Pastor Jonathan Oloyede shares details about ‘Shine Your Light’, a new initiative calling on UK churches to boldly share the gospel message in their communities this Christmas
I knelt on the makeshift stage at Trafalgar Square and sobbed as a children prayed for the Church and nation. It was July 2023, as the grassroots street evangelism community KIVI (Kingdom Impact Vision International) stormed central London with their carnival approach to reaching souls.
A month later, I was in tears again, as hundreds of children and young people responded to the call to follow Christ at the ExCeL London. It was the ‘God Loves You’ Tour, organised by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and led by Franklin Graham.
A few weeks ago, this summer, I was crying (again!) as the presence of the Lord flooded my car as I drove along the North Circular A406 in London. The Lord, by His Spirit, challenged me to believe in the Gospel with the supernatural signs from the Book of Acts.
I believe IT IS TIME for the Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland to respond with faith and authority to preach and witness the Gospel to a generation and society in desperate need of God.
The Trussell Trust alone has over 1,300 food bank centres in the UK. From its origins in the Methodist Church over 150 years ago, the Salvation Army is perhaps the highest-ranking Christian charity in the UK according to AI! The collective Christian Church has contributed a tremendous amount of good to society through their charitable activities.
Christian social action is on the rise but the preaching of the Gospel for salvation of souls is on the decline. My own anecdotal observation is that more and more Christians are ditching preaching for feeding. It seems the UK Church is more comfortable with doing good deeds rather than sharing good news.
‘And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”’ (Matthew 28:18-20). Amen.
I believe it is time for some reflection and evaluation on how healthy we are as a collective body in the UK and Ireland. If we are to examine our results against the core instruction and commission of our Lord Jesus, our benchmark is not how many come to our feeding and social outreach programmes but how many have been baptised.
The proper health index for the Church is the number of new baptisms!
If all our activities and wonderful transformation programmes do not end in increased rates in transformed regenerated hearts, then we are regressing and not progressing.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The Church can be likened to the ‘city upon a hill’ metaphor which Jesus used in His sermon on the mount. The end result of all our wonderful light shining is that mankind may glorify God. The Greek word for glorify is doxazo, which means ‘to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged’.
We pray that the whole of society may acknowledge and know the God we love and serve in the Person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
This Christmas, the charity I lead, National Day of Prayer and Worship, is collaborating with The Salvation Army, the Church of England, The Evangelical Alliance, the Black-majority churches (BMCs), and all denominations as well as Christian networks to unite together to preach the Gospel through the Christmas Story.
We are all uniting under ONE banner called Shine Your Light (www.shineyourlight.org.uk) during the weekend of 15th-17th December 2023.
We want Christians and churches everywhere to shine the light of the Gospel through dance, music, creativity and activity. The aim is that the Gospel be preached to hundreds of thousands – if not millions – this Christmas.
If every believer and local church were to switch on their lights, then the whole of the British Isles can be lit up like a Christmas tree!
Imagine every shopping mall, railway station, town hall and city centre filled with Christians sharing the Good News of Jesus and joy to the world! Imagine every school and workplace flooded with the light of Christ!
You can get involved as a church, network, community or individual by registering at www.shineyourlight.org.uk
I invite you to join with what the Spirit of the Lord is doing in this land. Shake off the negative news about the Christian Church and do your little bit by SHINING YOUR LIGHT!
Grace, peace and love
Pastor Jonathan Oloyede is Convenor of the National Day of Prayer. For more details about the Shine Your Light initiative, visit www.shineyourlight.org.uk
[JR1]I’ve added the full name to avoid confusion with other KIVIs