Capital Gains by Graham Miller: The invisible mission field


London City Missionary Paul Chierico visits a friend at a Peckham nursing home

London City Missionary Paul Chierico visits a friend at a Peckham nursing home

Reading through Scripture I am struck by Christ’s commitment to those on the margins of society.

I feel challenged that he didn’t use clever strategies to aim first to reach the best and brightest from the Jerusalem temple school so that they could be useful for his efforts. Instead, Jesus spent time with lepers, tax collectors, fishermen, women and Samaritans. In recent years the movement to revitalise the church with new plants and initiatives has sometimes focused on the young, the bright and the mobile. If we are to be faithful to the Great Commission we must be careful that our outreach doesn’t leave out large segments of society.

Ten million pensioners

One growing group who urgently need reaching with the good news of Jesus Christ is the elderly. One in six of us is over the age of 65; that’s a staggering ten million people of pensionable age. Three million of us are over 80 and that figure is set to rise. We are an ‘ageing population’.

Our missionary in Dagenham, Brandon, tells me that he often meets older people while visiting door to door on the Becontree Estate. Many are lonely and isolated and very happy to have someone to talk to. Brandon is shocked by the lack of basic Bible knowledge or awareness of Jesus among these people. ‘The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). He visits a widow who has prepared every element of her funeral but has not considered how she will face her maker. Too often there is an assumption that….(to read more click here)

Graham Miller is the chief executive of London City Mission.

This article was first published in the November 2015 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Capital Gains by Graham Miller: Regular visiting


Regular visiting

Daada Luogon (L), LCM missionary visits ‘Rob’ in the Kings Cross area

We live in a shallow world of internet ‘friendships’.

In contrast to this, the London City Mission perseveres with the long-term commitment and depth of relationships that we find described in the Bible.

Jesus was ready to take the role of a servant, washing the feet of those he ministered to. Paul writes about his relationship as a ‘nursing mother… sharing not only the gospel of God but our own self’. The relationships we see between Jesus and the disciples or Paul and the Thessalonians are a challenge to all Christians. We are called to avoid seeing people as ‘ministry projects’ and instead we should form genuine, loving, friendships.

Building relationships

At the heart of London City Mission is the idea that the same person goes to the same people regularly, to become their friend for Jesus’s sake. Someone once asked a previous training director how we start conversations during our regular door-to-door visits. His response is informative:….(to read more click here)

Graham Miller is the chief executive of London City Mission.

This article was first published in the August 2015 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

CBMW video resources… and some other great links.


Links Worth A Look

Enjoy the following links!

London City Mission – Cider or the Bible? Testimony of a life changed.

Proclamation Trust – Chappos’ 20%.

Justin Taylor – 3 Crucial things to remember as you graduate Seminary/Bible College

CBMW – A treasure trove of video resources from their national conference held in April 2014

Good Book Company – Exasperation time… thinking about Fathers

Cityscape evangelism


Emma Jarvis

Emma Jarvis

Once Emma Jarvis was converted to Christ, the Lord gave her a great desire to share the gospel with others.

This led her to apply to spend a year with London City Mission (LCM), which she started last autumn after graduating from university. EN interviewed her about what it has been like so far.

en: What is your background and how did you become a Christian?
EJ: 
I grew up in Wiltshire with two brothers and my parents took us to church from the year dot.

Growing up, I was the kid that knew all the answers in Sunday school but knew that I wasn’t a Christian and was quite happy living the way I wanted to. I then went to university in Surrey and during my second year found myself going to (and enjoying) church and Bible studies more and more, and the Christians I got to know were a great influence. To make a long story short, I was stubborn and proud, but God was patient and kind. I realised what conversion was, the significance of Jesus’s life for me and what I needed to do about it and I became a Christian when I was 21.

en: What led you to spend a year with London City Mission?
EJ: 
I think as soon as I became a Christian I felt the desire to get other people to engage with God and realise that Jesus is important for them.

I did some beach missions during the summer, and got involved with evangelism on the university campus during my final year. I thoroughly enjoyed these and God gave me the confidence and willingness to do more. When it came to thinking about life after university, I wasn’t inspired to start on the job ladder but realised that my biggest passion was talking about Jesus, so I pursued mission opportunities and doing full-time Christian work.

