Great Outdoors Church Service – May 21, 2017

Great Outdoors Church Service 2017

 

We are again inviting churches throughout the UK and Ireland to stand with brothers and sisters who have been forced out of their churches, either because their buildings have been destroyed or the authorities have banned them from their premises, or perhaps because it is too dangerous to be seen worshipping and praying together in public. Please show your support for persecuted Christians by taking part in our sixth annual Great Outdoors Church Service on Sunday, May 21 (or another Sunday of your choice).

Your feedback on the past four events was very encouraging and this year we hope that even more churches will take part on May 21 by holding one of their Sunday meetings outdoors.

This is a simple but powerful way your fellowship can demonstrate solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world, as well as being an opportunity for witness in your own community.

‘It was a very helpful reminder of the need to pray for our brothers and sisters who are pressured and persecuted,’ said one of last year’s participants. ‘And it was actually very liberating to be released from the trappings of “normal” church. It was a lot of fun too!’

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Resources, including creative worship ideas and a sermon outline,

are available from our LoveKillsHate website.

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If you decide to take part, we’d love to hear how you get on, so please give us your feedback and post a photograph or two to our Facebook page facebook.com/releaseinternational.

Although we have designated May 21 as the date for the service, feel free to hold your event on another Sunday if that is more convenient.

Please feel free to use this specially written prayer as part of your outdoor church service.

Lord of all,

We delight to be able to worship you freely today, without fear of persecution. Help us never to take our precious freedom for granted.

Father, as we stand here in the open air and under an open heaven, we lift to you our brothers and sisters around the world who are forced to worship outdoors today.

Though the miles separate us, we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in Jesus’ name – because we are one body.

Please bless Christians in countries like China and Indonesia who have been driven out of their buildings, some for many years. Please protect Christians in countries like Nigeria whose buildings have been destroyed. Keep their hope and their witness alive, Lord.

May they know that they are not forgotten. Fill them with your peace, Lord: overwhelm them with your love.

Help us to follow their lead by standing firm for the gospel and being bold in our witness.

May your perfect love shine out of your church in every nation, Lord. May your unconditional love touch the hearts of those who persecute. Like Saul, the early persecutor of the church who became Paul, may they be transformed into ambassadors of your love and truth.

In Jesus’ name, we pray.

Amen