It isn’t the first time that Pastor Darren Edwards has fused faith with ‘chav’ culture. After setting up a ‘quirky’ church in Lincoln in February 2013, Darren’s new venture is paper-bound and aims to tackle restrictive stereotypes in modern culture.
Darren’s new book Chav Christianity explores what it looks like to be a working-class Christian in modern society and aims to reach people who have been put off spirituality, due to cultural reasons.
The church Ignite Elim, which opened on Moorland Avenue, was the result of the Pastor’s inspiration to create a modern congregation, reflecting a broader range of lifestyles.
After the success of the new church, Darren went about pursuing the book that had begun to take form in his third year at university.
Darren spoke with The Lincolnite about what ‘chav Christianity’ means. “Ultimately, a chav Christian would have different aspirations to the more traditional, middle-class Christian,” he said.
“I grew up on a council estate that has seen five generations of my family go through it without a dad. Due to lack of discipline I was quite unruly and began to steal cars and sell drugs when I was a teenager,” he explained.
“Aged 23 I began to see God working in my daughter’s life and decided to read up on it. Before long I was convinced that God wasn’t just real, but was in fact the father that I had been missing in my life.
“I read my first book soon after that, and whilst studying for a Degree in Theology, I was voted as the most read student among my peers.”
Although there is an obvious emphasis on the class system throughout the book, Darren insists that the message behind it is aimed at everyone.
Currently, Darren believes that more efforts need to be taken to ensure working-class aspirations aren’t disrespected.
“I would like to see working-class goals seen in the media as legitimate, and I would so like to see an authentic working-class voice in politics,” he said.
“The word ‘chav’ is typically a frowned upon word by those that tend to use it in a derogatory manner.
“However, if sociologists are right in saying that working-class aspirations are different, and if my experience is right in that my different aspirations lead me not to worry about climbing the social ladder, then a working-class Christian would not be worried about what people think of them.
“Hence I am proud to be called a chav Christian, and my language, dress code, and job title should relay this message.”
Darren’s ‘urban mission’ has been commended and is attracting attention from many walks of life.
Recently Lyndon Bowring, the Executive Director of Care commented on the publication saying: “It’s a brilliant book for anyone who has the desire to ‘eat, sleep and breathe the heartbeat’ of working-class people who are largely the forgotten class in our evangelistic efforts. It reminded me of my roots and upbringing for 20 years on that council estate in South Wales.”