News and Articles
19 April 2017
At the beginning of June a marquee will be erected in Houndwell Park and churches will gather together to put on Church in the Park — a free, five-day public event held in the centre of Southampton with live music, great stories and a powerful message.
For many years Life Church has run a similar event; and Above Bar Church, with other churches in the Southampton Christian Network, asked if we do it together. Chris Kilby and the leaders of Life Church agreed, so the marquee will be bigger, Callom Harkrader will be one of the speakers, Tom James one of the sung worship leaders and a number of the team members will be from Above Bar Church.
Why are we doing this?
People are spiritually open. In the autumn a group of Christians from Reading came to train us in Street Evangelism. In two weeks, 550 people made some kind of commitment to Jesus and left contact details. Of those at least 12 have made it into a church community.
The feedback we got from people was that, whilst they were interested in Jesus and spirituality, there was suspicion and reluctance to get involved with institutional church. So a neutral, attractive, intriguing venue in the middle of a park draws people who don’t normally darken the doors of a church building.
What will happen?
The rhythm of each day will be of scattering and gathering. The team will gather each morning for devotions and worship and then scatter to meet people in the city centre and beyond to do questionnaires, share the good news and invite people to the meetings in the marquee.
Then we will gather at least three time a day (four on Saturday) for live sung worship, powerful testimonies and a clear explanation of the gospel.
- Wednesday to Friday: 12.00pm-1.00pm; 4.00pm-5.00pm and 8.00pm-9.30pm.
- Saturday: 11.00am-12.00pm; 1.00pm-2.00pm; 4.00pm-5.00pm; 7.30pm-9.30pm.
- Sunday: Life Church will have their Sunday service in the marquee and from 12.30pm everyone is invited for a picnic and some people will be baptised.
How can you get involved?
- Be on team. Whether you can just serve in the evenings and weekends or for one day or for the whole thing please sign up Church in the Park here. It’ll cost £10. For this you’ll get a t-shirt and training. You can choose which team you want to be part of including Welcome, Ministry, Hospitality and Stewarding.
- Pray. A lot of planning and preparation has gone into this mission but unless God works by his Spirit it will all be in vain. Praise God we have 75% of the budget already and the rest has already been pledged.
- Invite friends. Each meeting with be accessible to unchurched people. Watch this testimony from a previous year.
- Experience “one Church” in Southampton. The evenings, especially, are a wonderful encouragement to Christians as we experience something of the breadth of God’s church in Southampton.