Sunday afternoon was not only an Operation 513 outreach to Cashel Mall (in Christchurch NZ), but it was the first monthly “Outreach Sunday” for Redemption Church. Not only did all four elders of the Church get behind this initiative (bringing their families out with them), but there were a total of 27 people from the church involved! It was a sweltering 33 degrees celsius - but that didn’t stop the enthusiasm.
For me, as one of the elders, my biggest prayer was that those that got involved would have a positive experience of community/street outreach like this; seeing that people are indeed open and willing to discuss the important questions of life, and hear the gospel message of Jesus. As far as I’m aware, God answered that prayer!
The most poignant memory from the outreach was the end of the very last flipchart conversation I had. It was a harder one, with a young man from China. I think the gospel concepts I was explaining were quite foreign, so I had to be patient - but I’m fairly confident he eventually understood. As he left (with a Bible from me and various tracts that he had received earlier in the outreach from kids handing them to him), I looked up to see Anna, with Luke in the pushchair beaming a smile at me and giving me a double thumbs up. I guess she was encouraged - and that greatly encourages me!
It was wonderful watching people walking down the mall, reading the gospel tracts as they were going.
It was also wonderful hearing people saying, “no thanks, I’ve already got one” - to an offered gospel tract.
I watched Jason (pictured) have a long chat with a young German tourist (who had turned down an offer to try the flip chart with me). Although very resistant initially, he willingly stayed to the point where he came to understand the gospel. I watched them exchange contact details.
Near the end of the outreach, Jason had another gospel conversation with a lady who had grown up in a Southern Baptist environment in the USA, but had (unbelievably) never sewn all the gospel concepts into an understandable whole. The penny dropped today!
It was very encouraging to hear a report of Toby, who has only been involved with two outreaches prior (Tell Me Conference, and Canterbury A&P Show) being willing to initiate a walk up conversation!
May Redemption Church continue to grow in their confidence in sharing the good news of Jesus regularly in this way, and may that lead to more confidence in sharing Jesus in their personal relationships too. May the other churches in Christchurch, NZ, and beyond get involved as well. May Elders across the land - indeed the whole world - continue to show leadership in the area of evangelism. May God receive glory through the obedience of His children sharing the gospel, and the salvation of the lost by His grace!
I was also in the city on Saturday: Cathedral Square and Cashel Mall. The outreach started quite slowly - with plenty of people, but no one interested in stopping to chat. But I eventually started my first conversation, and ended up having a good outreach. At one point I ended up sandwiched between the Hara Krisina’s and a soprano singing trumpeter! :D I had to move!
Oh Lord, raise up labourers for the harvest! Continue to encourage and equip Christians for the great commission. All to the glory of your name.
Christchurch (NZ) Team
Heads out on to the streets of Christchurch usually 6 days a week to various locations.
Including Fridays in Cathedral Square from 12:30pm and in Cashel Mall after that till 3:30pm. Also Sundays in Cashel Mall 1:30pm till 3:30pm.