USING GOOD NEWS
Good News is different from most other Christian publications in that it is designed specifically for non-Christians. It is an ideal 'bridge builder' from the church to the community.
Although every issue contains the Gospel message, and God can and does speak to people through that without our help, ideally the paper should be seen as 'sowing seed' and creating opportunities for follow-up.
Our responsibility for evangelism doesn't end at the door the paper is put through - that's just the beginning, an opening for conversation. Most people come to Christ through friends and friendly people; Good News is a thought-provoker, a tool the Holy Spirit can use to start people on a spiritual journey. It gives an opportunity for you to come back to the door and ask what they thought about it, or go back to the friend you gave it to and start a conversation about faith.
HOW IS IT USED?
The paper is bought by churches and Christian groups to distribute to their non-Christian contacts. The majority of the readers are therefore either unchurched or have only fringe church connections.
Churches and city missions buy the newspaper in bulk for sale or free distribution, often door-to-door in their area. The paper is also...
- placed in doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms, staff rooms, university common rooms, etc. (permission may be needed)
- given personally to friends, family and work colleagues
- handed out in street outreaches
- distributed in church ministries like cafe churches, Messy Church, bookstalls, market stalls, coffee shops, daycare centres, food banks, charity shops, etc.
- donated to local libraries and prisons (ask chaplains if they would like copies)
- given to newcomers to church services
... the list is endless! Good News can be used alongside whatever outreach you are already involved in, wherever you meet people and make contacts. It can also be used to begin a new outreach into your community, in a systematic door-to-door delivery programme. Here is some more detailed advice...
Gauging the right quantity to order
After enthusing your congregation with how Good News can be used (see below), ask them to get involved, and find out how many are willing to take part. Then ask each of them how many of the newspapers they feel they can use. It may be best to start with one each and increase that once people find out how easy it is to give away the newspaper, but some enthusiastic, confident people may say immediately that they can use many more. Then add up the number of papers each person says they can use and this will be the right amount to order, in the knowledge that they won't be wasted.
How Good News can be used by individuals in your congregation:
- give to family and friends
- deliver to immediate neighbours
- give to work colleagues
- leave on public transport
- give to callers at the door
- leave in waiting rooms at dentists or doctors, in your library, community centre, etc. (permission may be needed)
- give to non-churched people who attend social events, clubs, drop-ins, toddler groups - any activities run by the church
Things to remember...
1. There should be regular corporate prayer for the distribution. And have feedback times so those using the paper can hear how others have got on – share good news stories to encourage.
2. Ensure every paper used has a name and contact details in the box on the bottom left of page 8 (same space as the response coupon on the reverse, page 7). This can be either the individual giving out the papers or one named person from the church as a whole. A stamp or sticky label is the best option if using one contact name for all your papers – perhaps use a professional labels printer like vistaprint.co.uk, able-labels.co.uk, etc. This not only gives the paper the feeling of a gift rather than junk mail, it gives the receiver the choice to cancel their paper if they don't want it, and more positively allows them to get in touch with you if they are interested in the Christian faith. Putting your contact details in the same area as the response coupon on page 7 also means that if a response coupon comes in to us with your address on, we can let you know who has asked for a DVD, booklet or counselling in your area.
3. Leaflets containing church events can be inserted in the papers, or the papers themselves can be overprinted with details of an invitation to an event at Christmas and Easter. See the Localisation page of this Using Good News section for details and prices (minimum order: 1,000 copies).
4. The papers should be read by each person before being given out, so they can discuss the content with those they are giving the paper to, if the opportunity arises.
5. Where papers are given, month by month, to the same people in your area, a follow-up programme should be planned.
6. Don't forget the non-Christians in your church, and visitors. They too could be offered a paper to read. The Gospel message they hear at your church is then reinforced by what they read, encouraging them to make a commitment.
Visiting all the homes in a particular area sounds scary to many Christians, but is actually a very effective way of getting to know the people in your community and in your own street. Many of us don't get to know our neighbours these days, and so miss the opportunities to share the Gospel with them. Good News outreach creates those opportunities, particularly if used in a systematic way.
