On the evening of Friday, June11th, ‘Hope for the City’ – a prayer gathering at Westminster Chapel took place to pray for London’s people and leaders. The event which was jointly organized by the Evangelical Alliance of the United Kingdom (EAUK) and Premier Radio, proved to be a great success. “Hope for London Leaders Prayer Gathering” in 2003 was a great inspiration for this year’s gathering, however this year the gathering was extended beyond just involving leaders but was also open to the public.
This event aimed to encourage churches in London to realize all that God has called on us all to do together. “As we pray with one another, we are trusting that God will touch the people of the capital,” EAUK commented. “With so many strategic events taking place over the next 12 months, from the Mayoral elections to the Soul in the City event, it is time for the people of God to stand together and pray for one another and for our city.”
Soul in the City
The evening was also focused on the congregation praying for this summer’s big Christian event – ‘Soul in the City’. Soul in the City is building up to be a huge event, and has now attracted participation from all church denominations, and over 700 churches since its launch in January 2003 at St Paul’s Cathedral. The event will take place this summer from July 26th to August 6th and is being promoted as being one of the “most ambitious Christian missions ever seen in the UK.”
The event boasts an interactive prayer site for people to post up their prayer topics and get people from across the nation praying for each other. People can also post up prayer responses to let people know that they have prayed for each other and give words of encouragement and support. Through this prayer site it is hoped that by making many people unite in their prayers, God will answer each prayer and change London in a major way.
“Soul in the City aims to bring together young Christians from all over Britain and the World to join with the churches of London, to tell the good news of Jesus, and to be the good news of Jesus” a representative promoted.
Terry Virgo – ‘Does the future have a church?’
The main speaker at the event was Terry Virgo, the leader of the ‘Newfrontiers’ team who is based at the Church of Christ the King in Brighton. Newfrontiers currently serves nearly 300 churches across 25 nations around the globe. Virgo is an established Bible teacher who speaks at conferences internationally, and hosted Stoneleigh International Bible week.
Firstly Virgo expressed his concern for the churches in the UK. He pointed out that in the period from 1969 to 2001 1,598 churches in the UK have closed down, and 1,000 more are in danger of closure over the next decade. However, Virgo refused to let these figures discourage him; instead it spurned him on to ask UK’s modern churches to go back to Christianity’s routes.
“What is the Church?” was the question Virgo asked as he called on Church leaders to “Revalue and reinvestigate the true value of the church.”
Virgo went on to ask, “What does it mean to be a Christian? We are called to mission. This is the essence of being a Christian in the UK.” The calling to mission for Christians in the UK was highly emphasized throughout, as Virgo expressed the need of churches to radically change at their roots, and ensure that the churches are right at their foundations to be glorious churches for God.
“With today’s youth if we keep lifting the bar, the youth will keep rising and will jump higher. I honestly believe that today’s youth are ready for the challenge.” Virgo added, “This nation needs mission; the UK church is a mission! The Apostles in the New Testament went out and evangelized the world, let us follow them.”
“We need to be added, and to add to the community of God. We need to have the willingness to let go of our old lifestyles and be added to this new community. Like Abraham, like Simon, leave your nets and follow Him (Jesus).” Virgo continued to talk about the problems that can occur if we do not let go of our old lifestyles completely. He gave the example of many people who have lived out in today’s society; for money, possessions and jobs – but then have heard the Word and have tried to also let Jesus in. But because they will not leave behind their worldly lives, and they try to juggle everything around, they get confused and fall back into sinful ways.
Therefore, Virgo emphasized “We must kill our old lifestyles and live again for the new age. We must be brought right out and be radically new in lives of mission. We must be brought out of our old ‘comfortable’ ways of living in Christianity. Exciting days are ahead! Thousands of young people are ready for this challenge, and a great change is about to happen.”
“In this community of God we must first set up our relationships with God. Give our first love and devotion to God, but we must also not forget to then love and serve people…and bless the poor. We must be a spiritual community, a spiritual family; God wants a community of holy people!”