How big is your gospel blimp?

So I first let me preface that I understand the story The Gospel Blimp by the late Jospeh Bayly is meant to be a comical criticism of the evangelical church, and rightly so. I haven’t read the book yet but found the short film on Vimeo. It did get me thinking about how we might harness our zeal for the good news in more productive ways and less silly ones.

We’ve always tried to develop relationships with our unbelieving neighbors. Not always preaching the gospel every single day, but trying to be good witnesses of God’s kindness to us. Our neighbors across the street have been through a rough patch. The husband is a sort of aging outlaw biker. His wife is an ptsd veteran alcoholic. I know, not surprising. But even aging outlaw bikers know how damaging it is.

When things have gotten craziest, he didn’t call his biker friends, he called us. We’ve prayed with them, offered a place for her to sober up, when doing so at home was impossible.

We have a couple new sets of neighbors, we hope they will also come to see us as friends to be trusted and to speak truth.

I’m not sure who came up with the idea, but tonight we are holding a talent show for some of the neighborhood kids in our backyard. Sure it probably seems like a silly Gospel Blimp, but we pray it will be fruitful and our kids and the neighborhood kids will open the door to future conversations. We’ve been starting conversations already, but we pray this will help build community.

Please pray for fruit, and no downed blimps or angry firemen.

What are some of the ways you try to witness the goodness of God to an unbelieving world?


Link? I’m Interested in watching

Well, I think our little talent show definitely worked to draw us families closer together and to open the door to conversations about the Gospel. Only two families showed up, but that was fine. Six kids terrorizing the back yard was plenty.

Turns out one of our immediate neighbors grew up in the church and seems to have a lot of interest in Christian apologetics, still working out his particular orientation theologically, but he was very willing to talk about christianity. Very good beginning.

The other neighbors have always claimed faith in christ, the bend a little charismatic, but I think we’ll be more likely now to dig into heart issues as they arise. I pray that we can all grow in love of neighbor as our selves.

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Sorry we didn’t think to capture it. It’s a pretty small blimp, and I’d probably miss it.

Unfortunately our neighbor to our right is definitely an unbeliever and didn’t come last night. She’s a single mom, very reclusive, but allows her kids to play with ours for limited spells. Our kids really love hers. Often our kids will say “Sky and Zander don’t know about Jesus or God, I want to tell them more.” Our sweet kids, our daughter is only 6 and she sometimes makes up worship songs and sings to Jesus in the back yard in hopes our neighbors are listening.

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I think he wanted the Vimeo link.

Oh man. Sorry. I apparently haven’t had any coffee yet.

[Vimeo link removed, since I just sent a request to have it removed from Vimeo. This is one place where we have to protect copyright, and do so fairly regularly. Unfortunately, other than getting your hands on a used DVD, I don’t have any recommendation for how to watch the video. -Joseph]

I am sorry that they were violating the copyright, but also sad that it is now no longer available to watch. I had sent it to some friends because I thought it would be edifying. Anyways, I picked up the kindle edition.

Can I audition for reading the audio book? I have some experience in vocal performance. :wink:

This is perhaps ignorant to ask, but can’t you make an mp4 download available in exchange for money?

Well, again I’m sorry about the whole copyright thing, but seriously my wife and I actually really enjoyed the film, and both found it really spot on for modern day evangelicalism.

Well, more power to you! One thing you could do with your not-yet-saved neighbours, when you get talking about the deeper stuff, is offer to pray with/for them for that stuff. Where I am, that has often provided an open door. As for your possibly-Charismatic neighbours, one great strength of the Pentecostal & Charismatic tradition(s), is its enthusiasm to get out and evangelise, so that might help you as well.

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I would pay to get this for my family.


I agree…it’s short, like less than an hour, but it serves as a good reminder of how we shouldn’t think about evangelism or our personal piety.

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FYI, our biker neighbor’s wife shared her husband is feeling depressed. We invited them over for dinner to talk, but they invited us over to their house. Please pray for our conversation.


Ken -
Indeed! The sort of thing you are doing is the context in which the majority of adults in our culture(s) come to faith in Christ; and how you live out your faith in Christ is a significant witness as well. But I’m sure you know that :slight_smile:

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I did get to have some heart to heart with Jeff. He was pretty much in cruise control when we arrived. But he’s a softy for the kids and he started talking more and opened up about his frustrations and his fears, and feelings that everything is just falling apart.

He was raised Catholic and when we first met I think he tried to say he was Christian, but As we’ve gotten to know him the facade came down. But we haven’t stopped loving our neighbors.

I shared with him that all creation is groaning painfully awaiting redemption and that it is not without purpose or glory to God; and also Cowper’s poem/hymn.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;*
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

I gave him a big man hug and prayed that he would never forget how good God has been toward him, pointing him to numerous blessings which he couldn’t deny, I prayed that he would be drawn, by these trials, to the Lord and that he would know that He is good and makes all things work together for good.

His wife who is basically into shamanism watched with her girlfriend and came up afterwards and hugged me, and thanked me for my prayers.

I think Jeff understands this isn’t about me, it’s about a holy God that tells me to love my neighbor and I am trying with all my heart to do that in caring for his heart.


More generally, the size of the problem the American Church has, though this may not be news:

Almost half of US millennials ‘don’t know, believe or care if God exists’, study finds | The Independent

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
— Romans 10:14-15