Three million people move to cities every week, and by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. Three-quarters of Europeans live in urban contexts – so how can churches and missionaries respond to their needs?
The European Consultation held at Redcliffe College, Gloucester on 4-5 January explored some of the answers. Entitled Trends in Mission Today, the twenty-four hour event looked specifically at the issues of urbanisation, Islamisation and migration with contributions from Burt de Ruiter (Consultant Christian-Muslim Relations, Operation Mobilisation) and Robert Calvert, pastor of an international church in Rotterdam. The event drew together a wide range of church and mission agency leaders involved in mission in Europe.
An important part of the consultation focused on how churches and missionaries are responding to these challenges.
“The city dweller, migrant and Muslim challenge the churches of the UK and Europe as it challenges God’s people of Old and New Testament times, and how we relate to others that are different from us – do we respond with fear, or conviction, humility, openness and generosity?” said Tony Peck, General Secretary of European Baptist Federation
Chris Wigram, International Director of European Christian Mission spoke on behalf of mission agencies: “We need to give missionaries in Europe the freedom to adapt to the context around them. New questions about mission that arise from interacting with these issues should not be rejected. They must be embraced because through them we learn new things about God and our mission practice.”
The European Consultation is organised by Redcliffe College, European Christian Mission and Global Connections, and is held at the beginning of January each year. Details of the next consultation will be available at www.redcliffe.org/events in due course.