Smack Heads and Fat Cats by Chris Duffett - Read Online
Smack Heads and Fat Cats
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Summary

This book is about a subject which isn’t too sexy in Christian circles: evangelism.

Through storytelling and biblical teaching, Smack Heads and Fat Cats outlines a vision for evangelism which doesn’t just preach the message, but lives the message. Which loves people enough to show them what Jesus is like.

It’s an invitation to join the adventure of being good news. Because everyone, from the street to the boardroom, needs to hear it.

Published: Gilead Books Publishing on
ISBN: 9781301447763
List price: $4.99
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Smack Heads and Fat Cats - Chris Duffett

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Dedicated to:

My Dad, Paul Stanton Duffett,

and my beloved Son, Seth Christopher Duffett.

I am so proud of you both.

Some slang:

Smack heads: Derogative term used to describe people addicted to heroin.

Fat cats: Unkind slang used to describe wealthy and privileged people who have made a great deal of money.

Good news…: The term used to describe the story of Jesus: a good story that is news that all people should get to hear and see.

…for all: All people are made in God’s image. All people are loved by God, who yearns for a restored relationship with them.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Smack Heads and Fat Cats is a team effort…

Thank you to my wife Ruth, my soul mate.

I want to make special mention of two extraordinary couples. Firstly, thank you to our ‘saviours’ (you know what I mean!) Brian and Viv. Secondly, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I do without Matt and Meg. Your support, encouragement and generosity has been immense!

The story of the Light Project is the story of a team, and I have loved working with a committed group of evangelists who show the good news of Jesus in so many creative ways. Thank you to Deri, who believed in my mad vision and organised me right at the start of the Project’s journey. Thanks a gazillion to my best friend Jon, who has served with me as an evangelist and inspired me time and time again. He shows me so much of the big hearted, generous, joyful God whom we serve. Thank you to those who have served with me in the Light Project adventure: Lynz; Cyd; Ed; Andi; Geoff and Sue; Helen; Gill; Gareth; Cathy; and lastly Glyn. Oh boy, Glyn! Your exuberance for Jesus is contagious and I love being your co-worker in this exciting adventure.

I have also been inspired as I evangelise by two faith-filled couples: Philippe and Veronique, and Ben and Catherine. You have blessed me in my faith and constantly remind me that all things are possible with God.

A big thank you to all the Light Teamers. There have been over 60 Light Team evangelists since it all started, and while I can’t make special mention of you all here, I want you to know that you have been amazing and have brought the good news of Jesus to thousands of people in Chester and all around the UK. People have heard about Jesus for the first time through you and many are now joining in following him. Thank you!

Thank you to those who govern the Light Project so lovingly and excellently. Dave, Phil, Alan, Andy, Matt and Lorna gave me the opportunity to write this book during a three-month sabbatical and to take time to pray, play and rest. Thank you also to past trustees - Ruth, Peter, Dave and John.

Thank you also to TES (The Evangelisation Society), who have supported me as an evangelist this year to multiply the work of The Light Project around the UK. Without your grant I couldn’t have started this adventure!

I owe a huge debt of thanks to the Church in Chester. I have been able to serve you over the past 12 years in many different ways. You have become part of my family and I have become part of yours. Hoole Baptist Church has given me an opportunity to grow and grow—thank you so much to Andy and Sue, who have constantly supported me as an evangelist in the city.

Thank you to all those people whose names I changed for the stories in this book—those who are part of the stories—precious people who I have in some way ‘evangelised,’ yet through whom it has often been me who has been on the receiving end of God’s truth and power.

Thank you to those who have made this a book: Chris Hayes at Gilead Books for his encouragements and thoroughness along the way; James for his clever foreword; Helen for her super dooper art work; and to those who read this book and wrote lovely things about it.

Lastly, running the risk of writing something full of cheese, I want to unashamedly declare a whopping great big thank you to the one whom I love through and through, Jesus.

Chris Duffett

FOREWORD

Evangelism. Vital. If you’re reading this book it is probably because someone, at some point, showed and shared the faith with you.

Evangelism. Fear-inducing. If you’re reading this book it is probably because you want some help with showing and sharing your faith.

Evangelism. Confusing. If you’re reading this book it is probably because you’ve got questions about what is involved in showing and sharing your faith.

Good news. This is a book that is written by someone who is passionate about evangelism, qualified to write about evangelism, and full of provocative insights about evangelism.

