The only unfortunate thing about it was the timing. We all sat listening to her story. It was nothing too dramatic, but with complete confidence and certainty she told us how Jesus had changed her life. Of all eyes watching on from the packed congregation, two were fullest with tears. The story was that her daughter had prayed for many years for her mum to become a Christian. The heart that had yearned for so long was now bursting with joy as mum shared her testimony. I made the mistake of noticing the daughter’s teary, grateful gaze. I was gone.

The problem was I was just about to preach. I needed a moment to compose myself.

For years now, my newsfeed is full of some of the worst news of my lifetime. I’ve begun to stop checking it to guard my emotional health. We must lament and pray. But today I want to bring some balance to your timeline.

Jesus is alive.


The gospel still works.

The church is growing.

There is hope.

In the words of Paul, We do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

As the Evangelical Alliance, one of the roles we play is taking a bird’s eye view of the landscape and telling the story of some of what God is doing. I have the privilege of speaking at a different church in the UK almost every Sunday. So far this year I’ve been to Sidcup, Sunderland, Purley, Gipsy Hill, Luton, Edinburgh and Frinton. And everywhere I go I hear stories like the one above.

In Luton I led a gospel appeal and watched a whole family surrender their lives to Jesus. It was their second week in church. In Edinburgh I listened as a room of young adults – the so-called missing generation’ – told their varied and beautiful stories of transformation. In Frinton there were several unplanned baptisms at an evening service, including one woman who came to church by accident in the morning and decided to follow Jesus and get started quickly.

Take heart.

As we compare notes across the Evangelical Alliance staff team, the same theme emerges. Gavin Calver shares:

As we travel the UK, there’s a growing hunger in those who’ve never known the Lord to ask the deeper questions and growing confidence in some Christians to speak to their friends about Jesus. It feels like the pandemic has potentially started an awakening of interest in those outside the church.”

Paul’s exhortation to not lose heart comes immediately after his encouragement that grace that is reaching more and more people.”

There are still challenges. Attendance habits have changed. Some finances are tight. We lament and pray. We must persevere and be patient as things settle down. But we also hold these in tension with the firm assurance that God is always working, relentlessly drawing people to himself now and one day every tear will be wiped from every eye. And that includes those who weep with joy because their mum has come home.

If your church is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and you would appreciate a speaker for a Sunday from our team please get in touch.