1) What is urban missions and would you consider yourself to be an urban missionary?

I found this long, but good quote from John Piper on what urban missions is:
 

"The effort in the name of Christ, by the strength of Christ, for the glory of Christ, to waken in people of all ethnic groups, transforming faith in Christ and the fruit of obedience to Christ, by proclaiming Christ in the gospel and by showing Christ in acts of practical, persevering, sacrificial, courageous, liberating, stabilizing, burden-lifting, productivity-enhancing, family-strengthening, community-building, Christ-celebrating love, in the face of the peculiar concentration of pain and poverty and sin and brokenness and dysfunction, that all come together in the urban centres of the world."


In essence it is the same as any other "mission": to bring, share and show the love and good news of Jesus Christ - except, with urban missions, it is focused on cities / urban areas where there is a high population of people, often from multiple ethnic groups, cultures and world views. Cities play an increasingly important role in reaching our "world". According to the 2005 Revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects report, the global proportion of urban population rose dramatically from 13% in 1900, to 29% in 1950, to 49% in 2005 and is expected to increase by 72% by 2050.
 
I am not sure if I would consider myself an urban missionary, although I am based in a first world, developed country; the town I live in only has 8000 people. (Although, with Creation Fest, we have the privilege to work in villages and cities, throughout the county, country and beyond!)

2) In what way do you get to share your faith and disciple others, and how different is this compared to missionaries who go to far-off countries which aren't as urbanized/developed?
As part of Creation Fest, and being in a developed country, I am able to share my faith in many different ways - from one on one interactions and friendships to large scale events with hundreds or thousands of people.  Social media and technology plays a significant role and enables mass communications and reach.  People often vary in background and nationality, are more skeptical and because they have materially everything they need, do not realise their need for a Saviour!    

I have only done short term mission trips to rural places like Romania and Malawi, and in my experiences, the way we interacted with the people was different (often a language barrier and working through a translator), it was more mono-ethnic, the groups of people were smaller and we had less access to resources - but I found the people were very open to the gospel.
Both are important (not either/or!) and each has its own sets of challenges and rewards.

3) Are there instances in the bible where we see urban missions?
Oh, yes!  There are many, many examples in the Bible of "urban missions". 

Jesus' words in Acts 1 was: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Jerusalem is mentioned first - it was a main and important city in that time.
All through Acts we read of Paul's missionary journeys.  His journeys and letters seemed to be based around critically important and strategic cities - Ephesus, Corinth, Athens, Philippi - just to name a few!
In the Old Testament, just two examples are Nehemiah and Jonah - God sent Nehemiah from where he was in exile back to Jerusalem (city!) to help rebuild the walls, and Jonah was sent to the city of Nineveh. 

Edme Brink
4) What are the challenges you have faced since relocating to the UK (both spiritually and practically)?

Challenges have varied over time and I've learned so much from these!  Just some of the challenges I have faced since relocating were:

  • Stepping out of my comfort zone and being more bold!
  • Always being ready to give an answer to those who ask, such as sharing with those who do not even believe in the existence of God or those who materially have everything they need
  • Opposition to the use of certain terminology, for example sin and punishment
  • Cultural differences (yes, there are BIG cultural differences, even though we speak the same languages)
  • The refugee crises - it's right on the doorstep of England!
  • Trusting the Lord with literally EVERYTHING - the big and exciting, as well as the small and mundane
  • Finding and connecting with a local Bible-teaching church, making friends, missing family and friends (and the significant moments in their lives) 
5) Does God use ordinary people in 'ordinary' ways to reach out to people? i.e. Is this something that all of us should be doing in one capacity or another?

YES! and YES!
As a child of God, we ALL should be missionaries!  Whether it is in our workplace, to our families, in our neighbourhood, in our school, or somewhere halfway around the world, we are all called to show God's love and share the Good News of Jesus!  It is not just another "task" for us to do; it is in our attitudes, our words, our deeds - it is our way of life!    

6) Are there any books that challenged you on the concept of missions?

I love to read the biographies of missionaries - from "older" missionaries, such as Amy Carmichael, George Muller and Jim Elliot, to current missionaries on the field like Jackie Pullinger. From each of them there is so much we can learn and be challenged by. One of my favourite missionaries is Helen Roserveare, a missionary medical doctor in the Congo from 1953 - 1973.  I enjoy all her books and honest writing, but Living Sacrifice is the one book that really stood out for me and challenged me personally!

7) What would you like us to pray for you about?
  • An outpouring of His Spirit on this land, its people and our ministry
  • God's wisdom & leading, fresh spiritual understanding and anointing for:
    •    Teaching Sunday School
    •    Leading a Friday night Kids Club
    •    Upcoming Creation Fest events *
  • Wisdom in my time and continued boldness
  • To have my eyes fixed on Jesus and to be eternally minded!
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*9 April: Creation Fest at Eden; 16 April: Kids Ministry at CC Teach the Word Conference; 18-21 April: meetings in Scotland; 2 May: Creation Fest stage at Catalyst event.
For other / more info: www.creationfest.org.uk/events