Just reflecting a bit more on BAP with a friend this morning. When you go to BAP one of the things that has to be done in advance is a written piece about an aspect of mission & evangelism. I had 2 options. One I felt was the easy option which was about youthwork and the harder option, but far more me was about getting out there among Joe Public and asking God for words of prophecy and offering to pray for healing… this was my piece, in case anyone is interested…
and Evangelism: Meeting people at their
point of need.
relation to aspects H3 & H6 on the Criteria for Selection)
Like it or not, we live
in an increasingly secular nation. Our government does not openly declare any
one faith, the media is not ‘Christianity friendly’ and church attendance is continuing
to fall. This is the age of ‘the haves’ rather than ‘the have nots’; the era of
knowledge – where we can find out pretty much everything we want to at the
click of a button; the age of consumerism, selfish choice and demand.
this, increasing numbers of people are realising that wealth and possessions
are not an answer to happiness. Research in the last decade has shown that the
majority of people in the UK have a belief in a divine being and that they do pray. Various beliefs and religions
are on the rise and ‘spirituality’ has come to be ‘cool’. So there seems to be
a dichotomy between these two: People are seeking a spiritual encounter but in
many cases their first choice appears not to be the Church. I long to see this
turned on its head!
been that by enabling the Kingdom of God to come into people’s lives at their point of need, hearts are softened
and minds are far more open to hearing the Word of God. Inspired by the early
church I believe God has given us all as believers, power and authority in His
name and that in working within that, the church can have a far greater impact
on those around us. Talking to someone about going to church can often be a
conversation killer, however an offer to pray for an injury or an encouraging
word can be a great opener into a conversation on the Kingdom of God. In some
circles this is a controversial approach but St Paul tells us to ‘eagerly
desire’ the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1) and that prophecy specifically
is to: ‘strengthen, encourage and comfort’.
Christ I try to model this wherever I can, both in my own time and also
corporately at church. I have had some wonderful conversations with people
after giving them a word, or by offering to pray. One particular example is of
a man who came to clean our carpets. When he arrived he was obviously limping
and apologised for struggling with his equipment due to a painful foot
condition. I offered to pray for his foot and the pain was largely reduced (so
much that he stopped limping). He was happily amazed and it enabled us to have
a more detailed conversation about my faith, the gospel and our next Alpha
course, which he said he was going home to share with his wife! Another recent
example is of a prophetic word I shared with a chap who works at our local
station. Having been initially a bit reluctant to talk to me, he said that the
word meant something to him and again there followed further discussion about
Jesus. This was particularly interesting as he is a Muslim. What a great way to
proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God, by offering people something at
their point of need, first.
ministry reflects the work of the early church that can be seen specifically in
the book of Acts and the Letters of St Paul, and is something that I am passionate
about seeing more of within the modern Church. In Acts 9 for example we see the
power of a healing in evangelising, when a paralytic is healed and a woman
raised from the dead after Peter has prayed for them:
those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
people believed in the Lord
that God has given to us is enormously helpful in proclaiming the Good news to
non believers but also to encourage and nurture new or existing believers. I
long for the day when an entire town turns to Jesus because someone is healed
as we see above. The Kingdom of God promises us so much, as we say in the
Lord’s Prayer, ‘on earth as it is in heaven…’ and I would love to see that, in all its glory,
right across the church and across our nation.
I want to see the church as a true centre of each and every community,
people being met at their point of need, to see communities transformed by the
power of God. To see people healed, encouraged, lives turned around and The
Church being an absolute beacon of God’s power and glory in this broken nation.