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Virtual mission brings gospel message to 128,000 homes

by Heather Preston

A virtual mission event hosted online to share the good news of Jesus has been viewed 128,000 times on Facebook alone.

Last Friday evangelists and Christian leaders from across the globe gathered to share stories of faith, messages from the Bible and calls to become a Christian over 24 hours as part of a global 'Day of Salvation'.

Organiser, Anthony Delaney leads the Ivy Church network in Manchester. He told Premier what inspired him to put on the event: "One of our elders contacted me and said that he'd been praying and he felt God tell me that the Lord was going to give me a three-week window of opportunity for harvest. 

"So I thought, right, we better do something. We reached out to some friends who were evangelists and ended up with like 70 odd people sharing their stories and/or preaching the gospel." 

Evangelists and church leaders including J.John, Danielle Strickland, Anne and Gavin Calver and Andrew and Wendy Palau encouraged people to give their lives to Jesus before leading them in a prayer of salvation. There were also short videos to direct people on their "next steps" in their journey of faith, whether it be connecting them with local churches, signing them up to Alpha courses or sending them Bible resources.

The virtual mission event was broadcast on social media platforms YouTube and Facebook on Friday 15th May. According to figures from Delaney, the event post reached 260,000 people on Facebook, with 128,000 video views. On YouTube the event had 8,300 video playbacks, with up to 450 people watching at any one time during the day.

Delaney says they were encouraged by how many people tuned in to watch but also found it had inspired others to share their faith with friends and online social networks. 
"We're hearing about how people have begun conversations with other people who were interested and not yet believers, inquiring about church and Alpha etc. Many of them have then gone on and shared those posts with others. 

"I was talking to one man today who said he's had six different conversations with people after he put his story on Facebook," he added.

A recent ComRes survey commissioned by Tearfund found that a quarter of UK adults have watched or listened to a religious service since the lockdown began with one in 20 of those who did saying they have never gone to church before. 

Delaney explained that the church has an opportunity to bring a message of hope at this time of global crisis and said the success of the event displays that there is a harvest to be won at this time.

"There's a verse in the Bible that says, 'always be ready to give everybody who asks a reason for the hope that you have within you'. And I think that Christians should, whatever happens, be people of hope - if we are those people of hope, then people are going to want to ask questions and the answer to that question of why you've got hope is always Jesus."

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