From the very beginning of this church, we have been sharing and following a vision that we believe God gave us and at many stages, we had to grow into it over time. Church, like many things doesn't happen over night. A plant needs repotting at different stages to give it the best chance to grow and blossom. It's no different for us. I remember there being only Sarah and myself sitting in our lounge crying out to God for the first people to join us...and they did! We then met in a small living room and we thought 'will we grow?'...and we did! Then a little room in town where we only had 12 at our first public meeting and we thought 'will we grow?'...and we did! Then the civic hall, which seemed huge but God grew us to the point where we could launch the church meetings. George Street seemed too big and yet look where we are now! God has proved himself time and time again and this is where we need to put our focus as we trust him and his plan for us.
God has spoken to us many times about growing and His desire to see more people saved and added to His church. Rob Horn from Kendal/Lancaster (who is part of the Christ Central apostolic team) shared a prophetic word about God wanting us to be a church that stepped across stepping stones. Some of these stones would be bigger in places but God wanted us to remain together and keep Christ central in all that we do. This has been such an encouragement because following this word two years ago, that's exactly what we've been doing. Stepping out to know Christ more through the Holy Spirit, stepping out to love with the love God has given us, stepping out to reach the community around us through partnerships with the local council and charity groups who care for disadvantaged young people. As well as our Christmas hamper appeal where gave out hampers for 120 people, through schools and youth projects in the area. And stepping out looking for bigger premises for our Sunday meetings.
The past 12 months have been exciting as we have seen more people join us to be part of Grace Church. We are amazed at how God build's his church with people from all backgrounds, places and ethnicity. As well as seeing the church grow, we have been active at seeking a new venue for our Sunday meeting. However, this has proved a lot more difficult than we thought. We have tried contacting local community venues, schools and even churches. Unfortunately, we had no success. We then contacted St Benedict's school to find a really warm reception and a facility that will accommodate everything we need to run a Sunday meeting. The self-contained block is fantastic, offering a 300 seated room, storage and excellent space for hospitality and kids work. The price is also extremely reasonable.
We shared this news last week in our Sunday meeting and we feel as leaders that it is the next step we need to take. It will mean having to put that prophetic word into action, to seek Christ and unity. We are proposing a month of prayer with planned prayer meetings in the diary, but would also encourage you to pray yourselves and catch God's heart for this next step. We are committed to maintaining the priorities of Sundays as we press more into the presence of God, his word and building community together. We recognise that change is not always easy but our encouragement is to take prayer seriously throughout the next month and please speak to us about any concerns and positives. Maybe God has been speaking to you about what we are proposing and it would be great to hear about that.
Based upon excellent feedback so far and what we felt would be questions asked, we respond as follows:
1. George Street
We will continue to run George Street for a number of things. 1. Church activities like little monkeys, groups and prayer. 2. Hire of the venue to community groups.
2. Will it put a stretch on serving teams?
Our Sunday serving teams do a fantastic job each week and without you all serving, Sunday just wouldn't happen. Our initial thoughts are that teams will continue to function as they are in George Street, apart from the PA team who will need one extra to help set up and down. We are also considering the welcome team putting signs up and helping hospitality team if needed. We still have people serving in more than one team, so our encouragement to everyone who is not serving in a team is to speak with Paul & Deborah Slater (who lead our Sunday meeting department) or one of the team leaders:
- 1. PA - Chris Moss
- 2. Projector - Jenny Moss
- 3. Welcome - Jon Lumby
- 4. Hospitality - Andrew & Michelle Cowley
- Cakes, milk etc - Paul & Deborah Slater.
3. What about letting other church leaders in the town know?
Allen will contact the leaders of the churches
4. Will it put people off from coming because it's in a school and not a 'church buidling'?
This is a great question and I hope the answer is no! I know of many churches who have met in schools and grown rapidly. The key for us is to continue what we are doing with reaching neighbours, friends and family and through our relationships, we give them the impression that we are sincere and genuine and that 'Church' is not a building but a community of people, loving God and loving others.
We plan to start meeting at the school from 9th July. We will continue to share this with you all on Sundays and keep you updated on whats happening. In the meantime, the team leaders will approach you shortly to chat through your teams jobs etc. Please pray into this and also get in touch with us as a leadership team to share your thoughts. So often positive news is not shared because we think everyone has said it. This is generally not true :-)
See some photos of the rooms being provided.