Two years ago we spent a week looking for houses of peace in Leicester, UK. The plan was to visit homes and offer prayer and see if we could find people who wanted to know more.
The wisdom was this won’t work in England. We don’t talk about our faith and we certainly don’t want someone knocking on our door and asking to pray for us. So we ignored the wisdom and headed out.
Conventional wisdom took a battering when 426 people welcomed prayer out of a total of over 1,224 visits. That’s a ratio of one in three.
That’s two years ago. Last month in Essex, Russell Godward spent 30 days in the harvest. Morning afternoon and evening, six days a week, looking for people of peace (Luke 10). Similar strategy —the early offer of prayer leading to sharing the gospel using the 3Circles.
By the end of May, Russell and friends had spoken with 500 people — visiting homes and public places. Ten people turned and believed. Thirty-seven want to keep talking. A total of 47, near enough to 10%.
Then there’s Jacob Boss. He was naïve enough to think that if the gospel can work in Mumbai, it can work in London. He and his family arrived last January. Jacob has a vision to reach the whole city. So he began looking for God-prepared people in his new neighbourhood.
A few months later he and the team had shared with around 500 people. Thirty have turned and believed (6%). Twenty-five people are engaged in the early stages of discipleship.
What about the North? So far this year Nick Duffy and friends in Manchester have connected with 421 Manchurians. Nick says around 45% of people they approach welcome the offer of prayer. About 25% are up for hearing the gospel (3Circles). 10% of those they approach want to know more.
Leicester, Essex, London, Manchester — same pattern. There are millions of people across Britain who are waiting for someone to offer to pray for a need or blessing. Millions are willing to hear the gospel explained simply. Thousands are ready to learn more, or even turn and begin following Jesus.
All we need to do is find them.
Southern Baptists have passed a resolution defending the truth that Christ died for our sins, in our place, taking upon himself God's just judgment on sin.
Why the need?
Every generation must choose whether to affirm what the Scriptures have always taught. Ours is no exception. In the 1960s mainline liberal Protestantism turned its back on orthodoxy. Now progressive evangelicals are repeating their error.
At a popular level, William Paul Young (The Shack) has said the idea that Christ died as a substitute sacrifice to save sinners and satisfy the just wrath of God the Father — is a “monstrous,” “evil,” and “a terrible doctrine.”
So well done Southern Baptists for affirming what the Scriptures have always taught.
Movements decline and decay when they drift and deny their core beliefs. They remain dynamic when they stay true to core beliefs and adapt their methods to reach a changing world.
Want to learn more?
- Scandalized by the Substitute by Owen Strachan.
- John Stott's outstanding book:
Eckhard Schnabel has a commentary out on Mark's Gospel in the Tyndale series. I've read everything he writes on mission in the New Testament.
UPDATE: The US Kindle version sends you to Alan Cole's older commentary. I've asked IVP to fix it. Make sure you buy the right one.
I've begun reading and Schnabel does not disappoint. Clear and concise. A good understanding of the mission of Jesus.
The Anglican Diocese of Truro, England is seeking to employ a strategic program manager to lead their Transforming Mission program. Salary of £40,000 pa.
You don't have to be a Christian to lead this Diocese in Transforming Mission. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, atheists or New Age enthusiasts can apply as long as they want to "serve the church in the Diocese of Truro and be passionate about enabling spiritual/numerical growth".
They've taken legal advice and believe it would be unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of an employee's religion or belief, or lack of it.
Then break the law.
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer wonders, How may one be a mission leader without hearing the promptings of the Holy Spirit and abiding in the Word of God?
Unfortunately it happens all the time.
One of the stories from Russell Godward's 30 Days in the Harvest:
It was a warm Friday afternoon and Simon and I were in town connecting with people.
Terry walked across the road towards us. He was six foot five, very muscular in his gym vest and tattooed. There was every reason to shrink back, but we were learning that Jesus has given us all authority to go and speak in His name and that people everywhere are ready to hear.
We said hello and introduced ourselves. Terry shook our hands and immediately we had a rapport. We told him we were in town offering to pray for people and asked if we could pray for him. He smiled and said "this is a sign" before going on to say "I'll take everything you guys are offering".
When we asked what we could pray for, he began to share a little of his story with us. Terry had just come out of prison following a 15-year stretch. He was 50 now but had made some serious mistakes when he was younger. Now he was staying at his girlfriend's house, away from his old neighbourhood in East London, and keeping out of people's way. Today was the first time he had walked into town, and then only to get a can of soft drink and head straight home. We were the first people he had met in this town. This was a sign!
We stood there outside the pub, on the main street and prayed together. We then went on to share the gospel with Terry.
When I asked him if there was anything stopping him turning & believing on Jesus, receiving forgiveness of sin, and learning to follow Him in obedience he said, "No, there's nothing stopping me".
Terry turned his life over to Jesus that afternoon.