I was brought here to talk about fresh evangelism methods. This I did over two nights to a group of about twenty-five people. Betel Free Evangelical Church is a Pentecostal congregation with another Pentecostal church within two city blocks. The churches often cooperate and have identical beliefs but different histories. Betel is an older congregation that sits down the hill some three blocks (1,000 meters) from a small progressive university with about 2,500 hundred students specializing in education, journalism and media. Some of these students I have had occasion to meet at Rokken which serves as the Student Union hosting bands several times a week.
It is interesting that young Norwegians are quite comfortable engaging older people in conversation and it doesn’t appear that there is near the “gender gap” here as there is in America. For this reason I made acquaintance with quite a number and, though without any spiritual moorings, found them to be friendly, intelligent and articulate. Almost all want to defend sex outside of marriage and and when they hear the words, “Christian” or “church”, this is where they go.
Little Betel church sits between Rokken and the student residences so several years ago they came up with the bright idea of having an “Open House” with free hot dogs and drinks until nearly three in the morning after the club is closed. In order to do this, they changed the church meeting time to Sunday evening at five.
At first, my friend Gunnar didn’t know how it would work or if any one would come but he took a power point projector and put an invitation the full size of the church and waited to see. They were flooded with young people sometimes until five in the morning. I wanted to see this for myself and this is part of the reason for coming all this way. Gunnar thought that I could answer many of the students questions, especially concerning creation and comparative religion . At first it was very slow and Gunnar was apologetic. He didn’t know there was a special Halloween event at Rokken that would run later than usual. At about midnight I thought I might turn in but just then the room filled up with about thirty young people in costumes. I ventured over to a table, sat down and a spunky, young lady of twenty-three looked me square on and said, “Tell me why you believe in Jesus Christ and why you think I should too.” After covering pretty much the entire Bible, in two hours we emerged from the conversation as friends and instructions on what to do next. In a scale of 1 to 10, this was an eleven. The best part of the story is this, there were three in the group and another five or so who listened in. Over the last three days, I have had the unique privilege of sharing the gospel with some ten or more people. With some I managed to say little while with others I manged to get the ball some distance down the field. It is all rather hard, slow work as most have been confirmed but not evangelized.
Many that I talk to are influenced more by popular media and “hear-say” than any thing of substance. In most conversations those I talk to who claim some sort of “spirituality” fail to be able to define what they mean and wind up saying that “it just feels right.” All of the religious and belief systems I have encountered so far turn out to be entirely subjective. When I ask questions about these preferences most crumble under the weight of hearing their own voices as they try to articulate what they believe. Truth is of little value here and most are uncertain that it can be known at all. Truth is simply a matter of personal preference (True for you but not for me).