Salvation Across The UK

Since 1997, I’ve been invited to serve our churches as an evangelist. I’ve been working for 22 years in well over 100 different Newfrontiers churches in the UK, which today are evenly spread across seven spheres of which New Ground is one.

Of course, as well as equipping the saints, an evangelist wants to lead people to Christ. For most of the time I’ve not kept records, but for the past four years I have. Over the past four years I’ve seen 1819 un-churched people respond for salvation in the UK. I’ve seen more than that number respond for salvation, but I’m not giving you that larger figure (I know there’s nothing worse than an evangelist and numbers). I’m mentioning the number above because those are people that I know are non-church people responding for salvation. It is happening. On a recent Sunday (in October 2019) I preached an evangelistic message and gave an appeal and 20 non-church people responded for salvation at a Newfrontiers church in Essex.

My experience is that people do respond to the gospel when they hear it in a context where they feel at home and engaged.This conclusion was reinforced when I spent three months visiting churches across denominations in the UK that I heard were seeing significant saved & added growth.

For example, Audacious Church, Manchester has grown from 140 people 10 years ago to 3,342, which was the adult attendance the Sunday I was there. And there’s no doubt that a big proportion of that is saved & added growth.

I have learned that there is not just one evangelistic strategy that is working across the board. What matters is whether people in your church buy into your evangelistic strategy where almost everyone in your church believes that you have a credible, realistic journey for the not yet Christian. Can you reach a point where almost everyone in your church can see how their friend, their next-door neighbour could become a Christian at your church?

I was also struck by the results of a major survey of 38,000 non-Christians in the UK, undertaken by ‘Who Cares?’ an evangelistic initiative led by Rob Tervet from Christ Community Church, Attleborough. Here’s four of Rob’s findings:

1) Fewer people have had a negative experience of church. When we talk about Jesus, they don’t immediately think of their negative church experience, because they have had no church experience

2) There is still just as much interest in the person of Jesus. People are still overwhelmingly positive about Jesus. They have a high view of Jesus and his worth and importance.

3) People are less resilient today in the face of suffering. They don’t have a worldview which provides them with a basis for hope in the face of adversity. Rob’s survey shows that people in the UK today are more emotionally brittle. They are surprised when adversity comes their way and they don’t have something to fall back on that tells them “You’re loved by a real God, this suffering is only temporary, you’re headed for glory.” They don’t have parents who believe that; their great grandparents who did believe aren’t on the scene anymore. So, for today’s young people, when suffering comes you’ve got your current friends and family around you as a support network, but that’s it.

4) The attractive nature of community. When people do actually experience our church community, what we think of as normal, they think is wonderful.

I have no doubt that, if we really give ourselves to developing a realistic journey in, we will see many more not-yet Christians put their trust in Christ.