1. Encourage all your church members or your outreach team to take between five and ten papers each to deliver to the homes closest to their own home. Make sure the Local Details box on the back page is filled with local contact details (see point 2 above).
2. After three or four months of putting the papers through the doors, each distributor should deliver the following month's papers by visiting the homes where they have been distributing, and asking if the papers are still wanted each month.
3. Make sure each distributor knows the content of the last paper distributed and the current one, so they can respond to any issues someone might raise about what they have read. They also need to listen for needs to pray for (ask if it is OK to pray for them), and offer practical help where possible.
4. Where there is a 'no' response, those houses should be noted so that they aren't hassled with another delivery. Then the process should be repeated with the spare papers going to other homes not previously delivered to, until all are being given to people willing to receive them. Names and addresses of people who say 'yes' should be noted down and brought to the Lord regularly in prayer. These 'seekers' are the first sign of a fruitful witness.
5. When seekers have been identified, a follow-up programme should be set in place. In the sixth month of delivery, it would be good to consider going to the readers with our Community Survey Questionnaire (ask us to email it to you - see the Contact page). When this is answered it may provide information to help decide how best to follow-up each person more individually, according to their needs. As the church or group gets to know people in the area, pray about ideas for involving them in the Christian life, or inviting to enquiry courses like Alpha, Y Course, Christianity Explored, etc.
6. Each distribution itself needs prayer and all members of the church should be encouraged to pray for the outreach, particularly on the day that papers are being delivered or a follow-up is being carried out. Where there is faithful prayer, delivery and follow-up, the Lord will ensure that seeds are sown in hearts that will one day be reaped – even if you don't see the results yourself. You may also like to 'prayer walk' the streets where distribution is going on.
7. This type of distribution is a serious undertaking requiring ongoing commitment. But it remains one of the most effective means of reaching people in your community.
If you want expert training in community outreach and using Good News, we can organise training for your team. Contact our UK rep and experienced evangelist, Andy Godfrey, on 07910624618 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Trevor Dickerson of Outreach UK on 03001231990 or email: email@example.com
Good News is an excellent way to reach your community with God's good news, and there is a square space at the bottom of the back page for your church or organisation's stamp or label. But if you would like to make readers more aware of your church and details of its services and activities, or invite them to a special event, we offer a more extensive localisation service.
We can professionally print your invitation or information in the larger space across the whole of the bottom of the back page. This will help you to build a stronger presence in your locality and attract people to your church/outreach event. On Christmas and Easter issues, we can also put your church or organisation's name or greetings on the front cover, if you wish.
For full details of how all this works, and for prices, see the To order section.
TRAINING FOR GOOD NEWS USERS
Many people who distribute Good News ask if there is training available in how to use the newspaper. Well, the answer is ‘yes’!
Outreach UK (formerly Home Evangelism), is a UK-based mission that seeks to encourage and train church members in personal evangelism, and has agreed to offer your church or organisation training in how to get the best out of Good News.
Outreach UK's Trevor Dickerson says: “We believe that it is necessary and vital for those in our churches to be equipped to share their faith, and in so doing, to build up relationships with those who are at present outside the sphere of normal church activities.
“We are commanded by our Lord to 'go into all the world and preach the Gospel'. Each of us has a mission field on our door step, to those who live around us, or work with us. Outreach UK uses its many years of outreach experience to show how each church member can share their faith in an effective way, to sow seed, to water them and see fruit.
“In partnership with Good News newspaper, your church can be trained and equipped to reach out into your neighbourhood with a Gospel tool that is up to date, attractive and presents the Gospel in a medium that is acceptable today.”
What might be covered by some training sessions?
• The kind of person God uses
• Knowing the Gospel
• Telling your story
• What to say
• Presenting the Gospel message
• What to do, and what not do
• Prayer and preparation
• Developing relationship through listening
• Answering tough questions
• Useful aids
• Follow up linking with Outreach UK
For more information, contact our UK rep, Andy Godfrey, on 07910624618, or Outreach UK Director Trevor Dickerson on 01322 866484 or via Outreach UK HQ: 01784 432558