It’s common knowledge that human beings will make good of every opportunity for fame and recognition and go to any length to gain them. History is full of men who would not hesitate to kill others or use other crude and unjust means in order to gain power, fame and all that goes with positions and privilege. One of the very notable features of Jesus’ ministry was the fact that He did not seek publicity or recognition for all the good and mighty things He went about doing in public. His deeds were always conspicuous in that they went against the common day to day occurrences and stood out so that, they could not go without notice, they drew all the attention to Him. It is this attention and following that Jesus used to draw people back to God and he taught them how to live godly lives. He wielded great influence in society and created great impact that it was impossible to deny or assume. His motivation was noble and he pursued the well being of man and not his selfish gain, which set him apart as a great leader whose influence and impact is unmatched. It is now wonder that Christianity has has had a great influence in societal values and that legacy will continue in our day and into the future.
Nick Spencer, in his book, The Evolution of The west, draws our attention to the undeniable fact that Christianity has had great influence and impact on the values that have shaped the Western civilization. Through putting together his essays and reviews that he has delivered at Theos, a Christian think tank in the UK, He clearly shows us how Christianity has shaped the values of the Western world which cannot be denied. Nick Spencer is the research director of the Christian think tank Theos and has been in the forefront of the debate of the role of Christianity in the west. While Nick draws our attention to the west, I must say that this is also very true of my African context, Christianity has had a lot of influence in our societal values. Many African communities have held on to their traditions and practices but there is no denying that Christianity has had a great influence in our values. Many local historians have tried to link Christianity with colonization of Africa and labeled it the “white man’s religion” but even they acknowledge the great influence that is Christianity.
My attention was particularly drawn to Chapter 12, Christianity and The welfare State. Nick Spencer draws us to the missional obligation of the church to the poor and suffering in society and points to the undeniable role that Christianity has played in defining the moral foundations of welfare. Nick points to the fact that though least known to many, Christianity was foundational in shaping the full range of welfare regimes, not just in Britain but across Europe, and in America in the twentieth century. While welfare has been a big subject of political ideologies on capitalism, socialism and communism, there is no denying that Christians have been in the forefront of difining welfare. Nick particularly notes that Christinity’s role in defining welfare was not about, the social rights and emancipation that one finds in political ideology, but rather the conviction that people have the Christian obligation to help the poor and ensure social justice, to protect a stable and fair social order. This obligation to the poor in society is therefore a missional obligation of the Christian and which, in its execution and advocacy was instrumental in defining welfare in the West and, continues to influence the western value even today. The church has played a very pivotal role in welfare and this has also served to advance the course of church to spread the Gospel to the world.
In my research project, my focus is the easy availability of biblical financial literacy curriculum for pastors to use, to economically empower Christians in vulnerable communities in my African context. It is a missional response to the poverty that is prevalent in many city slums and rural poverty enclaves. I see it as a missional obligation but also as a great opportunity to advance the course of the Gospel. One of the things that is true is that as we reach out in welfare, we exert a lot of influence in the society and this was also very true of Jesus and it was the very reason that he drew great crowds of followers. As a Christian leader, I see a great opportunity in economic empowerment of the poor and this will go along way in influencing values in these communities. Nick Spencer brings to us the historical fact of the influence of Christianity on societal values in the West but as Christian leaders, we should see the potential there is for further influence in today’s society. We should leverage that knowledge to see great opportunity in our spheres of influence and position ourselves to continue the legacy of Christianity’s influence in our context.
 Nick Spencer, The Evolution of The West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values, (Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press. 2016)
 Ibid., page 167.
 Ibid., page 168.
 Ibid., page 169.