This past week my city has been inconvenienced by the likes of Barak Obama, Vladimir Putin, and a barrage of others for the world G20 summit. It’s kinda a big thing with motorcades, surveillance helicopters, and high clearance security.

Most people have seen the summit as a good excuse for a holiday. But twenty-four-year-old Marly Welsh saw it as opportunity.

A few days ago, in the Amazing Darkness post, I wrote, “You make the darkness amazing.” Marly is an example of someone doing just that.

In the midst of talks about terrorism, Ebola, climate change, and other threats, Marly and her fiancé decided to make the darkness amazing. They realised with the world looking at Brisbane, they could shine a light into 2.5 million lives.

The idea was to pay for advertising on billboards throughout the G20 precinct with the slogan, “Jesus loves [name of people group]”. For example, “Jesus loves police”, or “Jesus loves bikies”.

I caught up with Marly and asked her a few questions about the #outrageousLove movement.

What inspired you to create Jesus Loves Billboards for the G20?

Ben (my fiancé) and I work in the design/advertising industry. We were sipping mint tea at Max Brenner one night; praying and discussing what we could do with our skills that could help spread the love of Jesus. Ben remembered that GOA (the billboard company we use) had a new technology that allowed you to change the messaging of your ad slot as many times as you want. It was a Holy-Spirit-light-bulb moment for us and we decided to use this technology to let people groups know that, despite what they may been told, Jesus loves them. We know the power of those words and have heard many stories of Jesus revealing himself to people who have simply been told “Jesus loves you”. It’s a simple truth – one that has transformed lives for thousands of years.

So you got the idea, but then what? We all get brilliant ideas, but few of us see them come to fruition. What did you do?

We told a couple of our close friends and they were as excited as we were. That encouragement helped us be more proactive about making it happen. We got a quote from GOA and the cost was a lot less than we thought so that gave us the motivation to start crowd funding it. Our deadline was EXTREMELY short (4 days to pay the billboard company) so we knew if we reached $30,000, it would only be God touching the hearts of people to invest in this vision.

Our good friend, Steve Limkin, was amazing in whipping up a video in one afternoon for the crowd funding website. After we posted it, we raised $10,000 in 12 hrs with the help of many friends calling, texting and sharing the link on social media. A couple of radio stations got hold of it too which really helped.

Did you think you would pull it off?

Ben and I are fairly normal people – with the exception of a little quirkiness – so there were definitely little moments of stress and doubt. But overall we really believed that this was something God wanted and we trusted Him to make it happen. We had nothing to gain (except the testimonies that would come from it) and nothing to loose (except a little bit of pride if it flopped).

We are both ideas people and have ideas ALL the time that never go anywhere but this one had the breath of God in it. The whole experience has been a crash-course in trust; trust in people to support it, trust in each others capabilities, but mostly, trust in the character of God to make it happen.

We would often look at each other in the tougher moments and say “Ok God, this is YOUR thing and YOU want this to happen. We have done everything in our power, now we trust You to do the rest.” – and He did!

Two people, shining a light, making the darkness amazing for bad drivers, gym junkies, nobodies, and many others.

So what can you do? What idea is burning in your heart? Never forget: you make the darkness amazing. Go shine your Light.

Did anyone see the “Jesus loves” signs in G20 news coverage across the world? We would love to hear about it. And if God is calling you to step out in faith to shine your light in the darkness, leave a comment so we can pray and stand with you (I’ll make sure Marly sees your comments too).

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More about Sarah Coleman

Sarah Coleman is wife, mother of two boys, writer, pastor, teacher and friend. She loves Jesus with a passion and the feel of Australian sand beneath her toes.

6 thoughts on “#outrageousLove

  1. J. Lynn Spence

    Thank you so much for writing about hallways. My wife and I needed that.


    1. Sarah Coleman

      Praying your hallway will end soon. God bless.


  2. jemma roberts

    Loved this idea,loved that they made it happen ,words have great power,to touch and heal and Jesus in each statement of love.Wonderful.
    Thank you for putting this post together,love and thanks for the couple with an idea.


    1. Sarah Coleman

      Thanks, I’ll let Marly and Ben know.


  3. Sam Williams


    Thought you might like to know that 2 of the 3 people driving this campaign were directly impacted by you at one stage or another Sarah. Marly Welsh and myself. So thank you for your tireless work all those years ago as you invested your time into all those ratty kids from Logan. It seems it was worthwhile as those kids are now changing the city for Christ.

    Stay tuned for the next #outrageouslove campaign to be released this week. You’re really gonna like it.


    1. Sarah Coleman

      Thank you so much Sam. Your words meant so much. I can’t wait to hear the next #outrageousLove campaign. Keep me posted and drop in to church sometime.


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