A group of Christians from Pinner Baptist Church in London launched Hope 15:13 in March after a heavy burden was placed on their hearts to pray for those impacted by coronavirus.

The global initiative, which offers a model for churches to respond to the pandemic, lays out a clear strategy where prayer, staying safe and sharing the hope of Jesus work in tandem to help people who are desperately searching for assurance find it through a relationship with Christ.

The Evangelical Alliance spoke with Hope 15:13 project director Rachel Mildred to find out more about the initiative and how others might get involved.

What is the Hope 15:13 global initiative and how did it come about?

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I believe it’s a way of us being God’s hands and feet at this challenging time. Several of us were meeting at our church (Pinner Baptist Church) to pray around the virus and the Lord made it clear that this initiative should be born. We provide practical and spiritual resources for churches anywhere in the world to connect and support their members, to equip them in sharing the gospel in this crisis, and for the wider church as a body to grow. 

The website is gathering what significant church leaders sense the Lord is doing and saying in these days and how He is calling us to respond. Our mission is based on Christians following the three-step framework: to pray more intentionally, to prepare with safe interactions and connections, and to proclaim the message of Jesus more boldly. At every step in developing Hope 15:13, we stop to seek God’s will for the initiative and it has grown exponentially since its launch just over a week ago.

Hope 15:13 is built around three actions: pray, prepare and proclaim. Why is it important for the church to act in these three ways?

It serves as a reminder that our Christian life is based on these three actions. Nothing of God is accomplished without prayer – regardless of our situations, it is important to seek that His will be done. 

The preparation element is more of our connection with the world. It’s important to be safe in our interactions with others and to respect and adhere to expert guidelines as well as follow the Lord. 

We provide practical and spiritual resources for churches anywhere in the world to connect and support their members, to equip them in sharing the gospel in this crisis, and for the wider church as a body to grow.

The proclaim element is a reminder of the great commission. As we are being instructed to stay in our homes, it might be easy to think that we’ll leave evangelism until this all blows over’, but it is actually a unique opportunity to be sharing the gospel through online connections with those who might be lacking hope right now.

Romans 15:13 is the bedrock of this initiative. Why is this verse so pertinent at this time?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, so many people seem to be living in a place of fear – this is all too evident from the panic buying we’ve seen in supermarkets. We’re also going through an unprecedented time of shake-up for the church, which in itself is likely to be alarming for a number of leaders. This verse is a timely reminder that regardless of our circumstances, we serve a faithful God of hope.

What do you hope to accomplish through Hope 15:13?

We seek to stir up a desire in people to pray more intentionally, to provide direction for churches to come together for God’s glory, and to empower and encourage people to boldly share the hope they find in Jesus with their friends, neighbours and colleagues.

Since the launch of the initiative, the Government has announced greater social distancing measures. How will these affect Hope 15:13?

The effect is very minimal to be honest. We all anticipated that measures would get stricter and we have a range of tools on our website to share hope online and without the need to be face to face with others. We also have a whole host of resources to inspire people to spend their time wisely and fruitfully whilst in isolation – everything from learning a new language, to gardening or even writing that book you’ve always thought about, and a weekly recipe for people to share with scriptural reflections.

How can others get involved?

They can join us in prayer, they can download email templates to share Hope 15:13 with their home church and loved ones, or they can even volunteer to be a resource creator – we’re uploading amazing new resources every day! If someone has a passion for the gospel, I would encourage them just to head to the website and get in touch – we’ll find the perfect volunteer role for them.

How might others apply this type of model in their own contexts?

The pray-prepare-proclaim model is applicable to all churches and denominations. The initiative has global relevance and application. The more churches we can help with this framework the better.