Linking and feeding
Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ John 21:17
First published in
Some time back, I was in a large church ready to do a creation talk in their evening service. The pastor, sitting next to me, slipped me a routine, preprinted card of instructions for visiting speakers. While I fully understood their need for such guidelines, it unfortunately meant that we would not be able to properly promote our Creation magazine.
After the service, the church leaders, thrilled with the message, asked about my coming back again in future years. I gently explained to them that we would then really want to be allowed to promote the magazine; otherwise we would think it wiser to allocate precious ministry time to a situation which allowed the message to go out more freely.
They seemed to think that my concern was simply that we had lost sales revenue. One said, ‘Don’t worry, we will be very generous to your ministry.’ And their unusually generous cheque was certainly more than any proceeds from lost magazine sales.
But I had to point out that whatever the sum, it would still not overcome the problem for next time. I was able to explain that our real concern is using precious ministry time in the most powerfully effective way to reach into the community; a strategy I call linking and feeding.
What do I mean? And what is it that is so important about getting people subscribed to the magazine? Please reflect on what Andrew M. wrote to us recently:
‘Changed my life’
‘… it is a brilliant magazine … my mouth was agape on reading this magazine for the first time in April last year, lent to me from an uncle. I was astounded at the ease with which the theory of evolution can be discredited…. Your magazine has led me to put my trust in Genesis 1–3 as a literal account for the first time. Indeed it has also chased away doubts in regard to other occurrences in the Old Testament. (I had already resolved doubts regarding the New.)’
Notice how he had it passed on to him from someone else. He continued:
‘I don’t know if I could concisely express in words what an important need this magazine is fulfilling. I am so happy to have come to believe that God created Adam in time just as I sit here writing. (I have always thought, “If Genesis 1–3 is not literal or historical, and later happenings in the O.T. are, then somewhere, a line must be drawn where history ‘kicks in’.” Of course, such a thought troubled me and caused doubts, because such a line is a very unsatisfactory way of rendering the Bible believable. And the drawing of such a line does not gel with the way the first few chapters of Genesis are written. Where could one put it?) Your magazine has encouraged me with integrity and rigorous scholarship to see that all of Genesis is true (in particular 1–3).
‘It is marvellous and a privilege to have such ready and sturdy evidence against evolutionary theory and the very destructive idea of the earth having been around for millions of years. (I had always thought (used to think) that carbon dating methods were accurate and fool-proof. Therefore when I had doubts about the Bible because of the ‘proven’ millions of years, I would hit a brick wall or a dead end. Thank you for enlightening me.)
‘P.S. This magazine has changed MY life.’
So what I mean by the linking and feeding strategy is that we go out there to church after church, meeting after meeting, but not just to please listeners. A vital part is then, having shown people the importance of the issue, to encourage magazine subscriptions, so that they link on to our mailing list.
Once that has happened, we see it as if a pipeline has been established into the community through that person.
Then the feed part begins. Every quarter, as the magazine hits postboxes, we are effectively feeding this life-changing, faith-strengthening, witnessing ammunition down those many pipelines. At the same time, that family will get our Prayer News, book specials offer sheets and so on, which means that even more information is feeding down that link to be able to diffuse out into the community (the way Andrew M.’s uncle shared it with him).
The feeding goes both ways, of course—the outreach is fuelled and fed by the fact that a small percentage of those so reached become (like you) donating partners of the ministry. That in turn helps us go on linking and feeding in an expanding cycle. In the process, a tremendous amount of blessing occurs.
Surviving at university
For instance, Helen G. writes:
‘Three years ago when my daughter was studying sixth form biology, I knew she would get a big dose of evolution, but I had no scientific information, only faith in God’s Word, to counter this.
‘The Christian bookshop had virtually nothing on the subject—I ended up a getting one boring technical book which sat on the shelf. Somehow I heard about you [generally, this is through someone who has been ‘linked and fed’] and have found your books and magazine very helpful.
‘My daughter is now doing a second year science degree, and is confident that the world is God’s creation, and can see the flaws in the thinking of her tutors who push evolution. Her friend, also doing second year science at university, was sure that evolution was correct. After reading Stones and Bones she has changed her thinking, and now sees it as a theory with flaws.’
You can see how it spreads. ; Isn’t it exciting to consider that this is happening around the world to literally tens of thousands of people, through linking and feeding!
Many people think we should be out there battering away at the education system, or the politicians, or the media. However, such top-down attempts (all of which have been tried, in the USA, many times) are far less effective in the long run. How did the great British revivals of the past happen, which caused momentous social changes? By person-to-person contact, the spreading Holy-Spirit–guided flame which ended up reaching into the parliament of the most powerful nation on earth.
