Earlier this year the Lord laid it on the heart of a believer to do a Christian outreach in the City of Melbourne to share the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ through witnessing, street preaching & worship. They kept this in their heart and prayed for a while before sharing this with two other believers who were to be part of this. One of these believers had also had the same burden put on their heart that they had been praying about for some time, and both were eager to seek the Lord as to how He wanted this to outwork. Much prayer went into this for many weeks until God started to put all the pieces together.
The first thing that was put in place was prayer. For three weeks those three believers met to walk and pray and commit this to the Lord. Led by the Spirit of God, it was decided the outreach would take place on the three Sundays of December before Christmas. Then the invite was put out to anyone else who wanted to join them to walk around the city of Melbourne and pray on the last two Sundays of November in preparation for this. This was an incredible time for those of us who attended where we saw the power of God at work in many ways.
The next thing to be put in place was a worship team. The worship team met weekly for several weeks to rehearse, but more importantly to pray together to build unity amongst the group and to prepare them for what they were going into. Songs were chosen carefully and included some well loved Christmas carols. All the worship team required busking permits however no money would be taken. The worship team’s role was to fight the battle of the air (Joshua 6, Ephesians 6:12) and be a sweet sound to those who had ears to hear.
Having nothing to begin with but our great God & the weapon of prayer, the Lord laid it upon the hearts of people to donate or make available, audio equipment, transport, Christmas hampers full of non perishable items for the needy, as well as Gideon bibles, Gospels of John, and tracts for the team to hand out.
Prayer continued for the coming outreach with an emphasis on seeking God for where He wanted us to be placed each week. A lot of equipment was involved and this required some logistics and planning just to get in there and set up.
Week 1 was challenging. We setup along Southbank. It was a hot, busy and noisy afternoon. Worship was offered, the truth was shared with those who would receive it, some were prayed for and food hampers given to those in need. However, on this occasion the opposition was strong. There was mostly disinterest and some hostility. Coming away I was reminded of Mark 6 where it says: “Now He (Jesus) could do no mighty work there … because of their unbelief.” (Mark 6:5 – 6).
But we knew that God had promised to set people free from their sins through this ministry, so the team regathered on a wet and much cooler Sunday the following week. There were many stories that happened this day, but in summary, despite opposition, the Lord put us in the right place. People were more receptive to the Gospel, prayer ministry was more significant and some put their faith in Jesus. There was also appreciation given for the worship from those attending a concert a Hamer Hall. Many had been really touched by the music and walked away with gospel tracts in their hands.
The final week was the best of the lot, on a sunny Sunday afternoon the Lord led us to the path that runs along the river between Federation Square and Birrarung Marr where a Carnival was situated. We were far enough back that it wasn’t noisy. There were many people passing but they were unhurried. There were over 30 members of our team, including 10 from our church. There is no question on this occasion that The Lord worked to set people free from their sins with 2 people on the day wanting to pray for Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour – for many others the seeds have been sown and they have left with God’s Word in their ears and in their hands.
Thank you to all who participated through being there, praying, and stamping Bibles. It is a team effort; maybe it would be better to say a family effort. We are praying about further activities through January and February, however each week servants of the King go out boldly to the streets to share the Good News. This Friday a team will gather during the rehearsal of Carols by Candlelight to pass out tracts, Bibles and pray with people. Keep them in prayer, and if you can join in, let us know.
I was also encouraged this week as people took Bibles to share with friends and family. This is a time of year when people are more open to hear about Jesus, maybe because the thought of an innocent baby is less confronting than God on a Cross, but it is a chance to share the whole story with them. On Sunday I encouraged everyone how we might invite people to consider receiving a gift of the Gospel of John and reading it to learn about Jesus. We could simply say something like:
Christmas is special for me because it is centred around the birth of Jesus. He has changed my life, and I wonder if He might change yours also. This little book is a gift, it is the Gospel of John and it tells the life of Jesus from the perspective of an eyewitness, one of those closest to Him. If you’d like to read it I’d love you to have it, and if you have questions or would like to talk about it I’d love to do that with you.
Time is short. The Lord is returning soon, and it seems that the door to be able to share the Good News without fear of breaking the law in Melbourne is closing. But the field, as we have seen, is ripe for the harvest. People’s lives are at stake – and we are all called to share the Good News of how to escape the coming darkness.