Editor’s Note: In September, the International Mission Board hosted Baptist state paper editors in London to introduce its new media network and to explore its Global Cities Initiative, a part of IMB President David Platt’s desire to introduce a “limitless” missionary force of Southern Baptists.
By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
“The people here love my Southern accent,” said McCoy, who hails from Knoxville. “I have an instant segue into having conversations with people,” she noted.
In August McCoy began a job in London and became the first business professional to participate in the Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s Global Cities Initiative as a “mobilized Christian.”
The GCI is an emphasis on reaching the world’s major global urban centers where more than half of the world’s population lives. The IMB has selected five cities: London, Dubai, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, and a major city in South Asia.
The IMB’s new strategy is to engage Southern Baptists from all backgrounds (students, retirees, business professionals, etc.) in missions efforts overseas.
Business professionals, such as McCoy, are encouraged to find a job in one of the five global cities. McCoy, who is a nuclear medicine radiographer, became employed in London. The employer worked out all the details including her visa. What’s more, she is self-supported by her job.
McCoy observed that the GCI “makes the most sense” for business professionals who feel called missionally. “Why not leverage your education and the experience God has allowed you to obtain for the sake of the gospel?” she asked. “It’s a fabulous idea.”
McCoy, who was an active member at Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, noted that she originally wanted to serve in Brazil and thought that was where she was going before God closed that door. After that opportunity fell through, McCoy lost her job.
She credits God for introducing her to GCI and to London. “As much as I had a heart for Brazil, God completely opened the door for me to come here,” she said.
McCoy is still settling into a new job and a new culture. She feels blessed to have a team of missionaries in London to work with. “I have leaned on them for advice on different matters,” she affirmed, adding that it is helpful to have “seasoned people who have been here” to lean on.
She said team members and the training she received for GCI helped prepare her for a different culture than what she was used to in East Tennessee. “I’ve struggled in some ways, but I just ‘pulled up my bootstraps’ and pressed on,” she said.
McCoy says she would not consider herself a missionary. “I’m just a regular person in the workplace called to do what Jesus has called us all to do — to go and make disciples.
She is finding out firsthand that London truly is “the Capital of the World” as the city likes to describe itself. On a recent walk in her community she heard eight different languages spoken.
McCoy does not hesitate to share her faith with whomever she comes into contact with. “I don’t hide what I do. They (coworkers) know I came to work with missionaries in the city.”
A “people person,” McCoy already has made friends with Muslims and people from all different walks of life. “It’s been so fascinating,” she shared.
The Tennessean is honored to be the first GCI professional in London. “I hope I can be a positive example of how this can be effective on the missions field,” she said.