Offering thought-through principles tested in the crucible of personal experience, with inspiring stories honed by biblical reflection, Chris helps us to engage with the issues surrounding evangelism today. His honesty in tackling this subject is commendable.

A book on this subject, written by someone like Chris, runs the danger of leaving us feeling inadequate for the task. I was certainly in awe of Chris’ ease at engaging with such a wide variety of people (smack heads and fat cats!) in so many different contexts. But don’t be discouraged. Instead, take Chris’ fundamental premise—that God loves people and wants to show his love through you—and make yourself available to God, whoever you are and wherever you are. As a wise friend of mine said, ‘Be yourself, with God, for others.’

I’ve read lots of books on evangelism. Yet this one made me rethink some of my cherished assumptions and, above all, inspired me to see people as God sees them. I think it will do the same for you. Read, enjoy, and ask God to use you to show and share the faith to others.

James Lawrence, Director of Leadership Development, CPAS

SETTING THE SCENE

They were sharing a spliff down by the dirty brown canalside, sitting around a fire. Within the group there must have been around twelve men who were homeless. I joined the circle by squeezing in between two of the guys and took my place to appreciate the warmth of the fire on a cold winter’s day. Joining the men like this wasn’t unusual; I had enjoyed their company on a number of occasions before, and I was often introduced by them to strangers as a friend. We shared the latest news from the streets: who were newcomers in town; who needed a blanket; the fight that had happened the previous day.

I arranged to meet up with one of the men later with a change of clothes from a small store I had in a local Church. After sharing some stories, for some reason I looked up beyond the glow of the fire and noticed Simon perched on a bench. He sat away from the group, hunched over. I asked what the matter was with him. One of my older street friends, who we all called Grandad, informed me that Simon had just taken something that he shouldn’t have. I knew Simon was a heroin addict, and thought he must have just had a hit and was ‘gouching out’ —a term used to describe the sleep-like state that many addicts enter at the point of euphoria. I got up and went to check on Simon. He was crying and looked a mess with a pale face and shaking hands. In between groans of pain he told me that he had taken a bad hit of heroin and that he couldn’t move. As soon as he told me this I started to worry. The all-too-numerous stories of people dying after taking some bad drugs rattled around my mind. Only the previous week, I had attended the funeral of a man from the streets who had overdosed on drugs. My concern for Simon turned to panic when the group who had been gathered around the fire decided to walk into town. ‘But what about Simon?’ I pleaded. Nothing would convince them to stay: the seemingly urgent business of ‘ham and egging’ (begging) was much more important than ‘baby-sitting a smack head.’ In any case, they told me, he would be all right. But I wasn’t convinced.

At first I didn’t know what to do. I had only been a ‘full time’ Christian worker for a few months, and encountering Simon on the bench was the first time I had knowingly met someone under the influence of heroin, let alone tried to help them after they had taken a bad hit. But then, I simply knew that I should pray for Simon. I didn’t tell him, or anyone else for that matter; I just prayed quietly and laid my hand upon his shoulder. After a few seconds Simon turned to me and said, ‘That’s it Chris! The hand of God!’ He stood up, called to his mates to wait for him, and ran after them in the direction of the city centre. He turned and shouted, ‘Thanks!’ and continued on his way. I stood by the bench with my mouth wide open, wondering what had just happened.

The next day I searched for Simon, determined to find out. I found him in the musty old soup kitchen at the Catholic Church. We sat down together with a cup of tea and he said, ‘All I know is that you were praying for me and a wave of love engulfed me and then I felt better. How did you do that?’ All I could say was, ‘Simon, God loves you.’

That day changed my life. It also changed Simon’s, who, as well as being made better from a poisonous hit of heroin, was healed of his addiction. I learnt something new on that day, and it has laid the foundation for how I seek to follow Jesus. Firstly, I saw that God is ‘out there’ already, searching for his lost children even amongst the heroin addicts and people who beg on the streets. Secondly, I saw that evangelism isn’t all about me and what I do and say. It is much more to do with God working through me, touching people’s lives in ways that are much more clever and effective than mine.

My prayer for you is that you will enjoy the adventure of being and bringing the good news of Jesus to all people. I hope that I will encourage you as you walk with God, and that you will allow him to lead you to further his kingdom right where you live and work, amongst the people you spend time with, day in, day out. I also pray that your love for God will grow and grow, so that you have even more love for people, and that this love may literally flow out from you in ways that you wouldn’t ever have imagined.

