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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Because of LICC | Chloe Lynch: Raising up an Undivided Church

Four ordinary Christians share their transformative experiences with LICC – and how God’s working through them today.

For Chloe Lynch, contact with LICC came when she’d already been committed to whole-life discipleship for some time. Now Lecturer in Practical Theology at the London School of Theology (LST), in 2007 she was just finishing a stint in a top City law firm. She also held a voluntary leadership role at LifeGiving Church, a non-denominational community that met in a hotel in Ealing. They were one of the ten pilot churches in the Imagine Project, LICC’s first field research on what makes a whole life disciplemaking church.

‘The Imagine Project helped us articulate what we were already doing,’ she says. ‘We were founded in 2005 to be church for those who didn’t do church, and we were all about making whole-life disciples. I was in my mid-20s and I was doing one-to-ones with ten people a week, because I saw how transformative it was when someone saw all of your life, not just the spiritual bits. If I sat and listened to them about what discipleship was really like at work, at uni, wherever, we’d see transformation.

‘Neil Hudson, who ran the project, introduced us to This Time Tomorrow, which was really good for helping us see those details, sharing about the challenges and joys of following Jesus during the week. And he helped us articulate the language of “frontlines”, which was something we were already really aware of.

‘For example, one of our leadership team, Noble, was incredibly well connected. He’d lived in west London all his life and worked at Carphone Warehouse, and he just made relationships really easily. His network of friends and family was his frontline. He knew if you could help them have a genuine encounter with Jesus that wasn’t necessarily “religious”, they would want more. And we saw lots of people come to faith because they met God through him in his everyday life.

‘At the same time, there are lots of times when you just don’t know what’s coming of the things you’re doing. We always used to say, “You never know what your impact is going to be” – because churches like us in central London are often about equipping people who leave almost as soon as they arrive! We may not have seen the fruit, but someone 300 miles away might have. I have this daydream that we might one day turn around in the new creation and look at the fruit and see how we’ve been more impactful than we thought.’

Now, in her work at LST, Chloe is passing on the whole-life gene to successive cohorts of students – many of whom are already very much on board.

‘I used to teach about how we need to dismantle the sacred-secular divide. But I actually stopped five years ago because most of my students already knew the theory – which I think is down to LICC doing a good job of getting the whole-life message into churches across the UK!

‘So now my focus is on forming their mindset, often one on one, to help them be the church in the future. I want to see people grow more committed to following Christ than they are to following the paradigms or programmes they’ve been given. In each generation the various theories and approaches we have for how to be church either fall apart or get reinvented. We can’t afford to be married to those paradigms. Our centre and identity has to be in Christ.

‘I aim to send out believers who aren’t afraid of breaking the boxes – maybe doing church in a work context, in a way that’s totally different to how we usually see church. I want to form them around the irreducible minimum of being a disciple, being in fellowship, and being church on the frontline.’

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