Shane Winnings, a Christian content creator, preacher and missionary, is set to speak at this year’s March for the Martyrs.
We spoke to Winnings about his career as an internet preacher and how his experiences as a veteran of the Afghan war shaped his preaching.
Winnings left the army in 2016 to become a police officer. During his time on the police force, he decided to commit his life to God. One evening, he was convicted that while he had a Christian confession and had been in the church for 25 years, he had not allowed Christ to own his life. The Lord confronted Winnings with the question: “Am I actually giving everything to Jesus?” The answer radically changed his life.
During the day, Winnings began preaching in the streets and praying for the sick. At night, he was a cop on the graveyard shift. When the 2020 COVID lockdowns ensued, Winnings moved to preaching on TikTok. In just one year, his internet following skyrocketed to nearly one million. He held online gatherings every Monday evening where he has preached to thousands and led hundreds to Christ.
“I’m not looking for people to just pray a prayer and say that they’re Christians now. I want people to pursue a relationship with [Jesus],” Winnings emphasized. “I want to make sure that when someone is done listening to something that I’ve said they are forced to answer the question: ‘am I giving Jesus my life?’”
Winnings pointed to his experience in the army: “Having been in Afghanistan and seen the depravity of freedom in general, not even just religious freedom, has caused me to preach in a different way, to really wake people up, to stop living lives of comfort and convenience, and to stop taking these freedoms we have for granted. Because if push ever came to shove those freedoms would leave. If someone doesn’t read their Bible now, how hard are they going to try to read their Bible when it becomes illegal, or you could get killed or put in jail for the rest of your life if you’re ever caught with one?”
“I really try to preach messages to get people to die to themselves,” Winnings said. “Because if you’re already dead to yourself, then you can’t be killed. Like Revelation 12:11, ‘They did not love their own lives unto death.’ It’s getting people to look eternally, not temporally. I’m thinking of the day I stand before God, and he will say ‘well done.’”
After eight months of preaching by day and policing by night, Winnings felt God calling him to leave the police force and step into full-time ministry. Leaving behind a steady paycheck and comfortable retirement plan, Winnings moved across the country to become an unpaid missionary and preacher. Over the past year, Winnings has traveled across the U.S., speaking and preaching to thousands online, encouraging them to give their whole lives to Jesus.
Winnings marched and prayed at last year’s March for the Martyrs. He reflected that his experience was “a sobering reminder” of the reality Christians around the world face every day for professing their faith.
“[March for the Martyrs] is a sobering event that I hope so many people come to this year because it puts everything back into that eternal perspective,” he said.
We’re so excited to have Shane Winnings back as a speaker this year. Register now for this year’s March for the Martyrs in Washington, D.C., and stand in solidarity with the Persecuted Church.