The Bible in Context – spaces available for this May

John Drane welcomes you to the Bible in Context

The Bible may be one of the foundations of Christian faith, but using it in helpful ways is probably one of the biggest challenges facing us as pioneers, says John Drane. But help is at hand – in a course he leads for CMS Pioneer Mission Training – Bible in Context. And there are still a few places left for the next module in May.

At more than 2,000 years old and compiled in a world very different from ours, it’s not immediately obvious how the Bible might speak into our fast-changing situation.

It can be a bit of a minefield even when we’re talking with other Christians who all have their preconceived ideas about “what the Bible says”, let alone those who know nothing about church, or Christians, or Jesus.

For many it’s just an outmoded, bigoted and even damaging book that is well past its sell-by date. No surprise then that it can be the last thing you’d want to mention in missional contexts. We’d rather invite others positively to follow Jesus than get tangled up in what can seem like pointless and often acrimonious arguments about things that happened way back in ancient history.

Doing better with our holy book

And yet we have a sneaking suspicion that we should be able to do better with what is, after all, our holy book.

If any of that resonates with you, then why not come and join us as we explore The Bible in Context, reflecting on how this seemingly random collection of writings from times and places well removed from the 21st century can still be meaningful and lifegiving for people today. If that sounds a big ask for just a few days away, then you’re right – it is! So where to begin?

For a start there’s the many contexts of the biblical books themselves, written over a period of 500 years or so and in quite a few different cultural circumstances between the stone age and the Roman empire. The clue is in that word ‘context’ and discovering what motivated and inspired our predecessors in faith back then can give us some clues about what contextualization might look like in our own very different situation. So this is very much an ancient-future journey of discovery, learning from the past and discerning what any of it means for us today and how we might use it in our own pioneering.

Creative interaction

The Bible as we know it might be a book (more accurately, a collection of books), but it all started life as the spoken word, and for most Christians in most places and at most times through the ages (and still today) that’s how they encountered its message, as oral storytelling and quite often embodied dramatic presentation as well.

There are plenty of creative ways of using the Bible right there in its own history, and exploring them in relation to pioneering leadership today is the central focus of this module.

If you come and join us you can expect plenty of creative interaction as we discover how all this can both inspire and empower us in making missional connections with different people groups today and also in our own devotion as Jesus followers.

Exploring the Bible through this creative prism will expand your horizons not just by giving you new ways to think about things, but also provide you with imaginative tools and practices to enhance your pioneering leadership. That’s why this intensive week is structured a bit like a retreat, creating a safe space in which it’s OK to think about questions you may not be able to ask in other places as well as exploring the Bible’s many contexts alongside our own context, all with the aim of identifying practical ways to share the Bible’s wisdom with others.

And did I say it might just be fun as well? Of course, you’ll never know if you’re not there!

John Drane


Dates 8 to 12 May 2023

Cost £550 include accommodation and all meals and tea and coffee from breakfast on the Tuesday to lunch on the Friday.

You’ll be staying in Birmingham from Monday 8 to Friday 12 May 2023 (8pm Monday, finishing after lunch on Friday)

This is a very popular and fun module, so if you fancy a week doing something different, please do get in touch with Helen Harwood by 24 April.

Contact Helen Harwood on helen.harwood@churchmissionsociety.org

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