We are delighted to introduce our newest team member, Madison.
Madison will be overseeing the work of Illuminate Soho, our chaplaincy work in strip clubs in central London. We asked her some questions to help us get to know her better…
Hi Madison, welcome to Third Space Ministries. We are very happy to have you working with us. Please could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi everyone! I’m originally from the US, but have been living here in the UK as a missionary for almost 8 years. I love working with people and have a special love for discipleship – walking alongside others in the good and the bad of life. I also love being active and exploring, whether that’s hiking or running or just biking around London to find a spot that I haven’t seen before.
I love traveling to new places to really taste the culture – to know not only the tourist places to be but to see how the people relate with each other, how they live and work.
And of course, as I prepare to get my British citizenship this year, I am always super content to sit on the couch with a cosy blanket, a good movie, and a proper cuppa.
What aspects of your personal journey do you feel have prepared you for this role?
There are many aspects of my personal life that I feel have prepared me for this role. In terms of training and equipping, I have been a missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Urban Key for almost 8 years. In 2014 with YWAM, I completed a Discipleship Training School which aims to equip people to know more about who God is, His word, how He moves and who we are in Him. It also provides opportunities and a process for healing, freedom, and intimacy with God.
In 2016, I pioneered a ministry in Northwest London as a branch of YWAM where we worked with women battling homelessness, addiction, and prostitution. In 2017, I completed YWAM’s Foundations for Counselling Ministries course to go a bit deeper in my personal process with God and to learn how to walk with and counsel others. In 2019, I completed and received a Certificate in Integrative Counselling to learn counselling skills in specific situations and how to walk with people who are requiring specific counselling methods. At the moment, I mentor, disciple, and counsel people from many different ages and walks of life.
Beyond training, I believe that it’s always been God’s plan for my life to work with people facing challenging times. He has walked with me through so many difficult situations of injustice, abuse, addiction and shame. I feel that the victory that has come on the other side of these things has given me a special love for those still stuck there. Experiencing these things either first hand or within my family, has given me a capacity to understand others struggling in these areas. I feel that experiencing some of these things has given me a passion to fight for those trapped behind tall walls, those covered in thorns so they can’t be hurt again and to fight for them to meet, know, and be reconciled to a God who can meet them right where they are.
What is your definition of chaplaincy? Why do you think it is a useful tool in the nightlife industry?
I believe the role of a chaplain is an integral one – one that requires risk and extra measures of compassion. Our society is so accustomed to compartmentalizing – keeping the sacred in specific brick-walled boxes and making sure the “secular” stays away from that box. We may feel uncomfortable when the secular and sacred overlap. This is one reason why it is so key to have chaplains, or followers and reflectors of Jesus, in unexpected places. What a privilege it is to facilitate an encounter for people with God in the places they least expect it!
What is your experience of being unconditionally loved and how does that influence how you love others and train others to show love?
Unconditional love is such a vast topic, one that is quite difficult to wrap our minds around. I struggled for a majority of my life with what it means to love and be loved – how to receive love when all of my walls were sky high from hurt; how to trust and allow people to see and know me for who I really am; how to love in healthy ways that keep Jesus at the centre. In the last few years, the Lord has done an extensive, difficult, and yet beautiful process of healing in my life and He often used people to reflect Himself. I knew well how to be “good” and how to have my life under control. It wasn’t until all of my darkness was exposed that I had to come face to face with what was really inside me. In that place, where I least deserved love, where I least deserved forgiveness or acceptance, I was loved. I was welcomed and treated with gentleness. I was embraced and comforted. This is unconditional love – a love that remains no matter the state of the other and this is a love I have first hand experienced from the Father.
Because of this experience in my life, I realised that I have no right to judge or condemn others for what they do or don’t do. My only option, as a follower of Jesus who has received so much grace from Him, is to walk as best I can in that same grace for others. To love from the source of the One who loves me is to love in truth and integrity, but with gentleness and compassion. It means to listen without preconceived ideas; to respect and honour not because of the others’ actions, but because of their identity in Christ; to speak with wisdom and kindness even when it’s challenging. And the only way to do that is to be in communion with Him every step of the way.
This is pioneering work which means you will often be working without a road map. What are some of the things you have learned that will help as you navigate uncharted territory?
Pioneering is hard work! It requires vision and commitment, determination and perseverance. One thing that I believe will help me as I navigate uncharted territory is “spiritual” bike riding where the push of one pedal is to listen and the push of the other is to obey. That is how we can keep moving forward in the right direction – listen and obey, listen and obey. This requires keeping the top priority as the top priority- which is the voice of God. I’m aware that I can’t do this on my own, that I need His vision and direction and He must be the sustainer of everything we do. Another tool to navigate this journey is to ask for help – from those who have been in my position before, to those who have watched from a distance, to those who have been involved in any capacity. Though I am the facilitator of Illuminate Soho, I recognize that pioneering is not something to be done independently and that I will need lots of help in different ways.
What is the impact you want to see in the nightlife industry over the next 10 years?
I hope that through praying and bringing the Holy Spirit into the clubs, that they can become a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit- a place of peace and breakthrough, a place of encounter and even miracles. I hope to see many girls meet the Father and begin a beautiful journey with Him that completely transforms them from the inside out. I also hope to see chaplaincy in nightlife areas become much more normalized and for people in those industries to become much more familiar with Christians in unexpected settings just there to love them.
How can we be praying for you as you begin this new role?
Please be praying for God’s wisdom and timing. I am beginning to organise the outreach and prayer teams, while also preparing to go back into the clubs for my first time, but also Illuminate’s first time since the pandemic. Please pray for God to guide our steps to know when to walk and when to wait. Please pray for the right people at the right time to join the team that bring something fresh and anointed to the women God has planned for us to meet.
We hope you enjoyed hearing a little from our new staff member and hope you will pray for her with us as she settles in and for all that God will do through her at Third Space Ministries.