Millions of people have yet to experience and respond to the greatest news of Jesus, simply because they have not heard and seen what that news is all about. My prayer is that you and I will have a part to play in reaching the world for Jesus. Let’s not keep the best news that this world will ever know like some kind of top-level secret.

Now, enjoy the adventure…

INTRODUCTION

This book is full of stories about how I have been able to bring the good news of Jesus to people who didn’t have a clue about what it was about. Within these pages, you will read about some of the things I have learnt as I have fumbled along trying to encourage people to consider the Christian message. There are so many people who have no inkling about what it means to follow Jesus. My passion is that they start to ‘get it’. They may, in time, choose to follow Jesus or not, but at least it will be a choice based on information, not ignorance.

I’ll explain what I mean a bit more: to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the call to follow Jesus is an opportunity that every person must be given. Of course, the very life, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus is a free, underserved grace gift. Yet this present isn’t really known by the majority of people in the UK. God so loved the world that ‘whosoever’ believes in him won’t die but have eternal life (John 3:16). The ‘whosoevers’ that John writes about in his gospel are all kinds of people: anyone who believes in the gift of Jesus. But at times Christianity can seem a bit like an exclusive club, one which the whosoevers will never get an opportunity to join because no-one can be bothered to tell them about it.

When I meet Jesus face to face—after falling at his feet and telling him how amazing and great I think he is—I would like to talk with him about all kinds of stuff. One of the things I would like him to know is that I did my all to let everyone know what he was about and why his very life was good news for the world.

Imagine talking like that with him when he returns! I believe that every Christian is called to be and bring the good news of Jesus to all people and make him famous. It would be great to talk about that with Jesus, don’t you think? I reckon he would be well chuffed with our efforts. Just imagine for a moment that as we talk with him and worship him, all sorts of people we knew will join us and talk about how they too became followers of him because of the news they had seen and heard through our lives.

Get this: each one of us can, if we choose to, play a part in changing the eternal destiny of people all around us, starting right now. There are people who are not in the know who could be, if you and I would impart some of the treasured information that we have. Regardless of gifting, character and how confident we may feel, all of us are called to be demonstrators of the good news about the one who is coming back to walk on this earth soon, to judge the living and the dead.

We can’t just leave it down to the events and programmed evangelism activities that are prevalent in much of the Church in the UK. While they kind-of work, the call I want to resound in this book for people like you today is for the multiplication of Christians. That means you and I letting our friends and family see and know the good news of Jesus before leading them to him.

If we are going to see an entire nation reached, it will only come through us caring enough to be good news to all people so that they can have what we have.

The maths involved in the multiplication of people coming to Christ one by one is mind blowing! A friend of mine once told me that if I helped one person become a disciple this year, and the following year they joined me in the goal of helping someone become a follower of Christ, and if we kept this same pattern year on year, then in 10 years time, we would be joined by 1000 people looking to bring the great news of Jesus to others. After 15 years the number of people would be 32,000, after 20 years over a million, and after 27 years we would have to stop, because there wouldn’t be any more people to hear about Jesus in the UK. The entire nation would have been reached! 27 years, one by one, and well over 60 million people who haven’t got a clue about being a follower of Christ would have the opportunity to become Christians. Brilliant! An entire nation reached in one generation.

That’s why multiplication through you and me is vital. Every kind of person, whom society deems as the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, should be able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the call of Jesus to come and follow him.

In this book I give an unashamed call to ‘personal evangelism’. Perhaps this is a rather old-fashioned term, but it basically means that you and I will bring the gospel to everyone who hasn’t heard it before (i.e. most people in the UK) rather than expecting others to do it. I hope that through this guide, I can give you confidence to bring the good news of Jesus to those around you in your own unique way. I believe in this task so much that I have dedicated my life to training others to be good news bearers.

This journey started by accident when I was hanging out on the streets with Cyd, a student on placement from Belfast Bible College. She had just spent time praying with some guys who were homeless. She gave blankets to some of them while I sat on the pavement and chatted to some of my friends who were begging. As I spoke with them, a guy in a suit came up to me and thrust a five-pound note in my hand. He asked how long I had been on the streets. I said that I had just been there for about 20 minutes, which I thought was really funny (unlike the guy, who wanted his fiver back). After some negotiations he agreed I could buy