Paul Wooley, CEO of London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, shares three ways LICC is equipping Christians to live out faith beyond a Sunday morning.
What excites you most about your work with LICC?
I think undoubtedly, it’s the mission of LICC, which is all about whole life discipleship. One of my favourite quotes is from Irenaeus who talks about the glory of God being found in a human being fully alive. It’s in being fully alive that God’s glory is seen, because we are then as God has created us to be.
It’s about living our lives as Jesus would live them if he were us. It changes everything. It changes me as a human being, but also it should change the lives of those around me as a result of that, and ultimately it should change the world. That’s what excites me and inspires me; that’s a cause worth getting up for.
That whole life discipleship idea – what’s the connection between that and evangelism?
If we’re serious about being whole life disciples and seeking intentionally to live our lives as Jesus would live them, then inevitably, necessarily, that involves us speaking as well as embodying the good news of Jesus Christ. If we’re serious about loving God and our neighbours as ourselves, then it makes sense that in the conversations we have with our neighbours, we’re talking about things that matter, and the thing that really matters is the good news of Jesus Christ.
The thing is, if either of those things is neglected, then we’re living at the very best an imbalanced life. So, both of those things are critical; evangelism is absolutely essential.
How do you equip Christians to live like that?
A friend of mine used to talk about the acronym VIM – vision, intention, means:
Vision for whole life discipleship: that God is concerned with the totality of our lives, our everyday. In practice, that means that God is interested in me living my calling out as a parent struggling at the moment to manage home learning. Or as a young person seeking work during a global pandemic. Or as a retired person volunteering with an organisation. All of us! As we grapple with the big issues of our time, whether that’s crisis of human identity or the fragmentation of society. So, vision for everything.
Intention is important, because if you don’t have intention you don’t do anything with that vision. That’s often where the gathered church can come in as we seek to support one another to live this life and live it to the full.
Means: when there’s vision and intention without means, it’s difficult. So what we’re about at LICC is providing people with some of the tools to practically live out this vision of whole life discipleship. That means we’re developing tools for people on their front line. Say you’re a student, or someone starting out work, we’re committed to providing resources to help people prepare for their life of work. Or we run something called executive toolbox to think, ‘What does it mean for me in this business context to relate my faith to the whole of life?’
So: vision, intention, means. Those are where we want to support and get alongside people.
What kind of resource or tool would you highlight?
Right now in the pandemic, we’ve been looking at ways to respond that that are effective, but also appropriate and sensitive – one is COVID Prayer Journey, praying through the situation that we’re in. These prayer journeys are about how we pray strategically into the situations that we’re in. We’re also contributing to Thy Kingdom Come, in sung worship – sometimes that can contribute to the feeling that what we do on Monday isn’t as important as what we do on Sunday, so we ask, how might we bring something to the experience of sung worship that makes a connection between our encounter with God on Sunday that extends into the week and impacts the totality of what we do.
Here are some top things we’d love to share at the moment:
Prayer Journeys – designed to spark your imagination and encourage you to pray; available through email or YouVersion.
The Gateway Seven – a study series on seven books of the Bible, covering seven genres, with a whole-life discipleship focus. Revelation: Faithfulness in Testing Times will be published soon.
Events & Training – includes events on a range of topical issues and courses aimed at equipping particular groups – recent graduates, church leaders, senior workplace leaders…
There are also details of all our resources here.
Give to LICC here.
See more of their work here.