PASTOR SEGUN OLADOKUN TALKS ABOUT HOW HE HAS ENCOURAGED HIS CONGREGATION TO FOCUS OUTWARD AND HOW LONDON CITY MISSION HAS BEEN PART OF THAT JOURNEY
The King’s Church in Epsom is a joyful, loving community, friendly and enthusiastic about worshipping God. It is also deeply committed to preaching the whole gospel.
Pastor Segun Oladokun says he’s not a natural evangelist, but he does have a strong passion for the church’s mandate to reach out to the community. When he started as pastor four years ago, he wanted to re-orient the church’s vision and activities to be more outwardly focused.
At first many were concerned that the fellowship should prioritise care of the flock and he met quite a lot of resistance, but Segun was convinced that pastoral care and outreach cannot be pitted against each other: the church has to do both.
He started with a renewed emphasis on disciple-making in the preaching and training. They revamped the mission statement to put discipleship at the heart of church life.
Next, Segun ensured the church led a mixture of outreach initiatives to ensure that the maximum number of people could join.
And aside from structured church programmes he persistently encouraged people to share the gospel wherever they were – in the supermarket, with neighbours, colleagues.
Another thing that has been significant for the church is the input of external organisations. ‘It is often easier for people from outside the immediate church family to get a challenging message across.’
The church invited LCM missionary Simon Knightly to preach on a Sunday morning and then to lead training in door-to-door visiting for the congregation. That led to people who had never before done door visiting taking up the challenge for the first time.
They went door-to-door introducing themselves as members of the church and as members of the local community, seeking
to establish relationships and to initiate conversations about faith.
What has happened is that as evangelism has become central to the culture of the church, people who have a gifting have emerged.
One woman is sick with a very rare form of cancer. Throughout diagnosis, surgery, all episodes of sickness, she has given her evangelistic testimony.
‘God seems to be miraculously preserving her. She’s an inspiration,’ Segun says.
She joined a gym, formed a group of ladies and travels the world with them. She has a group of about 15 people, and they go on cruises ensuring that Jesus is at the centre of the group.
‘I don’t know how many people have come to the Lord through her ministry, she’s incredible.’
Another is a 20 year-old white British guy. He met the Lord about three years ago, has already led two others to Christ, and he has been instrumental in bringing his parents to church. His mother has recently given her life to Christ.
He shared the gospel with a black woman in her fifties and she’s now a member of the church. Another, he met in while training in the gym, and started sharing the gospel.
During the first lockdown Segun started an online meeting called Friday Fundamentals, which is 20 minutes gospel sharing without any Christianese, trying to make the gospel accessible to people.
Segun thought: ‘why don’t I get this young man from the church alongside me?’ He can reach groups of people that I can’t reach so well. Since the summer of 2020 they’ve been taking turns to lead.
‘My plan is to hand the platform over to him quite soon,’ says Segun. ‘He can call on me and invite me any time wants but I want him to make it his and let it be his. We trust that we’ll see fruits from that.’
The chaos caused by Coronavirus brings many opportunities as well as barriers to sharing the gospel.
There are restrictions on how we can gather and the things we can do. But there is also a heightened awareness of needs, especially loneliness. the way to just knock. phone, or make contact online.
SOME OF SEGUN’S LEARNING
- Be bold – because culture is not easy to shift. Be consistent in your message
- Be challenging. Find any opportunities and make the most of them.
- Lead by example.
- Pray for wisdom. Change is tough and it’s difficult.
- Get support from other organisations.
- Persist and don’t be discouraged. Keep going, sooner or later God will step in to help.
It is often easier for people from outside the immediate church family to get a challenging message across