Community-based Evangelism

By Fran Johnson, Melbourne Labouring Community, first published in Compass, Summer 2021

What if we prayed for 21 days for our city?

What if twenty or so Navigators focused prayer for 21 days on their city? Do you think it would have an impact for theadvance of the Gospel?

Wanting to seek the welfare of our city and to pray with insight, the Melbourne Navigators did some research and then, beginning with God’s attributes, each day for three weeks prayed through the Council Areas of Melbourne. This was an aspect of working together to intercede based on God’s promises and values, while appealing to God for mercy and grace for sins and varied needs of our suburbs. By faith we believe this time was a bit of ‘plowing hard ground’ more broadly while taking steps to sow locally amongst our neighbourhoods.

This was but one aspect of the prayer we have going on in support of community evangelism. Weekly, a women’s Nav team gathers for prayer. Sometimes it is  only two of us, but usually five of us show up to share prayer requests and go before the Father. We pray for what is personally on our hearts and without fail, one – but usually more of us – request prayer for the people we are reaching out to within our neighbourhoods.

Personally, Mike and I have been reaching out to the couples in our neighbourhood while praying for more labourers. John and Sue are one of these couples. During a conversation over afternoon tea, we chatted about our spiritual journeys and John mentioned that he was an Alpha dropout and Sue said she’d like to go with us to church sometime. We anticipated follow-up conversations, but then the first lockdown occurred. This hindered momentum a bit, but as soon as the lockdown lifted, I asked Sue if she would like to go to lunch to catch up. We enjoyed a wonderful time together and she began to tell me about David, their neighbour over the back fence, who had been having spiritual conversations with John.

David lives on a different street from us, and we had never met this fellow labourer. The over-the-fence conversations he was having with John led to John agreeing to do his second Alpha course. John then, knowing that Mike and David were both men of faith, decided to introduce them and go for breakfast together. Mike came back from that breakfast rejoicing that David and his wife are also actively reaching out to their neighbours. We are beginning to sense that God is answering our prayers for our suburb, for labourers and for the gospel’s impact. God is working to advance His gospel. God is answering our prayers for our neighbourhood and, we believe, for our city. We are excited to be a part of a Nav community that takes prayer seriously as we team together to be a part of what God is doing.

Will you pray with us, too? Will you pray that God will soften the hearts of all our neighbourhoods here in Melbourne as we take steps to befriend those around us for the sake of bringing Jesus to them? Also, you could add the prayer that Paul asked the Ephesians to pray, “And pray on my behalf that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” Eph.6:19

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