Tent Missions - Andy's report on the Newbold Tent Missions
Back in 2014, I first met Steve Pilkington through my wife's home-school connection and he made two impressions on me that day. Firstly, here was a man with a passion for prayer. Secondly, here was a man with an equal passion to preach the gospel at any given opportunity and he had been divinely provided with some considerable resource to help him in this task.
Steve told me of his owning a large tent, and how God had brought this to be in his possession, along with all the necessary equipment to run a tent mission. He proceeded to make me an invitation that if I'd ever consider running an outreach event using his tent he'd be very happy to help. His position in serving God's Kingdom is unaltered today and the following year I took him up on his kind offer!
Well, after some careful planning, several evenings of evangelism training for the church that Steve ran for anyone who was interested and a few hours graft in setting up the tent, we were about ready to begin our week-long mission to Newbold estate in Rochdale.
The results of that week were fantastic! The gospel was preached every evening in that tent and those (and only those) who had responded to the gospel for the first time or to re-commit their lives back to God were offered a little pack of encouragement at the end of the night with a New Testament, a tract or two and a few other tools to help them on their way.
By the end of the mission, we had almost emptied our supply of New Testaments and we'd bought a job lot of 100! Not only were each of these lives, and probably many others, touched powerfully by the gospel; not only did we see healings and the gifts of the Holy Spirit flow; not only did we serve getting on for 1,000 burgers and hot dogs; not only did we reach so many more that we connected with in our neighbourhood and that brought a church presence on that dear estate; but we also grew as a church in working together, in seeing that 'I can get involved in this' and in experiencing first-hand that if we will take the gospel out, it will do it's work in reaching people where they are and in making a real impact on real lives.
It's good to have an outward focus and to be gospel-centred as a fellowship, we knew that already. Operation Hope gave us the opportunity to put what was theory into practice... so we did it all again 2 years later! Wonderful... thanks Steve and praise God for the privilege to partner with Operation Hope.
Andy McCulloch - Pastor at Newbold Baptist Church, Rochdale