2016, the year of…

The year was 1942. Australia was at war and a lingering dark cloud hung over Europe as Hitler’s armies marched toward victory and domination. Dark and difficult days. Even so, a greater concern gripped the hearts of the leaders of a Baptist church in Kew, in fact, it was a great burden to them: not one person in the previous year had come to know Christ. Here’s how they tell the story from their annual report:

“The diaconate meeting considered “a matter which was a burden on our hearts”. It appears that during that time no conversions had been recorded and the deacons felt the burden of responsibility. An evangelistic committee of five was established “to consider the position and make recommendations”. It concluded that the “barrenness” was caused by a general lack of prayer in the church and suggested the formation of a Prayer League whose members would pledge themselves to pray for conversions. Over fifty responded to the challenge. The deacons also resolved to engage in more evangelistic outreach, a decision which was reinforced by a circular from the Baptist Union Evangelistic Committee in January 1943, which urged all the churches to “aggressive action”. Four evangelistic services were conducted in November 1942, Rev. A. Clarke conducted a mission the following May, and special prayer meetings were held “specifically directed to soul winning”, as a preparation for the Christian Endeavour anniversary at the end of the month. It proved a time of considerable response on the part of the young people.

At the next annual meeting in August, the secretary was able to report that at the recent annual Sunday School Decision Day, conducted by Mr N. Lumsden, fifteen students had responded with commitment to Christ and that over the twelve month period fifty conversions had occurred compared with none the previous year. The importance of a praying church was confirmed.”

I am excited and hopeful for the year ahead, and part of this has been fuelled by my own prayer, but also the encouragement and strengthening that has taken place over the Week of Prayer. There are times when I catch a glimpse of what a privilege it is to be part of a church that has been serving Jesus and honouring the gospel for 160 years. Let’s take heart and courage from the resolve of those who have gone before us.  All glory to God!

Peace and Blessings,

Nicholas Tuohy

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