Janet White is a volunteer with London City Mission’s Communications team. She attended the London City Mission Summer School in Urban Mission this year, and wrote it up for us. This is part 3.
Friday: Invited to the banquet
LCM’s Rob Prendergast spoke on Ruth 4, in which a boy is born – but I’m jumping ahead. You probably know the ending anyway – or is it the beginning? After previously being married for ten years without producing any children, and then being widowed, Ruth has a son. It was a long, painful wait, but all fits in with God’s chosen timing. The family line continues on to King David. Redemption brings new life, as it ultimately did through ‘David’s Son’, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.
Rob Prendergast continued speaking to us in our next session, on Jesus’ parable of the great banquet (Luke 14:15-24), which challenges those who think they are secure in their position, and brings good news to the poor and the rejected. Nobody is outside God’s grace and forgiveness, and there is a sense of urgency in sending out the invitation to his ‘banquet’.
Rob introduced us to Daniel, who told us his story – from his childhood in a Christian family, through to his criminal life, then eventually exploring Islam, Judaism and Christianity, before being convinced of the truth about Jesus (through the historical and archaeological evidence). Daniel is now working in Christian ministry, and is part of LCM’s Pioneers training programme; he is in a unique position to reach those still involved with drugs and crime. Daniel has turned his passion for rap music into a way of sharing the good news about Jesus, and we were treated to a live performance after lunch.
We also heard from Jason, who had previously been on the Pioneers programme and was now a full-time LCM missionary. He told us about his childhood and criminal past – there was even a contract out on him – but God preserved his life.
Our final ministry visit of the week was to Brixton. As Daniel said goodbye to us at the tube station and handed the group over to Efrem for our tour around the area, he gave us all a hug. I don’t think that I had ever met a former drug dealer before, let alone hugged one! Efrem showed us around this colourful part of the city, where there have been a lot of tensions and crime over many years. He introduced us to some of the projects, including the Emmaus charity for the homeless, CHIPS (Christian International Peace Service, with its office where the Ascension Trust and Street Pastors began) and we ended the week at Block, a Street Gym.
Looking back over the week
Summing it up, I would recommend the LCM Summer School for any Christian who is thinking about outreach, as well as those considering the challenges that their churches might be facing, now or in the future. I think it would inspire anyone to share what they’ve learnt with others in their church – and maybe even to get more involved in LCM’s work in some way!
You don’t have to be in church leadership, or working towards it, but the Summer School could certainly meet a need in the training of church leaders or those preparing for ministry. This was the case for the group of theology students from Northern Ireland, the fourth group from their college to benefit from LCM's Summer School.
There was plenty of ‘food for thought’, with some ideas to take back and share with my church. Although I don’t live within a London borough (only in commuting distance), our town has increasing numbers of different cultural/ethnic groups, and our church congregation is starting to reflect this.
I’ve noticed that all that I learnt during Summer School, and the recurring multicultural theme, is already beginning to change my way of thinking.
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