United Kingdom

Why would anyone attend Messy Church?

pexels-photo-542556.jpeg

One Pioneer family in the UK has been hosting Messy Church every second Sunday of the month.  The service is indeed messy—it includes crafts, conversation, and food and attracts families from the neighborhood who do not otherwise attend church.  At Easter four Muslim families attend Messy Church, along with several other local families.  The Pioneers are baffled as to why the Muslim families attend, but they are praising God. 

Pray that the Pioneers would have wisdom and boldness to help illuminate the differences between Islam and Christianity, as they see a trend in the community to minimize religious differences.  Please pray that Jesus would shine brightly through this Pioneers family!

Ministering to Muslims in Manchester

manchester.jpg

Pioneers in Manchester recently reported that when their team began prioritizing prayer about two years ago, ministry really began to open up to them.  They confessed that prayer seemed to unlock an openness in hearts of the Muslims in their midst.  A primary way that Pioneers are reaching out to Muslim-Background immigrants is through both food and a book stall at a local market.  The food and Christian books draw an interest from Pakistanis, Saudis, Iranians, Jordanians, and Kurds.  The Pioneers in Manchester have been thrilled to see roughly 50 Muslim-Background believers attending Discovery Bible Studies each week.  Please pray for ministry in Manchester, as in northern Manchester alone 10 mosques exist and an 11th is under construction. 

Making the Most of the Opportunities that Already Exist

pexels-photo-434341.jpeg

Recently when Pioneers in the UK gathered to share their stories, they all agreed that they want to make more of the opportunities that already exist in their midst.  For example, rather than waiting for a new opportunity to arise to share the Gospel with someone, one Pioneer suggested: “Gossip Jesus right where you are!”  Heads shook around the room as each Pioneer chimed in with the opportunities that they have, but for which they need boldness.  

  • Pray for a Pioneer who senses that God wants her to share Christ with a friend on the sidelines of regular rugby games. 
  • Pray for a Pioneer who is distributing Bibles on a university campus.
  • Pray for a Pioneer who takes long runs through Pakistani neighborhoods—he stops frequently to chat with young men, asking about their lives, praying with them, and sharing the Gospel when he can.  Though these conversations are brief, they are an important step in seed planting. 
  • Pray that God would open the eyes of every Pioneer to share Christ when possible and pray that God would open the hearts of all those who hear! 

 

Women Reaching Women in England

Women in Pioneers are experiencing great joy as they reach out to newly arrived Muslim women in England.  In one location, Pioneers are finding women, especially from Syria, “desperate for English-speaking friends,” as one worker put it.  Newly settled refugee families are isolated, worried about their new lives in England, and hungry for help.  Pioneers are able to befriend the women, spend time with them in their homes, and provide practical help, as well as the hope of Christ.  Pray for Pioneers in Oxford who are ministering to a community of 60-70 Syrians and expect 7 or 8 more Syrian families to arrive there later this year.  Pray also for more workers to come to the field, as well as for local English churches to catch the vision to serve refugees in their midst. 

UkWomen.jpg

In another location, Pioneers women are rejoicing in growing friendships with women who have immigrated from Pakistan and Libya.  The Pioneers provide “Crafts and Conversations” at a neighborhood community center for the Muslim-Background moms who take their children to school and then find themselves with days wide open.  Friendships are built around the table as the ladies discuss life in their new homes.  A local Imam has discouraged the immigrant moms from gathering with the Pioneers, so please pray for persevering friendships, in spite of the pressure.

Four Ways to Pray for London Right Now

By a Pioneers In Europe Field Worker

When we think about the need for Christian missionary efforts around the world, the places that usually come to mind are not in the Western world, are not English-speaking, are not major tourist destinations.
 
And yet, the tragic attacks that took place in London on Westminster Bridge on Wednesday remind us once again of the need for God’s Kingdom to come to even the most familiar and developed locales.
 
As this violence draws our attention, however briefly, to London, would you join us in praying for this city and for this nation?
 

  1. Pray that God would comfort and heal the victims and families who are at the forefront of this experience of evil.
     
  2. Pray that, amidst all of the material wealth and global influence to be found in London, God would reveal to each resident—whether from Britain or abroad—the depth of their spiritual poverty and need for relationship with God in Christ Jesus.
     
  3. Pray for wisdom for the governing authorities, as they respond to this attack and anticipate the official beginning of Brexit negotiations, that they would navigate these events with a godly sensitivity toward using the UK’s international prominence and relationships to enable this land to continue to be a blessing to Europeans, immigrants, and refugees who are seeking help here.
     
  4. Pray for our various ministries who are operating in the city, that as they engage with various ethnic communities and asylum-seekers, that their roles as ambassadors for Christ would be effective for bringing the light of the Gospel into the lives and homes of all the peoples of the earth that the Lord has drawn to this place at this time.

Why Come to the UK and Ireland?

ukstreet.jpg

For those who pursue missions through prayer, support, or going, the United Kingdom and Ireland may not seem, at first glance, like potential mission fields.  They are affluent, there are no wars, and there are (at least in the UK) many churches.  However, while UK churches are currently reaching traditional, white, British communities, a range of diaspora communities (such as Muslim and Chinese people groups) are not being reached with the Gospel.  In Ireland, there are not even enough Evangelical churches to reach traditional Irish people, let alone new diaspora communities. 

