This is a nationwide mission initiative from gospel churches which had its first outing in 2010.
John Stevens, Chair of APFL 2014 and Director of the FIEC, said: ‘We give thanks to the Lord for the way he has equipped, heartened and mobilised us to spread the good news of Jesus in the build up to Easter 2014. Our regional co-ordinators have been building bridges with other churches and encouraging ministers to get behind APFL. They have sought ways in which we can be reaching all peoples with the gospel’.
Brian O’Donoghue, APFL Steering Group member and church manager at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, added: ‘To support our mission partners we have produced a set of resources such as tracts and gospels together with an Easter DVD featuring Rico Tice. We are in the final stages of creating a public facing website which will enable churches involved in APFL to add their contact details and events’.1
Pushing the boundaries
John Stevens told EN, ‘We are encouraging churches to pray and push the boundaries. I am excited to hear how churches are actively looking at how they can connect with groups or communities that have not previously been touched. For example we will be reaching out to people in social housing, the Muslim and Chinese communities as well as Eastern Europeans and international students’.
He went on to explain: ‘For the first time, Wales and Northern Ireland are taking part in A Passion for Life. Blas ar Fyw, Welsh for A Passion for Life, is taking shape, with English- and Welsh-speaking churches planning missions. In Northern Ireland, our regional co-ordinator and teams of other ministers have formed a regular prayer group to pray for partnerships and mission events in Armagh and Coleraine’.
In Inner London, outreach includes distributing tracts on local housing estates, hosting events in pubs or cafés, and a dinner for City workers. The hope is for these events not to be ‘one-offs’ but rather that they would stimulate everyday personal evangelism.
In the Cotswolds, a group of more than ten churches are organising various events in mid-April. They’ll be joined by guest speakers such as Rico Tice and Professor John Lennox, as well as a group of students from Wycliffe Hall in Oxford. In more urban areas, such as Oxford, Reading and Maidenhead, churches will be hosting a mixture of events which include guest speakers such as Roger Carswell, a performance of the Mark Drama, guest Sunday services, sports quizzes and linking in with Oxfordshire Arts Weeks.
In Birmingham in 2010 a series of large central meetings were held in the Birmingham Town Hall. This year the emphasis is more local, with churches being encouraged to organise their own events or co-operate with nearby churches to do so. These are now being arranged and they include a visit by Henry Olonga, former Zimbabwe cricketer, a ‘Butcher and Beer’ evening, and a range of events specifically related to the Easter occasion. There is one major joint event which will be a Sports Quiz run by Christians in Sport and held at the Edgbaston Golf Club.
In Yorkshire, churches are focussing on relational evangelism rather than the larger events and making strong use of the Uncover material.
Across East Anglia, from Cromer to Woodbridge via Cambridge, St. Neots and Stowmarket, there are churches working with others or on their own to reach out to their communities through A Passion for Life. In Cambridge, events include a sponsored football match at Cambridge United and dinner with ex-pro Linvoy Primus, film-themed events for the Oscars and a ladies ‘Bake Off’.’
In the South West many churches are using the Passion to Witness DVD study series to equip the whole church to reach their friends, including Emmanuel Chippenham, Headley Park, North Bradley, and Freshbrook Swindon.
In Sussex on April 5, the churches have booked a leisure centre in Haywards Heath and arranged for evangelist Adrian Holloway to speak. Adrian was formerly a newspaper journalist with The Times and a BBC radio and TV presenter. There will also be music and testimony from Steph Macleod, who only a few years ago was homeless and living on the streets of Edinburgh.
1 More details about these and other resources can be found on our website www.apassionforlife.org.uk. See also the extract from A Passion for Life, real life stories about faith on page 19. For further information about A Passion for Life, please email firstname.lastname@example.org