Our Values - Confident Witness

This week we look at the value 'Confident Witness'. We believe the gospel is both words and works. Presence and Proclamation. In an increasingly secular society we desire to confidently make a noise about who Jesus is and what he's done for us. John Harding spoke to Paul Brown to find out about his work with The Message Trust.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and the work you do with the Message.
My name’s Paul, I’m Liverpool born and bred and along with my family, we’ve been part of Frontline for over 20 years. For the past year I’ve had the privilege of working for a charity called the Message, working in local prisons to share the love of Jesus with prisoners. God is doing amazing work in our local prisons. We’re seeing around 50-60 prisoners each month become Christians and giving their lives to Jesus; many more are actively involved in Bible Study, Discipleship and Seekers/Beginners courses (such as Alpha). These prisoners are then reaching out to and discipling other prisoners. We’re seeing transformed lives in the prisons and supporting them on their release. Instead of being part of the problem, they're becoming part of the solution.

Maybe you could share a few stories of what God has been doing?

Officers and prisoners say they are seeing amazing transformations in the lads I'm working with. One officer told me that one of my big biker lads had stopped officers from being attacked by other prisoners. Other prisoners have told me that he's stopped them from being battered in their cells or in the showers. Yet, I've been with him as tears have rolled down his cheeks as he's accepted God's forgiveness for the things he's done wrong, and as he forgave his step dad for what he'd done to him.

When a former Norris Green/Croxteth gang member became a Christian, he cut off his long hair and said, “It belongs to the old me and now I'm a new creation I should look different and behave different.” He started supporting other people coming onto my courses and instead of "taxing" other prisoners for their trainers and tracksuits, started giving his away to those who needed them.

We've seen loads of miracles and healings - of hearts, minds, bodies and emotions. One very sick and yellow-looking fella was going in for a liver operation the next morning and one of my lads asked if we could pray for him. We prayed, his colour came back and the next day he was sent back from hospital not needing the operation because his liver had been completely healed.

It’s just amazing to hear how God is using you Paul, but it’s not always been like that, has it?
A message popped up on Facebook recently, reminding me of a prophetic message I received at a really low point in life. At the time I’d been out of work for quite a while and was experiencing feelings of pain, loneliness, emptiness, hopelessness and shame. I was asking God questions like where are you God in all this? The prophecy spoke of God being at work in those hard times, pruning and preparing me for fruitfulness, and that’s exactly what he’s done, in His perfect timing.

How can we as a church family help support you in the work you’re doing in local prisons? 
Well, I’d love it if you could pray for me, even now as you're reading just to take a moment to pray. Or when you see a story about a prisoner on the news, take a minute to ask God to reach out to them. We also have monthly Message Prayer days. Email me for more details.

I desperately need volunteers (men or women). If I have volunteers, I can work with twice as many prisoners. God will use you and you'll see God do amazing things in prisoners. The process for volunteering in prisons is a bit complicated, so we have to look for people who are willing to giving about a day a week (or 2 half days). It’s a big ask, so if you think God might be speaking to you, get in touch and I can organise for you to come into prison with me for a taster session or two. I also need volunteers who are willing to meet with and support prisoners who've become Christians, when they leave prison.

We’re really keen for people who can come in and lead worship (3-12 times per year) on a Sunday (this isn't as complicated). I’m really sure that if people come along to see what God is doing in our local prisons, they’d want to be part of it.

If you’d like to get in touch with Paul, email paul.brown@message.org.uk

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