I’m one of those many people who don’t bound out of bed eager to share their faith. So I went to Manchester in faith that God was already at work and I would encounter him in the harvest. I was not disappointed. Having a team, and heading out each day with a partner made all the difference. Everyone came back with stories of what God was doing.
The plan was simple, meet people in the community on the streets or in homes and offer to pray for them. Some people aren’t interested. Many are. We pray for a need and then ask, “Right now, do you feel near or far from God?” Then we listen. Then we ask, “Would you like to be near/nearer to God?” We listen. Then we ask, “Could I show you how you can be near to God?” We share the 3Circles and ask, “Where are you?” “Where would you like to be?”
There are three responses:
- Red light: not interested. Smile and move on.
- Yellow light: not ready but want to know more. Let’s meet for discovery Bible study (7Stories of Hope)
- Green light: ready to turn and believe. Let’s meet for discipleship (7Commands)
After five days in Moss Side, Manchester we know on any day there are people waiting to learn more and waiting to turn and believe. They are out there.
Yes, people don’t always turn up to meet again. Jesus had the same problem. Not everyone is fertile soil. But some are.
I enjoyed the time before and after Friday prayers talking to Muslims. Many appreciated the offer of prayer. Some wanted to talk more about Isa (Jesus). One guy wasn’t impressed but it’s hard to get mad at someone who wants to pray for you. We smiled and moved on. I did discover a few gaps in my understanding of Islam. But we weren’t trying to win arguments. We were looking for people in whom God was working. Some of our team members found Muslims who fitted that description.
After five days in Manchester I’m a different person. More relaxed meeting people I don’t know and looking for that person of peace. More confident that it’s the gospel, not me, that does the work. More aware of the enormity of the task as Britain fragments into a range of different faiths or no faiths. Convinced that when Jesus said, “Follow me and I’ll teach you how to fish for people” he really meant it.