Q&A: In Words and Actions

Q&A: In Words and Actions

Crowne was brought up in London’s East End. Convinced that no one is beyond hope, he spends his life bringing that good news to people in prisons, villages, towns and cities. Crowne worked for Youth for Christ for 28 years, the last 13 years as national director. He then founded HOPE 08 alongside Mike Pilavachi and Andy Hawthorne to mobilise the Church in mission using words and actions. In 2011, he became HOPE’s executive director, seeking to organise the whole Church to work together to make Jesus known in villages, towns and cities throughout the UK.

Q: How can we help the UK Church stand with some of the world’s most vulnerable communities (the homeless, elderly, children, refugees, etc.) and demonstrate together the difference that faith is making? 01

As Christians, we are called to share the life-changing news of Jesus—both speaking about our faith as well as demonstrating his love through acts of service. Words and actions need to be part of the DNA of every church: in the teaching from the pulpit and in the youth and children’s work; through our hospitality as extended families and our integrity in the workplace; in the outward focus of our small groups; and in the way we work together with other churches, local ministries and civic bodies. Our faith becomes authentic when our love for God is expressed in our love for our neighbours, without compromising our obedience to Jesus’ call to make disciples. We help churches to stand with the vulnerable when we present an accurate vision of Jesus and teach our congregation to be his courageous, Spirit-filled and sacrificial followers.

Q: How can churches develop meaningful, innovative connections with relevant social justice agendas? 02

Jesus modelled mission in words and action. When we follow his example, the Good News is experienced as well as heard. Jesus called us to be united when he prayed to his heavenly Father that his followers would be one so ‘the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me’ (John 17:23, NIV). When we come together, focusing on Jesus and what we have in common, we can have a significant impact in our communities. Together, our voice can be heard as we speak out for social justice. It can be easier to stay in our own silos or to be side-tracked into debates on doctrine. But we need to be intentional about working together—and often we need to be the one to take the first step, always keeping our focus on Jesus and what he would do in every situation.

Q: How do you approach the balance between both proclaiming the gospel and living it out through justice work? How do you encourage leaders to determine what that looks like in their own churches and communities? 03

Since HOPE began in 2008, we have stressed the importance of words and action as churches work together to make Jesus known. There were churches who were great when it came to preaching the gospel—but they had forgotten that the Bible is always a book in translation, and the most effective translation is our own lives. And there were churches that were fantastic when it came to putting the Christian faith into action, but the people they served didn’t know that these churches were serving them in the name of Jesus. Over the past 10 years, we have been thrilled to see churches coming together to serve local communities with foodbanks, winter night shelters, Street Pastors, community chaplains and many more creative expressions of Christian service, which are making Jesus known with words and action together. It is a legacy HOPE has sought to leave as we have worked in partnership with churches across the spectrum of denominations and ethnicities. This sacrificial service looks different in every community as local churches pray and respond to local needs with God’s help.

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Social Justice & Mission

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