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Neil Powell – Live Deeply

I’m Neil Powell, co-director of The London Project, which works with evangelical leaders to unite, strengthen, and multiply the Church in London. I’ll be guest preaching at CSPC Sunday. Here’s how I’m living deeply. 

“Arriving in London four years ago was a profound turning point in my life and ministry. I quickly realized the diversity of this vibrant city -the most diverse that has ever existed in human history- was both a challenge and an opportunity. We all know unity-in-diversity is our future- that’s been revealed in Revelation 7:9. So living in London is, in that sense, a foretaste of Heaven; God’s future is revealed when unity-in-diversity is seen in the Church today. Initially, this diversity seemed daunting. How could I work with other leaders to unify such a varied group of people in their journey toward Christ? Yet, as I immersed myself in the mission, I began to see the beauty and strength diversity brings to the Church. One of my earliest realizations was that unity-in-diversity is not just a lofty ideal, but a tangible reality that requires intentional effort and deep commitment. Fostering this unity meant creating spaces where every voice could be heard and valued- building relationships across cultural lines was essential. We started hosting multicultural gatherings for leaders that celebrated different traditions, languages, and expressions of faith. I made it a priority to listen to and learn from the stories of our diverse congregations. And as I did, it became clear our differences were not obstacles to overcome, but opportunities to reflect the fullness of God’s creation. We started and supported programs that not only met the practical needs of London’s various ethnic communities -language classes, cultural festivals, targeted social services- but also demonstrated the inclusive love of Christ. I saw firsthand how unity-in-diversity could be a powerful witness to a city searching for hope and belonging.

One of the most poignant moments in this journey was a community event we held last month called ‘Together for London.’ 350 people from over 50 different nationalities came together to eat, build friendships, and consider how we might serve the Lord better as the Church in London. We read Acts 2 out loud, each in our own mother tongue. As we lifted our voices in various languages, there was a profound sense of unity. It was a glimpse of Heaven, where every nation and culture worships together in perfect harmony. We then sang ‘Amazing Grace.’ This event wasn’t just a celebration of our diversity, but a powerful reminder of our unity in Christ. It demonstrated that, despite our different backgrounds, we are all part of one body, united in our love for Jesus and our commitment to His mission. This experience left an indelible mark on me, reinforcing the importance of embracing diversity and working together to build a Church that reflects the fullness of God’s kingdom. My four years in London have been a journey of growing realization and deepening joy in unity-in-diversity. Leading this project has shown me that it truly takes the whole Church to grow in love for Jesus and reach a lost city. Embracing diversity is not just a practical necessity, but a divine mandate that reflects God’s heart for His people. As we continue to build a Church that celebrates and unites diverse backgrounds, I’m filled with hope and excitement for what God will do in and through us in this great city. Our mission is far from over, but I’m confident we will see Him do incredible things. Unity-in-diversity is not just a vision for the future, but a reality we can experience today. As we commit to creating spaces where every voice is heard, every culture is celebrated, and every person is valued, we can build a Church that reflects the heart of God and serves as a beacon of hope and love in our city.

I’ve learned so many lessons from the diaspora and migrant Church. One of the most significant is what it means to love a city that is not your home. Their passion for Jesus and commitment to their communities have been a powerful testimony to me- helping me see how embracing diversity can lead to a deeper, more authentic expression of faith. I was deeply moved by the way some congregations provided targeted social services like legal aid and housing support to meet their community’s practical needs. Yes, these initiatives addressed immediate concerns, but they were also a tangible demonstration of Christ’s love and compassion. Seeing their impact has inspired me to think creatively about how we can serve the differing needs of London’s diverse Christian communities. This journey has also deepened my theological understanding of unity-in-diversity. Acts 17:26 reminds us that the movement of people and the diversity we see today are part of God’s sovereign plan; blessings to welcome, not fear. And personally, this journey has transformed my understanding of what it means to be the body of Christ. I’ve come to delight in the fact that God is doing a new thing. He is the One who determines the exact times and places where we shall live, and He is the One who is now moving people around the world in unprecedented numbers. I have therefore come to embrace the rich tapestry of the Church in London, seeing it as a living example of God’s creative genius. Unity-in-diversity has taught me humility, patience, and a deeper reliance on the Holy Spirit. It has shown me that the Church is at its best when we embrace our differences and work together for the common goal of loving God and our neighbors.” 


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