The church is at is best when churches and Christians work together to make Jesus known.” Roger Sutton, director of Gather UK and Movement Day UK.

Movement Day Doncaster, which took place on Wednesday, 19 June, brought together a community of church and civic leaders to seek continued unity in their city in the hope and expectation that God will transform Doncaster. As we had travelled from London to be part of the day, it was amazing to be welcomed into the middle of a community which has, over the last 20 years, committed to working together for the sake of its town. 

Ian Mayer, the driving force behind Movement Day Doncaster, who has been facilitating Christian unity in the town for more than two decades, was joined by Roger Sutton, director of Gather UK and Movement Day UK. Roger encouraged the assembled group to love the large town of Doncaster and reminded us that when Jesus prayed that His disciples would be one for the sake of the world, Doncaster is a part of that prayer. Roger spoke of the place of lament as we seek transformation – to lament over our towns and cities which are hurting and are in such need of the saving grace of Jesus. Our places and people need to be loved, and it’s the church’s job to do just that. 

During the course of the day, which marked the 20th anniversary of One Heart One Voice, delegates split into tracks, one targeted at church leaders and one civic leaders. In the churches track’ Lloyd Cooke, an advisor to Movement Day UK and chief executive at Saltbox, challenged church leaders to continue to look beyond the walls of our church buildings and to work with secular leaders who are just as passionate about our towns and cities. The groups prayed together, reflected on what it means to be leaders of transformation, and explored ways of working together better in the future.

At the heart of everything the Evangelical Alliance stands for and is passionate about is the unity of God’s people, the church, for the sake of the gospel and the transformation of our nations. Being in the same room with a community of church leaders who are together seeking real and tangible change in their town was inspiring and challenging all at once.

What can we learn?

For a few of us at the Evangelical Alliance, work is mostly behind a desk or in meetings, working out the ways that we can best support Christians and churches in our mission to work together to make Jesus known across the nations of the UK. So, to be able to join with the churches of Doncaster and to be in the middle of such a brilliant expression of unity was really encouraging. It was a joy and an inspiration for us to be a part of such a great day.

It was also a helpful reminder of the important role prayer has in our unity. The willingness of leaders and communities to humble themselves before God and each other in prayerful support and petition was wonderful to see.

If you want to see your community changed in Jesus’ name, start with prayer to find where God is calling you. Seek out unity with others around and join with them in prayer and action. If you’re already working in unity with churches across your town, city or community, keep going. Unity takes hard work, commitment and humility – don’t give up meeting together and seeking God’s vision for your place.

God is working through His people in Doncaster; He is moving and we can’t wait to see what He’ll be up to next.

Sarah Paul, membership and marketing co-ordinator at the Evangelical Alliance, contributed to this article.