The Stourbridge Open Air Campaigners (OAC) Ministries in the West Midlands have been focusing on those who are ‘on the edges of church life or outside it’, John Heywood has said.
Speaking of the work of his teams in reaching people of different ethnicities, and the marginalised, the poor and those with special needs, he said the evangelism was ‘on the cutting edge’.
Using both friendship and preaching, outreach teams go to places of public interest, parks and shopping malls. On a warm day, crowds swarm to the local park where a team conducts evangelism. Mr Heywood said, ‘Many stop to watch and to discuss the work and personality of Jesus.
‘One of our aims is to gain contact with people who would never enter a church. One Sunday in May pulled a rare congregation. Some stopped to talk and even asked for prayer. Now we’re requesting prayer to develop our strategies in a culturally relevant way’.
He explained that it’s not always large teams that conduct effective outreach. In one shopping mall, only a few team members were invited to work on behalf of local churches.
Some of them played music, which attracted passers-by. An experienced one-to-one worker found that pedestrians who stopped were open to discussion. Many appreciated hearing the gospel explained, so the evangelism team now sees this venue as an important area of ministry.
Mr Heywood added: ‘When I was young, there were several people who invested time and energy, spiritually, into my life. Now I want to repeat the process for others’. He added: ‘The West Midlands teams have room for everyone who is dedicated to serve on the cutting edge of effective evangelism’.