As Prime Minister Tony Blair considers proposals to appoint "secular vicars" to give pastoral care to families, international evangelist Luis Palau invited audiences in Ilkeston, Boston, and Grimsby to be reconciled to God and to recognize His call on their lives. Palau has completed the first week of a three-week evangelistic campaign in Britain's East Midlands that concludes in South Yorkshire October 11.
The Sunday Times reported September 27 that Prime Minister Blair is set to announce "an alternative system of care" for families "because the traditional churches no longer performed the role of keeping the family together."
Speaking in Grimsby Sunday evening, Palau said, "Blair is intending to invent secular vicars to save the people. He's giving those of us who know Jesus a challenge. We should say to Tony Blair, 'Give us ten years and let us be available to God to bring revival to this country.' Secular vicars can know nothing of how to fill the spiritual vacuum in people's hearts. It's only through the power of the Holy Spirit that people can come alive." Last week in Ilkeston, Palau preached, "What people are hungry to hear today is what Jesus actually said about life. People want to know how does Jesus make a difference."
Palau's Mission to East Midlands, a coal-mining region of about four million people where unemployment is high and church attendance low, has encouraged churches to reach this generation with the Gospel. "Luis is bringing a prophetic word to churches in a nation which is very hard," said Nigel Gordon, European director for the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association. "I've never heard him preach with such freedom, power, and energy. God is at work."
Gordon reported that as Palau gave the Gospel invitation Sunday night in Grimsby to an audience of a thousand that filled the venue, 87 people came forward to indicate they were committing their lives to Jesus Christ. "In this community of about 200,000 people, the biggest church is less than a hundred," Gordon said. "To see 87 people coming forward...it was an exciting evening, a spiritual breakthrough."
So far during the mission, Palau and partner evangelists Dan Owens and Jose Zayas have preached to more than 10,000 people at 25 meetings, including affinity group meetings for the unemployed, prison inmates, senior adults, mothers with toddlers, and young people. Nearly 1,200 have made decisions for Jesus Christ.