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On the Cutting-Edge


Photo by Zuriel Media Park outreach highlights the need to develop strategies in a culturally relevant way.




On the Cutting Edge

‘Typically, we work with many people in theWest Midlandswho are on the edges of church life or outside it,’ explains OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) Evangelist John Heywood of Stourbridge. Yet, his teams are on the cutting edge in reaching people of different ethnicities and including the marginalised, the poor and those with special needs.

Using both friendship and preaching, outreach teams go to places of public interest, parks and shopping malls. Complementary gifts are developed so that one person may illustrate a message with painted art work and others play music. Imaginative means characterise OAC evangelism with puppetry and creative object lessons drawing passers-by. When they stop and listen to the brief Gospel message, other team members follow-up with conversation and literature distribution.

On a warm day, crowds swarm to the local park where a team conducts evangelism. ‘Many stop to watch and to discuss the work and personality of Jesus,’ notes John. ‘One of our first aims is to gain contact with people who would never enter a church. This Sunday pulled a rare congregation! Some stopped to talk and even asked for prayer. Now we’re requesting prayer to develop our strategies in a culturally relevant way.’

It’s not always large teams that conduct effective outreach. In one shopping mall, only a few team members were invited to work on behalf of local churches. Some of them played music which attracted passers-by. An experienced one-to-one worker found that pedestrians who stopped were open to discussion. Many appreciated hearing the Gospel explained so the evangelism team now sees this venue as an important area of ministry.

 ‘When I was a young person, there were several people, who invested time and energy, spiritually, into my life,’ said John Heywood. ‘Now I want to repeat the process for others.’ His activities include teaching sketchboard painting to OM Lifehope students and those on a more advanced level and mentoring younger friends in coffee shops. He also enjoys conducting seminars and helping churches with practical outreach. John feels it’s important to help develop gifts among people who do not preach and become valued team members. It seems that theWest Midlandsteams have room for everyone who is dedicated to serve on the cutting edge of effective evangelism.

For more information, please contact OAC at www.oacgb.org.uk or Tel. 020 8360 5788.

shining-light-oac PRESS RELEASE




Shining Light in the Black Country


Traditionally it’s thought that the Black Country gets its name from the black coal which marked the landscape. Later, it was assumed that industrial pollution also added to the use of this name. But today, with protective legislation, the industrial pollution has lifted and the name is now part of the West Midlands’ rich heritage.

But there’s a greater heritage that evangelists want to claim for this area of Britain. ‘Shine your light in the Black Country’ is an outreach venture to bring spiritual values to the forefront of residents in the heart of the UK. OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) and OM Lifehope are uniting from Saturday the 4th to Sunday the 12th of July for this creative evangelism training and outreach event.

Already quite a multi-national team is coming together. The team of up to 100 will be led by experienced evangelists and working with about 10 churches.

‘This outreach initiative is firmly based on the local church,’ says, Dave Glover, OAC

National Director. ‘We are there to serve in assisting local believers make an impact where they live. It also gives people the experience of learning from professional evangelists and gaining confidence through team ministry while developing their individual gifts. This promises to be an exciting time of outreach ministry for the Black Country as churches pray and plan.

Every morning the smaller teams will unite for prayer and training in basic evangelism. In the afternoon, individuals will join local churches to engage with the community in a way that is relevant to them. Creative means are anticipated as OAC draws on past experience ranging from visual arts and music to Wii tournaments, golf days and treasure hunts.

‘The clear distinctive of OAC and of OM has always been one of reaching people where they are with the Good News of Jesus Christ,’ Dave Glover notes. ‘That is the thrust of “Shine your light in the Black Country”. Our prayer is that others will want be part of it!’

For more information, please contact OAC at www.oacgb.org.uk or Tel. 0191 268 4320.

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Notes for Editors

Working in 26 countries worldwide, OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) began in Australia in 1892 and started in Britain in 1968. OAC works in partnership with the local church ‘Presenting Christ by all means everywhere’ with particular emphasis on open air and outgoing evangelism.

OAC evangelists are trained in open air work and creative outreach. Many can be seen on the street regularly leading their team to communicate the Good News. Innovative means include sketchboard illustration, drama, juggling, puppetry, escapology and illusion. They also conduct one of the largest schools ministries in the country as well as involvement in prisons and on ships.

Street work may be specialized such as working among young people who are clubbers or on housing estates in deprived areas. Each evangelist pursues his or her individual calling to ministry such as schools, prisons, ships and homes for the elderly.

Training is vital to OAC’s ministry and includes equipping both individuals and churches to facilitate their local outreach. OAC is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and adheres to the EA Statement of Faith.

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