“If the church is looking for people who are beyond the fringe, it will find many of them is the same workplaces as their members.”
A few days ago, just over 30 leaders with responsibility for church planting in their network, organisation or denomination, met for a Zoom based conference to share their plans and current experiences around church planting. The network is called the National Church Planting Consultation and two of the hosts are Bishop Ric Thorpe (the Bishop of Islington) and Martin Robinson from ForMission College.
During the event the concept of Exponential city-wide consultations was shared. Exponential began as a church planters resource event in Florida. Interestingly it was begun by our sister FCC congregations in the USA although since then it has widened to include churches of every denomination and affiliation.
Ric and Martin first met at one of these events and began to talk about an Exponential event for Europe. After much discussion, a conference was arranged to be held in Berlin in October 2020 with an expected attendance of some 2,000. And then came Covid!
So now, instead of Berlin 2020 there is a plan to have city-wide consultations in at least 100 cities across Europe. Maybe you would like to organise a consultation of around 20-30 people in your city and share in this Europe-wide event. If so, please be in touch and we can offer information on how to be part of this remarkable resource base. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
As we begin to open church buildings once more, it is becoming likely that we will need to pay attention once more to issues around safeguarding. I am aware that many churches drew up policies a few years ago but of course legislation is always developing, and it is important to review what we have in place to see if it is still fit for purpose.
We are hoping to send out some resources in the next few weeks that will suggest some guidelines. In the meantime, you might want to look at the following website for help and inspiration. The organisation is Christian Safeguarding Services based in Leicester. https://thecss.co.uk/
Invitation to a church planter training event
Dear Church Planters and Disciple-Makers
I am delighted to be able to invite you to join the next wave of UK M4 Church Planting teams who will be meeting together either virtually or within the Birmingham area on 25-26 September. By being part of this you will have full access to our proven tools which have been instrumental in successfully helping over 400 new churches to be launched across 14 countries in Europe over the last decade.
At this time of Covid-19 restrictions we feel that God has been preparing us at M4 for this moment. Much of the M4 learning and training had been placed online to make it more readily accessible for several years and at the beginning of 2020 M4 Europe took the bold decision to completely overhaul this online material producing new training material using 7 of Europe’s most gifted national church leaders to help raise up a new generation of Church planting leaders and help them equip their teams. These videos are between 7-15 minutes in length and designed to supplement the learning communities and ongoing coaching that all M4 team leaders receive. The words of scripture, “For such a time as this” come to mind as I reflect on God’s perfect timing.
For those who are at the exploring church planting stage and have above average leadership potential we have also developed a 9-month programme called M4 Ready. This consists of weekly online learning and 2 gatherings designed to fan into flame the gifts and calling that God has given. We will be launching our first round of M4 Ready in the autumn. If you know of people who would benefit from this exciting opportunity do let me know.
M4 is a training process for igniting multiplying Church planting movements. It is a process tool that helps church planters explore the important issues they face during the entire church planting process. From the first moment you start carrying a vision of starting a new fellowship to when you have your new church around you, M4 helps you turn your dream into reality.
M4 is built around the ABC’s of church planting: Assessment, Basic Training and Coaching. We have created an online and interview system for assessment that helps leaders find the right church planting candidates. Our basic training allows for, not just for content, but a unique environment for planters and their teams to guide them during the first 2-3 years of their church plant. The training is complemented by a raft of online leadership development material especially formulated to support each church planting leadership team as they face each challenge that comes along. Coaching, conducted by experienced planters and leaders, helps teams take their plans from a dream to reality.
These short videos will give you more of a flavour of the M4 process across Europe:
What is M4 team training
M4 10 years celebration
Short video from Spain
Starting up in Czech
Story from Estonia
To join the next wave of M4 church plants you will need to register with me as soon as possible and no later than the August 3rd and then you will need to go through the assessment process to prepare you for the first learning community on 25-26 September so please reserve the dates in your diary.
