I had the privilege of speaking at the RCCG (Redeemed Christian Church of God) in Edinburgh, several weeks ago. The RCCG has origins in Africa and is one of many churches with roots outside the UK which have sprung up here in recent years and experienced quite remarkable growth. Churches which have been here for much longer, and ministries like Solas – have not been good at getting connected to some of these newer churches. Apologetics has had a bit of reputation for sometimes being rather exclusively ‘white’, so it was amazing to be invited to minister within the RCCG network and to speak to their men’s group which meets on a Saturday afternoon.
They gave me the topic, “The Cost of Discipleship”. I looked specifically at the way that Christians sometimes run away from evangelism because we have been afraid of the cost. Evangelism can cost you your reputation, can cost life being easy, simple and straightforward whereas keeping our heads down at work is much easier than standing up for the gospel – which can be tough.
The biblical basis of what I said was Matthew 16: 24-27
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
Then I told them some stories of Christians who have experienced persecution. Because of their faith in Christ. I also referred them to our recent webinar with Eddie Lyle and Ron Boyd-MacMillan from Open Doors and linked them to the challenge that those persecuted believers bring to those of us in the West where perhaps following Jesus has been a bit too comfortable.
Importantly of course, when Jesus calls us to take up our cross, he isn’t calling us to do something that he hasn’t first done himself. He carried his cross and gave everything for us, which gives him the right to ask us to do the same. It was on that basis that I encouraged the men to step out in boldness in their workplaces , universities. We don’t need Christians who are going to do anything stupid, but we do need to be bold in talking about our faith and clearly identifying as followers of Christ.
We then had a brilliant and lively time of Q&A, which was terrific. Working with the RCCG was a new partnership for us at Solas, and one I appreciated immensely. I hope we can work together again in the future.
Editor’s note: Dr Viani Djeundje Biatat, the event organiser said, “Our men’s meeting with Andy went very well. The feedback received from the attendees was extremely positive. In particular, the attendees enjoyed Andy’s approach: Talk followed by discussion. It was such a pleasure; we will not hesitate to invite Andy again in the future.