Community-based Evangelism

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

How Do You… ?

With Dan Pass, first published in Compass, Autumn 2020

Q&A with Dan & Beth Pass

From Gingerbread House-making to Ping-Pong-athon … we get the insight on howDan and Beth Pass “do” their engaging and interacting with both Christians and pre-believers, living out their Christian identity within their community. Here’s the conversation.

Compass: Tell us about your mission field or sphere of influence.

Dan: Beth and I live in a cul-de-sac so it is neighbourhood relationships mostly, and then work relationships – staff rooms at school. Beth has been able tohave many faith chats in her work place, which is highly multicultural and so conversations happen naturally.

Our sphere of influence includes our cul-de-sac street and school staffrooms.

C: How do you engage with your community, with both believers and pre-believers?

D: We have hosted a number of parties (house-warming, Christmas, a Ping-Pong-athon!), which have led to the beginning of some great friendships. We seek to include our Christian friends as well as non-Christian friends when we host events, or invite them to events hosted by our church. We also try to attend their events when we can, showing a genuine interest in their lives.

We are continually trying to improve on creating this community; organising bushwalks, outdoor activities, sports. Our friends who are Christians are great at initiating conversations and get to share aspects of their lives and often their faith or the fact that they follow Jesus. The challenge is the clashing schedules of busy people, and finding things which both groups would be keen on (“Spikeball” … movies.)

C: Do you have some examples of bringing in Gospel conversations in your interactions?

D: We always seek to listen well to what they say and earn the right to speak. When we do speak, we feel spiritual conversations come up naturally as we explain how we spend our weekend or what we are passionate about or mention a friend from church who works in a similar field.

We have had the privilege of seeing one family come back to church and for the parents to get baptised. Since then, we have been able to do weekly meals and Bible study with the whole family, a great answer to prayer. We have also attended the “Mark Drama” with a mother and son from our street. They are not Christians yet but we continually seek to include them in our lives – through Gingerbread House nights, Christmas parties, handball competitions and so on.

Simply enter your details and we'll email you the link to download this resource.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.