Effective Gospel evangelism can combat crime
Following the spate of youth shootings, stabbings, and killings that hit the headlines after the easing of lockdown, I had to call a friend to release some of the pain, anguish, and concern I was feeling about it.
During the course of the conversation, I asked my friend what she felt the Church could do to help stem the crime wave, and she replied: “Evangelise.” My initial response was “Really?”, as it’s known that the causes of crime and the response to combating crime are complex and multilayered. However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt my friend had a point.
I remember over 10 years ago, the church I attended at the time hosted an outreach that targeted people who were involved in criminal activity, especially those caught up in gun crime or drug dealing. The promotion for the meeting obviously worked, because the church was full to overflowing, and surprisingly, for once, the number of men in attendance greatly outnumbered the women.
What was even more surprising was that after the preacher, Bishop Wayne Malcolm, preached his sermon, men flooded the altar. Some handed in the drugs they were due to sell; some handed in weapons, and some made a commitment to accept God’s gift of salvation.
Whilst the solution to the crime we are seeing on our streets and in our communities today are multifaceted, we know God has given our churches formidable tools: His Word and the Gospel message to preach.
The Bible lets us know that God’s Word is powerful. Hebrews 4:12 says this: ‘For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’
No matter what is happening in the wider world, its cultural temperature, or the dominant prevailing philosophies impacting people, we know that the Gospel message has the power to cut through negative mindsets, false philosophies, and sinful behaviour, and convict people of their need for a Saviour.
We, as the Church, also know that any individuals who are hell-bent on taking violent action or stealing what they have not worked for need a mindset change. The effective preaching of the Gospel can certainly deliver that.
Maybe I should have posed different questions to my friend… Instead of asking about what can the Church do to stem the crime wave, I should have asked several questions:
- What steps can churches take to preach the Gospel in a culturally relevant way?
- How can churches reach Millennials and Generation Z?
- How should churches empower and resource the evangelists in their midst?
And, more importantly:
- How do we remind all Christians about the power inherent within the Gospel to change lives and transform communities, so that they are excited about evangelism?
Calling for more discussions between older and younger women
During the month of May, I held a series of discussions aimed at bridging the gap between older and younger Christian women.
The discussions aimed to give both parties an opportunity to hear and learn from each other.
What surprised me was that the younger women welcomed the discussions. It’s easy to believe, as we women get older, that younger women are not interested in what we have to say. The series of discussions highlighted to me that nothing could be further from the truth. One woman shared that she and her friends thought the discussions were amazing, because they had never heard older women share so openly.
When I was younger, I would have welcomed sitting down with an older woman to hear her share truths about faith, life, work, love, and relationships. It would have saved me from experiencing the angst and mistakes I made on my journey to Christian maturity.
I believe it’s beholden for older women to love, share and teach their younger sisters. In fact, Titus 2:3-5 states older women must:
(i) live in a way that honours God
(ii) teach others what is good, and
(iii) train younger women to love their husbands and their children.
No more needs to be said! Amen.
Announcing Launch of The Ministry Journey podcast
I love the fact that we live in a time when there are so many different ways for people to communicate their truth: social media, podcasts, video, blogs, e-books… I could go on and on.
In my efforts to support women who are in ministry, I will be launching a podcast called The Ministry Journey. I will be interviewing female church leaders, as well as those who have established ministries to meet a social need, so that others can learn about the work they do and hear about the role faith in God has played in their lives and ministries.
It’s my prayer that those who hear The Ministry Journey will be inspired and motivated by the work Christian women are doing, and will in turn find out how best they can use their talents to serve God.
Written by: Marcia Dixon MBE