The event had been billed as an opportunity for Christians to make ‘Just One’ invitation for friends and family to go to the home of Arsenal football club to hear the gospel preached.
Evangelist and organiser J.John admitted his vision to gather 40,000 people hadn’t been fully realised, telling Premier Christianity magazine, “Look, we had a go! That’s the important thing.”
J.John defended his decision to book the Emirates Stadium for the gathering: “These last 20 years wherever we’ve been going around Britain we’ve been filling the largest indoor arenas and cathedrals. We felt it’s the time to step up. I really felt this was something God had asked us to do.
“It’s obviously a big stadium. Someone said, ‘Oh well, you didn’t fill it.’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah. But nearly 24,000 people came. So it’s a good job we didn’t book the Royal Albert Hall – we would have needed five Royal Albert Halls! And good job we didn’t book the centre court at Wimbledon because that wouldn’t have been big enough either.’”
Three hundred survivors and families of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were among the thousands who attended the stadium to hear music from Hillsong, Matt Redman and the London Community Gospel Choir.
J.John’s said his evangelistic message was intended to offer people a “faith lift” after the distressing events of recent months and inspire them in their journey of faith to follow Jesus.
Speaking to Premier after JustOne, the evangelist said testimonies of lives changed were “flooding in”.
“We’re hearing stories of whole families coming to Christ, making significant steps in their journey of faith, and prodigals coming back.”
Andy Peck, who hosts The Leadership File on Premier Christian Radio, attended the event. Despite reservations about the appropriateness of the sung worship for non-Christians in attendance, he felt the evangelist’s message was well delivered.
“J.John was terrific: pithy sayings, humour and wonderfully accessible illustrations. He spoke for half an hour and was engaging throughout. He treated listeners with respect. He didn’t assume truth. I was wishing more of my friends were here to listen.”
The large-scale event may be the first of many as J.John has provisionally booked Priestfield Stadium in Gillingham for another JustOne event on Saturday 9th June 2018. Priestfield has a capacity of 11,000 but J.John denied he was scaling back.
“We felt we should start in London so we thought let’s start with an impressive stadium and then take it around the United Kingdom. We want to go to towns and cities. But Gillingham contacted us over a year ago and said we hear you’re doing stuff at the Emirates, we want one! Since [JustOne at the Emirates] I’ve had numerous enquiries from people all over Britain saying can we do one there.”