The Global Cities initiative is a pilot partnership between local churches and the International Mission Board (IMB) to mobilize Christians to use their marketable skills to join church planting teams in five major world cities. The goal is to integrate students, professionals, and retirees into the work of making disciples and multiplying churches among unreached people groups in these cities. Specifically, we are the point-church for this work in the city of London.
The current scope of the Global Cities Initiative is to open up multiple pathways for students to study abroad, professionals to take jobs, and retirees to use some of their retirement to intentionally advance the gospel where it is not known.
More than 50% of the world’s populations live in cities. GCI is currently focused on five global cities – Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, London, Mumbai, and Shanghai – all of which are dynamic marketplaces open to Westerners and where English is used as a trade language.
Opportunities abound for the gospel to travel from the cities back to the peoples and places where the gospel was previously unknown just as the gospel spread from urban centers across the Roman Empire in the first century.
Why focus on London as a global city? We look primarily at five criteria when determining such global cities — and London meets all five:
1. Western-friendly: Even with more than 300 different spoken languages, most London residents speak English.
2. Expat jobs: London’s “Square Mile” is home to more than 80 million square feet of office floor space and 5 million square feet of retail space. It boasts 17,000 businesses (more than 98 percent are small- and medium-sized enterprises).
3. Gospel-believing churches: There is a missional church-planting movement that has begun to take shape across the city that desperately needs gospel-centered participants. These churches and missional communities can simultaneously serve as a community for expats to fit into and also offer them opportunities to serve in active ministry.
4. Unreached people and places: While nearly half of Londoners claim Christianity, a vast majority of them do not attend church or pray.
5. Regional hub: In 2014, 73.4 million passengers passed through Heathrow Airport, with traffic of more than 200,000 people each day. About 93 percent were international travelers.
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