This summer, many of us will be heading to the Big Church Day Out to enjoy a time of fun and fellowship. We asked Tim Jupp, founder of the Big Church Day Out, to tell us about his vision for the event and what we can expect this year.
I'm no theologian, but having spent many years travelling to many parts of the world, it seems to me like it’s a good thing when God's people come together – it was after all Jesus’ idea when He prayed for us that we ‘may be one so that the world may see’. So that's simply what the Big Church Day Out is – nothing clever at all – simply a space created for all of the church to come together because of a dream that seeing a church united may be something that helps the world to see.
Having started the Big Church Day Out back in 2009, we are amazed to see that today it has become the UK’s largest annual ecumenical gathering of the church in the UK, pulling together no less than 25,000 people in one place for two days of fun, fellowship, worship and prayer. It’s a space that so many year-on-year are now bringing their unchurched friends and family to, maybe because it has just a little of what heaven might feel like – a place where all denominations, ages and nationalities can gather together around the one thing that unites us all: a personal relationship with Jesus.
It feels to me like there’s a conversation on unity going on in the church in our nation at the moment, and that conversation seems to be getting louder. BCDO is just part of that conversation, but seeks to be both a light on the hill for the church, as well as being a part of telling a different story of the church being alive rather than in decline.
If you’ve never been before then you are missing out on incredible experience that your whole church can enjoy, whether you come for the day or choose to camp for the whole weekend as most decide to do. We spend two days together having loads of fun, with five music stages that cater for all ages, loads of things for the family to do, and then two evenings given over to gathering all 25,000 together at the Main Stage for two hours of worship where anything can happen!
This year, as ever, we have some of the most influential names in Christian music and worship at the event, with the likes of Elevation Worship, Hillsong Young and Free, Rend Collective, Pat Barrett (from Housefires), Sinach and about 50 others – too many to mention here, so if you’ve never been before, expect an experience like no other Christian event you’ve ever been to. Here is just one story from someone who came to the Big Church Day Out:
'I came to BCDO at Wiston House with my wife. She was the Christian, not me, as I really was an unbeliever. I couldn’t believe that these Christians could enjoy themselves so much. I then came back the following year just to see if what I had seen was true, and yes, I couldn’t believe it – there I was, stuck in a field singing along with the best of them. It was 6 months after that I became a Christian. I’m 63 years old, so the moral of the story is you’re never too old to believe in the Good Lord!’ - Paul
To find out more about the Big Church Day Out, head over to bigchurchdayout.co.uk