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CW88 – Reconciliation: Walk and pray, care and share God’s love this Christmas with the Oikos app

By Catherine Butcher, HOPE Together

During 2021 Christians all over the UK have been using the Oikos prayer app to track where they have walked and prayed for their communities. The app was developed in the USA and was launched in the UK by Hope for Every Home as part of their Prayer Walk 21 challenge.

The Oikos Outreach App allows you to tag where you have prayed, cared and shared the love of Jesus with people in your street, road, lane… it starts wherever you are. The tags are saved on the app. You can see where you have been and where others have prayed, cared and shared too.

As the year-long Prayer Walk 21 challenge comes to an end, Sammy Jordan, project leader for Hope for Every Home, said: ‘It’s not too late to become part of a movement trying to reach the whole nation for Jesus street by street, home by home… to the last home. Don’t worry if you’ve never prayer-walked before. There are many ways to do it and you can find your own. Think of it as praying whilst you walk…but it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open!

“You might want to pray for particular things you see on your walk – people and places. You might want to ask God to help you notice things as you walk and pray about them.”

In the run-up to Christmas 2021 you could also use the app to track where you have delivered HOPE magazines with invitations to your in-person and online church events during the festive season.

“Do what the Lord is telling you to do, and trust that he’ll bring fruit from the seed you’ve planted!” That’s the simple but beautiful attitude to mission from David Morgan, an 80-year-old from the village of Cookhill in Worcestershire.

Alongside fellow members of the congregation at Cookhill Baptist Church, in partnership with local Anglicans, David has been finding creative ways to reach out to the people in their village. “The big challenge is to bridge the gap between practical activity and the spiritual message underlying it,’ said David. ‘And how to communicate with folk around us, which are mainly those we meet on daily dog-walks!”

One way in which Cookhill Baptist Church has shared the good news with their village has been through the distribution of HOPE’s magazines. They gave away 1,000 copies at Christmas 2020, as a way of the church maintaining its focus on looking outwards into the community.

David has found that giving out the magazines is most effective when it’s done face-to-face. He described how he always tries to identify an article that he knows will connect with someone’s particular interests. For example, the church organised some Easter-themed activities for local families and used that as a chance to pass out copies of the 2021 undated edition of HOPE for All. David is hoping and praying that God will use them to touch hearts in his community.

The HOPE magazines are published by Hope for Every Home in partnership with HOPE Together. Copies of the latest magazine are available from the HOPE shop – www.hopetogether.org.uk/shop. There are also resources for children and toddlers, as well as video courses and other resources.

 

CW83: Ethical Evangelism

At its simplest, ethical evangelism involves making sure that what you are saying and doing are consistent with what you believe. What do you and your church believe about being a Christian. Do the details matter? What difference do you think it makes? There is still a prevailing caricature of evangelists that often takes some effort to overcome, so be prepared to explain your motivation for sharing the good news of God’s love. What difference do you think it makes? What difference does it makes to you?

CW76: Bearing good news starts with being good news

Evangelism is simply the process of sharing good news. The term ‘pre-evangelism‘ suggests that before the good news about Jesus can be shared, something else needs to happen in order for the hearer to be receptive to the good news we’d like to share. While some prayerful thought and a sensitive approach is needed when sharing our faith, I find myself reflecting on the account of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well in John 4, and wondering when the evangelism began in this story.

CW76: Evangelism: The overflow of a grateful heart

A former colleague of mine, the late Revd Canon Marion Mort, said these words at a conference called Making Christ Known. I have never forgotten them:

‘Mission is one and it is God’s mission. We are invited to share in his work of reconciliation, and that reconciliation was achieved by the blood of the cross. We come therefore as Christ’s Ambassadors, delivering the message of the King in the language of those to whom we are sent. It is therefore about moving on from where we are, or even sometimes going back to the community from which we came.’

CW76: Making a Journey to Faith

In his inaugural address as President of the Methodist Conference in Southport in 2015, Revd Steve Wild challenged each Methodist church in Britain to aim to bring just one person to faith in the coming year, saying:

‘Let’s take God seriously. I want to help us in the task of evangelism, to put mission on the agenda and give our churches an aim to win a person for Christ.’

Animal Blessing Service

All creatures great and small. An all-age animal blessing service for owners to bring their pets/animals to church.

Street Nativity

An idea for a nativity that involves the whole community as an evangelistic tool.

Christmas children’s play

A Christmas play for children that could be used during a christingle or crib service, either in school or church. Could also be used within the community as a tool for evangelism.

Good Friday Procession service outline

A service outline for a Good Friday procession of witness at a variety of locations.

A little play for holy week

A piece of drama that can be used as part of a service or on its own. Suitable for children and adults alike. Can also be used as a tool for evangelism.