From the 2nd and 7th July the church engaged in an intensive week of mission in Wales and in Brighton. We partnered with other churches across the city, in Wales, and three from the USA, as we sought to show others how the love of Jesus brings life and light to even the hardest of situations.
I had the privilege of leading the Brighton ‘Hope 2014’ end of the mission, which many participated in. We began ‘Hope’ missions in the city in 2008 and having taken a break for a couple of years 2014 marked the start of our fifth ‘Hope’ mission, ‘Hope 2014’.
In an age when austerity is a watch-word in many circles and it is only too easy to find a charity which is struggling, the Church in our city bore witness to the kind of prophetic counter-culture that Jesus calls His disciples to be. As we built up to the launch, people shared testimonies of their missional community’s plans, as well as some of their own personal wrestles with God as they sought to be obedient to Him in participating in Hope 2014.
“It seems all too easy to give of our finances, but what really hurts is to give of our time”
One prophetic word which was brought to the church that resonated, and has remained with many, was, “It seems all too easy to give of our finances, but it really hurts to give of our time”. Many responded to God’s call to participate. and over the four days we saw 215 people give a staggering 1,819 hours of their time to serve people in our city!
The mission had a strong emphasis on both showing and telling people. We ran 16 ‘practical’ teams which worked right across the city in schools, churches, people’s homes and supporting para-church organisations, like Brighton & Hove City Mission’s Basics Bank which serves some of the poorest people in the city. Operating in a more hidden capacity we ran another 6 teams including drivers, childcare, hospitality and prayer.
They brought life, light and hope as they went with their paint brushes, garden forks and even crow-bars!
I would love to tell you what each team did but that would be impossible! What I do know is that each team made a life-transforming impact in the place they served. They brought life, light and hope as they went with their paint brushes, garden forks and even crow-bars!
I know there are many who participated and saw God’s Kingdom coming in and through them, and it has left them hungry for more. Similarly I know of many who really wanted to join in but for various reasons could not do so at that time.
Hope 2014 was always meant to be a catalyst for something greater, not merely four days of intensive mission but to move the church into a lifestyle of mission; and to sustain this, the best vehicles we have are missional communities. So, my closing words are that we have not now reached the end of our mission, merely the beginning. If you enjoyed Hope 2014 and want more, why not check out one of our communities?