Beach outreach

Team changing generation

A bus, an outreach tour around Cornwall, and a mighty move of God.

It’s been a remarkable summer for Matt Timms and his team.

"We've had testimony after testimony of people wanting to know more about Jesus. We've seen baptisms, healings, just crazy, crazy stuff. It’s the sort of thing you read about in Acts and we’re like, 'Wow, this is incredible'." says Matt.

We caught up with Matt in August in the middle of a month-long outreach tour around Cornwall on a double-decker bus that has been nothing short of miraculous.

He is no stranger to outdoor evangelism, having run drive-in services at Wave House church in Newquay last summer when the pandemic put paid to indoor meetings.

But this year’s tour came about when Matt felt the Lord prompt him to do something new.

"He started speaking to us again, saying, 'Take the church outside. I want you to do a Days of Light tour and take the bus into five locations in Cornwall, for three days in each.'"

Matt and the team readied their bus – a 1977 Leyland Atlantean, converted into a mobile community outreach space, and decorated with a wave to symbolise revival, and a lion's head representing Jesus as the Lion of Judah – and they set off.

At each location, a prophetic worship team ministered each day, while other teams ran prayer and healing tents, street evangelism and kids and family ministry. Matt’s 'Sovereign' bus ministry team also joined forces with local churches and organisations such as YWAM to make sure everything was covered.

The way God has moved has been astonishing, he says.

"In St Austell we had about 20 people become followers of Jesus and did about seven baptisms.

"In Perranporth, we had about 15 people respond to Jesus, and baptised nine.

"And in Newquay, we had over 30 people give their hearts to Jesus, and we baptised ten.

"We've had miraculous healings where people’s toes and scoliosis of the spine have been healed – people were bouncing around afterwards.

"We've had people encountering the presence of God during the worship, being in floods of tears and giving their hearts to Jesus then coming back the very next day to be baptised."

He recalls how in Perranporth, the third location on the route, he met some non-Christian men walking along a foot-path who broke out into a spontaneous chorus of 'Holy, holy, holy'. 

"We asked, 'do you want to know Jesus?'

"They said yes and gave their lives to him. Then we asked if they wanted to get baptised and they did. One guy was baptised and filled with the Spirit all in one go, speaking in tongues and everything."

The team saw God move at the next stop too. They set their bus up in a park in St Austell where they discovered two notorious murders had taken place four years ago.

"We just started to worship Jesus," Matt says. "For the first two days there was a really heavy atmosphere and the weather was bad. But on the last day the sun came out and the atmosphere shifted.

"We had parents telling us that no one had taken their kids to this park in four years, but that day there were hundreds of people gathered there; we gave away 250 burgers.

"Homeless guys were coming up to us who would normally be really aggressive, but there was such an atmosphere shift of peace. I’ve never seen anything like it."

Matt’s next step is to figure out how to support those who have become Christians during the tour.

"We're not called to make converts, we're called to make disciples, and our heart is that we now look at how we could support them to become established in their faith, and discover their identity in Christ, so through their gifting's and call they can go on to make more disciples."

But for now, Matt and the team are basking in the work God is doing through the tour.

"It’s been fantastic to see. All we’re doing, literally, is rocking up with a bus and worshipping Jesus, praying and sharing the gospel with anyone the Lord sends along.

"He's doing the rest. Still moved with compassion, and as we reset our hearts, our homes and our churches around our primary identity as disciples of Jesus and our primary purpose of living for him, Jesus wants to move us out again without fear and with fresh hope to the real, loved, precious, searching people all around us.

"Prophetically, I believe the bus represents what we see God doing as the church is mobilised to go and share the gospel. The presence of God is really here with us. It’s been really, really powerful."
 

First published in the October 2021 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered to your home.

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