The pastor of Reigate Baptist Church says he's delighted after more than 160 people professed faith during a mission drive last week.
Pastor Mike Williams invited evangelist Jonathan Conrathe and a team from Mission 24 to spend the week at the church in Surrey, encouraging prayers on the streets and in parks to spread the Gospel. The team set up services at the church every evening, including youth and healing services, plus a café. Teams of evangelists would also be out on the streets approaching people and knocking on doors to share the Gospel.
Pastor Mike told Premier about the encouraging response :
"We gave out 1,000 leaflets and most of the responses we had were from young people, teenagers, which was quite a surprise to us."
On one occasion, an evangelist called Luis met some hostility for putting up a gazebo in a park, but Pastor Mike says things quickly changed:
"One guy came up to him and said, you know, you haven't got a right to have a gazebo here, you haven't got a right to have a speaker, I'm going to call the police and they're going to get you. Luis felt really pushed in his heart to say to this person, you've never felt the love of God. And this guy just burst out crying, and completely changed from wanting to get rid of them, to pouring out his heart and being prayed for."
The team also had two commitments from young people who were playing basketball at the time.
"They [the evangelists] said, 'can we share the gospel with you?' And they said 'No', so the team said that 'if you can hit the net from here, we'll go away. If you can't, you have to let us share the gospel'. And they missed it - so we shared the Gospel. And they had two commitments, and actually, they were Muslims. And so just incredible."
Mike believes that lockdown and the pandemic may have encouraged more people to think about Christianity:
"We've had a year where actually death has been so obvious to everyone that anyone could have died. But we have this wonderful message that Jesus died for us and offers us eternal life if we will turn to him, repent and live his way. He gives us that offer. They're like, 'actually, that's an interesting thought.'"
Mike accepts some of the people reached may never go to church, but he says the seed has been planted:
"We're aware that we may have just been a seed. But we're going to continue to go out and we're also going to think about starting a gospel service. We're going to continue to keep sowing the seeds, looking for commitment to Christ. But we're also going to look at how we can make that go further and deeper in discipleship, making it as easy as possible for them to come to church and just hear more about Jesus along the way."