Thoughts of God's grace in action on a London Council Estate
'We live by the word of God' Co-Mission Sunday Article. Published 7.1.18
At Longheath Baptist Church we have a ‘Word of God’ problem. Our ‘pew’ bibles have been passed around, piled up, accidentally dropped by the children who help pack them away after the service and thankfully opened and read so often since I ordered 40 shiny new NLT Giant print bibles that the spines are now clinging on for dear life. It’s a problem. But, by God’s grace, a good one to have.
We also have another ‘Word of God’ problem. People on our estate have many competing voices shouting ‘wisdom’ at them from role-models on Eastenders to ‘lifehack’ tips on Facebook. Yet in a world where gang wisdom can be passed on at the tip of a knife our church has found the word of God to be “alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword”. But lack of literacy and a culture of resistance to formal learning means we have had to think carefully about how best to bring God’s word to the estate. Here’s some of what God’s taught us:
‘“How can I understand,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him’
1-1 Bible studies, in my view, have been the single most fruitful endeavour in my Christian walk. Other than those invaluable bedtime quiet times with my parents growing up, I was first approached at 22 to study God’s Word with another guy. I wish it had been a decade earlier. Since then, the Lord has given me the privilege of reading the Bible in a sustained fashion with around 40 men, and I’ve been incredibly struck with just how much impact it has had on both their lives and mine.
At Longheath, we created a Mentors programme to help 5 men and 5 women study the Bible 1-1, and this is bearing fruit. D, a man who had sustained a serious head injury, has now completed Mark’s gospel, Just for Starters, Man of God and we are surging through Luke. I thank God for him. The changes in his attitude and life have been remarkable – he is one of the first to arrive at church, and goes out of his way to help those more vulnerable than himself. Believe me, God’s Word is like positive radiation. Prolonged exposure leads to significant spiritual health benefits, and even to new life. So, why not chat with your leaders, and give 1-1 Bible study a go with whomever God lays on your heart?
Pastor. Luciano Pelosi 1.1.18