Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ 1: Who should attend the Blackberry Bush Course?
Primarily, it is for:
- Prospective church members. The curious. The seekers.
- Those who are “members” but never really engage the activity and work or your congregation.
- New people in your church, who are looking to make some friends.
- The theologically and biblically illiterate. Those with a positive feeling toward God and church, but lacking basic teachings.
- Those looking to review the teachings of the Christian church.
- Those interested in adult baptism.
But the truth is, most small and medium-sized churches can’t maintain separate programs for all of these needs. The Blackberry Bush is an inclusive course which meets a lot of educational, social, and spiritual needs in one package. Bottom line: it’s for anyone interested in learning.
FAQ 2: How much does the pastor have to do?
Without the leading pastor’s blessing and promotion, the course will not thrive. But he or she does not have to do any of the teaching or attend the course. All of it is fresh, streaming, high-quality video. It’s like hiring an associate pastor for a fraction of the cost.
FAQ 3: How much volunteer time and energy will this take?
As far as volunteers go. It is lower-maintenance than most programs. Much like running Vacation Bible School (VBS) in a very small church. It all comes “out of the box,” and a tiny handful of dedicated volunteers can run it well. We even take care of giving each of your students a review and a preview during the week, and remind them of upcoming Blackberry Bush events at your church.
FAQ 4: How much is this going to cost me?
Run one session at a time or get access to all 3.
- Creation Series—Discussing God the Father — $199 — 6-Month Access
- Jesus Series—Discussing God the Son — $199 — 6-Month Access
- Spirituality Series—Discussing God the Holy Spirit — $199 — 6-Month Access
- 18-Month Full Course (All 3 Series) — $499
FAQ 5: What’s my next step? Who do I contact?
Fill out the form on this page and we will have a regional customer service representative contact you.
FAQ 6: What kind of results can we expect to see?
Your number of adult baptisms will most likely escalate dramatically. Small churches running the course have experienced up to 2-3 dozen such baptisms a year. New people will have a place to make friends.
FAQ 7: What is your teaching? Your agenda?
Theologically traditional and yet open-minded. Standard Christian fare. You can tailor the course to match your specific teaching at any point by adding live commentary. If you like CS Lewis, you’ll be fine.
FAQ 8: What’s behind the name “Blackberry Bush?”
There’s an old English legend, that when Satan fell from heaven, he landed in a blackberry bush, and cursed it. The “blackberry bush” is a visual symbol for the “trapped” nature of the human condition, in which we all find ourselves. We live lives of quiet desperation, compounding “broken responses to impossible demands.” The apostle call would call what traps us “law and sin.” We need rescue.
FAQ 9: We have trouble keeping evangelism programs running, long-term. Is this just another fad?
The Blackberry Bush has a “compounding attendance model.” The smallest church should be able to keep 2-3 tables running, more or less, until Jesus comes back. This is a campfire that doesn’t, sociologically, run out of firewood. It is sustainable without wide attendance swings or the dreaded “dropoff.” Also, the 24 weeks of instruction are spaced out into three 8-week semesters (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit semesters) over 18 months with lots of down time for your volunteers to get refreshed and avoid burnout.
FAQ 10: What’s the difference between the Blackberry Bush Course and the Alpha Course?
Alpha is an outstanding course, which has shown amazing fruit all over the world. We highly recommend it. There are several major differences:
- Alpha is more narrowly targeted at new people and non-Christians. The Blackberry Bush is not just for evangelization, it is also a discipleship tool for those who are already believers.
- Alpha was designed in a larger church (Holy Trinity Brompton in London). Blackberry was crafted in a smaller church (Robinwood in California). This leads to a different emphasis in DNA.
- Alpha covers 10 weeks of material in one season. Blackberry covers 24 weeks of material over 18 months.
- Alpha has roughly a 50/50 time balance between lecture and discussion. Blackberry emphasizes longer discussion time and less lecture time.
- Alpha’s main weekend experience focuses on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Blackberry has three weekend experiences over 18 months. One on the Father (The Prodigal Son story), one on Jesus the Son (The Walk to Emmaus), and one on the Holy Spirit (Pentecost).
FAQ 11: Can participants start the course any other time than the first week?
The Blackberry Bush Course is like a circular bus route with lots of stops. As a student, you can get on the bus at any time, ride as long as you like, and get off the bus at any time. Each session is “stand alone” and requires no previous experience.
FAQ 12: I’ve heard of “The Blackberry Bush” Novel. What’s the connection?
The novel (BlackberryNovel.com) is a fictional work, which contains all the major themes of the course. You can order it from Amazon or wherever books are sold. We highly recommend it for all course leaders and guests.