22 November 2016
Member of the month: London City Mission
When did London City Mission start?
London City Mission was founded 181 years ago on 16 May 1835 in a small cottage in Hoxton, by a group of men with a passion to 'extend the knowledge of the gospel among the inhabitants of London…especially the poor'.
In 1835 London was a city of nearly two million people concentrated into a small area. Working-class people crowded together in a maze of narrow courts and back alleys and filth, poverty and disease were rife. Hardly a third of the people in the poorer areas went to church.
It was to such a scene that a young Scotsman named David Nasmith came in 1835. As he saw the desperate social conditions he envisaged a group of dedicated Christian workers from across denominations who would share Jesus with people wherever they were. Nasmith believed that the working classes and the marginalised would best be reached by Christian workers who came from the same background, understood the people's needs and could communicate with them in a relevant way.
Influenced by the urban ministry of a Scottish minister - and a founding member of the Evangelical Alliance - Thomas Chalmers, London City Mission divided the slums into small districts so the missionaries could visit the people who lived there, over and over again; the same person, going to the same people regularly to become their friend for Jesus' sake.
What do you do?
Over 180 years later, our mission hasn't changed: we are driven by the fact that London is still desperately in need of Jesus. We continue to serve the Church in London by sharing the love of God and good news of Jesus Christ with communities least reached by traditional church evangelism.
We have over 60 ministries across London. Our teams are reaching out to those living on London's most deprived estates, those people who are homeless or in prison, and those who come from other cultural or faith backgrounds.
Who do you work with?
We work with evangelical churches and organisations across London and beyond, who have a passion to share the gospel with those in our city who might not otherwise hear it. In partnership with churches, we can be found on the toughest estates, talking to gang members about Jesus. We are befriending people who suffer from mental illness, who feel there is no hope. We are showing love and hospitality to immigrants. We are welcoming homeless people to our drop-in centre. And all the while we're sharing the gospel.
We have a dedicated training team who not only train our staff, but also equip churches and individuals to meet the least-reached people in their own communities. We run Practical Evangelism Training Days on how to share the gospel with different groups of people, for example, those who are marginalised or elderly. We run a week-long summer school in June, courses on engaging with Muslims and a year-long LCM Pioneer programme, which equips and trains people who have grown up in some of the poorest areas of London and whose lives have been transformed by the gospel message to pass it on to others through their local church.
Why are you a member of the Evangelical Alliance?
The Evangelical Alliance is a place where we can come together with diverse Christian family for mutual support, prayer, and idea sharing. Together we can speak with one voice of the hope and good news that we have in Christ for a broken and divided society.
How can Christians in London and across the UK get involved?
We are so grateful to those individuals who partner with us on this vital gospel task. There are lots of ways you can get involved, but here are just three.
Pray: We have produced Pray for London, a prayer guide that introduces you to the work we do and how you can join us in prayer.
Give: You can make an eternal difference to someone's life. By supporting us, you will help put more missionaries on the streets of London, reaching out to those who rarely hear the gospel.
Tell: Share our work with your friends and those in your church. We have specific resources for churches to use this Christmas.