When I think of London, lots of things come to mind: iconic double-decker buses, telephone boxes, Big Ben…and now a multitude of people dressed up as Mary and Joseph in Parliament Square Gardens.
If you can picture the above scene, you will have a pretty good idea of what will be happening on Wednesday 13th December at 12.30pm. Yep, you heard correctly - Open Doors UK & Ireland are holding a massive publicity stunt in the hope of gaining as much publicity and awareness as possible as we prepare to give the One Million Voices of Hope petition to the government.
Before I explain a little bit more about this crazy task, I better introduce myself. I’m Ali, a second year music student at the University of Nottingham. But I am also an evangelist. I know this is my calling, and I’m especially passionate about my social media ministry. I have a YouTube called ‘MakingJesusKnown’ with the vision of bringing the good news of Jesus to every disinterested and downhearted millennial around the world.
I’m also an advocate for Open Doors, which means that over the next ten months or so I will be making a massive point of speaking out about the persecuted Church in the hope that not one person in the UK will be left unawares about what our brothers and sisters around the world are facing. For that reason, I am so excited about what will be taking place on the 13th December in London.
Why am I excited? As I mentioned above, I love using social media to tell people about Jesus because it’s something that is so popular and common in our culture. There are so many opportunities to further the Kingdom. I stand out quite a lot online - I know that a lot of people who follow me don’t know Jesus, and as they’re scrolling through Instagram or YouTube they might come across a post from me about the goodness of Jesus and what he offers to us (which is definitely different to a lot of the stuff that we see online!) The same sort of thing will happen when we are all gathered in London - we’re going to be getting a lot of attention to say the least. Can you imagine if we went viral?! The cool thing is that it’s completely possible for that to happen. Going viral for the glory of God; that sounds cool to me.
I also believe God is so excited when we use the not-so-ordinary ways of spreading his gospel too. And I’m pretty sure that hundreds of people dressing up as Mary and Joseph in Parliament Square Gardens is definitely out of the ordinary! It’s about standing out, raising awareness, and gaining attention in any way we can - and pointing to Jesus the whole time we do so.
Wandering around Parliament in our Nativity attire will certainly bring a modern twist to the Christmas story. There will probably be many questions and conversations that start up - but that is exactly the point. We want everyone to notice us; this definitely isn’t a time to blend in.
So why exactly have we chosen this particular way to make a stand for the persecuted Church? Because 2,000 years after the first Nativity, there are still thousands of Christians looking for room in the Middle East. And we want everyone to know about this shocking reality in the hope that they will join us in doing something about it.
Will you join us? Maybe you are part of a youth group - why don’t you get together and travel to London to be a part of this awesome opportunity? Head over to our website if you want to find out more. Or if you can’t get there yourself, why not encourage your young people to get involved online. They can share the images and the reasons behind it. If anyone knows how to use social media, it’s probably them. Come and stand alongside your brothers and sisters from all over the world, physically, metaphorically and virtually, and be a part of the biggest Nativity scene for 2,000 years.
For more information about how your young people can get involved in charitable work, get your free copy of Premier YCW.