Posts Tagged ‘Evangelism’

Recently, I moved to Blackpool with a view to get involved with a church plant in its early stages. The responses I’ve had, from those that I’ve had the privilege to live amongst in Lancaster, have been great sources of encouragement. I’ve loved living in Lancaster, it’s such a beautiful city and the coffee is amazing!

I’ve been reflecting on some of the comments I’ve received and that has led me to write this. I don’t have a platform, nor do I have any real authority. However, I do have a heart for people and a passion to see church be all it can be.

When I explain that I’m part of a church plant in Blackpool there are some similar responses that go along the lines of “Great! Blackpool clearly needs a church!” or “Good luck! You’ve got your work cut out there!”. I’ve also heard people suggest that Lancaster is much more desirable as a place to live as there are less social issues.

For me, these comments are double edged swords. Whilst I smile with anticipation of what’s ahead in Blackpool, I also lament for the potential damage that attitude has for Lancaster.

Walking through Blackpool town centre for longer than five minutes and it is clear, like any town, there are some social issues that require urgent attention: Alcoholism; homelessness; poverty and racism – to name a few. I love the honesty of Blackpool, these issues slap you in the face quickly; it’s a town that doesn’t dress itself up as something it’s not.

Unfortunately, Lancaster is a city that does well at hiding its issues: poverty; drug abuse; childhood deprivation; and homelessness being most prevalent. There will be others that you have identified. Tourists will rarely see these issues, or at least not as much, at the same time as the city centre remaining fresh thanks to the volume of students that bring extra revenue to the place.

My fear, and the reason for pre-emptively writing this, is that churches are at risk of being sucked into the same mentality as the rest of Lancaster. A sense of complacency that seeks to avoid the issues rather than challenge them head on. I urge you to fight against that attitude daily, it’s of the enemy.

I come from a town much like Lancaster, I’m blessed to also come from a town that has a church which is not alien to the not so apparent issues. I was found and brought into that community, it is where I first met God.

I beg you to continue the good work that you are doing but I pray that they are mere foundations for the work that is to come. Please fight hard against complacency and continue to review, reflect, and push yourselves further; all things are possible with God.

Seek out the down trodden, poor of spirit, the lost and lonely people more vehemently than you have done before. Where Lancaster has buried these issues, dig deeper to reveal them and, with God, provide the solution. Authentic community with Christ at its centre will never fail to breathe life and hope into those that have none. You already have the victory, through Christ and I implore you to live like you believe that; more so than I have already witnessed you doing.

Train your people up in evangelism; encourage them to get professional training in counselling, youth work and community leadership; challenge people to move into the most notorious estates and constantly demonstrate biblical hospitality throughout the week.

I believe that revival is coming, I have faith that God will show up where church communities invite Him to do something with the right heart.

Enjoy the fight, maintain hope and God bless.


Let’s start with a definition of Lad Culture. I will use the NUS definition as I feel it’s pretty conclusive. Most people I’m targeting this blog at probably won’t even know what is meant by Lad Culture. So here’s the definition that came from their research:

‘Lad culture’ was defined by our participants as a group or ‘pack’ mentality residing in activities such as sport and heavy alcohol consumption, and ‘banter’ which was often sexist, misogynist and homophobic.

I’ve seen People that have been calling the issue of Lad Culture a debate, discussion or (worst of all) a matter of opinion. I’ve also seen good men, and at times women, vehemently defend Lad Culture and at the end of that suggest that they both understand and support female liberation.

Let me start by saying something that some people may use against me; suggesting I’ve written myself off in my own argument, but actually, it’s something that strengthens it:

I do not understand female liberation. I am a white, predominately (although I hate to say it…) middle class, male.

There… I said it. It wasn’t so hard. Let me now say something else:

I definitely support female liberation and I have no desire to try and lead the change. I will be the first one to step in line behind the women that do.

For me, there is a very clear difference between saying you support and understand liberation. In my opinion, men simply can never hope to understand female liberation fully because they’ve not had the experience women have had.

So, this is the issue that there is a continued fight against at the moment. Here’s a question, How does this impact the church?

The church has been known to crush liberation, has been accused and genuinely has negated the empowerment of women and on the whole sometimes fails to stay current. However, if you look at what Jesus was like, and believe in Him, then it stands to reason to assume the church should be directly involved in empowering positive change in society that brings equality.

However, Lad Culture is like a poison, and it has burrowed its way into our church communities and we are in danger of being devoured.

Too many times have I witnessed Sport focused discussion, jokes about women being in the kitchen and at times worse; all happening in the name of Banter and this is in our churches and it is the most alienating thing ever!

I use to be the world’s worst. I use to lead the charge on all of those jokes, and did some very “#LAD” things in the name of ‘banter’. However, the last year has really opened my eyes and I realise just what damage I was doing. I want to be part of a church community that welcomes positive change and defends people’s rights. I don’t want to be the person I was, because I know Jesus would never have done that.

So here’s a message to the lads (and leaders who need to oversee this) in our churches.

Stop the jokes and broaden your discussion topics. Learn from women that are directly challenging society on this issue and empower women to be themselves and organise events and socials that don’t get comments passed about them. Accept the fact that men don’t all find the same things funny and it’s not ‘gay’ to read books like ‘How to be a Women’ by Caitlin Moran.

As a result of all of this the church will be seen as more progressive, more accessible and more people will want to be involved. We need to make sure that the church helps lead the way and sets the example for how an equal society looks. We run the risk of becoming left behind in the culture shift if we don’t change and ensure we eradicate Lad Culture.

To be effective in evangelism, you need to be effective at engaging with society. That means all types of people in that society. If you want to see more people know who Jesus is, then trust me when I say helping get rid of Lad Culture is a step in the right direction.

Edd Graham-Hyde