Have you ever been to a church that doesn’t engage in public life and advocate for the most vulnerable in society as much as it should? Have you ever felt a sense of disappointment about it? Do you long to see your church engage more confidently with the world around you, but don’t know how? I know these feelings all too well, and it is what led me to take up the unique role of advocacy engagement lead at the Evangelical Alliance. Like my colleagues, I hold a deep-seated conviction in the power of the gospel and its relevance to public life. Unlike most of my colleagues, I get to speak on this within the local church.

I studied law and was called to the Bar because I believe the law and public life more generally is a key arena in which to witness to the gospel. This understanding was always around me as I grew up in the church, but it crystallised when I did an internship with the Evangelical Alliance straight out of university. How I go about manifesting this belief looks different now to what I had in mind while training, but my work in churches still reflects this core idea – Jesus is Lord over all things, including the public and political life of this nation.

I am regularly invited to encourage congregations about the necessity of maintaining and demonstrating evangelical conviction in public life. Is there still a place for evangelical Christianity in an-ever changing UK? What is the relationship between faith in Jesus and the public policy landscape of the UK? Why should we engage with politics, locally and nationally? These are the questions that frame my time with churches.

Don’t shrink back – your voice is needed


I love getting to walk congregations through a passage of scripture and show them the relevance of a seemingly obscure passage in ways they may never have seen before. For example, in 2 Kings 5, we see how a lowly slave girl is used by the Lord to catalyse repentance and healing in the life of an enemy army commander. Rather than shrink back from a situation that is overwhelming for her, she holds on to God’s truth with compassion, conviction and courage. I’m really encouraged by her example of faithfulness and resilience, and I am inspired by how significant her humble contribution becomes as the story unfolds. It is a real joy to get to share these truths with churches.

"Perhaps my favourite part of a church visit is praying for a fresh infilling of God’s Spirit for myself and the congregation – that we would show Jesus to those around us with compassion, conviction and courage."

There are challenges to how we get to proclaim and live out the implications of the gospel, locally and nationally, as Christians today. I feel this daily, be it when I see a new headline on the supposed irrelevance and intolerance of the Christian faith in the world today, or hear disparaging remarks as I try to share my faith with people while out and about. While we are all broadly aware of this, it helps to have it addressed explicitly in a church gathering – highlighting that we are not alone as we each navigate this in our different spheres and showing how normal this is in the walk of faith. God’s people have always lived somewhat on the margins.

It’s a huge privilege to draw people’s attention to the timeless wisdom of God’s word and how those who have gone before us have journeyed through surprisingly similar terrain. There are challenges of our day and time that we need to approach with conviction and faith, alongside gentleness and nuance, and I am so grateful to be part of a team that works to resource the church in these things.

Don’t give up hope – there is space for our public witness

It’s always encouraging to engage with people after speaking. I get to hear some of the challenges that they experience when it comes to a public witness to Jesus (particularly in the workplace) and point them to our resources which offer guidance in this area, such as Speak Up and Living for Jesus at work.

Recently, one lady shared with me after I’d preached that she felt my message was very timely because she’s in the midst of challenges at work to do with her faith. She’d actually been feeling hopeless – until she heard from God’s word afresh that day. That was such an encouragement and is exactly why I do what I do. 

While we long for followers of Jesus to engage with the national political picture, we believe it’s just as important to witness to Jesus locally – both with local councillors, and with our neighbours, or with colleagues in the office. I love supporting the church to do this boldly and sensitively.

I’m especially excited to see the church mobilised to represent Jesus as we engage with the next general election. It’s a great opportunity to love our neighbours by being open and gracious in conversation, and by using our ballot papers. I’ve witnessed something of this recently, as our Northern Ireland team have led church engagement on relationships and sexuality education (RSE), gathering 900 people at four in-person events in Northern Ireland, with 180 joining our UK-wide RSE webinar around the same time. Those who attended are now a force to be reckoned with on this issue. How much more could we achieve together if the entire church is mobilised and equipped to be a thoughtful, Jesus-embodying, counter-cultural voice on other issues too (think welfare, immigration, law reform, gender identity and so on). We have more capacity to see real change in Jesus’ name than we tend to realise.

The church has achieved so much together in advocacy both in the past and in the present. Just take a look at our Stories of Hope reports on the church’s efforts for addiction recovery in Scotland (which we published in partnership with Serve Scotland) and support for those most in need in this cost of living crisis across the UK. We presented these reports to the government and called for it to continue to engage with what the church is doing to help in these areas, such as helping more than 1,000 people in Scotland recover from addiction.

Perhaps my favourite part of a church visit is praying for a fresh infilling of God’s Spirit for myself and the congregation – that we would show Jesus to those around us with compassion, conviction and courage. That’s also my prayer for you as you read this. The UK is so desperate for a church that makes Jesus known. May you know fresh grace to do this personally, alongside your own church family, and as a part of the wider church in this nation. If this is your prayer too, and you’d love to share this with your church family, I’d love to hear from you. 

Damilola is keen to connect with you. To book Damilola, head here.

Related pages:

Request a speaker

Request a speaker

Invite a speaker from the Evangelical Alliance to your church or event Find out more
Spotlight: our advocacy team

Spotlight: our advocacy team

Alicia Edmund, our head of public policy, sheds light on how the team are amplifying the voice of the church across the UK