20 people, who told us they were not part of any church, prayed a salvation prayer yesterday with me when I spoke at “Church in the Park” in Southampton. We also had 4 people who came to the microphone to report an immediate physical healing when I prayed for the sick at the 7.30pm service. Of all the events I speak at, this event is probably closest to the raw feel of New Testament evangelism. When you read the book of Acts, take Acts chapter 3 for example, a disadvantaged person, who Luke describes as a “crippled beggar” is healed when Peter and John speak healing to him, and then when a crowd forms as a result of the healing, the apostles preached the good news about Jesus, by way of explanation. The healing needs to be explained and accounted for and the explanation is that God has raised Jesus from the dead, and that’s how come this man stands before you healed. This is the sort of philosophy of ministry behind “Church in the Park”. Usually church services are inside buildings. Buildings that most British people don’t go inside on Sunday mornings. So during half-term several churches in Southampton clubbed together to take church outside of any building and go where the people are. In this case in Houndwell Park. So I preached at 12noon, 4.00pm and at a 7.30pm healing service. Of course you’ve got people walking in and out of the tent to see what’s going on, you’ve got loads of background conversations, because it’s more or less the same as preaching in the open air. And you get all vast range of people who hang out in the park coming to the meetings, from people who sleep in the park, to young families with kids who use the swings and the play area. It’s hard to describe. My 19 year old daughter Esther who is at Southampton University came to the 4pm service with a friend and it was quite hard to explain by text exactly what to expect, because it is unlike anything else. What would church look like if you did church for the people who go down the park on a Saturday afternoon? Well, guess what? it turns out that people say “yes” to Jesus when they hear the gospel. We had 6 respond for salvation at the 12noon service, and 9 at the 4pm and another 5 at the 7.30pm. The first healing at the evenings service was of a guy sitting in the front row, who said he’d had arthritis in his finger for 4 years and that the arthritis had gone. Anyway, I know that my great friend Chris Kilby, who leads Life Church, was preparing people who’d become Christians in the park for baptism this morning. So it was a hugely encouraging adventure.