28 October 2016
We are the evangelists
Individuals, churches and charities across the UK are doing amazing work in their communities – transforming lives with the good news of Jesus Christ. We've collated a few amazing stories here, but we'd love to hear your stories, too. Email us about your projects, or tweet us @idea_mag to tell us more.
THE RURAL REVIVAL
As a Methodist minister I serve rural churches in Yorkshire. I see my role as being a dream catcher and when I asked the churches on the sheep farming hills of West Yorkshire to dream the dream, they said they were keen to see the congregations grow. Believing that God was already at work in the community (Missio Dei) we simply opened our doors, linked in to village life and welcomed all. We joined in with the secular festivals taking place, and just as the early Christians did we linked the Christian message to what was happening.
As a result, congregations grew, people came to faith and God honoured the dream. Later, working in the east of the county and caring for six church communities I shared the dream of a market town church with a recently renovated building. Isolation was a problem with young and old alike, and the problems of recession were setting in. When local businesses struggled we held a wedding fayre in the church and invited many to have a stall.
When young parents were unable to afford a summer holiday we simply changed our building into a seaside venue and celebrated 'holiday at home' with sand pit and ball pool. When folk struggled at harvest time we gave everyone a hamper of food to either keep or give away. Our Tea and Toast event provided a meeting place to combat isolation. Every event we organised was free of charge and God honoured the dream. Being welcoming to all, we were helped by lively worship and nurturing through Start and Alpha courses, the congregation began to grow and thrive.
Now serving the folk in rural North Yorkshire I've begun to dream with the congregations of eight little churches. I never know where ministry is leading, but never doubt that God honours the dreams of the faithful. When Jacob awoke from his dream he said: "The Lord is here! He is in this place and I didn't know it." (Genesis 28:16). I believe as evangelists we're called to recognise where God is and link in to the work that's already in hand.
Rev Sue Pegg
THE CITY COMMUNITY CREATORS
All our outreach teams come under the umbrella of streetwise: the aim is to reach out to the lost and be Church to people outside the building.
The prison ministry is currently visiting two prisons monthly. We minister to inmates in prayers and being a light in the darkness.
The homeless team visits the homeless on the streets of London once a month in particular areas; ministering to them in prayers, counsel, food and clothing.
The Kidz Klub ministers to unchurched children monthly, teaching them biblical morals. The mothers of the children in Kidz Klub asked us to set up Mumz Klub, where lessons about parenting are taught.
The senior citizens team visits three elderly homes. We have fellowship with the residents monthly or fortnightly; for some of the residents that is the only church they can attend due to mobility. We celebrate their birthdays in the fellowship. We have an annual BBQ and Christmas lunch with hampers every year for 100 senior citizens. The Homework Klub helps unchurched children with their maths homework and we pray for them, too.
Praise Christian Centre Streetwise
Missional Generation (MG) equips young people to be influential for God in every arena of life. We work with the local Church to see their young people strengthen their voices and be at the cutting edge in society through mentoring and encouraging them to share the culture of MG and consider how they can be influential in their own arenas of life. Our support and mentoring has helped one young man decide to use his God-given skills in graphic design to help those who are living at home with medical issues to feel like their house is a home rather than a medical facility – see an example of his amazing work at jamesdevlindesign.com.
Missional Generation looks to raise up a generation of young people who are passionate about living out the kingdom of God everywhere. We teach them: God formed you, Christ accepts you, and the Holy Spirit empowers you. This shapes how we mobilise young people in annual local mission initiatives, how they access our Mission Academy local training courses and explore the devotional and video resources we offer.
Our long term goal is to see young people share and model the gospel to their peers as they grow in boldness of faith and live without limitations to serve God.
We are currently located in Leeds and Bradford, and have a calling to see the churches and young people along the M62 corridor resourced for missional living. Since February 2016, we have seen more than 60 individuals make a confession of faith, as well as seeing young people we regularly work with teaching and exploring scripture with their peers, as they take a lead in their own evangelistic style.
THE LANGUAGE LEADERS
Everyday Church Online was launched last year to take church to an internet community of three and a half billion people. So far we have reached people of 111 different languages from 180 countries, and we've recently launched native speaking services in German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. We have people join us who can't make it to a brick building because of disabilities, shift work, family pressures, fear – perhaps because they're from another religion – or location, for example. Some people just want to find out more about Christianity.
Inviting people to Everyday Church Online could be as easy as sending a link to the services in an email or through social media. People we talk to are very receptive to the idea of going to church on the internet and then later giving us a visit – even those people that have refused to come to our church buildings for years.
We are able to cross many boundaries to reach people, both in our local communities and worldwide, and have them as part of the congregation. The online church is reaching previously unreached people because of the way we're communicating with the demographic – that's been more important
than the geography.