Photo by Zuriel Media

On the Cutting Edge

‘Typically, we work with many people in theWest Midlandswho are on the edges of church life or outside it,’ explains OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) Evangelist John Heywood of Stourbridge. Yet, his teams are on the cutting edge in reaching people of different ethnicities and including the marginalised, the poor and those with special needs.

Using both friendship and preaching, outreach teams go to places of public interest, parks and shopping malls. Complementary gifts are developed so that one person may illustrate a message with painted art work and others play music. Imaginative means characterise OAC evangelism with puppetry and creative object lessons drawing passers-by. When they stop and listen to the brief Gospel message, other team members follow-up with conversation and literature distribution.

On a warm day, crowds swarm to the local park where a team conducts evangelism. ‘Many stop to watch and to discuss the work and personality of Jesus,’ notes John. ‘One of our first aims is to gain contact with people who would never enter a church. This Sunday pulled a rare congregation! Some stopped to talk and even asked for prayer. Now we’re requesting prayer to develop our strategies in a culturally relevant way.’

It’s not always large teams that conduct effective outreach. In one shopping mall, only a few team members were invited to work on behalf of local churches. Some of them played music which attracted passers-by. An experienced one-to-one worker found that pedestrians who stopped were open to discussion. Many appreciated hearing the Gospel explained so the evangelism team now sees this venue as an important area of ministry.

‘When I was a young person, there were several people, who invested time and energy, spiritually, into my life,’ said John Heywood. ‘Now I want to repeat the process for others.’ His activities include teaching sketchboard painting to OM Lifehope students and those on a more advanced level and mentoring younger friends in coffee shops. He also enjoys conducting seminars and helping churches with practical outreach. John feels it’s important to help develop gifts among people who do not preach and become valued team members. It seems that theWest Midlandsteams have room for everyone who is dedicated to serve on the cutting edge of effective evangelism.

For more information, please contact OAC at www.oacgb.org.uk or Tel. 020 8360 5788.

 

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