Crafts, Creativity and Christ
At Cornerstone Church in Nottingham, Kathryn Jackson has been organising special outreach events for women. These evangelistic craft evenings are often sold-out as so many Christian women invite their friends along, so we asked Kathryn to explain how it all works.
Cute as a Button was our fourth evangelistic craft evening and 40 women gathered at our church building to create wall art with canvases and buttons.
Now, if you’re rolling your eyes imagining something really twee or you’re tempted to skip the rest of this article because you’re not a crafty person, please don’t! I’m not a particularly crafty or creative person but if you can host a high-quality event like this then many women will find it really easy to their invite friends along.
In fact, such is the momentum behind these outreach events that we now need the publicity for the next event ready almost as soon as the last one is finished. We make sure our events are really high-quality by decorating the venue and serving canapés to people as well as taking their coats at the door.
Plans and preparations
Our first event was Stir up a Pud; an evening making Christmas puddings. I have to admit that I hadn’t ever made a Christmas pudding before I began to plan the evening but it’s surprising how quickly you can master a skill when you know you’ll be teaching other people! A second confession is that the idea wasn’t even ours (we ‘borrowed’ it from another church) but as soon as I heard about the event I just knew it had legs.
So we set to work planning an event which would be fun and professional. We tried to think through every small detail to make sure that the evening worked well; we bought coat rails, we borrowed a lot of kitchen equipment, we typed up recipes and instructions and we spent ages watching YouTube clips about how to perfectly package a pudding in brown paper.
Sharing gospel truth
We knew we wanted the evening to contain some sort of evangelistic talk and so we worked hard to decide where that would most naturally fit and how long it should be. In the end we landed on a formula which has worked so well that we’ve kept the same structure for all the subsequent evenings.
We have the talk about two-thirds of the way through the evening, it’s about 5 minutes long and we try to make it fun and accessible whilst at the same time pointing to something of the beauty of God. We don’t try to outline the gospel message in its entirety in our talks, there just wouldn’t be time. We simply take one idea and try to present it in as winsome a way as possible.
For example, one year I spoke briefly about the historical evidence for the first Christmas and another year I spoke about the joy and beauty of the incarnation of Christ.
These events take a lot of work (the Christmas pudding year we spend hours and hours making breadcrumbs in advance) but it’s our experience that they are worth the time and energy. The visitors who come are always wowed by the experience and they are often really keen to come again.
We give everyone a recipe or instructions gift pack to take away and in it there is always a tract and invitation cards to other things at church. It’s true that nobody has ‘become a Christian’ at these events yet but it has been part of the journey for some and we think it’s currently part of the journey for others.
To get you started: Ideas for sweet canapés
- Lemon tarts – Simply buy a few large lemon tarts and cut them up into small squares, topping them with a raspberry and sprinkling them with icing sugar.
- Chocolate dipped strawberries – Melt some chocolate and dip strawberries into it before cooling them on a tray.
- Apple & marzipan puff pastries – Buy ready-made (and rolled) puff pastry. We cut the puff pastry into little squares and then put a little square of marzipan on top and then a tiny piece of apple on top. Then into the oven until crispy.
- Strawberry tartlets – Use tiny ready-made pastry cases. Whip up some cream and mix it with blended strawberries and icing sugar. Then pipe the mixture into the pastry cases – and voila!
We serve the canapés on tiered cake stands (the type used for afternoon tea in nice hotels) which we borrow from members of the church.