Agents of change

In 2016, SIM UK launched a pioneering project to help urban churches share the gospel with their multicultural communities by bringing workers from overseas to join them.

The Engage programme recognises these mission workers are best placed to help UK churches understand the cultures and religious backgrounds of the people they want to reach.

Engage coordinator Tim Barrow says overseas workers bring with them invaluable expertise and experience that both resource and motivate UK churches to grow their cross-cultural gospel ministry among local people.

“Thanks to SIM’s long experience of working overseas, we have great relationships with churches in countries that have received mission workers from the west,” he explains. “We are now on the receiving end of what God has been doing, primarily in the global south, to raise up mission workers who come to the UK to work with the Great Commission nations on our doorstep.”

Harper Church in Glasgow is a few hundred metres from an immigrant receiving centre and has a congregation made up of more than 25 nationalities with 50% born outside the UK.

Its pastor Alan McKnight says: “Ten per cent of the UK’s asylum-seeking population is initially located within a mile of Harper Church and this is a great strategic opportunity for us to engage with people from all over the world.”

The church has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of “gifted strategic leader” Lawrence Jah, from Sierra Leone, who together with his wife Elizabeth, served in The Gambia for 24 years. The couple have been involved in evangelism and discipleship for many years and Lawrence will be taking time away from his current role as an evangelical church pastor to partner with Harper Church.

“Elizabeth and I are excited and passionate about our call to serve God in Harper Church, primarily because by his grace, we have the relevant skills and knowledge to enable us to serve as agents of change in transforming the lives of Muslims and Muslim Background Believers (MBBS) who are immigrants in Glasgow from west Africa and other parts of the world,” says Lawrence (left).

“All my past ministry activities have deepened my discipleship strategies, which I’m confident will help me, in collaboration with the Harper Church leadership, to empower and raise disciples, who will further produce disciples.”

Pastor Alan adds: “Lawrence is a gifted strategic leader who, after his Glasgow assignment, plans to return to west Africa to raise up gospel workers to reach the west African diaspora in Europe.”

Kerry Allan

Click here to watch a video of Lawrence talking about how Jesus gives him hope.

If you would like more information about Engage, or just to talk through how it might work for you, please email our Engage coordinator Tim Barrow (engage@sim.co.uk).

Please pray

  • For the Lord to provide all the funds Lawrence and Elizabeth need to begin their cross-cultural mission.

  • For Lawrence and Elizabeth to be a blessing to Harper Church and help it reach the west African Muslim diaspora in Glasgow.

  • For more workers to join Engage as it works to provide urban churches with the knowledge, skills and confidence to evangelise different people groups.