London, with over 8 million residents is the largest city in the European Union and one of the most influential cities globally in term of politics, finance and culture.
From a missionary perspective, a city like London can be like a giant ball of string that needs patiently untying. In a world that’s rapidly urbanizing, Cru believes God asks for more than one pair of hands to work together in reaching cities.
Bailey Marks, Jr. a Cru staff member from Washington D.C. believes, “Unless we adopt a collaborative attitude, we will never reach the cities of the world.”
Agape (Cru in Europe) recognizes they have a range of ministries often working in the same city, but not always with an integrated strategy for reaching the whole city.
Agape UK responded to this in October by hosting London Lab, an event drawing together Cru staff and partners from 17 key cities around the world including Washington D.C., Rome, Geneva and Singapore.
“We wanted to create a ‘laboratory’ environment where we were testing and trying things together, starting a dynamic learning process that we hope will have an impact on movements in key cities in years to come,” says Lesley Cheesman, National Director of Agape UK.
London currently only has 11 Cru campus staff members focused on giving more than 400,000 students an opportunity to hear the message of Jesus and respond.
Agape’s various ministries enabled participants to talk to non-believers in various London contexts before re-grouping to share lessons learned and consider how to apply them in their own cities.
One strategic lesson from London Lab was that family issues remain one of the best ways Christians can connect with a wide variety of city dwellers.
London Lab concluded with a Family Life event, called “What is Love Actually?” hosted inside the Houses of Parliament, attended by members of London’s diplomatic community.
“The thing I hope people went away with from London Lab is a sense of dissatisfaction. We hope we encourage a desire to try new things in reaching our cities,” says Lesley Cheesman.
Singapore Lab is already in the works for early 2014.