In February, Avonside Mission Area started a weekly Tuesday morning prayer meeting. This forms part of their Evangelism Mission Shaped Community, hosted by Revd Hartmut Kopsch, associate minister, and Revd John Monaghan, vicar from St Edyths Seamills and Coombe Dingle.
Sprung from the desire to seek and pray to God for revival in big and small ways for their community, the 7am start time allows for diverse participants—workers, self-employed, those who are retired, young adults, and homemakers.
Avonsides Evangelism Mission Shaped Community actively discusses and prays about various ways to encourage church members to keep fishing—in both corporate and private evangelism. Evangelism means partnering with the Holy Spirit in his work and starts with persistent prayer—like most revivals over the past hundreds of years.
John said: Sometimes we pray sitting, sometimes standing, sometimes we wait in silence, other times reading passages from the Bible to encourage and challenge us. I feel like we have connected with God and each other.
"There is more courage bubbling inside and I feel a bit braver thinking about the opportunities that lie ahead today and this week."
There are three important points that the evangelism Missional Community emphasise:
- Praying that they are obedient in acknowledging Jesus before others (Matthew 10:32)
- That the Holy Spirit would open hearts and minds (2 Corinthians 4:4) and,
- That people would hear the words of Jesus calling them to repent and believe the Good News of the Kingdom of God. (Mark 1:15)
Around a dozen people regularly attend the weekly Tuesday morning prayer meeting. St Edyth's is holding other evangelistic events throughout the year such as Alpha, which started in January and they are currently piloting evangelism evenings this year. There have been evenings where church members were encouraged to invite non-Christian friends along to hear a gospel presentation by guest speakers.
In one evangelism evening, the Mission Area invited Rowena Cross as guest speaker. Rowena is an evangelist from a thriving London church—St Saviours Sunbury— alongside her husband Ron, the vicar there. She spoke about simplicity, and the fruits and growth received by opening their mouths and evangelising.
John said: Her prayer is threefold: Lord, open their eyes, Lord, open a door, and Lord, open my mouth."
Avonside is testing out different events—mornings, evenings, prayer or guest speaker focus—to see which one the Holy Spirit blesses with growth and discipleship.
We dont know all the answers, but we know a God who does, and we know that he wants is to keep our nets wet in our efforts. It does feel right at this time to gather and pray together for the re-evangelisation of our neighbourhoods, said John.
The second evangelism evening was led by Revd David Powe. He is currently the vicar at Sodbury Parish, Gloucester.
David served as a prison chaplain at HMPS Lewes, Belmarsh and Bristol mens prisons. Over 25 years, he led Gospel revivals in the prisons where incarcerated men, prison officers, as well as others outside of prison found faith. David's work led him to speak at a number of different churches all over the country on prison ministry.
The most recent evangelism evening was preceeded by 17 people from the church visiting people on the local streets inviting them along. 50 people attended the event where Simon Edwards talked about what makes a person special in a world of 7 billion people. Simon is UK Director for RZIM Zacharias Trust and Assistant Chaplain of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.