This week we have an interview with Joy Da Costa, who has spent the last four years working for the Church Sphere in London.
Where do you work and what do you do?
I currently ‘wear several hats’, including helping to coordinate Pentecost Festival 2013 – a celebration of the birthday of the Worldwide Church. In 2012 I worked with More Than Gold in helping to deliver the Church’s response to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. My particular roles were concerned with delivering creative arts outreach, community festivals and prayer resources. I also work one day a week for London City Mission in their Covent Garden cafe.
What does that mean in layman’s terms?
I think those were layman’s terms but to expand a little, I’ve spent a lot of the last few years working alongside churches to facilitate mission by offering training and resources, helping them with all the practical and legal concerns they might have, and encouraging them to think differently about how they can share Jesus with their communities.
How do you currently see God at work in the Church Sphere?
In the four years I have worked with Pentecost Festival, which until 2013 has been a London based event, I have been most encouraged by the work God has done in uniting His Church in mission. We’ve seen large and small churches come together, pooling resources to do as much as they can in their communities. This is not new, it’s something God’s been doing for a long time, but I think we saw further increase in this as part of the 2012 Games, and it’s slowly becoming ‘normal’ for local churches to work together in local mission.
Churches are becoming increasingly aware of the need to be creative in the ways they seek to attract their friends and neighbours into Christian community. I recently sat with some colleagues from different places in the country and all of them talked of the lack of community spirit where they live, and how much they wish there was a way to rebuild this. Churches have seen this need and are trying to respond. We are also learning how to meet our communities at their points of need through initiatives like Street Pastors and Foodbanks, as well as looking for ways to engage with others through everyday activity like arts and sports.
In 2012 the church in London grew. God is drawing people to himself in London, which is the most exciting thing!
What’s your prayer for the Church Sphere you work in?
My prayer for the church in London is that we would make the same impact in our city as Jesus made in His! In Luke 4 Jesus arrives at his home town, Capernaum, teaches with authority, casts out demons and heals many all in one day. He transforms the lives of the people there.
I think two things need to happen to realise this kind of transformation. We need to be filled with more of the Holy Spirit and enabled to reach the people of London in languages they understand, just like the apostles and churches throughout Acts. I think this will come through a greater commitment from the church to prayer and worship and to holiness in our lives.
The second is that we need to go. We need to be bold in declaring the Word of God in London, passionate about seeing London changed, and creative in the way we choose to engage. We need to believe in the power of Jesus to change our city and do everything we can to serve this. We need to fulfil the Great Commission in London.
So my prayer is that we would become a church more committed to holiness, more in love with Jesus and more willing to step out for Him to see change in our city.
What would it look like if God’s Kingdom reigned in full in your sphere?
In a word, revival! If God’s kingdom reigned in the church – the church would transform society in every part. We would see salvation, healing and miracles. We would see people standing up for justice and integrity, all the changes we long to see in our city, pioneered by God’s people. We would see Satan’s hold on Londoners broken as we prayed and we would see people meeting Jesus everywhere all the time. We would hear and see people talking about Jesus everywhere we went.
Mark Williamson also blogs regularly at One Rock International, a training organisation resourcing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.