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22 December 2017

Movement Day – What a day!

Movement Day – What a day!

As I stood in Westminster Central Hall London, together with a thousand Christian leaders at the opening session of Movement Day in October, I found myself quite emotional.

I began to reflect back on a conversation Roger Sutton and I had almost seven years previously. Roger, after 22 years of pastoral ministry at Altringham Baptist Church was sensing God was asking him to respond to a new challenge. In a strange and yet what turned out to be significant conversation, I felt God was asking us to work together.

I can't ever remember having such a conversation before or since, but eventually after much prayer and further discussions, we agreed that Roger would join us at the Alliance to explore what it seemed was a new 'God Movement' across our towns and cities. I'd caught a whiff of it over the previous few months and if it was God at work, I wanted to make sure we as an Alliance were getting behind it. Eventually Gather emerged as a means of catalysing and supporting these initiatives and Roger was to become the leader of Gather. 

Gathering momentum
Movement Day, 6-7 October 2017 was the next step in bringing together what we had begun to call, 'Unity Movements' from across the country. In Roger Sutton's book, A Gathering Momentum he tells stories of what he discovered as he crossed the UK – God at work in York, Chester, Croydon, Stoke, Liverpool, Plymouth, Southampton and indeed so many more not just in this country, but a significant number of other nations. It turns out that what God is doing in the UK, he was also doing in so many other parts of the world. As we gathered together at Westminster Central Hall, there was a tangible air of anticipation. This was Christian leaders - not just church leaders, but men and women from across a whole range of sectors of influence, involved in business, education, health, arts, the media and the government nationally and locally. All with a passion to see their communities transformed.

As they told their stories, common themes began to emerge – building strong relationships seem to be a key, praying together, hearing from God as to His agenda for their towns and cities. We heard from leaders who had learnt to act, not individually or competitively, but collaboratively. This was about unity, but not simply unity for unity's sake, but for so much more. The enormous prayer and vision – that in our towns and cities, people will become more Christ Like, the Church will act more like the Body of Christ and the wider community will be more of a reflection of God's will, of His kingdom to outwork on earth. It became obvious as Movement Day progressed that here were people who crossed so many denominations and networks, but the labels seemed to have little significance. It was also significant to hear an important challenge as members of the Alliance's One People Commission both told their stories and brought a prophetic call for a unity which crosses all ethnic expressions.

Only the beginning
As Movement day came to a close, I went away deeply grateful for all I had heard of God at work in towns and cities across the country. Christians initiating cultural, social and spiritual transformation in the places they loved. But, I also recognised this was only the beginning, there is so much more to be done. We mustn't stop here and we must never forget that the greatest transformation gift we can offer to anyone in our community is an encounter with Jesus. 

So, let me encourage you to get hold of Roger's book and be inspired, encouraged and perhaps a little challenged.

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