Developing friendship skills is the best and most effective way of reaching out with God’s love to our communities. It is through friendship that most new Christians are added to our church,” says Sam Gibson, GLO Mission Director (Ireland Hubs) and member of Crescent Church, Belfast.
“We are a city-centre church located beside the University, the nightclubs, the hospitals and various visitor attractions so we try anything we can to connect with people but nothing beats friendship.”
Last summer Crescent Church organised an open week (all day every day) with the help of a GLO mission team. In one week people from over 50 nationalities came through the door and put a flag on their country of origin on a large map of the world. Sam and the team chatted with them over a cup of coffee and prayed with them before they left.
In another outreach adventure, Crescent Church contacted the city council about using a nearby park for a family fun day. “They replied positively as they want the green spaces in the city to be used more for families. They provided games, various displays, a large tent, a football cage and another football penalty game measuring the speed of the kick – as you can imagine there was a long queue for these! They also sent a stage with a powerful PA system for free and a grant towards the event.
“We were surprised, as our church has been here for 150 years and has never been able to do this. We had live music in the evening with many different styles including Bollywood, put on by ex-missionaries from the Asian subcontinent,” Sam said.
Crescent Church try to get involved in the community any way they can. Sam explains, “We also have members of the church who work with a food bank, others are street pastors (supported by the police, the council and retailers), others work with the homeless, others with students from the nearby university, some members offer help with CVs for job seekers, others offer classes in speaking English. We have a men’s group, ladies group, children’s and youth groups, and senior citizens also not to mention the various sports that take place in the sports hall.”