• The Church has left the building!

    During these times, where many of us are at home, desperately trying to figure out many things – like how to work in a house full of people, or the optimum time to book a food delivery slot!

    One thing many of us are also considering, is how to do church during this time of lockdown?

    Empty seats in a church.

    How do we make church happen when we can’t gather? 

    This question has the potential to reshape our churches long after this ‘lock down’ is over.  

    Let’s consider more closely, the two main expressions of church we talk about with our Kairos Connexion network:

    Gathered  –  Larger church meetings, in a building.

    Scattered –  Small groups or missional communities and our daily interactions with those around us.

    At the start of this year, Nic Harding was holed up (out of choice!) in a country cottage writing a chapter for his next book BRIDE…becoming the church Jesus dies for and is coming back for. 

    This is a sentence he wrote, way before Coronavirus was even on our radars in the UK. 

    ‘Until the church, and world we live in, are brought to their knees through persecution, national instability, war, disease, or economic collapse – we will not see the same type of breakthrough”

    Now we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, will this time of ‘breakthrough’ come to pass?

    As Roy Crown recently titled one of his e-mails – – The Church has left the building!

    Many of us have had experiences of ‘house church’ or some type of missional church, which was exciting, dynamic, new (for us anyway!) and one which both energised and inspired us to share the love of Jesus with many. 

    To include them in our homes, and share small church gatherings in our homes. 

    Like many of us have at some point experienced, Nic had his first experience of church in the house when he was 19 in Amsterdam:

    “We lived in community, growing as disciples and worshipping together, then going out and  accosting unexpecting bystanders to share the gospel with them. People gave their lives to Christ, it was wonderful! We met on a small canal boat in Amsterdam, that experience shaped my desire for radical church for the rest of my life”

    From there, Nic kept looking for a certain type of church – the same atmosphere, the same way of sharing life together and growing together. 

    “Those early days of church planting are so exciting, exhilarating almost. But they often then move towards larger gatherings of church, But in doing so we lost some of that zeal – as we moved to a bigger expression of church it felt like we lost some of that passion.”

    Most of us have a default as to how church should happen, even for those of us who have never been part of an emerging church movement, we still tend to gravitate towards larger types of ‘gathered church’.

    What effect has this shift to a more gathered church had?

    That missional flame, that radical lifestyle and enthusiasm has for the most part, been snuffed out.

    ‘Yesterday’s radical, Becomes today’s conventional, Becomes tomorrow’s traditional.’

    We somehow have to keep that radical burning flame alive, even as we move to a more established church. If we look to Abraham as an example, he was looking for something else, he refused to settle, he wanted to move towards the promised land. 

    In Psalm 84 – it says ‘blessed are those whose heart is set on pilgrimage

    It’s human nature to settle, and right now we don’t have that, it’s making many of us anxious.

    During these times, as church leaders we must take time to listen to the prophetic voices among our number, where is God directing us, where is he taking us as his people?

    So, the question hangs in the air;

    How do we create that balance between those large gathered expressions of church, and the ‘scattered’ – which seem to keep that passion and radical discipleship alive?

    Our gathered element of church, scripturally has its place, it is biblical. However, we often find that growth and making disciples happens in it’s scattered form. We have to keep asking ourselves why we still place so much emphasis on our larger gatherings? 

    The question we have to keep asking is: How does our gathered function serve our core purpose as a church? 

    One very quick and easy way of seeing where our priorities as a church lie, is where we direct our resources. Both people/time resources, and financial resources. If we take the time to sit down, and really consider where our resources are used most, this often shows where our priorities are. Many of us spend up to 90% of our people resources and financial resources on our gathered meetings – which happen ONCE per week. This leaves a mere 10% for the other 6 days of the week! 

    What would it look like if 50% of your resources went into ‘the scattered’ church?

    It would be a game changer!

    How would you use those resources to support the scattered? Many of us wouldn’t even know where to begin with this. It’s difficult to fathom, as we are all very hardwired to consider our gathered expressions of church, as the main event! 

    So what questions can we be asking ourselves during this time of being unable to meet in our gathered form?

     – What is your vision? Be specific!

     – Does this vision involve multiplication?

     – How can you rekindle that radical way of following Jesus and grow your scattered expressions of church, in an effective, sustainable way?

    We also need to consider why multiplication is  important and what multiplication looks like?

