Gospel Ripples

Most of us at times have had a bit of fun throwing a stone into a pond and seeing the ripples spreading outwards. It has often seemed to me that this, what we might call the ‘Ripple Effect’, is a very good analogy for Jesus’ instruction to his followers in Acts 1:8 where he says-

‘You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

This a description of disciple-borne gospel witness spreading like ripples on a pond from the place of the genesis of Christianity, Jerusalem, outwards with increasing distance, ultimately to the ‘ends of the earth’.

This has always been the trajectory of Gospel Mission, to travel from a centre outward to other places.

This is the philosophy of the Unbounded Church (UC) concept, as described in the book

Quantum Mission. As UC groups meet week by week, over time we see many instances of this ‘Ripple Effect’ operating in practice. Some examples-

Penetrating the Pokies.

One of the venues where groups meet is in a quite large recreational club filled with many patrons each day, many of them regulars frequently to be seen. Part of the club houses the pokies, i.e., the gambling section. It, and its customers, is largely separated from the rest of the venue by walls and screens.

One UC group member has told us that he is regularly asked questions by the pokie players as to what our group does and talks about. He says that this has at times led to him having  longer discussions with them about Christianity.  It has not been obvious to the group how and when they have observed us. However, the point is that somehow unbeknown to us gospel ripples have spread out from the group to impact people in other parts of the building.

Table Talk

Another group meets at another time in the same club when there are many regular patrons sitting at adjacent tables. Group members regularly have conversation with people sitting at the nearby table, who over time have come to know what we are doing. One lady in particular, has been showing interest in the study being discussed by the group and has started to take a copy of our study sheet home with her.

She seems to have some distant, long time ago, church relationship, but our conversations reveal that she doesn’t have much of a grasp of Christianity. However, she showed that she has picked up on the central aspect of the UC strategy when she said-

‘I think it’s wonderful how bring you bring ‘church’ into the places where normal people meet’!

As in the case of this woman, there are several people who regularly meet adjacent to other groups (e.g., one meeting in a pub) and take the study paper away with them, sometimes even asking for a copy when we haven’t got around to giving them one. Some have even told us that they take the study home and discuss it with their partners. This is the Gospel-Ripple effect, travelling beyond the building.

These are all examples of Gospel Ripples that impact, often unbeknown to us, beyond the originating group.

UC groups are intended to be, and act as, Stones thrown into the meeting places of unbelievers; centres from which Gospel ripples radiate impacting many in the vicinity and beyond, often in ways we are unaware of. Indeed, the evidence is that there are many more ‘Gospel Impacts’ being made than we are aware of.

Contrast this with the meetings of the vast majority of Christian fellowships, where Gospel ripples are confined by, and bounce back off, the ‘walls’ within which they meet.

The Unbounded Church strategy, at the very minimum, implants a gospel presence in those places where the light of Christ rarely shines, and where the majority of those who are present are very unlikely to enter a standard Christian fellowship. Beyond that, such presence, through the building of relationships over time, regularly creates opportunities for gospel conversations with those close by. However, more than that as we are increasingly discovering, our groups act like stones dropped into the pools of unbelievers, creating Gospel Ripples that radiate outward to impact people far beyond the immediate vicinity of the group.

This can only happen, as our slogan says – ‘Because we were there!’

Ripples don’t happen unless a stone is thrown into a pool. We are surrounded by a great pool of people without Christ, so wouldn’t it be great if more Christians gave up their time to create and drop more ‘Stones’ into the community, becoming the source of Gospel Ripples that radiate out to impact not only the people around them but also beyond?

2 thoughts on “Gospel Ripples

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