Do you see Urban Britain as a vital missionfield? Regular visitors to this site will realise that we do. If people like William Carey and Hudson Taylor sought to awaken their generations to the needs of world mission then the challenge for our generation is the missionfield on our own doorstep.
Note, this concern should not come at the expense of other missionfields. As a local church, we continue to support world mission. We give to Gospel work in the Middle East, we have went people to Africa and to Central Europe, We have partnered with organisations to help train missionaries from all around the world. And although like others we express the concern that Evangelical Gospel strategy in the UK at times seems biased towards the prosperous, the Middle classes, the students and the Graduates, we still have a passion to see that mission field reached too. This means that we pray for, and where and when possible support student ministries as well as welcoming students who come to us. We also, willingly send young people off to University where they will join churches and get involved in the Mission there ( one of the reasons why so find talk of “Resource Churches” ironic.
However, none of those points take away from the fact that here we have a mission field that is crying out for Gospel workers. In our last post we described something of the challenge of urban ministry, particular in areas where there is a mobile population. In a post on the 20 Schemes blog, Al Gooderham and Mez McConnell describe the challenge in a different type of urban context where there is little or no mobility. Additionally, in both types of context, the pastoral demands are full on, drugs, broken relationships, deserted children, violence, abuse, mental health, debt, asylum claims, homelessness, fuel poverty, suicide attempts, racial tension etc are all likely to hit you hard and fast. And our aim is not to patch up those things as social workers, these are simply the contexts in which urban pastors and planters seek to make disciples. We have seen some of those things, though by comparison, our part of Smethwick is by no means one of the hardest or neediest places. There are harder places right on our doorstep where we would desperately love to see a meaningful Gospel witness started or supported.
In the midst of the challenges there is also great joy. There’s the joy of seeing people coming in who want to trust and follow Jesus, who haven’t simply transferred from another church but are coming for the first time or coming back, There’s the call from someone who moved away for housing and you get the sense of real progress in their life. There’s the joy of seeing people growing into maturity and learning to serve the Gospel.
But we need people with a heart passion to serve the Gospel in urban communities, on our estates and in our inner cities. We need people who will give their lives to this cause just as those pioneer missionaries to China and India went ready to live their lives there and die there. We need people who are not worried about making a name for themselves but want to see Christ’s name honoured.
So, here’s the deal. If that is possibly you, if you want to explore this calling further and if your home church elders agree that this is something you should be considering, then we would love to hear from you. Find out more about How we can partner with you, help and encourage you and train and equip you via our ActBC pages.