I was half expecting to have to learn another language, but I heard about LCM because it was the focus of prayer at a church I was attending, so I investigated what I could do with them. I signed up to their gap year scheme called City Vision (CV) to start to test whether this was the kind of thing God wanted me to be doing.

en: Give us an overview of LCM’s work?
EJ: 
LCM is involved in a huge variety of ministries that all aim to help Londoners practically and spiritually, whether with local communities, workplaces, ethnic minorities, the marginalised and those being cared for.

Examples of some of the ministries include community centres, schools teams, cafés, workplace chaplains and a day centre for homeless people called Webber Street. There’s plenty more than that and it’s great to see so many different and creative ways to reach various communities and introduce them to Jesus.

en: Tell us about your work and what a ‘normal’ day involves?
EJ:
 I work in Vauxhall Christian Centre three days a week, with the schools team in Morden one day a week, and I attend Urban Mission training lectures on the other day.

Two days are rarely the same, which I really like. As an example, a typical Friday in Vauxhall may involve meeting with my team in the morning, then spending a couple of hours doing door-to-door visits around the local blocks of flats. I would come back and help serve at our lunch club and then join in with a short Bible study and prayer session. The afternoon is then spent chatting with members of the community who drop by and setting up for our after-school girls’ club. When the girls arrive we spend two hours enjoying things like baking, table tennis and jewellery-making over a drink of hot chocolate, as well as a short spiritual talk. After that I make my way back home to Tower Bridge Road, normally pretty tired.

en: What is different about sharing Christ in an urban context rather than with students?
EJ: 
There are several differences between urban mission and the evangelism I was used to on campus.

The people in the local housing estates are not all the same age as me, they often have mind-blowing stories to tell and are in unfavourable financial circumstances. It seems that people’s identity is in their upbringing and what they have experienced, rather than in their education or aspirations. Bringing the Christian message into people’s lives is therefore different; university students often have a number of their own thought-out objections and questions, but the people I’m meeting now are often uninterested in, and unfamiliar with, debating and apologetics. However, they do have their own underlying objections. While students often want to discuss evolution and homosexuality, the people I meet want to talk about their life stories and struggles.

I have been encouraged by the example of Jesus, as he spent time with social outcasts and often engaged people’s minds by just asking questions. In the urban context that I work in, it is important to take a relational approach; there are numbers of people who are only willing to open up once trust and friendship have been established. This is true in all contexts but particularly so with some people in the community environment. We operate from a community centre and sharing Christ with some people feels like slow-motion evangelism; it is a gradual process for some people to become comfortable with coming to the centre and then engage in deeper conversations.

There are, however, a number of similarities: everyone seems equally willing to chat when in their dressing gown at any hour of the day. Also, my approach still needs to be reliant on God’s help at every moment and inspired by love. In both contexts people are frustratingly apathetic to life’s big questions, but Jesus is intriguing.

en: How would you encourage others to think about spending time with LCM?
EJ: 
I would encourage them whole-hearted-ly! There are several opportunities to work with LCM because they have so many ministries. They also offer ways to get involved for varying periods of time; a list and description of the different opportunities can be found on their website (www.lcm.org.uk).

The Mission’s City Vision scheme is a good way to spend a year. Within just a few months I have learned a lot about evangelism and have been taught a lot about the Bible, mission and counselling. I’ve also been able to work alongside a number of different missionaries with a huge amount of experience and have met a wide diversity of people in communities that I would otherwise be unlikely to cross paths with. This has been great in broadening my perspective of society, God’s saving power and different ways that he can meet people’s needs.

Mission like this is not particularly easy and doesn’t always feel successful, but LCM’s work is definitely worthwhile, I’m well looked after, have great colleagues and housemates and it’s a privilege to be so openly working for God. My time here so far has deepened my trust in God’s control and, most importantly, I have got involved in sharing God’s love and his Word with people that are so often unreached. I would therefore encourage others to do the same.

This article was first published in the February 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information. www.e-n.org.uk 0845 225 0057

Engaging our cities


2013_07 July Cover

In 1800, 2% of the world’s population lived in cities.
By 1900 that figure was 12%. Today 52% of us are city dwellers and by 2050 it is estimated that will rise to 70%.
God is passionate about his world. He cries ‘Mine’ over every square inch of it. Consequently, God is passionate about cities, since they have more of the image of God per square inch than any other place on earth.

