Have you ever had one of those moments when someone finally put clearly into words what had been echoing and churning in your heart? You know, when you listen and want to scream “Yes—this is what I’ve been trying to say!”
I had one of these moments when I heard Neil Hudson speak last year at the seminary I was attending. Neil is from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, which was founded by John Stott (that name might ring a bell for some of you) in the early 1980s. I hadn’t heard of Neil or LICC when I went. I went because I resonated with the title of the day-long conference: “No Time for Mission? Cultivating a Missional Imagination for Over-Busy Christians.” But I found there, finally, a clearly and powerfully articulated expression of what has been stirring in my heart for years—the need for, as he calls it, “whole-life discipleship” in the church.
The work of LICC aims to give churches and individual Christians a vision to see beyond what is often portrayed as a sacred-secular divide in the life of the Christian, and instead see how the Gospel impacts all of ordinary life. They care about classically “secular” things like work, culture, and politics, and have a vision for how Christians can be engaged in these very normal parts of life. They see the purpose of the gathered life of the church (Sunday morning worship, for example) to be discipling people, so that they are equipped when they scatter into their workplaces and communities. This scattered church takes individual disciples to their own “frontlines,” where God has already positioned them to be used. The folks at LICC are passionate about sharing a vision for how ordinary life, our Monday to Friday, nine to five jobs can be an opportunity for mission. This means they have many resources related to work and exploring how to be fruitful on your “frontline”, whatever that may be.
I cannot say enough about the work being done by LICC and organizations like them. Check out their website, particularly their blog, which has regular articles that are both Gospel-filled and focused on the real needs of the world around us. You can also find some great videos on their Youtube channel. If you’re interested in any of their print resources, such as Neil Hudson’s book Imagine Church: Releasing Whole-Life Disciples, check out the Vere Institute, who serves as their arm “this side of the pond.”
And if you’re left intrigued or wondering what this vision for work is or what I mean by a “frontline,” stay tuned, because I’ll be blogging about this over the next several weeks.