What can you do to help revival in the UK?
Across the world the Church is booming. But what about here in the UK? Gary Gibbs has some tips
Right now, we are in the midst of massive global revival. There has never been a time when so many people are turning to Jesus Christ and putting their trust in him. For example, around 50 per cent of Africans now identify as Jesus followers.
Even in difficult regions such as Asia, the Church has doubled in size over the past 50 years. Last year, when I had the privilege of training leaders in Bihar, NE India, I discovered that our partner movement GEMS (Gospel Echoing Missionary Society) are experiencing considerable growth through church planting even in the midst of terrible persecution. In particular, the Lord is manifesting his reality to lost Hindus through signs, wonders and miracles. Wonderful!
Living in the Western world, you can be forgiven for forgetting that this is the spiritual reality. Historic denominations have been declining for decades and any growth is largely limited to the charismatic/Pentecostal wings of the Church.
Sharing our faith is not something which comes easily to most of us, but there are some simple steps we can take to help our friends, neighbours and work colleagues find Jesus.
1. Hang Out!
Evangelism doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If we never rub shoulders with those who don’t know God how will they ever hear his Good News? So ask yourself: where do I spend time with people who are not believers? How can I do this more? One tip: it’s always easier and often more productive if you enter the harvest field with a coworker. So, do you have a fellow Jesus-follower who would like to join an exercise class with you? Or an organised weight loss club? Or the Women’s Institute? Dance classes? Book club? Gardening society? It’s a long list!
2. Pray Out!
Here is a revelation – God answers prayer! So let’s pray for our unsaved friends, but be sure to pray in faith. Sometimes we ask God to save someone we know when the truth is we don’t really believe it will happen; “... everything that does not come from faith is sin,” (Romans 14:23). Rather than praying a bland, unbelieving prayer, pray for something for which you can believe. For example, pray that your friend will meet another Christian at work who would share something of the gospel with him/her.
3. Live it Out!
Peter encourages Jesus-followers to ‘always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have’ (1 Peter 3:15), but notice he says to answer when asked! Now, why would anyone ask you about your faith? Usually, it happens because of the way you are living your life. What I don’t mean is that you are exhibiting a boring, restrictive, religious existence. Rather, the abundant, overflowing, generous, kindhearted, adventurous life you are living begs the question!
4. Speak Out!
A recent survey by the Barna Group discovered that nearly 50 per cent of millennial Christians thought it was wrong to evangelise others who had a different world view.
Actually, the figure is misleading because 96 per cent of the same group thought that coming into a relationship with Jesus was the best thing that had ever happened to them! So what is going on? It seems that the issue is that the Christians don’t want to be viewed as trying to get others to join their club or institution, but they are keen to witness to the reality of Jesus in their lives. We need to concentrate our witness and words on being Jesus-centric rather than any talk about joining the Church!
The next few months as we experience the sun shining(!) and longer evenings, we have some brilliant opportunities to build up our existing friendships with people around us.
As we do so, let’s be sure we are acting as the best ambassadors we can be for Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Gary Gibbs is the director of REACH, Elim’s evangelism and church planting department.
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