Al-Masih is defeating ISIS, working miracles and attracting thousands...
As the year draws to a close, Sam Hailes reflects on how God has been working in the UK and around the world
Soul Survivor continues to gather thousands of teenagers together for powerful times of worship and teaching at their summer events. The team have worked hard to create a welcoming atmosphere, which has resulted in many Christian teenagers bringing their non Christian friends along. This year 1,527 young people made a commitment to follow Jesus. This is news worth celebrating!
In February this year, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York invited churches to pray for the evangelisation of the nation during the week before Pentecost Sunday. The Archbishops wrote to every serving parish priest in the Church of England expressing their longing “to see a great wave of prayer across our land, throughout the Church of England and many other Churches”. Prayer events were run in partnership with other organisations such as HOPE and 24/7 Prayer.
An unprecedented number of Muslims are becoming Christians. Many of them are having dreams and visions of Jesus. Others are coming to faith through studying the Koran, as David Garrison reports: "Amid is a Muslim-background Christian I met in South Asia. He said, 'Once I read the Koran in my own language I realised I was lost.' Amid discovered that the Koran had no plan of salvation within it. 'No titles of honour for Muhammad in the Koran, but 23 honourable titles that Allah gave to Isa [Jesus]. I saw that Muhammad is dead, but Isa is alive in heaven with Allah now. Muhammad is not coming again, but Isa will come again at the last judgement...' These discoveries led Amid, and many other Muslims, to read the New Testament and discover Jesus for themselves. This unexpected pathway from Koran to the gospel is occurring throughout the Muslim world."
It has been revealed that Street Pastors are set to save the NHS at least £13m over the Christmas period. There's also been a huge rise in Christian-run foodbanks and research released by the Evangelical Alliance shows that nine out of ten evangelicals will either volunteer or give money this Christmas. This social action isn't limited to the festive season. Throughout the year, thousands of individuals and churches have been demonstrating God's love in their communities through these (and other) projects. Lives are being transformed.
Think the Church is in terminal decline? Think again. As our July cover story showed, the Church of England is seeing remarkable growth in urban areas. With HTB's church planting strategy bearing fruit in London, there are good reasons to be hopeful about the future. An increasing number of urban church plants are situated in deprived areas. As Mez Mcconnell explains, speaking of his context of Edinburgh, "Our biggest problem is that the Church is viewed as something for posh people." In seeking to meet people where they're at and care for their needs, church planters are discovering there is a real openness to the gospel.
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