“I am eager to preach the gospel.” – Romans 1:15
Billy Graham never held the Crusades in Wales, but the effects of his service were strongly felt on a rainy Tuesday in the capital of Cardiff.
More than 400 people gathered at the third stop of the Evangelization Summit in the UK, a movement to bring local believers together in the urgent sharing of the Gospel. Inside the hotel’s conference room, pastors and their spouses, worship leaders and others chatted excitedly, completing Welsh biscuits and tea.
After a year and a half of COVID, political tensions and economic adversity, they were more than willing to see each other and encourage each other to walk with Christ.
While Billy Graham is best known for major evangelistic events, his longtime assistant David Bruce said he has always had a passion for the local church. There Graham began his ministry after graduation — as a pastor in Western Springs, Illinois — which instilled in him a heart for pastors and their communities.
In fact, Graham’s crusades would not have been so effective if local churches had not laid the foundations and subsequently disciplined new believers, Bruce said. It is a model that continues today at Franklin Graham festivals and Will Graham celebrations.
Billy Graham “has always wanted to encourage the church in the work of evangelization,” Bruce added ahead of Tuesday’s summit. “The event we have here is just an offshoot of that same legacy all these years.”
During the 1983 International Conference for Traveling Evangelists in Amsterdam, a journalist asked Billy Graham who would be the next evangelist. He responded by referring all those gathered there, saying that every believer has a responsibility to share the Gospel.
In fact, Jesus Christ himself commanded it (Matthew 28: 19-20).
At the UK Evangelization Summit in Cardiff, locals shared tangible things that can be applied to every Christian in the world. Here are three ways to share the gospel effectively:
Don’t just “play church”. Take action.
Michelle Presley and her husband are shepherds in Newport, Wales. Because so many churches closed their doors during COVID, it is doomed to reach out to people where they are and show that the cross of Christ is still relevant.
Presley Church is one of the few in her area that remains open, and has seen it grow in the last year. But one session spoke to her on Tuesday.
“We spend too much time pretending [to be church], and now is the time to motivate ourselves for action, ”she said. “We are involved in the events. We feel we have to to things. It’s about being real with people, going out into our community and building relationships. ”
It can be talking to people about Jesus in supermarkets, schools or restaurants and being accessible so as not to miss the opportunity to reflect Christ.
Stay connected to God.
When a fire alarm sounded at the summit during lunch, Cardiff Pastor Kennedy Bintei and dozens of others took their plates outside and discussed their experiences in the ministry.
“It’s about the church,” he said, encouraging each other in the Lord’s work.
Bintei has always respected Billy Graham’s “persistence and passion” for winning souls, he said, even into old age.
It is easy to lose sight of our call to evangelization, he continued, which is why the summit is needed – to wake us up to our responsibility, no matter the cost.
“God has given us time to win as many souls as possible,” Bintei said.
How does the believer remain focused on that mission? Remaining connected with God, he answered, by prayer, worship, and reading His Word. When Christians are not connected to their source of power and the One who refreshes the soul, he added, burning creeps in.
>> Do you feel separated from God? Get out of your spiritual rut.
Karin Hicks works with Love Wales, the mission organization.
By the end of the summit, she was committed “not to miss any opportunity”.
“Evangelization must be a way of life. Wherever we go, we have to share [the Gospel]. If we don’t, who will? she asked.
In the days ahead, he wants to prepare for the next open door – how to ask questions that lead to a conversation about Jesus and how to answer questions that may arise.
Like others at the summit, she used the word “brave,” saying she wants to fearlessly live her faith as an effective witness to neighbors, family, and friends.
>> Not sure what to say as you share the gospel? Here are some tips.
The final stop of the UK Evangelization Summit will be on 15 November in London. Find out the details.