On The Streets 5th January 2013

manchesterThe city of Manchester lies in the Northwest of England.  It has a fixed population of 503,000 people according to the 2011 national census.  The Greater Manchester urban area has a population of 2.2 million people.  Manchester’s history can be traced back to 79AD when it began as a Roman settlement.  It was here that the Industrial Revolution began so that by the beginning of the 19th Centiry Manchester became the world’s first industrialised city.

Manchester was granted its city charter in 1853.  The city is notable for its architecture and sporting connections. Manchester’s sports clubs include Premier League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United.  Manchester was the site of one of the world’s first railway stations, and the place where scientists first split the atom and developed the first stored-programme computer. Manchester is served by two universities, including the largest single-site university in the UK, and has the country’s third largest urban economy. Manchester is also the third-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors, after
London and Edinburgh, and the most visited in England outside London.

In 2011 it was estimated that the total number of visitors to Manchester was 936,000 people.  The student population alone is the biggest in Europe with some 90,000 young adults attending the city’s two Universities plus the University of the adjoining city of Salford (Salford is separated from Manchester only by a few meters across the River Irwell).

In 2011 the University of Manchester itself had over 10,000 foreign students which placed Manchester as the number 1 University to attract overseas students in the whole of the UK, even above Cambridge AND Oxford as well as the capital London.

These are some of the reasons why evangelism in the city centre is so important, and why (for the past 8 years) we have been engaged in outreach here.

Unfortunately, due to bouts of sickness, we were unable to go out for the past three weeks.  But, praise God, this week John and Amélia were able.

John had only just opened his Bible and was about to preach when he was approached by a young man who was seeking more information to help his faith grow.  John had been approached by him before.  He had come to Manchester from Liverpool with the sole purpose of meeting the team so John spent some time sharing and instructing him.  Then another gentleman approached asking John for advice about some other faith related matter.

After about an hour, or so, John was finally able to begin preaching.  It was not long before another young man approached John enquiring as to what he should do.  Apparently he was convinced that he had been demon possessed one day the week before.  John didn’t get into this issue with him but preached the Gospel, sharing from the scriptures the Good News that Jesus Christ came to seek and save sinners.  John shared that it was not by attending a church or through priests and clergy that we come to God but by Jesus Christ and Him alone.

At this point most evangelical would have led such a person into repeating a sinner’s prayer, we (however) do not believe in such an approach.  It must come via the person’s own volition one to one with Jesus Himself.  Decisional Regeneration is found nowhere in the Bible.  John spoke of the need for repentence, belief on Jesus Christ and Baptism.  John gave him a copy of the New Testament and our contact details telling him to read the Gospels and pray that Christ would show him the truth.  We pray that he will receive God’s saving Grace.

Then John was asked, by Amélia, to engage with someone she was finding hard to speak with.  Turns out he was a Jehovah´s Witness plus we could smell that he had been drinking.  John showed him through the Bible how that Jesus Christ is God, equal with God, that He received worship from men and that His name was above every name.  John also challenged him on his drinking and got him to admit that he was an alcoholic.  John told him that he knew one who could deliver him from this addiction and that he would have to submit to Jesus Christ.

Later John was asked to intervene in a conversation Amélia was having with two young students.  The young man was extremely well spoken and very intellectual, also a student of Theology and the young woman was not as intellectually minded.  Some times we can feel very inadequate when dealing with academically minded people.  They often use terms and vocabulary we are not familiar with which can make us feel inferior.  But we should be reminded that Jesus’s Apostles were ignorant and unlearned (Acts4:13) and that the academics of the New Testament were the Greeks, who the scriptures state would find our faith foolishness.
(1 Corinthians 1:23)


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