Manchester UNITED
Shane M. Oberlin

Shane M. Oberlin

Yesterday, a senseless act of terrorism in Manchester, England stunned the world.

A suicide bomb was detonated at Manchester Arena as over twenty-thousand people were heading back to their hotels, hostels, and homes after watching musician Ariana Grande perform.

Daesh (the Arabic word for “cowards,” known to many as ISIS) is claiming responsibility for this attack. This act of terrorism is the deadliest in England since July, 2005; when suicide bombings in central London claimed fifty-two lives.

As I write this; twenty-two people are confirmed dead and fifty-nine more were injured. Many of them were children and youth. Normally, my heart breaks when I hear such news. Unfortunately, with the frequency of acts of terrorism in our world today, it is easy to become jaded or desensitized to the tragedies that surround us. However, this tragedy in particular affected me in a powerful way.

The Message Trust (the organization I am working with in Wales) is headquartered in … Manchester! In fact, shortly after I arrive in Wales this September, I am scheduled to attend a prayer conference weekend at the Manchester headquarters. This atrocity happened in my soon-to-be backyard! While I remain confident that God is able to protect me during my journey, this attack reminded me of the dangers that can arise from missionary work.

In this moment, I am honored to partner with The Message Trust to bring the Truth of The Gospel to a hurting city that is reeling from the impact of this tragedy. Message is already brilliant at reaching out to neighbors, families, friends, and strangers on the street. Now, a new opportunity to bring BREAKTHROUGH has presented itself. I look forward to partnering with them in this vital mission!

I borrowed the title of this piece from the name of one of Manchester’s most popular football (American Soccer – I have to learn the lingo sometime!) teams, called Manchester United. Last evening, when I learned of the attack, I was hanging out with some friends. As the topic of our conversation turned to intercession, we began to cry out for those affected, the city of Manchester, the nation of England, The United Kingdom, and The Message Trust. During this time, I continually heard The Voice of The Lord repeating these words in my spirit: “Manchester: UNITED!” This is the triumph that The Lord desires to bring out of this tragedy.

Today, that is my prayer for the remarkably close-knit city of two-million. That Manchester would be UNITED through the power of The Holy Spirit in the face of death and division.



is a devoted lover of Jesus who seeks to impact the world through writing, the prophetic, counseling, travel, speaking, and song.

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