The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) is marking its 100th anniversary in a special way.
The organisation, made up of a network of more than 600 churches, has launched in an initiative called Pray for One Hundred.
The FIEC distributed £1m amongst 100 churches carrying out various gospel focused missions.
They include establishing church plants, extending or acquiring church buildings, carrying out evangelistic initiatives within the community, supporting projects that are in areas of significant deprivation and appointing evangelists or youth workers or children's ministers.
John Stevens, FIEC National Director, told Premier the goal is for each church to see Christianity growing in their area.
“We put 100 of the projects together in a resource that will enable our churches to pray for each other, and pray for these specific gospel initiatives, that the Lord would bless them and we would see gospel growth,” he said.
“My hope would be that they would lead to growth, that churches would see more people who are converted and become part of the Church, and that new gospel works would be established in places where there isn't gospel work at the moment.
“[I also hope] that new communities and new sections of communities would be reached. So we want to be reaching all different kinds of parts of society, all different parts of the nation.”
FIEC was founded in 1922 with a vision to support and encourage the ministry of churches not attached to a denomination. It now has 639 churches as part of its network.
Stevens told Premier: “The vision behind FIEC was to be what they rather quaintly called a society of mutual helpfulness, to provide churches that are not in denominations with the support and the help that churches and denominations might receive, particularly with a view to helping leaders raising up and training the next generation… sort of planting new churches and growing gospel work, and providing practical and legal support. And we've done that for 100 years. And in one way, I think that is the legacy that we want to continue.”
Looking to the future, Stevens sees the spreading of the gospel to be the main goal, but admits there are challenges that lie ahead.
“We're conscious that we live in in an increasingly secular and post-Christian environment in which there is probably sort of more misunderstanding and potentially more hostility to the Church and the Evangelical Church than there has ever been.
“We don't quite know what the future will hold, whether the environment will continue to allow us to thrive and flourish as we have done. We value our freedoms and our sort of civic rights. We don't take those for granted, and we're going to want to keep campaigning for them and wanting to maintain them.
“So we want to see gospel growth, at the same time we need to be prepared to stand firm, and even in the face of a changing culture that's increasingly hostile. Issues like same sex marriage and whether that should be introduced in churches… those are key issues on which evangelical churches are going to have to choose to take a stand, which runs counter to kind of the views of the culture around us. I think FIEC is determined to do that.”
Listen to Premier’s interview with John Stevens here: