Please bear with me as I get a little bit repetitive about this one. How did the first churches get started all around the Mediterranean? How did churches start in India, China and across Africa? Well, if you go to Acts, you could argue that some of the church planting happened as Christians moved out from Jerusalem and scattered across Judea and Samaria. Maybe that gets a little bit close to our model of sending groups of people out to plant churches in the areas they move into.
However, for churches to get planted right around the Mediterranean, it required a church (the one in Antioch) to set aside some people as missionaries. That’s how Paul and Barnabas start out. Modern mission starts with William Carey going to India, Chinese churches can trace their history back to Hudson Taylor crossing cultures to share the good news.
Church leaders, are you actively encouraging church members to consider a call to cross cultural mission. Do they consider the Gospel to be worth leaving their home, work, stability and social ties behind for? Are you spotting people with the relevant gifts and nurturing and training them? Are you praying with them to help them discern the next steps?
If you are, that’s brilliant. If you are, then please can you tell them about one of the most vital mission fields, the one that is practically on their door step. If they go to urban Britain, they will find people who have had little if any contact with the Gospel. They will find people from many different culture backgrounds based on ethnicity and class. They will find people from other religious backgrounds such as Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam. They will find people who are hungry for the Gospel.
Now, if we are going to send people as pioneer missionaries into our estates and inner cities without the massive infrastructure of a pretexting church, leadership team, building, musicians, budget etc that you get with the classic church plant, then we are still going to need to find ways to prepare them and support them for this.
It was for this very reason that we started working on “ActBC”. ActBC is about supporting and encouraging pioneer church planters into some of the neediest parts of the Urban West Midlands. We are committed to encouraging pioneer church planting into Sandwell, The Black Country and West Birmingham. We are specifically looking for people to come and serve alongside us in this task. We are committed to providing mentoring and training to those who come. We have partnered with Union School of Theology specifically to help make this possible.
I am hoping that as church leaders read this article, they are thinking about one or two people who might be suitable for this type of mission. I am also hoping that some of you who are reading this are considering the possibility that you should come over and help us. If either of those possibilities apply to you, please get in touch.