History of Project Evangelism
Ken Terhovan, a Christian from South Africa, started Project Evangelism in England in the early 1960’s. He perceived the role of Project as that of working alongside local churches and evangelising in areas not reached by them. His goal for the ministry was to lead others to faith in Christ, then encourage discipleship and placement of new converts into churches for training and spiritual growth.
John Moxen joined the organization in 1965 and worked for three years at its centre in Derbyshire. He became Director in 1969.
Sometime later, John was invited to conduct outreach meetings in Northern Ireland. He visited the Province on a number of occasions before being encouraged to take up permanent residence and bring the ministry to Northern Ireland on a full time basis. He and his family made the move in 1969.
For the next 20 years, the ministry was based in Portrush on the North Antrim coast. While there, Project was involved in outreach throughout the Province. They also did extensive work among the crowds who came to Portrush at Easter for the Northwest 200 motorbike race in May (which usually attracts in excess of 100,000 people) and through the summer season.
A Bible School was started there that provided discipleship and training for people from many different backgrounds, including overseas students and others who had been unemployed.
In 1986, Project Evangelism purchased Longfields School in Glenarm, a small seaside community in County Antrim. This was renamed Stillwaters and was renovated to provide accommodation for up to 25 people. This facility has recently been remodelled and is still used as a base for outreach to the local area and beyond. It has facilitated the development and maintenance of relationships with local churches and the community.
In 1992, an American team from YWAM (Youth With A Mission) came to assist in an outreach from Glenarm. It became evident that these American visitors were able to cross over religious and political divides where local teams may have encountered more difficulty.
Following this visit, an opportunity arose in 1993 for John Moxen to visit IMPACT (the Presbyterian Church of America’s Short-term Missions Department) and a number of colleges in the United States for the purposes of recruiting teams for short-term missions in Northern Ireland. There were a number of invitations to speak at college chapels, church services and missions conferences. In this way, contacts were expanded and relationships with American Christians developed.
In 1990, Project Evangelism moved from Portrush to Templemore Avenue in Belfast. Here, the work focussed on a small café for outreach and day and evening classes.
John had always felt that in order for the ministry to develop further, a larger and more attractive base was required. Murlough House was an answer to many prayers for over 20 years, having many of the facilities required as well as potential for further development.
In a huge step of faith, Project Evangelism purchased the house in 1994 for a cost of approximately £300,000. This incredible financial commitment was undertaken trusting in God’s provision and the building was completely paid off in 5 1/2 years. It is one of Project Evangelism’s principles never to seek or solicit financial support. Instead, we believe that if God’s work is done in God’s way, it will not lack God’s funds.