The first Monday of the year. Trees left for dead, celebrations over, family time and feasting finished. Back to the hard grind of work… and for many, a sinking feeling of dread. Returning back to work on January 4th, I felt the exact opposite. How could a week of praying for the city I love, with people I love, enjoying the presence of my Father who loves me, be called work?! In fact, the Bible is clear - God never meant for our celebrating to stop on New Year’s Day.
And that’s how our first week at London City Mission began. With celebration. A cracking band made up of home-grown LCM talent and a few visiting musicians from KXC (the home church to a few of our missionaries and mentioned quite favourably in this week’s Economist!) led us in praising our God for a new year and a new opportunity to make Jesus front and centre in our lives and the work of LCM. We thanked him for a fruitful 2015: for his provision, for those who pray and support us, for the growth of the team, for the smooth re-visioning process, and for many who came to know Jesus as their Saviour.
Hearing from our Father
Spirit-filled speakers unpacked what it means to be rooted: Rooted in Christ’s love for us, rooted with the least reached, rooted in the Church’s appointed mission, and rooted into the whole-life transformation that is the gospel. Our fantastic guest speaker, Gavin Calver,(Director for Mission, Evangelical Alliance) challenged us to go deeper, dream bigger and go together all through the power of Christ Jesus. Hundreds of prayers for breakthrough and healing, centres and churches, teams and individuals, contacts and ministries went up fervently throughout the week to the listening ear of our Father. We prayed not in fear, but in confidence that God was doing ‘heart surgery’ as Graham - our Chief Executive - called it; re-aligning our hearts with his.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Mid-week, we called out the names of those who’d had an impact on our lives. As I stood there, I realised how many names belonged to those around me. This tearful moment reminded me of how privileged I am to work among inspiring spiritual family, many of whom are friends as well as colleagues. We said goodbye to Bill and Chris Deane who have served faithfully with the mission for 38 years! As well as sharing delicious food at HQ, staff met according to their regions and teams in informal settings around London, giving space for deeper fellowship and more personal prayer.
The final service of celebration was a lively, family affair. Kids running about, purple lights, drinks and nibbles, great music. Teaching from Rob Prendergast (Training Manager and Pastor of Ecclesia Church, Lewisham)on Psalm 146 rounded off the week with praise to God and Graham prayed for the loved ones present, recognising that mission work involves the whole family.
All in all, it felt more like 'Christmas: The Extended Version' than like a week back at work! But more than just an enjoyable start to the year, it was a Biblical one. Life in Christ is meant to be one of non-stop celebrating, not because escaping daily life is fun but because rejoicing in him is the ultimate purpose for our existence.
I hope you join with us in celebrating our wonderful Saviour as we set out prayerfully on another year of joy-filled mission in the knowledge that nothing can separate us from his love.