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Lockdown Stories: How over a hundred people have come to Jesus through one church

Catalyst Vineyard Church

“As of today, 105 people have indicated their decision to submit their lives to Christ. This is perhaps the greatest opportunity for the Gospel that we will experience in our lifetimes.”

We have loved hearing stories of people coming to know Jesus in lockdown. Chuck Freeland (Senior Pastor) from Catalyst Vineyard in Scotland shares with us about the move of God they have seen in their nation through this season.

“Since the week before lockdown, we began to realise that lots of people who were previously unconnected to any church were joining our live stream each week. We’d hear stories about colleagues and neighbours and friends and family members who had watched, many of them who had not ever been in a church. People close to Taryn (my wife) and I who may never have come to our church were suddenly watching every week.

On the platform that we’re using (online.church), there’s a facility that enables people who are watching to indicate that they are choosing to commit their lives to follow Jesus, and so we decided to make sure that opportunity was available in every live stream. Every single week, someone has become a Christian.  On the first Sunday, it was eight people. This past Sunday it was three. One week it was 18. About 30 teenagers have also given their hearts to Jesus on their midweek live stream too. As of today, 105 people have indicated their decision to submit their lives to Christ.

Many people initially choose to remain anonymous – I think they are in shock that they’ve even visited a church. However, we direct each person towards the Alpha course, which has resulted in the first course, which began a month ago, having 60 guests. We are just about to start our third Alpha course since lockdown began.

Do we know for certain that every single person is a brand new Christian? Of course not. Might some of them have clicked the button by accident? Yes, for sure. However, we are confident that lots of people have genuinely come into the kingdom.

We know enough of the new Christians to know that people are having genuine encounters with Jesus by his Spirit. For example, one is a close friend of one of our kids, who we have known for several years – she joined the live stream early on and became a Christian on Easter Sunday. Another is a lady who has been too unwell to leave the house to ever visit our church, despite wanting to. I think it was the first week of the live stream that she committed her life to Jesus and she’s been voraciously reading the Bible ever since. A Mother and daughter who had been journeying with God for some months became Christians on the same day. Three family members of one of our pastors have come to faith in recent weeks.

This crisis is terrible, and there is plenty to be concerned about. Many people are living with new grief or trauma or anxiety. But hidden between the layers, I believe with all my heart that God is at work, shaking lives and awakening hearts. I think this is perhaps the greatest opportunity for the Gospel that we will experience in our lifetimes.”

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