God On The Move In France

On Sunday the 3rd May, I received an excited message on the WhatsApp group that we had with our wonderful Impacters, Louise and Lauren. Because of lockdown, they had had to leave Paris and go back to their respective homes in the UK and Montpellier. Lauren pinged us a video and was super excited about it. Her message said: "WE HAVE TO DO THIS IN FRENCH!" I opened it up, with a feeling of "I have enough on my plate right now, I’m not getting involved in making whatever this is happen in French." But upon watching the video, I had a similar reaction to so many people who saw The UK Blessing on that Sunday. "What a wonderful expression of what the Church is about!" 

That very afternoon, Jean-Luc Sergent shared it on his social media and asked if anybody wanted to make it happen in France, in French. Jean-Luc is an old friend from the church where Beki and I met in Paris, who had become an Anglican vicar in London, planting French Connect, a francophone service at St Barnabas Church Kensington. I kind of knew that God was asking me to do it, so I got in touch with two guys from our church: Nicky, who’s an all-round video making genius, and Shayne who has amazing musical talent and a real knowledge of the catholic church in France. Along with a team from French Connect in London, we set out getting in touch with all the worship leaders we knew. Some of them were able to get us in touch with a whole host of other churches and leaders. By Tuesday evening (5th May), the aim was clear: a video that would bless France, with the biggest churches in France represented, alongside smaller ones, with some of the most popular worship leaders from around the nation, but not a single name or logo on the video. We contacted everyone we knew and invited them to a vision evening on the Thursday, laying out the plan to make this happen in France.

80 people joined the vision evening on Zoom, from all kinds of different churches. We knew God was on the move. We laid out a really simple process for people to send in their submissions, with a 10-day deadline. This thing was already way bigger than any of the team members, as church after church after church bought in to this simple, humble yet super-sized vision.

By Monday 11th May, Nicky and Shayne’s inboxes were flooded with over 200 submissions from over 100 churches, from everywhere in France. Shayne put in the leg-work of listening to every individual track and marking them, and setting out where they would appear on the track. You can see him singing under the banner of his wife’s catholic church, "Paroisse de Saint-Cloud" at 02:00 in the video. Nicky then took the 250Gb worth of files and synched them, edited them and made the magic happen. Within a week, the whole visual aspect of the video was almost sorted. We asked our friend and worship leader, Sam Olivier, to sort out the sound engineering. He got the files on Monday June 25th and had 3 days to make it spotless, whilst Nicky got the names of the churches spelled correctly and laid out in the video. We wanted to do a private launch with the singers on Thursday 28th May, to then release it on Sunday June 1st. Amazingly, God just kept providing every step of the way to get the whole thing done just on time.

The private launch evening was particularly special. We aired the video exclusively for all the singers and church leaders represented. We invited some of the key leaders of the evangelical and catholic worlds in France to lead us in prayer at the end of the evening. I’ve been saying for years that the tide is turning in France. The atmosphere on this Zoom call with 170 participants from all over France made it feel like the tide has well and truly turned and is now coming in at a faster pace than ever. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a strong air of revival in my home country.

And that’s how La Bénédiction France got done. A brilliant team, two church plants from both sides of the Channel, a lot of talent by amazingly committed people and a massive amount of God. We’re so stoked that 3 of our New Ground churches are in the video (Fireplace and La Source at 03:26 and Assemblée Chrétienne de Marguerittes at 04:44), but we’re just as happy that we're surrounded by such a crowd of God-loving, Christ-exalting Christians from every denomination, all over France.

Check it out here: www.labenediction.fr