Cities matter to God
Cities are packed full of the fallen image bearers of God; they bring together the nations of the world around ideas and commerce; they are unique places of cultural and political formation; and they have a disproportional national and global influence far beyond their boundaries.
In an increasingly urban, mobile and digital age, cities provide unique opportunities for the gospel and are strategic for reaching the world for Christ. The apostle Paul knew this; he poured himself into establishing churches in the most influential cities of his time. If Paul were alive today he would surely be crossing the globe from New York to Beijing to London, planting, growing and encouraging city churches.

London matters to God
London is one of the most connected, diverse and influential cities on the planet.
Heathrow is the world’s busiest international airport and the hub of the civil aviation world. Our capital city is consistently ranked the most visited city in the world — driven by education, business and tourism. According to 2011 census data, its citizens speak over 300 languages, with 55% identifying themselves as other than white British. They are not only cosmopolitan, but overwhelmingly young, with 31% under 24 years old. London knows exceptional wealth and also deep deprivation. It is home to 43 universities and, according to a recent official evaluation, the cultural programme of the Olympic and Paralympic games cemented London’s reputation as a world leader in the arts.

Gateway to the nations
London provides unique challenges, but, by the same token, is an open door to reach Britain and a gateway to the nations.
In days past, missionaries travelled to the four corners of the planet to reach the nations; today the world has come to our capital. It is as if God has picked up his world and, like a snow globe, shaken it and jumbled up the nations. As they settled, a concentration of people from many different nations landed within a 12-mile radius of central London and there are numerous mission organisations actively evangelising them.
The apostle Paul was aware of the powerful witness afforded by people from different ethnic and social groups united in the gospel (Ephesians 3.10). London churches enjoy this same opportunity today.
And yet, according to Tim Keller and others, the church still has relatively little sustained presence in cities like London. To a great extent this is explained by large student populations, a global workforce and the high cost of housing (which means young families tend to gravitate away from city centres), all leading to transitory congregations. Yet the sheer pace of urbanisation, with London’s population likely to grow by one million (or 12.5%) in the next ten years, only serves to underline the importance of a strategy across the evangelical fraternity to plant and rejuvenate churches in London, a strategy that by reaching London will reach the nations.

engageLondon
Against this backdrop, it is therefore timely that London City Mission is coming together this summer with the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity and others to put on engageLondon, a Christian festival which aims to connect the gospel with London living, mission and culture.
Ken Brownell who is helping to organise the festival, says: ‘My dream for engageLondon is three days of serious but enjoyable engagement with the gospel in the context of London so that people are better equipped to live faithfully as disciples of Jesus in the world’.
The event, sponsored by the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, runs from August 29-31.

For more information see www.engageLondon.org

Jonny Dyer works for All Souls, Langham Place.

This article was first published in the July 2013 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information.
http://www.e-n.org.uk 0845 225 0057

Links worth a look!


As ever – enjoy the following links!

9 Marks – The ‘happiness’ of the pastor’s family

The Gospel Coalition – Thirty three things – if you only look at one, check-out number 15!

Above every name – 7 ways to pray for your prayer lives

A Faith To Live By – Chuck Colson: 1931-2012 God’s man for prisoners

Good Book Company – First article of the self-harm series TGBC has recently done

Links worth a look!


As ever – enjoy the following links!

9 Marks – Younger pastors discipling older men

The Gospel Coalition – Know your evangelicals – William Wilberforce

Above every name – Prayerful parents – a reflection from Don Carson

A Faith To Live By – Mark Dever and Al Mohler discuss gay marriage at the T4G conference

Good Book Company – Introducing….

Links worth a look!


Enjoy the following links!

9 Marks – Is there an office for pastors’ wives?

Together for the Gospel –  “This may have been the most powerful missions message I’ve ever heard. I needed to be quiet with God.” – John Piper on Twitter after hearing this message at the T4G conference this month

Gospel Coalition – A few observations on this months T4G conference by Thabiti Anyabwile (Look out for EN’s reports in the May issue of the paper)

Jason Ramasami – The cartoonist featuring in EN shares the gospel message through video

Above every name – John Stott the Napper!

A Faith To Live By – Neil Powell from City Church B-ham reports on the pressures of church planting on spouses

London City Mission – Time to talk