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An Exciting (Re)turn of Events

Gavin Calver (CEO, Evangelical Alliance UK)

After the two years we’ve had, large events provide much-needed opportunities to break from routine, expand our horizons and build faith in what our God can do…

With the end of restrictions, the possibility of doing more things together returns. Many of us are getting excited about the prospect of gathering together in bigger and wider spaces than we have been able to for the last couple of years.

I have vivid memories of uncomfortably siting on a wooden floor surrounded by my fellow nine-year-olds as if it were yesterday. We were away at a national Christian event and the focus that particular morning was on healing. We all got together in small groups to pray for one another. Immediately my friend James tore his sock off to expose the verruca on his foot: ​“I’ve had enough of having to swim with a sock on. I want God to heal my verruca!” he declared. Without a moment’s hesitation I began to pray. I closed my eyes as tightly as I could and prayed full of faith and vigour. When I opened my eyes I was blown away as the verruca had fully gone. It was a moment I will never forget.

Many of us have experienced powerful moments whilst away at Christian events, whether through healing, answered prayer, transformative teaching or the power of being with the wider body of Christ. For me, experiencing God healing someone at such a young age has set me up for life – in having faith to pray for far bigger things in front of me and crying out to the Lord to intervene. It was because I was in a faith-filled environment, away from home, that I had the confidence to pray for the healing in the first place.

It was because I was in a faith-filled environment, away from home, that I had the confidence to pray for the healing in the first place.

Throughout the pandemic, the larger Christian events have generally been confined to the online space. However, this has meant that so many have missed out on worshipping in such a large setting, gathering with Christians from all over the land, having the space to encounter the Lord powerfully, hearing from people they would not otherwise get to, having children and young people’s work on another scale, hearing from the Lord outside of the rush of home life and praying with thousands of others. There is a rhythm to our worshipping calendar, and festivals and pilgrimages can be greatly encouraging in the discipleship journey. We are hungry for these encounters and the events that facilitate them provide prophetic moments and fresh inspiration for local churches.

So many of our beloved events are welcoming us back this year and they need our support in order to survive the season and continue to provide for the life and ministry of the UK church for years to come.

Six reasons to go to events

  • Seeing the exciting bigger picture that our own local context is a part of.
  • Introducing children and young people to the size and scale of the people of God gathered together.
  • Events are often the catalyst for decision moments for those searching or curious about faith in Jesus.
  • Getting away from distractions and carving out space for the ​‘campfire’ moments.
  • We all need a little time to receive, especially if we have been continually serving and involved in church ministry.
  • Gaining fresh insights into who God is or hearing old truths revealed in a new way through teaching or worship content and approaches outside of our usual experience.

This, and so much more, is why it’s exciting to see so many Christian events and gatherings returning this year. Starting at Easter and running through to the autumn there are plenty of gatherings on offer, including many run by our wonderful members – there’s something for everyone.

Many of our beloved events are welcoming us back this year and they need our support in order to survive the season.

Original article taken from the Evangelical Alliance UK website.

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