By CSF’s [CMI’s] materials changing the hearts and minds of people within ‘God’s army’, the Church, these become part of an ongoing, spontaneous, pulsating outreach which is:
Far more active than anything man could ever coordinate; and
Able to penetrate into places which would fiercely resist a frontal assault—e.g. public education.
State (government) schools
For example, the lady who wrote the above letter has a husband who teaches in the State school system. He is now using our materials in his school with great effect! An anonymous survey after the showing of one of our films showed that:
‘there were 5 “don’t knows” and 20 or so “believed creation is the most likely explanation” and no “evolutionists”. With another class they are doing a unit on myth and legend so he was able to show The World That Perished video, using Noah’s Ark as an example of something that seems to be a myth until the facts are examined carefully. The teens were amazed at the size of the Ark and were asking a lot of questions … What a powerful tool this information is in the hands of an experienced teacher in the State school system.’
(Yes it is, if a believer. What would be the point if it were compulsorily in the hands of an anti-Christian teacher, forced to teach something they didn’t believe in? It would become twisted out of recognition, and would be used against the Bible and Christianity, not for it. Changing hearts and minds in order to change the laws works better than the other way round.)
Notice how those we have been linking and feeding then feed others. Some tell us that they have become inspired to begin to teach religious education at their local State school. Recently, a young man in his first year of science at university told Warwick Armstrong that he had become a Christian at high school in this way. His Scripture teacher (a product of link and feed) had given the class evidence for creation and against evolution, just at the time they were being taught evolution at the school. He said that this was what directly led to his conversion.
Over 110 countries
Backed by your practical and prayer, there have been many major outreaches in recent years affecting thousands. Because of the linking and feeding approach, many of those thousands were then enabled to reach out to others, both Christian and non-Christian. (Our research indicates that at least four people get affected by every copy of Creation magazine which we print.)
Without any organised lobbying by any creationist groups at all, the State Board of Education in New Mexico recently [mid-90s] voted 13-to-1 to eliminate all references to evolution in its standards for science education in public schools! This is heartening, although parents can expect a bitter fight as the forces of evolutionary paganism are bound to lash back hard. However, notice how it happened all ‘by itself’ through parents and others whose backbone had been strengthened by these powerful materials.
Just think: because we now print tens of thousands of each issue, we can be sure that some part of each issue is read by at least 100,000 people—probably closer to double that number! Think also how important it is to strengthen the faith of thousands of Christians—how much more they will be emboldened to witness and to share the truth of the glorious Gospel.
We heard recently of a missionary to Japan (where the struggling church is having huge problems because of evolutionary doctrines) who came across Creation magazine. She had been teaching the churches theistic evolution, but now she says she has repented of her error and is trying to repair the damage.
Keith and Cynthia B. write that this ministry is:
‘doing a fantastic job of encouraging Christians (and others) in their beliefs to understand and learn the facts of creation (and the Bible) which a majority of Christians are confused about. We have both been Christians all our lives and known a lot of Bible stories and laws. Evolution being ‘ear-bashed’ during school was sometimes confusing some of our beliefs … We look forward to reading more of your books, etc. and will aim to “spread the good news”.’
Isn’t it wonderful how God can use a few dozen people scattered around the world to affect thousands who affect thousands more? All because you help keep the wheels turning on an effective, continually churning ‘machinery’ which keeps on linking and feeding as we grow.
We are deeply convinced that overall, ‘l & f’ is one of the most effective ways for Christians to be involved in evangelism today. You may not be a good witnesser (most of us aren’t), but the person you get ‘switched on’ to this creation ministry, so that we can link and feed them, may be. Or they may know someone else who knows some non-Christian just ‘waiting’ for this information in order for God to ignite the spark in their heart.
In fact, the magazine often ‘does the witnessing for you’. Mark A. told us that a non-Christian boarder in their house was recently ‘caught’ reading Creation magazine, and has actually used information in one of its articles in an assignment. Mark says, about his efforts to witness to this man, ‘Praise God we are [now] getting somewhere.’
Finally, there is the letter from Alf M., who wrote simply because he was concerned about his subscription having possibly lapsed. Calling Creation magazine ‘wonderful’, he said, almost like a throwaway line at the end, that ‘my lending, of the magazine to a number of friends has resulted in several of them being saved.’ What greater incentive could there be for us to carry on, linking and feeding, linking and feeding, in an ever-expanding cycle, keeping the wheels grinding, whatever the opposition. Thanks for praying—thanks for helping—thanks for being a special part of all this.