Guy Troop, elder at New Life Church Catford, was part of the last UMP Lite cohort. We wanted to hear his experience of the course.
Can you just explain to us what UMP Lite is and how it works?
I really enjoyed doing UMP Lite. The format is great for people with busy lives who live in the urban context and are passionate about making disciples of Jesus Christ through their local church. Once a month you receive a YouTube teaching video which you can watch in your own time, whenever you like. Then you attend an hour Zoom meeting in the evening to discuss what you have learnt with the other course participants. In addition, you receive a workbook which gives you notes on the teaching and asks you related questions – which is great for processing what you are learning.
And what was the content like?
The topics are spot on for people involved with urban ministry. First up you learn about multi-ethnic & multi-class church. This is a vital topic for urban churches which are situated in increasingly diverse settings. Then you learn about how the gospel spreads across cultures. Next you consider ethnocentrism & how different cultures think. The fourth session is on self-theologizing or learning to think biblically about different issues. This leads on nicely to the fifth session which is on contextualizing the church, or in other words, being a church that prophetically speaks and acts in the local context. The penultimate session is on preaching to multiple cultures, a huge challenge for any preacher and brilliant to be able to think about together. Finally, you learn about urban discipleship, or how to make disciples in the urban context.
All of those sessions were really useful. The session on contextualization was particularly helpful for analysing the area where I live and thinking about what our church can affirm and what we need to be on our guard against. It’s also just great meeting and interacting with other people who are also passionate about urban ministry.
Who would you recommend UMP Lite to?
This course provides you with ‘seminary level’ training but in a bitesize, affordable format. In other words, you don’t have to give up your normal life – you can access quality theological training on urban ministry online, from your home. In increasingly diverse urban contexts UMP Lite is invaluable in enabling Christians, who are serious about making disciples of Jesus Christ, to think through how this can happen in a way that honours our glorious God. I’d also say that if cost is an issue for you, why not speak to your church and ask them to support you – they will be glad they made the investment in the long run.