Imagine thousands of people from hundreds of churches across our region all mobilised together with the aim of sharing God's love with hurting people in our community. That is the vision that the Who Cares? team have for Hampshire and the surrounding areas.
When I first floated the idea of bringing the Who Cares? strategy to this area I thought my role was just to be a prophetic voice. I assumed that someone else would pick up the baton and lead the team. To my surprise everyone else in the team felt that I was the person God wanted to head up this initiative for this region. A few weeks later I was at a conference when a prophetic word was spoken over me that directly confirmed this call. Right down to details such as equipping churches across a geographical region and having access to the Bishop's office.
It has been exciting to see how a vision that originally just embraced Basingstoke and outlying areas has expanded; first to include all of North Hampshire, and more recently to include the rest of Hampshire and parts of Dorset.
The mission consists of 2 phases:
- The Listening Phase. This phase starts on Sunday June 4th which is Pentecost Sunday. We are praying for the Holy Spirit to fall upon the church as on the first Day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago when the room that the disciples were hiding in was unable to contain the mission of Christ. Over the following 8 weeks Christians from participating churches will be mobilised to ask friends and family, neighbours and workmates, along with others in the community one simple question. 'What Hurts The Most?' or put another way 'What one thing in life do you find most difficult to handle?' The answers that are received will be collated on computers and analysed centrally to help churches understand the needs of their communities.
- The Responding Phase. This phase runs from September through to December. During this season churches will tailor their programmes to address the key hurts of the people they have been listening to. They will run Alpha Courses, do Café Church, sermon series (and much more) all with the focus of addressing the hurts that people have identified. The churches in Norfolk who ran a mission like this in 2014 found that hundreds of people heard the Good News that Jesus cares for them and many became followers of Jesus after 1,200 guests attended an Alpha launch supper.
I find it interesting that among the prophecies spoken over us as a church are things like 'you will be a David among churches' and 'you will punch above your weight'. It seems that this is happening as more than a hundred leaders are looking to Life Church, Hook for vision and leadership in this initiative.
I would invite you to get behind this project and support it by joining me at the Vision Night on Saturday 8th October, 7:00pm at Aldworth School, Western Way, Basingstoke. Admission is free but you will need a ticket which you can obtain online.