Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

What’s Behind Your Ministry Wall?

Written by: on May 23, 2018

Jackie Pullinger’s Chasing the Dragon is an inspiring mission focused reality-based book that shows the miraculous faith and obedience of one woman who the Holy Spirit called and led into the least reached and hard to reach places behind the Walled City of Hong Kong’s drug infested underworld.  I connected immediately with Pullinger’s ministry of reaching lost and hurting addicts with help, healing, hope, and salvation while always preparing for more “battles to be fought.”[1] This post will relate with Pullinger’s ministry to addicts while also searching for new ideas and themes for my research into the problem of spiritual warfare.

I spent almost 30 years in public safety and over 20 years of that was working with people who bought, sold, used, and promoted illegal drugs. While my city did not have a “Kowloon Walled City” as Pullinger described in Hong Kong, there were similar areas of lower income housing that promoted an ill-fated recipe of urban overcrowding, mixed cultures, poverty, and unemployment that promoted higher incidents of illegal drugs, prostitution, and other violent crimes. I worked as a repeat-offender detective and was able to learn, understand, and share in similar contexts as Pullinger experienced inside the wall in Hong Kong. Many of the people behind the wall I worked were the families, relatives, and friends of migrant farmers from Mexico. Over the years, what began as finding seasonal work evolved into drug routes, trafficking, and increased criminal activity.

After gaining some experience in the Armor of God coin ministry with what one might call “normal people” the Holy Spirit began changing my heart and mind to reach out to those I spent half my public safety career trying to stop their criminal drug related activities. It was shocking, for them and for me, the first time I walked into a Vineyard Church sponsored 12-Step recovery program. At my very fist meeting with 20 parolee members some of them got up as if to “run-away” after they heard my name and recognized me. Nevertheless, Christ reins! I watched and listened as the Holy Spirit spoke thru me to them and watched a miracle happen, they opened-up to me, and I opened-up to them through the armor of God coin ministry. Just like in Pullinger’s experience with the lost and hurting people suffering from addictive behaviors, they quickly responded to the Holy Spirit conviction towards Christ.

After this meeting, the Holy Spirit took me to many places where He used the armor of God challenge coin ministry to reach and connect people to Christ. Like Pullinger, I have my “Ah Kei” stories of what appear to be failures in the “good work in someone” that came to saving faith in Christ.[2] Pullinger tells the story and offers a prayer to God asking why “Ah Kei,” one of her notable conversions from organized crime, fell and reverted to his old life-style when he said, “It’s no good. I can’t be a Christian anymore.”[3] She reports feeling responsible for the death of some of the people she served in ministry. I know that feeling! Most of the Christian addicts I served with the armor of God coin ministry had stumbles, falls, relapses, and three of them died violent deaths. I understand the hurt, anguish, and question; “Did I do all I could to help?”

There are not a lot of reviews of Pullinger’s book. However, I was able to locate a couple of peer-reviewed articles that cite her work that I connected to my dissertation. First, I was impressed by the spiritual fruit that the Holy Spirit, through Pullinger, produced in Hong Kong.  For example, Harter says that Pullinger became “emblematic” of all charitable efforts in Hong Kong due to her two-part ministry pattern of being both a “colonized sinner and colonial savior.”[4] The context of this statement is interesting because it represents both resentment and hope. The people in Hong Kong resent the British colonial influence in their culture, yet at the same time acknowledge hope in the savior theme that missionaries like Pullinger brought to their communities.

Second, I found a good study by Ng from the University of Hong Kong that describes how Pullinger’s mission-ministry influenced the “changes in self-identity in 86 participants of a religious drug rehabilitation program in Hong Kong. Conversion to Christianity is found to bring a shedding of a negative drug self-identify and a progressive identification with the Jesus ideal in the participants.”[5] The 12-Step Program that I ministered with has similar recovery themes as the 3-Stage program that Pullinger implemented in the St. Stephen’s Society one-year heroin-addicted residential program for men.[6] The study has research tools and scientific elements that may assist me in comparing the efficacy of the armor of God coin with self-organization and defense against spiritual warfare.

Overall, Pullinger’s Chasing the Dragon is a good primer for LGP8 pre-Hong Kong Advance to gain perspective for the many leadership and ministry challenges we will engage during our lectures, field-trips, and guest speaker opportunities. Pullinger’s Gospel-Rehab model is portable, scalable, and her program is achieving similar positive results in Thailand and the Philippines.

Here is a link to Jackie’s “story” of how she came to Hong Kong.


Stand firm,

M. Webb

[1] Jackie Pullinger. Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens. (Ada, MI: Chosen Books, 2007) 9.
[2] Ibid., 147.
[3] Ibid., 146.
[4] Seth Harter. “Hong Kong’s Dirty Little Secret: Clearing the Walled City of Kowloon.” Journal of Urban History 27, no. 1 (2000): 112.
[5] Ho-Yee Ng. “Drug Use and Self-Organization: A Personal Construct Study of Religious Conversion in Drug Rehabilitation.” Journal of Constructivist Psychology 15, no. 4 (2002): 263.
[6] Ibid., 265.

About the Author


4 responses to “What’s Behind Your Ministry Wall?”

  1. Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Mike,

    This week, you did the most in our Cohort of digging deeply beyond the book! Well done my Brother.

    I appreciate your heartfelt questions about the three folks who eventually suffered violent deaths. But, that is too heavy burden to bear! Cast that one on Him, because He cares for you!

  2. Great post as usual Mike! I appreciated your sharing of the personal stories of ministering to addicts and criminals and how the AOG ministry made an impact in unexpected ways. I look forward to meeting Jackie and seeing her powerful ministry in Hong Kong.

  3. Shawn Hart says:

    Hey Mike, I had a feeling you would connect with this reading; it seems very similar in many context to the type of ministry you perform in regard to risk factor and your desire to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I appreciate when you give me a little glimpse into the dangerous side of mission work; the fact is that ministry in the US is always such a safe place to practice, and as a result, sometimes not the challenge we all need sometimes.

    It was fascinating to see the extent of ministry techniques for helping addicts in this reading, as well as seeing that your own ministry was impacted by the same principles. I have never had to interacted on a treatment level with many hard core drug users, and hope that when/if the time comes for that, God will lead me to a useful program that will not only heal but also lead those affected closer to Jesus.

    • M Webb says:


      Thanks for the comments and review! Much appreciated.
      God only calls us to what we are ready for, even if we don’t think we are. Working with and ministering to the hard core addict is probably much like some of the Biblical stories when Christ or the Apostles worked with the demon possessed. The love of Christ can and does cut through all layers of addiction, evil, and danger and either attracts or repels. Yes, we need to be ready for those that are repelled by Christ too. Recidivism and relapse is very common for recovering Christian addicts. The exciting thing is knowing their eternity is decided, and now they have to “run” from the dragon while still on earth. That’s why the Armor of God is such a powerful tool and symbol for those fighting the evil in their lives. Putting on the armor of God helps them stand firm and stay clean, even if only for 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week.

      Stand firm,
      M. Webb

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