Have you ever considered that the call of Ephesians 4, to be united and mature in Christ, may be bigger than your local church? Or your denomination? That it may apply to the church, the body of Christ as a whole? So then, how can we encourage the church, cross-denominationally to be a unified witness of Christ, seeking to be sharply evangelistic in all we do, working together as each part does its work?
Well, we need to ignite the flame.
Chatting to Murray Smith
A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to chat to Murray Smith about an initiative called, ‘Ignition’, that addresses this exact need.
Murray is married to Lynette and they have five children together. He and his family are part of Hornsby Presbyterian Church, which is a relatively new church plant, where Murray is also one of the Elders. For work, Murray is a Lecturer in Biblical Theology & Exegesis at Christ College and has been teaching there for 12-years.
Ignition is a partnership between the United Evangelistic Council (UEC) and the Bible Society Australia (BSA), that seeks to provide funding and resources for cross-denominational evangelistic efforts.
The UEC holds in trust the money left over from the Billy Graham Crusades (eg. ticket sales, donations, church support, etc.). Billy Graham wanted the money to be used exclusively for churches working together in evangelism.
Murray shared with us that both of these things are key. “It’s got to be different churches working together because that was part of Billy Graham’s own approach too… He wanted to get everyone involved, not just have one denomination doing their own thing. The church as a whole, being a unified witness together, while being sharply evangelistic.”
There have been several initiatives over the years that have been funded through this incredible partnership, which you can check out on the UEC website. The most recent of these is Ignition.
Murray and the UEC realised that as a Committee, they don’t have the time to organise events themselves (all Committee members are volunteers). This led to discussions about how the UEC can be most helpful in facilitating these events, ensuring that they are cross-denominational and evangelistic, while being mostly hands-off as a Committee. This is where the Bible Society Australia joined the picture and the two decided to focus on the young people in our churches, encouraging already existing ministries to join together and create evangelistic events, funded by UEC.
Hosting an Ignition Event
Evangelistic tracts, resources for preparation before the event, training material for youth leaders, questions for youth who decide to become Christians, pre-written small group discussions, follow-up after the event… Not only will UEC and BSA provide funding for the event, they will also provide all these awesome resources to encourage as many youth groups as possible to make the most of this opportunity.
All you need to do is gather two or three churches or youth organisations, apply on the Ignition website, receive up to $2000 of funding (depending on the size and complexity of your event), and then write a follow-up report about how the money was used. How awesome is that!
Cross-denominational and evangelistic.
That’s what Ignition is about.
Will you take up the challenge to host an Ignition event?