Painted in large letters across all London underground platforms, these three words are now an iconic part of tourist paraphernalia. Their true purpose, however, warns travellers they court danger by not heeding the treacherous gap between train and platform.
But a spiritual gap exists with far greater implications….a widening gap between the churches and many of London’s least reached people groups. Since 1835, London City Mission has stood in that gap. Our first missionaries stood in it during the cholera epidemic which ravaged the slums of the East End, when they offered practical help and the hope of the gospel to the dying in spite of the risk of infection. LCM’s founder, David Nasmith, saw the needs of the least reached of our city and called Christians to step into that gap.
God has been reminding us of our original calling.
We rejoice that today the church is growing and many new churches have sprung up across the city. But the dangerous gap is still there and it’s growing. More and more people are living a world away from the church, and the map of London’s churches includes many gaps where mission is much needed.
Nothing New Under the Sun
In making changes over the past year, we sometimes spoke of a ‘new’ mission strategy. Of course, there is nothing new about it! For 180 years, men and women have heard the call of God to go to London’s Samaria – those people who are physically close to us, but who often have the greatest distance to travel to come to an understanding of God’s saving grace in Jesus.
With the great commission of Acts 1:8 ringing clear in our hearts, and the particular call the Mission answered about it’s very own ‘Samaria’, we discovered an article written in our magazine during LCM’s centenary year, highlighting Jesus’ words in Acts 1:
As well as far-flung opportunities, Jesus directed the attention of his followers to a sphere of work and witness that lay almost at their feet ...there is always a Samaria, a challenge to our testimony, which because of its proximity we may easily miss.
After a prayerful review of our ministries to ensure each one fit God’s call for London City Mission -- gospel ministry helping the church to reach the least reached -- we had to make some hard decisions. But I’m thankful for God’s grace and a team of missionaries whose chief goal is not to see their particular ministry succeed but to see London won for Christ.
Thank you for supporting us and enabling our mission team to step into the gap by stepping out across London with the same gospel hope that our predecessors carried with them 180 years ago.