Thousands of enquiries about Jesus Christ are expected by Christian Enquiry Agency (CEA) as a result of ‘The Passion of the Christ’ film and the Agency is gearing up to handle them.
An ambitious outreach campaign has been launched by CEA to cinemagoers who don’t go to church but will go to see Mel Gibson’s film, and the Agency hopes many will want to know more about Jesus. 150,000 response postcards have been produced by Christian Enquiry Agency to be placed in UK cinemas through Boomerang Media – the UK’s leading lifestyle and youth-targeted media company.
“The film will attract cinemagoers and it will have an impact on them. It’s vital there’s an opportunity to find out more about Jesus while they are still in the cinema and thinking about what they have experienced,” said Christian Enquiry Agency director Jeff Bonser.
Cinema is the most popular form of cultural activity outside the home, attracting over 80% of the entire population in one year – according to Boomerang Media – and more than 60% of all cinemagoers are under 35.
“This is the age group that is missing from churches and the film offers a great opportunity to reach them with the reality of the cost of God’s love for us all,” added Jeff.
Each response postcard has a striking image of Jesus from the film and poses the question ‘Why?’. Part of the card can be sent freepost to CEA for a free booklet related to the film. The section to retain has thought provoking words, a verse from the Bible and an invitation to look at the special content on the UK evangelistic website www.rejesus.co.uk/thepassion
Christian Enquiry Agency also offers enquirers further help and ideas, including prayer, details of Alpha courses and contact with a local Christian.
(For more information on the card’s contents, click here.)
Outreach Resources for Churches
The CEA outreach postcards are also available for churches to use – to give away outside cinemas or for individual Christians to give to their friends. Churches can put a personal code on the cards and be involved in follow-up. For supplies contact Christian Enquiry Agency on 020 8651 6246.
e-mail: [email protected]
There are two evangelistic booklets related to the film from CPO –
‘True or False!’ – provides answers to many of the questions the film prompts ‘Experience the Passion of the Christ’ – focuses on the emotions, feelings and felt needs experienced by those seeing the film, and teases out how Jesus meets our deepest needs.
See www.cpo-online.org/passion or tel: 01903 263354
The film distributors Icon have publicity material and a promotional DVD for churches: Tel: 020 8781 1742 or see www.passionofthechrist.co.uk
Premier Christian Radio has a website for churches about using the film for outreach. See www.premier.org.uk
Success for postcard outreach partnership
Hundreds of people are contacting Christian Enquiry Agency to ask about God as a result of the new range of Contact Cards launched in 2003.
The cards, given out by individual Christians and used by churches for outreach, tackle the key issues of stress, love, forgiveness and satisfaction. It’s the ‘Under Pressure’ card that is attracting the most interest, which is not surprising. The government’s Health and Safety Executive reports that “stress is a huge problem in the workplace”, and a recent survey by ‘Complicated Lives’ showed that millions of us are experiencing all-time high levels of anxiety.
Each card has striking graphics and thought-provoking words plus a verse from the Bible inside, an invitation to click on the evangelistic website www.rejesus.co.uk and a tear-off response section to Christian Enquiry Agency. Picture Postcard Monthly has even featured the cards and says they are great. “These are postcards which deliver a message and which do so in a modern and clever way.”
The highly creative Contact Cards are produced in partnership with Scripture Gift Mission and Deo Gloria Resources. They are ideal to give to friends, use in door-to-door outreach, put on a church welcome desk, place in coffee shops … anywhere it is possible to place a postcard for people to take. For details and a sample card send the coupon on the back page or visit www.christianity.org.uk A special message to stressed commuters.
For details and a sample card click here.
The Revd Baroness Richardson OBE and Lord Alton of Liverpool – both independent peers in the House of Lords – have joined the Rt Revd Dr Tom Butler as patrons of Christian Enquiry Agency.
Kathleen Richardson was the first woman to become President of the Methodist Conference and one of the four Presidents of Churches Together in England. “I am delighted to be associated with the Christian Enquiry Agency. The non aggressive and welcoming response to those who seek information and possible new direction for their lives is the essence of the ecumenical mission today,” she said.
David Alton is an author who was Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council and an MP for 18 years. He said, “Christian Enquiry Agency offers a much needed opportunity to explore the Christian faith today and I’m very pleased to be associated with this vital work.”
Over 50,000 people came to a celebration of hope, faith and life in Heaton Park, Manchester in August 2003. This followed four days of community work by Christians in the city’s most deprived areas – all organised by The Message Trust and the Luis Palau Association. Many responded to a message of good news and hope by evangelist Luis Palau. Christian Enquiry Agency in partnership with Contact for Christ linked 50 people who responded, but live outside the Manchester area, with Christians in their area.
The work of Christian Enquiry Agency, which used to cover England only, is expanding across Britain and Ireland. Now acting as an agency of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, CEA is discussing with churches in Scotland and Wales how best to develop the work there.
In Scotland a steering group has been formed comprising Revd Dr Kevin Franz – General Secretary of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS), Revd Mike Parker – General Secretary of Evangelical Alliance Scotland and Revd Alex Millar – Church of Scotland National Mission Department.
BBC web content about ‘Being a Christian’
The BBC is helping people to understand what it means to be a Christian and offering the opportunity to contact Christian Enquiry Agency for more information.
Visitors to the popular website www.bbc.co.uk/religion can view this content provided by Christian Enquiry Agency with help from Agapé Ministries.
“This is a great opportunity to help people who have little or no contact with church but see or hear a BBC religious programme and go to the website to find out more,” said Jeff Bonser, director of Christian Enquiry Agency.
Five people tell their faith stories including Elaine Roberts who said: “My life has changed incredibly and in the most wonderful ways. I don’t lose my temper like I used to. And life isn’t easy. Life hasn’t been perfect. I’ve faced many storms. But whatever storm I face, I know that Jesus is in the boat with me. He is in control of my life.”
There are some words from the Bible, information about what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and an invitation to talk to God in prayer. The opportunity to find out more about Jesus by contacting Christian Enquiry Agency, or clicking on the ‘steps of faith’ page on www.rejesus.co.uk is included.
To see the BBC content click here
Enquiry Centre and Headquarters
An Enquiry Centre handles the growing number of enquiries about Jesus Christ. The centre is run by the staff of Deo Gloria Trust at their Selsdon House offices in South Croydon. Tim Harding, director of Deo Gloria Trust, said: Christian Enquiry Agency is one of the most strategic agencies for reaching those with no church contact. We are now privy to many exciting and encouraging stories about people’s faith journeys, and are in a position to know just how effective CEA is in introducing them to Jesus Christ.The address for enquiries is:
Christian Enquiry Agency
“Such an excellent team and good facilities mean we can respond to enquiries promptly and professionally, and cope with the anticipated further growth,” said Jeff Bonser, director of CEA.
Christian Enquiry Agency headquarters is at 27 Tavistock Square, the London office of Churches Together in England, where the Web site rejesus.co.uk is also based. Revd Bill Snelson, general secretary of Churches Together in England, comments: Christian Enquiry Agency is a fine example of the connection between unity, mission and evangelism, and a much-needed ecumenical response at a time when fewer and fewer people have any church roots.