How Did The Turning Begin?
“The Turning is becoming a phenomenon. What looked, from a distance, like a technique, on closer inspection is revealed to be a gift from heaven. A gift that miraculously empowers ordinary Christians, enabling them to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. The fact that we are looking at the possibility of reaching over 3 million people across 6 nations in 5 years bears witness to the enduring power of the gospel.”
Yinka Oyekan, Turning Team Leader
In May 2016 The Gate started a 2 week mission. Before the first day was over it was clear that this was not to be a normal mission, over 80 people had accepted the invitation to pray to Christ on the streets of Reading. Many, many more were told the Truth that “God loved them and had an awesome plan for their life” and allowed a member of the church to pray a blessing over their life. On the 8th June Reading Christian Network (RCN) affirmed that something out of the ordinary was happening on the streets and agreed to be part of it; what had started in a Baptist Church was not just for one Church or even one town. By the end of 10 days over 720 people had prayed on the streets of Reading the mission was extended and The Turning was born.
“What is not anecdotal, and is a clear indication of a spiritual shift engineered by the Holy Spirit is the fact that so many people are happy to stop and pray with Christians on the streets of Reading. On one occasion when it was pouring down with rain as many people stopped to pray to receive Jesus as some of the days when the sun has been shining. This is an outstanding work of the Holy Spirit.”
Christians (church members and leaders) from across the UK were coming to soak in the presence of God before going on to the streets where they saw person after person take up the invitation to pray to accept Christ. It was like nothing that Reading had seen before. Invitations started to come in from cities and towns across the UK for Yinka Oyekan, Senior Minister of The Gate, and his team to come and bring this grace to other cities. A prophetic word given by Lynn Green, Leader of the Baptist Union, was coming to fruition. 4 weeks in and the number who had prayed on the streets had reached over 1,850 but, more staggering, was the openness of people on the streets to hear about God and to accept prayers as well as the sheer number of ‘regular’ Christians being equipped to do what, previously, only evangelists had done and to do so with confidence and seeing fruit.
Since that time The Turning has grown with teams from Reading going to towns and cities across the UK to equip the local church in evangelism and discipleship. By the time we had come to the one year anniversary we found ourselves in our eleventh town and having trained over 2,089 evangelists and seen over 7,284 make a response on the streets. Every place that The Turning went to we saw the same grace of God at work; the Church equipped and mobilised to evangelise on the streets of their town. The time has now come to take this further; take this to more people to see the grace poured out on all people not just in towns and cities but to see it across whole regions of the UK and beyond.