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27 October 2017

Sharing the best gift ever

Sharing the best gift ever

Telling others the story of the impact Jesus has had in our lives is one of the greatest gifts we can give. For a year now, the Alliance's Great Commission website has been sharing your stories every week. Lucy Olofinjana celebrates hearing the impact they're having on churches and individuals across the UK.

Each one of us has a story to tell about the difference Jesus has made in our lives – and you're the only one who can give others the opportunity to hear yours. As we play our part in introducing others to Jesus, we get to give the greatest gift on earth; the chance for others to meet Him for themselves. In the words of Tim Keller in Generous Justice, "No one else can make such an invitation." It's a gift that only Christians can give.

The power of telling our story
One in five of those who hear about Jesus from us say that they are then open to experiencing Jesus for themselves. That's what we learnt from the Talking Jesus research. What a great encouragement for us to share Jesus more.

There's nothing like hearing about how Jesus has changed someone's life. And that's why for over a year now, our Great Commission website has been releasing a new good news story every single week. Stories of people like Lee, who encountered the love of Jesus powerfully through a church service, after being invited in by a friend and enticed with the offer of free food. 

Whole congregations have been encouraged through the stories. "Our congregation has been inspired by Great Commission's stories of people turning their lives to Jesus," says Pastor Nestor Fernandez from Cross Street Baptist Church in Islington. "It's like an infusion of boldness has been released over people and they have started sharing their faith with confidence and expectation."

"We've been showing a Great Commission story in our Sunday services and the impact has been amazing. They are so relatable for people going through various situations". The short videos tell of people from across the UK who've had their lives transformed by Jesus and are now sharing him with others. And they're all available for churches and small groups to share on social media and freely download, visit .greatcommission.co.uk/watch

Stories of God at work across the UK 

We're sharing stories of Christians like Sheila, showing the gift of God's love on the streets of her city Peterborough, offering to pray for people – including in the local fish and chip shop! And stories of young people like Ben, who's been given the gift of knowing God's love since his childhood, now sharing that love of Jesus with others in his school. The films also show the amazing range of ways in which people first encounter Jesus. Stories of men like Manoj, whose family encountered God's healing power after a Christian couple they knew prayed earnestly for their two-year old son to be healed. Or of women like Balbinder, who had lived as a Sikh for more than 50 years, but never found peace. Through a conversation with a newly- Christian friend on the phone, this friend later sent her the gift of a Bible which opened her eyes to God's love for her.

Stories for all generations
Gillian Orr, a youth worker in Abernethy, Scotland, told us: "I'm always looking for inspiring video clips to show my youth group, and the little testimonies on the Great Commission site are great, and really easy to download for any session I'm leading." "The young people were so inspired to hear from others who are sharing their faith at school too – it really encouraged them, she adds. Greatcommission.co.uk is definitely something I'll have on my 'go to' resources list." 

Lee, whose filmed story was viewed by thousands on Facebook, told us about the impact it's had. "The film has been such an encouragement to me because it's really allowed me to see that every single one of our stories to faith, no matter how small we may think it is, has the power to change a life," says Lee. "I didn't think my story could do so much, but God showed me in the making of this story that anything I surrender to Him, no matter how small or insignificant I think it may be, in our Saviour's arms it can change nations. My non-Christian friends were extremely supportive of my story and they were encouraged. They wanted to know more. Some of them even shared it." 

Continuing to share
A year on from its launch, greatcommission.co.uk is continuing to bring together a wide range of resources, reflections and stories; inspiring and encouraging you and your church to talk about Jesus. As an organisation passionate about unity and seeing people making Jesus known, we hope this site will continue to help you do just that.

"We've found the Great Commission videos very helpful in our evangelism – they are short and powerful, and the Holy Spirit is using them to soften people's hearts," adds Pastor Fernandez.

Talking Jesus
The new booklet Talking Jesus – What can I do? summarises research into people's views of Jesus and evangelism, asking 'what does this mean for me?' Featuring new research into 11-18 year olds, there are four sections with testimonies and questions to help individuals, home groups and churches explore how to make Jesus known. Find the booklet and a more in-depth research report online at talkingjesus.org 

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