Agents of change
Agents of change
As a young man, who had recently had my life turned upside down by an experience of God’s love, several things happened in quick succession…
As a young man, who had recently had my life turned upside down by an experience of God’s love, several things happened in quick succession that had a profound impact on my life.
The first was a desire to start a new church in the centre of my home town. I was gripped by the new joy and excitement that I had found in my relationship with God and the apparent hopelessness of so many of those that I talked to in the community. I wanted to share what I had found and be part of a community that felt the same.
The second was a string of opportunities that arose to work with those most in need in our community: the homeless, those struggling with life-controlling habits and those on the edge of society.
The third came as I read a book by the famous preacher and author, John Stott. In it, he argued that the Christian faith was relevant to every aspect of modern life and that Christians should be involved in contributing to every sector of society in a way that led to its flourishing as a result.
While it quickly became clear how to respond to the first two impulses, it would be some years before I was able to see how to respond to the third and then integrate them together.
In the meantime, I spent a considerable amount of time starting churches and training others to do the same. After starting a church in my hometown, I became part of a small team that started and established almost 50 churches across the Midlands in a five-year period. During this time my family and I moved to Birmingham to start a new church and I would travel many miles supporting other churches and church plants across the Midlands.
Alongside this church planting, we sought to serve those in need by providing them with places to sleep, a 24/7 community in which they could work and find healing, freedom and practical support along the way.
After many years of doing these things it became evident that we should move to start a new church in the centre of London. This led to an exciting time where many people came to faith and the church, ChristChurch London, started to grow.
It was in the early years of starting the church that John Stott’s writing started to resurface in my consciousness: I was pastoring people from many different industries with great scope for affecting the world around us in positive ways. I wanted them to start to see these opportunities as part of their Christian mission.
As a result, we now spend a considerable amount of time and energy on helping people think through how they can contribute in positive ways to the world around us whether it is in their industry, their community or through the network of relationships that they are part of.
Consequently, our mission has become to work for the cultural, social and spiritual renewal of our communities. We think that each of these factors are essential for bringing about change and that we have to learn to become effective at each if we are to be the agents of change that we should be.
I am so looking forward to the National Leadership Conference, where we’ll explore in greater depth how we can bring transformation to the communities that we are part of.
David Stroud is the senior leader of ChristChurch London, a church that meets on four sites each Sunday, with a fifth starting later this year. He is speaking at our upcoming National Leadership Conference, 27 February — 1 March 2018.