Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Too much fear! Pastor Bolt says the Church miss out on ministering to people because members are afraid

Published:Monday | April 25, 2016 | 4:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston
The Reverend Errol Bolt, pastor, Kencot Christian Fellowship.

The reverend Errol Bolt, pastor of the Kencot Christian Fellowship Church in St Andrew, has said that the widespread fear in the Church is the biggest challenge to Christendom.

Bolt, who was speaking last Thursday during the first in The Gleaner's series of Family and Religion Editor's Forum, said there is no lack of power in the Church. According to him, unlike other social institutions that are failing although they have the tools and props, these institutions lack the power.

"The Church has the power in the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, but there is a fear in the Church. There is a fear in the Church to get out in the community, and I have seen it," he said.

The pastor stressed that based on appearance and fear, Christians can miss opportunities to minister to people who need it the most.

"People come off the street and they look a little bit shabby. They don't look like Church people, dressed like me and you, and you can see the pull-away from them," said Bolt.

He said that's the fear factor influencing that kind of action.

"I know that there are some pastors doing their best. I am aware of Al Miller getting on the road, and a few [others], but the majority of the churches are afraid of connecting with that level of people," he said, adding that until that fear goes and Christians get out there and sit with them, the changes being sought won't happen.

Sharing a recent experience, Bolt related how ignoring fear and reaching out to a young man changed his life.

"I give you a recent example. One gentleman came there in the morning, and when he walked forward, I mean smell, talk about looks; as a matter of fact, I had to say to him, 'It looks like you were in a dog fight', when he came there limping. We looked at him and I said to the prayer team, 'Surround this man'. Well, thank God, I was a little bit afraid that they might let me down, but they didn't," Bolt told the forum.

"After the church's administration gave him shoes, food and clothes, the young man has been in church every Sunday, but the best impact came from the beneficiary's mouth. After crying, he made the telling statement, 'Unnu a di first ever touch mi. When a go to the other churches dem, a doan si di pastor; him doan come out at all, but if members come out, dem jus' gi mi a money and mi move on'."

According to Bolt, he did not share the story for praises, but for other churches to realise the importance of reaching out to people regardless of their situations.

"You have to really reach people, and it's a path that the Church is still afraid to get up in society," he bemoaned.

Bolt said that although the Church is doing a fantastic job in many areas, it is failing to reach people who are criminals.

"I mean, if you are in Church and you hear a gunshot fire down the road, everybody looking to pick up and run. We are still fearful, and Jesus said [that] one of the main things is to deliver us from fear because fear brings bondage [and] paralysis. It robs us; fear stops us. So if the Church is to get up there like that, the Church has got to deal with fear."