church that you first got involved in was more preoccupied with private piety. personal piety than public evangelism and mission?”

Terry Virgo, “I think probably the individual was the centre of everything and the word personal was very popular so you do your personal devotions, your personal evangelism – everything was personal which was exciting because when I first became a Christian you know hey I found God personally I didn’t think anybody knew God personally. It was great to know God personally so for a while you thought, “hey this is good” but you know if you are going to press on you need closer friends, you need to be able to talk, you need someone who you can maybe be accountable to. There is a lot to work through which you can’t do alone. So the emphasis on personal wasn’t enough for me.”

Simon Virgo, “Would you say that was in a sense perhaps typical of that day and age when people were perhaps a little bit more private with their lives?”

Terry Virgo, “It could have been I think when I look back now and see some of the movies in the 1950s you think, “wow life was very different anyway in those days. People were much more formal and the whole society is much more informal today, which lends itself to be honest to much more relaxed relationships. You can talk about things that were pretty outside of normal discussion in those days. Things have changed not only church has changed, I think social life has changed.”

Simon Virgo, “What do you think are some of the dangers of a church that is more preoccupied with your personal devotion, and your personal walk with God?”

Terry Virgo, “I don’t think it is possible to really grow into maturity alone. I think you need one another and actually that is a fairly profound thing when you think about it, when you think that God is in Trinity, he is in relationship that is what God is like and we are made in the image and likeness of God, and so it is not incidental that we need relationships, that we enjoy relationship, that we can grow with others and not alone. Relational things -pretty important.”

Simon Virgo, “Yeah, so often people think, “well God is righteous, God is holy therefore the church is righteous, must be – should be righteous, should be holy but perhaps people fail to recognize God is community and therefore the church is community. So what do you think about the way the church is supposed to reflect the Trinity in that sense?”

Terry Virgo, “I think that at first we need to know we are accepted, we need to know that we are not trying to impress one another to become something we are not. I think that it is very difficult to build relationships when everyone is pretending and we are all behind our masks and religious atmosphere lends itself to that if you are not careful you never meet the real person because you are meeting what this person is trying to project, “how do I want to come across?” And that is not helping anybody, and so we need enough relaxation and I think for us when we first started Small Groups which was such a breakthrough. I said when we start Small Groups lets just play Scrabble and Monopoly and it wasn’t because I was hugely impressed with the spiritual significance of either of them but I felt if we can’t relate naturally we will never get anywhere. So first few weeks we ever did Small Groups, years and years ago I said don’t bring your Bibles bring your Scrabble and you think what a crazy thing, but at last we can just be friends and then you don’t have to project something and then you can find hey this guy is living the same kind of life to me and maybe he is further ahead in some of these spiritual things, maybe we could talk about those too. So they would come out much more naturally and really find one another in a way that means something.”

[End of audio]

Check out the video:
1a. Building churches that are evangelistically relevant: Relational
by Terry Virgo and Simon Virgo


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