Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Speak the language

For Dave Sharples it was a moment of inspiration that led to creation of the Four Points logo. Although, as a graphic designer, he found their simplicity very satisfying it was their usefulness in  communicate the Christian message that really excited him. They are a great conversation starter. The four simple points about God's love, our need for forgiveness, Jesus' death on the cross and our need to respond can be expressed with as much simplicity or sophistication as the situation requires. Last October they were used all around Liverpool as the churches united in a 'month of mission'. The four symbols got the city talking about Jesus. 

As Dave flicked through a photo album one of his Four Points products leapt out at me. It was a military dog tag sported by a tough looking youth in a gangster pose. The sale of Four Points merchandise enables Dave to spend several days a week working with young men in Toxteth. Originally Dave and his wife moved to Toxteth because housing was cheap, but they stayed for over 20 years because they began befriending and working with the youth of the area. Eventually they moved out. ("It's the dogs. You can't let your kids out. They're likely to go round the corner to be faced by a young boy with an out-of-control rottweiller."). But Dave's heart is still in Toxteth and he visits 20 homes a day.

The dog tag was a stroke of genius. Dave invites boys to join his gang. It's called 'The Mighty Men' and it gives them a chance to learn how to follow Christ and how to make something of their lives. Dave flicked through his photos again, naming each boy, sometimes saying, 'He's in prison now... he's a dealer... he's dead,' but also, 'He's getting married... he's in training... he's a leader in Mighty Men.. he came to church last week with his Mum.' 

Dave speaks a language that the youth of the area understand - belonging, loyalty, bravery. The Mighty Men are proud to wear the Four Points and they'll explain to you what they mean if you're interested. 

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