Being Intentionally Missional in a Multi-Cultural Setting: a case study

Author: Peter Oyugi, Pastor in Elmfield Church, North London. Background of Elmfield Church


Elmfield church used to be a Brethren church but due to the fact that numbers were beginning to drop they felt the need to employ a Pastor in 2000. Krish Kandiah was appointed and he helped turn around the church and bring in a large number of younger people. He was also able to initiate a 20s and 30s group that provided opportunity for Bible study and social gatherings for that age group. Part of the idea of appointing Krish was the fact that North Harrow is a very multi-cultural area and it was intended that this would help address the local needs of building a multi-cultural church. When Krish moved on in 2005, Elmfield appointed me, Peter Oyugi to take up the position of Pastor. This I believe was a very bold step as it involved bringing in someone from a completely different culture to lead the church. I come from Kenya and spent my previous eleven and a half years doing student work. This was mostly with the Kenyan IFES movement but also with UCCF in the UK for 3 years.
Elmfield today has a regular Sunday attendance of over 100 people and is actively involved in the local community. Notable amongst the ways in which it serves the local community is running an Art Competition in local schools. Each year we go into local schools and tell one of the parables of Jesus and invite the children to draw their impression of the parable. Those who submit entries are then invited to a Prize giving ceremony which this year was held in our church building but has previously been held elsewhere. During this ceremony we have the opportunity to tell the parable to the parents. After the prize giving we again go back into the schools to present certificates to all entrants. This is just one of the many ways we try and engage with the local community in creative ways. Just by doing the assemblies in the schools you begin to appreciate how multi-cultural the area is.

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