For missional go-ers and senders, the UK and Ireland may seem second best, compared to more remote, dangerous, and traditional places.  However, we know that God loves people wherever they are, and that He is committed to all nations hearing the Gospel. The Lord says, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”(Psalm 46:10).  If potential missionaries sense that God is drawing them to the British Isles or if they are drawn to a people group represented here, we want to affirm that the UK and Ireland are valid countries to consider.

We have unreached people groups
In Ireland there are a number of areas with insufficient Christians to reach post-Catholic people, as well as growing numbers of Muslim migrants.  In the UK, churches have not engaged sufficiently with Muslims and other migrant communities, leaving millions of people without a credible Gospel witness. 

Freedom
The UK and Ireland provide freedom for migrants coming from countries closed to the Gospel.  Missionaries also have great freedom to preach the Gospel.  One can freely access an incredible amount of Gospel materials in a large variety of languages and distribute them without any risk of arrest.

Access
It is relatively easy to access the UK and Ireland through various long-term visas.  The security situation in both countries is stable and access to affordable health care and education is also excellent.  Because both nations are accessible, a range of different people can serve here.  For example, reaching Afghanis in Afghanistan might well require someone with a particular apostolic calling and strong physical health, but people without those particular giftings can still reach Afghanis in the UK.  Many UK churches in Muslim-majority neighborhoods and church plants in Ireland would be greatly blessed by mature believers, who might not be able to serve in other parts of the world. 

Language
English speakers can minister in Ireland and to many migrants in the UK without needing to learn an additional language.  Ministering effectively to refugees and other recently arrived migrants might require learning an additional language, which can be done here. 

Partnership with local churches
Missionaries have opportunities to partner with local churches, which provides additional resources for evangelism and discipleship to unreached people groups, as well as the joy of local fellowship. Since the local church is present and vibrant in many areas, a wide variety of models of team and ministry can exist in the UK and Ireland, unlike in places where the missionary team needs to be the primary source of fellowship, partnership, and worship. Involvement in the local church and community supplements the team’s role in providing a feeling of connectedness and the offering of pastoral care and spiritual support. 

Identifying with migrants
For those ministering to migrants in the UK, it is often an advantage to be a foreigner. As a fellow foreigner, missionaries have an understanding of what it feels like to be a migrant and the challenges it presents in the UK. 

Variety of ministry opportunities
It is possible to engage in a range of different ministry opportunities, including street evangelism, preaching, English teaching, discipleship, service projects, hospitality, interfaith dialogue, and much more.  Given the variety of ministry opportunities, the UK and Ireland are also excellent places to come and learn for a season, even if missionaries eventually heading to a different location. 

Reaching two countries in one
Given that many migrants in the UK still have significant links to their country of origin, reaching diaspora people here will often also provide an opportunity to influence people back in their home country, thereby reaching two places at once. 

A great multitude from all “tribes and peoples and languages” will stand before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9) and they will cry out, “’Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10).  Perhaps the Lord is calling you to play a role in gathering the multitude from across the globe to Him in the UK and Ireland. 

 

A British Melting Pot

london .png

By a Pioneers In Europe Field Leader

The phrase ‘melting pot’ has long been used to signify the coming together of diverse cultures. Most often referring to the many strands of immigration which have coalesced to form the American identity, the phrase applies just as well on this side of the Pond.

London. It’s been said that you can find any people group in the world represented in this expansive and diverse city. Zoom in with me, if you will, into West London. In the borough of Ealing you’ll find the town of Acton.

By God’s hand, this was to be the destination for a vision. A denomination of churches in Nigeria had a burden for the UK. They dispatched a family in 2013 with a simple commission: plant a church. Unsure of where to begin, God ordained a simple relationship which would provide a fledgling root in Acton. In time, word of a godly and passionate Nigerian preacher would spread, bringing other Nigerians from clear across London. A simple house meeting eventually moved into a community center. In 2016, a lease agreement with the congregation of an emptying Anglican building would provide a more permanent center for worship.

But this was not just to be a gathering of Nigerians; that was never the heart of the sending denomination in Africa. They recognized God’s heart for all nations, and always desired that God would establish a multiethnic gathering of worshipping Christians.

On his walks in the community, the pastor would soon come across the likes of Jefferson, James, and Julio—Europeans of varying descent who had found their way to London, and fallen upon hard times. Each one was homeless, drunk, and regularly in trouble with the law. But God’s church is a melting pot, with plenty of room to squeeze in these men alongside the vibrant congregation of Nigerians. And not just them, but the friends they regularly bring with them as well.

But God’s vision for a ‘melting pot’ would add in yet another ingredient. Four Iranians would come along too. One man has two wives. Another is eager for baptism.

Perhaps the United States has long been called the melting pot, but I doubt there are few places where one can find Nigerians, Iranians, and a mix of homeless Europeans worshipping together, shoulder to shoulder, united under Christ.

This is God’s vision for His Church, and it’s being lived out in London. Pioneers is eager to continue to partner in what God is doing. Church planting. Unreached people groups. A burden for the local church.

Europe. UK. London. A gateway to realizing the heart of God in Christian mission among the nations. Is He inviting you to jump in?