The Profile

Mez Mcconnell: From violent crime to outspoken church planter and critic of ‘elitist’ evangelicalism

December 29, 2018

"I'll punch your face in, mate". That's what Mez Mcconnell said to a fellow student while he was at Bible college. "I guess the guys weren't ready for that kind of discourse," he says, looking back. Mez was involved in violent crime from the age of 14. He committed fraud, spent time in prison and describes his teenage years as "manic" and "wild". So when he became a Christian, a lot had to change. It didn't happen overnight, and Mez laughs at the idea its all been plain sailing since (see the aforementioned Bible college altercation). "I thought church was for pansies" he remembers. But as he read the book of Romans, he was convicted of his own sin, realising he couldn't blame his difficult past or upbringing for the life he was now living. Mez is often outspoken on issues relating to class and Christianity, describing evangelicalism as "unbelievable elitist". He also claims prominent church leaders have ignored what he's had to say, dismissing him as having a chip on his shoulder. And when it comes to fundraising for his organisation 20schemes - which plants churches on Scottish housing estates - he says "no one in England or Scotland" would give him money, so he's decided to fundraise in the USA instead. In this wide-ranging conversation with Premier Christianity's Sam Hailes, Mez delves into all these issues and more.

Follow Mez on Twitter @mez1972

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