A community of young adults exploring spirituality, justice and leadership in central London. You could describe us as a young adult London midweek church.
The heart of everything we do at Sanctuary is about following Jesus. We believe that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah, the saviour of the world, that he is God in human form, and that he is the wisest person who has ever lived.
Following Jesus leads us to experiencing life in all its fullness, and to turning the world upside down. And the way we follow is to live out lives committed to spirituality, justice and leadership.
Spirituality, based on Jesus
Spirituality is all about how we relate to God. As a result it touches on issues of purpose, meaning, relationships, beauty, truth, arts, culture - all the things that touch our own spirits (as compared with our bodies and minds) and separate human beings from other animals. But most of all, spirituality is concerned with how our spirits relate to God.
We believe that Jesus is the greatest expert on spirituality who has ever lived. The best way to live a spiritual life is therefore to follow his teaching. And anyone who is serious about living a spiritual life will find themselves encountering his teachings, such as:
Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Justice, based on Jesus
Justice is about ensuring all human beings are treated with fairness, with equality of opportunities, with dignity and respect. Such a world would be filled with harmony, with peace, and with love.
We believe that Jesus is the greatest expert on how to achieve justice. His teaching on loving our enemies and looking after the marginalised has been a fundamental bedrock of Western civilization.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:44-48)
Leadership, based on Jesus
Leadership has many definitions; one practical description of it is the ability to bring a group of people together and influence them towards achieving a common vision or goal.
We believe that Jesus is the greatest expert on leadership who has ever lived. He was clearly outstanding in core leadership competencies such as communicating powerfully, building teams of people, and coaching individuals so they grow. He also revolutionized the concept of leadership, teaching it should be based on service and humility rather than opportunities to oppress others.
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:41-45)
Rhythm of Life
To help us live out lives of spirituality, justice and leadership, we've created a Rhythm of Life we encourage all Sanctuary members to live by. It features three practices we commit to doing daily, three we do weekly, three we do monthly, and three each year.
Three Daily Practices
Prayer: Every day we want to connect with God through prayer. This is a basic spirituality practice that Jesus teaches and expects us to do. We have a whole booklet on How To Pray that answers questions on how and why we pray, based on the prayer Jesus taught his disciples (the church calls it the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father).
Bible Reading: The Bible is our place of authority for who God is, for what Jesus taught, and for how we should live. Jesus taught that its teaching is infallible, and that we should live our lives according to its words. Everything we do at Sanctuary is based on what we read in the Bible. Reading it every day is one of the best ways to get to know God better and allow Him to guide our lives.
Gratitude & Worship: Gratitude is one of our most powerful tools in life. Rather than worrying about the things we don’t have, when we focus on the good things we do have we’re doing a great thing for our mental health. And that gratitude should lead us to thanking and worshipping God for the blessings He brings us – worship too is one of the best things we can do for our mental health.
Three Weekly Practices
Acts of Kindness: Each week can you do at least one of act kindness for a stranger, or someone who you don’t know well? Simple ones could be buying the Big Issue, or offering to buy a hot drink or some lunch for a homeless person you pass on the streets. Little things can make a big difference.
Encourage someone at Sanctuary: Encouraging other people costs us nothing, and yet it’s one of the most powerful things we can do. So we ask members to call or text at least one fellow Sanctuary member each week and say something encouraging to them.
Invite someone to Sanctuary: We want to share the message of Jesus far and wide. So talk about Jesus with your friends, family members and work colleagues. And invite those of them who are London-based and young adults to join us, either on our Thursday nights, at our justice team meetings or our social events.
Three Monthly Practices
Social Event: Once a month we get together somewhere in London to do something fun. Often it might also be something cultural, and a great event to invite your friends so they can meet us. In the past we’ve done tourist walks, picnics in the parks, gigs, theatre events and even trampolining!
Justice Group Activity: Our Justice Teams meet usually every month, or every other month. And there’s always research or work to do between meetings – so every month you’ll be able to do something justice related. And every two weeks you can volunteer at the Friday night homeless meal.
Coaching Conversation: Regular conversations with other people are one of the best ways to grow spiritually, to talk through parts of the Bible that don’t make sense, to explore what God is calling you to do with your life, and to develop your leadership skills. So we offer monthly coaching, based on curriculum modules to give a focus to the conversations.
Three Annual Practices
Weekend Away: Once a year we go away for a weekend together. Free from the distractions of daily life we can get to know each other better, spend quality time worshipping God, and hear direction from Him for the next steps we need to take.
One Day Event: Once a year we also join together for a mission activity. That could be all volunteering or campaigning for a justice cause, or finding some creative ways to witness together about the difference following Jesus makes in our lives.
Weekend Worship: Once a year we pick one weekend and each follow the same set of meditation exercises, prayer guides and worship resources. It’s a retreat that you get to do on your own, in your own home, but where you’re also joining with the whole community in doing the same things.