Cost: To cover the costs of the assessing, training and coaching there will be a cost of £90 per person per learning community (this will be reduced if the event is online). I believe that out of this time of pandemic God is doing a new thing across our land and I am excited to be able to offer the opportunity to partner with you via M4 to support and equip you and your team to successfully launch a new church to bring more people into His glorious Kingdom of Light. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Yours in Christ
Counties Planting Network
Giles Fraser on the new Archbishop of York
Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Rector at the south London church of St Mary’s, Newington. He has a fascinating article in a recent edition of the publication “Unherd”. You might enjoy this short extract:
“Bradwell power station is a vast, concrete and partially decommissioned Magnox nuclear reactor set out on the flat windswept salt marches of the lonely Essex coastline. A few miles away sits the much more modestly sized St Peter’s Chapel. A simple stone structure, it is one of the oldest churches in England. This was where Bishop Cedd in the mid 7th century came down from Northumbria to evangelise the East Saxons.
This was also the place where Bishop Stephen Cottrell — Essex boy, born and bred — made his final pilgrimage as walked through the Diocese of Chelmsford, saying his goodbyes to the local churches. Today he officially takes up his new job as Archbishop of York, second-in-command of the Church of England.
And St Peter’s chapel was a highly symbolic place for him to visit. He had come here very early in the morning on the first day of his ministry as Bishop of Chelmsford. Found at the end of a muddy track, it could easily be mistaken for a cow shed. Yet it points beyond itself. The modesty of the structure serves to emphasise the vastness of the Essex sky and of the vulnerability to the elements of those who gather there. Marinated in centuries of silence, this little corner of the world invites even the most limited imagination to reach out into space and time. Its power is the very opposite to that of its brutal concrete nuclear neighbour.
Yet if England is one day to be re-evangelised, it will be because of the power of lonely places like this. Out in the stony beaches and agricultural flatlands of the Dingie peninsular, there is a compelling sense of life as having a vertical axis. Out here, God makes sense.”
News from Bicester
FLTR Coffee, a community specialty coffee shop that unites neighbours around great coffee, life-giving community, and true generosity has been in operation in the Langford Village neighbourhood of Bicester for over 3 years. FLTR is joined with a network of relationships (Journey Communities) that want to bring the culture of heaven to ordinary spaces. On the 7th July, we launched a new location in the Graven Hill neighbourhood in Bicester. This is an intentional effort to bring life and flourishing to the neighbourhood and invite those interested to pursue Full Life Through Relationships. Any honest engagement with our communities will prove that Jesus Christ is the central part to our discovery of full life. You can connect with FLTR on Instagram at @fltrcoffee.
Pray for Tony
Many of you will know Tony Sands, a member of the Strategic Board featured a few weeks ago in FCC Connection. Tony has recently had a heart attack and is waiting for an operation in St Thomas hospital, London. Please pray for Tony and for his wife Rhonda and son Aidan.
Introducing Tammy Aho
We have completed our set of introductions to the Strategic Board and over the next few weeks we will profile the members of our National Council. This is what Tammy has to say about herself.
“I am amazed at the journey I have been on with my husband Tim for almost 36 years. We love our life in this corner of Birmingham with its rich diversity of people and cultures. You will find me doing many things together with young adults, discipleship groups, church and community leaders, neighbours, and teams of various kinds where we bring life experience for coaching and mentoring.
For me, Companions for Hope is a way of living together in this community that models the best of what God intends for people. It is an intentional Christian collective rooted in the Summerfield neighbourhood of Birmingham. Apart from our local team, I lead another team of families to think strategically about their local and regional leadership roles in community transformation. Involvement with neighbourhood nights and Place of Welcome keeps me busy.
For rest and relaxation, I like watching a movie with Tim while playing solitaire or doing counted cross-stitch. On occasion, a joint ride on the motorbike seeing new scenery is enjoyable, but not in the cold! Of course, chatting with our adult children in America is a weekly must.
I have served on the National Leadership Team of FCC for many years along with being a former Trustee of ForMission College and am happy now to serve as a member of the National Council.”
Till next week, Martin Robinson….