Ministry sets sights on 100,000 new believers
An ex-policeman, a former drug dealer and a social media expert have joined forces to reach 100,000 people in the UK with the Christian faith.
Jonathan Hulton, Darrell Tunningley and Dean Seddon have launched GroundBreakers in Bolton after connecting on Facebook.
The three men were already working to reach others with the Gospel and realised they could do it more effectively together.
A hundred thousand people for Christ may seem like an ambitious goal but Jonathan is believing in God.
"I've really struggled with putting a figure on the amount of people that we want to come to know Jesus," he shares.
"I think if we were honest about it, we'd say each and every person, but to be measured in our approach we are believing for an initial 100,000 positive decisions for Jesus in the UK.
"I know that God is the God of the impossible, and when we decide to actively step out in faith, God can do things far more than we could ever ask, think or imagine, and He will show up and do great things."
Dean, who has a background in marketing, believes the goal is achievable if they start by equipping 5,000 Christians to reach others.
"Some people think that the vision is too large, but we believe that God is looking to do something incredible in the UK," he says.
"So we're doing as much as we can from establishing Foodbanks, to evangelistic stadium events, to local church training.
"We will do whatever it takes to see those 100,000 to take a step towards Christ.
"To achieve this we want to train 5,000 people in 21st century evangelism. This will involve training people on how to connect with the community, and how they can share their story in a creative and gentle manner that will be attractive to others."
Darrell was at one time a drug dealer and car thief but experienced such a radical conversion to Christianity while behind bars that he became pastor of Hope Corner Community Church in Runcorn upon his release.
Since then, he has been involved in community work and the Alpha course.
"I wanted to be leading a church that was a church with a different outlook, because I want it to be a mission led church not a church that did mission," he explains.
It was this passion for mission that led him to team up with Jonathan and Dean.
"We've learned a lot of lessons as a church and if I can help churches by sharing our journey and the things that we've learned ... to encourage them, equip them and to see the church come alive.
"It's time to wake the sleeping giant which is the UK and really start to impact the UK with the life changing message of Jesus."
The vision of GroundBreakers hinges on three core principles - living, reaching and connecting.
"We want to see the local Church living and thriving reaching her fullest potential in every corner of this country," explains Jonathan.
"Local church is the hope of the world, there's no debate in that, there's no denying that. We want to work with local churches to help see that happen, even with stadium events, these must be in partnership with the local church. The second one is reaching; reaching people can be a challenge but we want to help take away those barriers and help Christians to reach their communities.
“That could be through social action projects, creative evangelistic events, music events and many other ways so that people can have a great experience and know that God is well worth knowing! Finally, connecting; we want to connect people to God and help people connect into the local Church where relationships can grow, we will not stop until the job is done!"
The GroundBreakers team are in the midst of planning a series of stadium and local church events across the country.
Their next training is the Mission Possible Leaders Summit and Rise Liverpool at the Lighthouse Church on 1 December, with worship leader Lara Martin.