Facing the last days
Pastor Dean Menzie resides in the community where he was born and raised Albion Mountain, St Mary. He however ministers at the Orange Bay Seventh Day Baptist Church in Portland.
Although Menzie became a fully-fledged pastor in 2012, he has been involved in pastoral ministry for the past 16 years and believes that many of society's current problems stem from the fact that we are living in the final days, and Armageddon is fast approaching.
Speaking from his mechanic shop in Albion Mountain, just outside of Port Maria, earlier this week, Menzie told Family and Religion: "In times like this, you will find that you don't have people coming to church like one time. You'll find there are more benches in church than people. I don't feel relaxed about that, but I want to believe we are seeing these things because we are in the last days.
"That means people are not really interested in church, which makes our work that much harder because even though they are not coming in, our mandate is to reach them whatever the cost, and in spite of the fact that it seems as if people are not just interested."
Irrespective of the growing apathy towards church and religion, Menzie believes it is still possible to reach even the most wayward souls.
He explained: "In these circumstances, the best way to reach people is to find out what the person is thinking, how they see life, and then use that background information. There are various reasons people are not coming to church.
"It could be the way how they see Christians or because they just don't believe in church or God. Whatever it is, you have to find out the reason because that's the best place to start working with them.
"For instance, if you want to talk to a person about God, but they are hungry, you will have to deal with that need before you can start talking because all that will be on that person's mind is food.
"There are some social issues that you may have to deal with first; that is the best way to reach out. It's not that you want to take over their life, but the more you can assist in those areas, the easier it will be to get them to come to church."
Menzie, whose favourite scripture is John 14:1-6, noted that access to funding is another issue faced by the members of his church, and he hopes to implement a radical new solution to help them tackle this challenge.
He said: "The community I serve is a low-income community and there are so many needs that call for finance. As a result, I am planning to set up a fund at my church where people can have access to interest-free money.
"Right now, something like that would really help unemployed parents and those who need support with back-to-school supplies."