'Crossing London' 2014 reviewed
Andy Frost, from Share Jesus International, reports on a major mission initiative in London:
In 2014, Crossing London, in partnership with HOPE, brought nearly 500 churches together in mission in the Capital. The initiative used the following five headings.
Encouraging Leaders focused on encouraging leaders to think missionally with a host of Masterclasses from internationally renowned leaders.
Empowering prayer built upon existing prayer initiatives with central prayer gatherings, prayer walks across all 33 boroughs and the ‘Winsome’ prayer resources helping individuals to pray for their friends.
Equipping Christians saw the creation of the new Sharing Jesus resource which helped 1000s of Christians have a greater confidence in sharing their faith.
Engaging Communities offered practical training to churches to help them host community fun days, local festivals and Pentecost parties.
Encountering Jesus became the culmination of the year which gave 1000s of people the opportunity to respond to the Gospel. Under the banner ‘Live Up London’, events varied from dinner parties to testimony cabarets. The signature event was Love Beyond at Wembley Arena.There have been a great number of stories coming back from across the city. There are stories of churches working together with a greater sense of collaboration; stories of churches who have tried new missional programmes that have helped to reposition them in their community; and stories of people coming to faith. Some of the most exciting stories have come from the diaspora churches who have connected with the wider Church.
Some of the key learning outcomes have been:
A central vision and set of values helps local churches become part of a bigger story. Crossing London particularly engaged smaller churches and those not already part of a network.
When the vision is very top down, it can limit buy-in but when there is freedom to engage in chosen (rather than all) aspects of the programme and adapt them for the locality, churches are more likely to connect.
Working under one banner gives a greater media reach but can still allow local churches scope to deliver programmes according to their own context.
The two major challenges to these kinds of city wide initiatives are communication and funding.
The legacy of Crossing London, aside from the practical deliverables, are three-fold.
Firstly, the importance of a rhythm of mission has become clear. Share Jesus International, who led the Crossing London initiative, are moving this concept forward.
Secondly, the year has resulted in a host of new resources. Sharing Jesus has been particularly well received, and is now being used internationally. It will soon become a DVD series.
Finally, there have been new relationships formed across the city and the London Mission Collective has been set up to provide a space for these relationships to be developed for future scheming to take place.
PDF of the 2014 'Crossing London' Review
The resource book: 'Sharing Jesus'
The organisation: Share Jesus International
Link to the Mission London Collective
Resource: Churches doing mission strategically
Note: Share Jesus International also facilitate local churches working together in mission and evangelism at Pentecost through Pentecost Festivals: website Biggest Birthday Party Ever.