Displaying items by tag: Evangelism
Society has been shaken over the past year, revealing that we need wise leaders in the church and in the public arena more than ever before. The Evangelical Alliance is inviting Christians working in the arts, media, academia, business, education, civil society, politics, healthcare and all other sectors to enrol in their Public Leaders Course. A public leader is a Christian who is intentional about bringing their faith to their leadership wherever God has placed them. The ‘public’ element means they are open about their Christianity and their leadership role is not internal to the church. The ‘leadership’ refers to where they have influence: workplace, local community, online, a social group. We can pray for filmmakers, writers, entrepreneurs, educators, health workers, civil servants, lawyers and all in the secular workplace to hear God’s call on their lives to live out their faith and draw others into God’s kingdom.
‘Hussein comes from Baghdad. A while ago he communicated with us for the first time and accepted Jesus as his Saviour. We put him in communication with a partner on ground for face-to-face discipleship in Jordan. He wanted his family to encounter Jesus and arranged for them to meet his mentor, resulting in all his household becoming believers. Recently, he contacted us again. His son was to travel to Egypt for school, and he wanted us to disciple him. To everyone's surprise, Mo, Hussein’s son did not only want to be discipled, but also wanted the same for his friends whom he evangelised. His father, who is now in Iraq, wanted another family he was preaching to be discipled. Therefore our ministry decided to let them both, father and son, to be group discipleship leaders, though they are not yet baptised - which is being arranged now.’
When Covid hit last year, our nation quickly turned to science - epidemiologists seeking to contain the virus and researchers creating vaccines. But how much did the church use the opportunity to point to our hope beyond death? On 30 June, a Church Unlocked livestream will feature Canon J.John and other evangelists talking about how the pandemic and lockdowns have changed evangelism. Has the widespread use of streaming technology transformed how the Church will reach out? What are the felt needs of those around us, post-Covid, and how can we help people see that Jesus is the answer to those needs?
James Merritt, pastor of Crosspoint Church in Duluth, met two men, Bartolo and Osmani. Neither of them spoke English - and he didn’t speak Spanish. But, thanks to the Google Translate app, what was supposed to be nothing more than an ad hoc purchase ended up as ‘one of the greatest witnessing experiences I’ve ever had in my life,’ the pastor said. Merritt said he and his wife always keep tracts in our home in both English and Spanish, but he really wanted to engage with the two men in a more meaningful way. That’s when he decided to try the translation app. As they spoke, Osmani learned Merritt was a pastor and decided to call his wife, who is already a Christian, to tell her. His wife then, using the app, asked Merritt to share the Gospel with her husband and Bartolo. That’s exactly what Merritt did, and the two men became Christians.
The Ceesa people have a unique desert culture and their own distinct language. There is evidence that they were Christians once, but they are now Sunni Muslims. As far as anyone knows, there has not been a single Ceesa Jesus follower in seven hundred years. Mohammed, a Ceesa farmer, saw a man picking and eating olives from a tree near his house. Rather than chase the stranger away, he introduced himself and welcomed him into his home for some delicious dates. The man, Ali, was a Christian who had come to Ceesa to share the good news. As he ate he began telling his host about Isa. When Mohammed heard the name, his eyes got big. He said, ‘I have seen Isa in my dreams! I want to know more about him!’ Ali continued to explain the good news, soon Mohammed gave his life to Jesus, and a church was planted.
London City Mission (LCM) is helping churches to reach out to people who belong to socially-excluded groups - prisoners, those who are homeless, trafficked into the UK, or with addictions. For many who experience rejection and hostility, a crippling sense of shame and unworthiness is a far greater obstacle to coming to church. Imagine that you’d like to go to church but have not been able to access a shower and clean clothes for the past ten days. How might people react to you? Gently edge you to one side, outright reject you, or offer awkward sympathy? To overcome this fear of rejection, LCM is helping churches to look outward, stepping beyond their comfort zone and seeking ways to connect with people far beyond the church community. They also want to help the church to consider how it can improve their welcome to people who have experienced social exclusion and help them feel comfortable amongst Christians.
‘The fastest-growing church in the world has taken root in one of the most unexpected and radicalised nations on earth,’ according to Sheep Among Wolves, a two-hour documentary about Iran’s revival that is reproducing discipleship movements that own no property or buildings, have no central leadership, and are predominantly led by women. Many of the ruling class still follow Islam, ‘because that’s where the high paying jobs are’, according to the film; but the majority of the ordinary people love God and recognise that Islam is the problem. The most powerful Christian leaders are very gentle, courageous women going out on the highways and byways sharing with prostitutes, drug addicts and everybody they come into contact with. Praise God for the abundance of Bibles in Farsi being distributed, and pray for those still translating His word into various Persian ethnic languages.
Thailand was the second nation to report coronavirus cases, but now has effectively contained it with countrywide lockdown and continued precautions, now celebrating 100 days without a Covid case. Now a church-planting movement celebrates another milestone that wouldn’t be possible without word of mouth conversations, house gatherings, and in-person testimonies. The Free in Jesus Christ Church Association, a Thai-led movement which focuses on village-level evangelism, held the largest baptism in its history. They baptised 1,435 people in one day; twenty ministers lined up across a waist-deep reservoir waiting for new believers to come one-by-one from the shore to proclaim their faith and be submerged for the sacrament. Bob Craft of Reach a Village ministry said, ‘We believe it is the merciful hand of God to allow the gospel to spread at this crucial time.’
Ahmad Quraisy (not his real name) was a commander of the feared Islamic State of Indonesia, a militant terror group. He has come a long way since he nearly blew up a Protestant church in Jakarta. Now, the 48-year-old former terrorist leads an underground movement in Indonesia converting Muslims to personal faith in Christ. His movement has grown into some 7,000 members, all of them former Muslims. They meet in house churches across the country, he revealed in an extensive interview. Leaving Islam remains a high-risk undertaking in the world’s largest Muslim nation. But, he says, ‘it was worth all the hardships we endured’. For his story, click the ‘More’ button.
Israel is threatening to shut down a Hebrew-language evangelical channel aiming ‘to take the gospel of Jesus into 700,000 Jewish households’. Under its newly issued license, Shelanu TV, an arm of God TV, is now prohibited from broadcasting content that subjects viewers to ‘undue influence.’ It is illegal to proselytise under-18s without gaining parental consent. The Likud party’s communications minister said that they will not allow missionary channels to operate in Israel under any circumstance, and has launched a comprehensive investigation to determine that no channel is violating the terms of its license: ‘if indeed this channel is engaged in missionary activities, it will be taken down immediately.’ Ron Kantor, Shelanu’s regional director, said his network had been entirely transparent during the licensing process. ‘I immediately asked them, 'Can we broadcast in Hebrew?' And the answer was an emphatic yes. We were told many times that laws have changed and there was no issue with our programming.’