Over 300 church leaders, and members, gathered to celebrate the launch of Lancashire Festival of Hope. Inviting Franklin Graham to share the gospel in Blackpool.
A Festival of Hope is no small undertaking, with well over a year of planning and prayer going into each event.
Whenever Billy Graham visited a city for a crusade he wanted it to be with the support of the local church. The first step was to have a church invite him and to then begin training local churches to share the Gospel with their communities. This way of working meant that the Crusade itself was simply a part of an outreach that would change the town and its churches for a generation.
Franklin Graham has followed in his father’s footsteps and the churches of Blackpool are excitedly preparing for his September event. Over 300 church leaders and members met in Blackpool last Thursday to officially launch the Lancashire Festival of Hope.
‘I thought God had forgotten Lancashire’
Blackpool is one of the most densely populated cities in the UK and one of the first places in the UK to experience a fall in life expectancy. Over 10% of the city claim ‘out of work’ benefits, unable to hold down a job due to illness.
In September 2016 Pastor Phillip and a group of church members walked across Lancashire carrying a cross. Explaining why, he exclaimed, “I do some crazy things for the Gospel, I want to be an ambassador for Christ in the area”.
During their walk, they saw many people make a decision for Christ and people healed.
Pastor Phillip continued “What’s important is not just being passionate about the area, it’s about being passionate about God, what’s on His heart, His vision for the area”. “We can come up with many ideas for Lancashire, but finding out what God’s heart is for the area is so important.” “I thought God had forgotten Lancashire”.
The Lancashire Festival of Hope will run for three days in one of the county’s most historic venues, The Winter Gardens. Every British Prime Minister, since World War 2, has addressed an audience at the venue. But September 21st will be a time for the Gospel to be declared as Franklin Graham visits the city, 36 years after his father’s visit in 1982.
Church leaders at the launch were excited to see such a broad representation of the church. The event ended with all the leaders stood around the Cross as Steve Haskett, Vicar of St John’s, lead them in prayer declaring “As we get closer to the Cross, so we get closer to each other…”
“Quite exciting to see churches coming together, irrespective of denominations. As far as I’m concerned there is only one Church. God want’s unity”, said Pastor Phillip.
The main Festival itself may be a few months away, but the Churches are already hard at work sharing hope. Over 20 information seminars are planned across the county and you can take part in daily prayer with others.
Playing your part
If you want to get involved in the Festival, either by volunteering or praying. Then you can find more information on www.LancashireFestivalOfHope.co.uk.
It took me by surprise, that someone like Franklin Graham, would be interested in Lancashire” Pastor Phillip exclaimed. “I’ve been expecting revival to break out in Lancashire, I’m believing we’ll see a great harvest of souls”.