A new 40-day campaign is equipping churches with answers to the most commonly asked questions about God.
"The God Questions" campaign, just introduced this month, is based off a new book originally intended to enable Christians to invite friends to church. But pastors and co-authors Dr. Hal Seed and Dr. Dan Grider soon found that Christians were equally seeking answers to those widespread God questions that their friends were.
"Everyone has these questions about God. What we hadn't anticipated was how much the Christian in the church needs these answers," said Seed, lead pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, Calif.
Studies have shown that one of the major reasons Christians do not share their faith is because they feel ill-equipped. Scott Dawson, author of The Complete Evangelism Guidebook surveyed more than 6,000 Christians on the matter of why people are not sharing their faith and the most frequent responses he received were ignorance and fear.
The God Questions provides simple-to-understand answers through six arguments, including biblical, theological, archeological and logical - all of which do not require the reader to be an expert. Seed pointed out tons of books on apologetics - arguments systematically defending the Christian faith - but most are directed to scholars. The new book is geared toward regular churchgoers.
Is God real? Is the Bible true? What do Christians believe? Why does God allow evil? These are the four major questions addressed in the book and the first four weeks of the church campaign. And they are said to be 95 percent of the 12 standard questions the unchurched has, which Larry Moody, president of Search Ministries, concluded through a survey and in his book, I'm Glad You Asked.
Other minor questions also addressed include "Can a loving God send people to Hell?" and "Do all religions lead to heaven?"
At the 1,000-member New Song church, the six-week campaign resulted in 600 people in small groups, three of which were purely seeker-specific, and boosted confidence among its members. Growth included 150 additional attendants, a 50 percent increase in the number of small group participants, and 36 people coming to Christ.
A major objective of the campaign is to invite what Seed calls "pre-Christian" friends to church. Rather than using the classic "non-Christian" term, Seed describes pre-Christians as "yet to become Christians."
"We believe every person is one prayer away from becoming a Christian," he says.
When Seed and Grider came up with the idea for their book four years ago, the co-authors saw it as "a God thing" as the Da Vinci Code phenomenon and the latest Jesus tomb documentary raised the question of Christian truth more prominently in recent years.
"I think truth is becoming more important to people," said Seed. "That's why you're seeing them raising all these questions of Christianity."
In an era where "propositional truth" is popular among twenty-somethings and people are seeking clear-cut "this is wrong, this is right" answers, Seed says more people have shown greater interest in truth in the last four years than in the 1990s.
The God Questions campaign, marketed through Outreach - a leading provider of outreach tools - is modeled after best-selling author and megapastor Rick Warren's 40 Days of Purpose campaign with short daily devotionals and weekly sermons. Devotionals, however, are written for 6-day weeks rather than 7-day weeks as many tend to fall behind in the more rigorous reading schedule, Seed noted.
At the end of the campaign at New Song, Seed opened a "free for all," opening up the floor to any questions in the church audience. "It was moment in time illustration that Christianity really does have answers to all of your questions," the pastor commented.
"We would like people to know the truth ... and when they know the truth of Jesus Christ, they will be set free."