I’m sure the biblical commands to welcome strangers resonate deeply with us all, particularly for those who have themselves sometimes felt on the outside – and who hasn’t at some point? However, knowing where to get started in serving people from different backgrounds effectively can be a problem – we may feel we lack the skills or experience to build friendships across cultures, or perhaps we are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, particularly in these culturally sensitive times.
And then there are those who have been faithfully ploughing away in cross-cultural mission here in the UK for many years. Perhaps you may feel that no one else in the church understands you, or maybe there is a lack of obvious fruit, or it could be that you are just plain tired.
So, for both the new faces and the old, we have created the Unreached in the UK network, through which we are looking to build relationships and hold events to strengthen, equip, train and encourage one another in taking the message of God’s love to the nations who have come to live here in the UK
One recent outworking of this was our latest Unreached UK conference on Saturday 17th October, held on zoom, and attended by around 60 delegates from across the UK
Our keynote speaker was Andy McCullough, who spoke from Ruth 2:5 about the power of ‘noticing’ those on the margins. I know I ignore people a lot of the time! Marginalisation found a fourfold intersection in the life of Ruth – her gender, ethnicity, poverty and refugee status. And yet Boaz begins the transformation of Ruth into a full human being simply by noticing her. We can all start there!
Andy helpfully dug into some of the things that stop us from noticing – privilege, possessions, prejudice. I was personally envisioned afresh with the power of simply stopping, asking questions, listening attentively and patiently, and starting to empathise with and understand those who are culturally different from me.
Across the morning, we also found time to worship in different languages and to enjoy a wide range of excellent seminars – whilst some delegates were receiving highly practical instruction on getting language classes up and running, others were shining a spotlight on racism in the church, and still others spent time in groups considering how to reach out to families, to refugees, to young Muslims, or to whole communities. Other training tracks looked at how to equip the church, to engage with leaders, and to embrace cultural diversity.
We concluded by spending time praying into what God is doing and rejoicing at the stories of changed lives.
I cherish these times of connection and learning and came away with my vision clarified about the call and potential for the church in the UK to cross cultural barriers of whatever sort – race, language, age, social class.
So if you have a heart for the unreached amongst us here in the UK we would love to hear from you, whether you have been working in this field for many years or are just starting out. You can join our mailing list by contacting us at email@example.com
We are also setting up some support networks focussed on specific areas and you can contact any of us about these using the details below.
It’s not only in far flung places that God is taking the Gospel into places it has never been before, but right here on our doorstep, and praise God that our churches in the UK can be a full part of this.
David Lyall, City Church, Newcastle
Contact us at:
- Tony Thompson Tony.Thompson2@ntlworld.com
- Cassie Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Lyall email@example.com
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