April 6, 2022 12.06 pm This story is over 25 months old

Praying for BMWs and reaching out to ‘chavs’ – Church founder Darren Edwards

Listen to the full interview now

When people think of Christianity, they may think of two questions – “Does God love chavs?” and “Can I pray for a car?”

As it happens, according to one Lincoln pastor, the answer to both of these questions is “yes.”

Darren Edwards, founder of the Ignite Elim Church, more affectionately known as Chav Church, gave an interview to The Lincolnite Podcast this week, talking about his upbringing, his own experiences with religion, and what to expect when you attend an Ignite service.

Ignite Church was started by Darren in 2010, after an “encounter with God” in his early 20s led him to leave his old life in the past, and instead turn to helping others from working-class estates find salvation.

In the interview, Darren recounts his own adolescence in Northampton, including joining gangs, breaking into cars, dealing drugs, and having his first child at just sixteen years old.

“I’m always one to be a leader, so before you know it, I’m leading this gang of thirty people, robbing cars and dealing drugs.”

This behaviour carried on until the age of 23, when Darren experienced some “weird coincidences.” He went on to pray three times for a sign that somebody was there, including asking the question “Show me what book to read.” which led to him being presented with a Bible.

“Out of the blue, my Mother-in-law brought me out this old Bible…so I just started reading it.

“I got to the fifth book in the Bible, and realised I was awful, and this fella, ‘God’ or whoever he is, seemed like an alright geezer.”

It was this moment in Darren’s life that eventually led him to start Ignite, which now has churches in Birchwood, Boultham, and Louth, with plans to open one in Barton-upon-Humber, and another on the same estate in Northampton where Darren grew up.

Photo: Ignite Elim Church

When asked what to expect from a Chav Church service, Darren explained that it’s primarily the language, dress sense, and attendees that are different from what people would traditionally expect, and while the music is similar to modern churches, Ignite often feature grime and rap artists.

“Christians should stay at the church they’re at. I’m out here trying to reach people that aren’t Christians, that don’t go to church.”

Later in the interview, Darren also tells the story of how he prayed for a BMW, and later got an offer to swap his white van for that exact brand of car.

“I felt like God asked me ‘What sort of car do you want?’ I wanted to feel like a pastor! I didn’t want a Vauxhall because they’re not really executive, and a Jag is a bit too much for someone off the estate, so I’d love a BMW.

“I put my van up for sale, and some geezer in Hull messaged asking to swap my van for his BMW. I told him I couldn’t give him any more cash on top and he said ‘I don’t want any cash, just take it!”

To find out more about Ignite Elim Church, visit their website.

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