What is the Spirit saying to us in the life of London?
Listen to London and speak to London
We have a unique role and opportunity – you have an opportunity to serve Jesus Christ in a cosmopolitan city –are you in touch with its diversity? In London poverty and riches meet, many Londons meet, you can link rich and poor, young and old, Gentile and Jew by giving hope, offering love and speaking truth. We need to connect people, age groups, civil society, institutions, communities and school. We need to be a light to the poor, and respond to the challenge faced by the whole city in economic decline and financial restraint. At a time of change and uncertainty on a worldwide scale, London has however continued to be a place of optimism and dynamic entrepreneurs within every aspect of our national life. The church is in many parts of our great city engaging with these individuals and organizations to be partners in shaping our community for the future.
We need to ask where do people gather and belong? Why? How? To change the culture and values of an organization is a major challenge. To seek to do the same with a World City might seem foolishness in the extreme – but it has been done before and with fewer people. We are a global city – a place where the world arrives strangely open, often lonely and hungry for a new life. Whether changing cities or cultures, wealthy expats, asylum seekers or young graduates, the church has an opportunity to introduce them to a new hope and a new way of life- reaching the world and the next generation through one city. Recent celebrations show that given the opportunity the good people of London do come out – use this. Have we seen how many gifted people are around with a sense of purpose? How do we respond to 24/7 life of Londoners?
In one word go for it! In more words, Londoners have SO much and with the Olympics just past we are truly feasting. But people are craving connection and community. Connection to God and through it to one another. How can the church engage with people? It has lost a lot of ground in the last 100 years but Jesus remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The church retains some respect but little relevance today in the under 40s. We need to speak into the life of those who work hard, have much but the God shaped hole nags. They do not know where to find answers, though the Gospel has them. How can we first attract them to us and then speak into their lives. Are we aware how much ignorance of the gospel there is? Are we aware how many young people feel lost? Where are we when London is living it up at night?
The world doesn’t work like it used to and in the next ten years, things will have changed again. London tends to be on the crest of the wave in many of those cultural changes and the church needs to have a voice – speaking truth, love and faith. The Parish system is great and many communities benefit from the service of really good parish clergy. We need to plan for how we reach those people who don’t think work or act in a geographical way – the mobile teens, twenties and thirties who chat to friends all over the world via social media and travel all over London and further afield to socialize, study and work. This is a generation that has also all but forgotten Christian faith and the Church. We need to invest in people who understand the times and can be leaders in these generations of people.
Though London is constantly changing, the Gospel embodied by the church is unchanging and as relevant today as ever when clearly proclaimed and lived out with joy and confidence
The Spirit is saying – catch my passion for the Kingdom of God to be extended – individuals becoming disciples of Jesus Christ and community transformed by my power and grace as my people grow in discipleship.
Source: The Diocese of London