    • It’s rooted in scripture – talked about in Acts 6:7 and Acts 9:31 – ‘ The gospel of the Lord continues to grow and be multiplied.’
    • Everyone is talking about Jesus in the workplace, how Jesus has influenced their lives!
    • New expressions of church being planted.
    • Ultimately – the gospel going viral!

    We also need to ask ourselves, very honestly – how are we personally making disciples?

    It comes down to each one of us making disciples, with the expectation that they will also become a disciple maker. It can’t be one generational. It needs to carry on for multiplication to happen.

    By shifting from gathered to scattered – we could see that happen again!

    If we want to see this change, we need to make those decisions now. 

    Many people are either captivated by Sunday gatherings, OR held captive by them. Many people we talk to, feel held captive by gathered expressions of church, but are unsure how to move forward. 

    Now is the time to consider what we actually want! We have a unique moment in time right now, where we can think about how the church would look with a focus on the scattered.

    What ideas do you have?

    • Figure out what you want to change
    • Pray lots, both individually and as a community
    • Contact your leaders and let them know the change you want to see

    To listen to the podcast this blog entry was based on, click here

  • What is courage and how do we cultivate it?

    What is courage?

    We want to explore what courage is, and how we can encourage others in their leadership journey.

    Courage comes in all different shapes and sizes, and looks like different things for different people.

    The bible is full of words and phrases which focus on courage.

    ” Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. “

    Deuteronomy 31:6

    Nic Harding tells a story of his friend, and her ability to show great courage in the face of adversity, (You can read it below) Her story highlights when we respond with courage, it can have a kingdom impact.  

    ” Every day we can choose to make courageous decisions. to step into our callings in our gifts, into the place that God sends us to have influence for the kingdom of God.”

    How can we encourage people when we see leadership potential?

    Sometimes you may have seen the potential in someone, only to encourage them in this, and get a response that they don’t want to take that opportunity up, sound familiar?

    So how do we help those people where we see leadership potential in them and then not really that keen to take it up?

    We can start to help people step into leadership, by giving them really small first steps of initiative and responsibility. Sometimes it’s making suggestions in our missional communities, maybe encourage them in their workplace. Just by looking for ways in which we could encourage them. And of course the word encourage means step into courage to actually fulfill some of the things that they’d be good at. 

    What about people who don’t think they have any skills which they can bring into leadership?

    We believe that every single person has the potential to be part of and contribute to God’s kingdom. We are all agents of His!

    In our experience when people don’t see their own skills it’s down to lack of self confidence.

    They don’t really believe God’s made them to be of significance. So I think we start by helping people understand who they are in the light of how God’s made them! 

    Once they see aspects of their own personality, character, even abilities that reflect God’s nature, they can begin to move into their giftings. 

    These might be a caring heart, creativity, seeing those in need, once they begin to see that these are reflections of the nature and character of God, from that comes an understanding of identity as children of God. This in turn will give confidence to people enabling them to take those little first steps of courage.

    How can we help people do that?

    We can encourage people to take those first little steps of initiative and responsibility in the light of their giftings. And the other one I love to use with people is the Gallup questionnaire called strength finder. (link)

    Strength finder is a really simple tool to help people see their top five strengths. Once people can see what they can do, it can give them courage to take steps in contributing to their missional communities, or church community. And also, gives those of us in leadership around them the reference point to know which areas to move them into. 

    How do we include people who were not in the room?

    It’s very easy, as a leader, to fall into the trap of mostly giving opportunity, or connecting with, people like us! It’s easier to spend time with, and train people who are similar to us in terms of demographic, skill set and gifting. 

    But we need to include all people, to cast our nets a bit wider and include those voices who aren’t normally heard. 

    We want to encourage you to actively consider who isn’t represented. It takes time and effort to include a wider range of people in our leadership teams, but it’s vital that we do.

    How do we model good leadership?

    We need to model a well balanced life to those we are training. People replicate both the strengths and weaknesses of those who they are learning from. It’s important we take rest, we maintain our own health and wellbeing as we model leadership to those around us. 

    We also need to be encouragers.

    The word encouragement obviously has the word courage right in the middle of it! 

    Encouragement is a simple thing we can do. Barnabas encouraged Paul, he was ‘ the son of encouragement’ if you’re not a natural encourager, (and we aren’t all like that!) then make sure you take time to look for the good. 

    Tell someone they did an awesome job, be specific in your words. ‘You did an awesome job there. I watched the way you handle that person. You did it so well.’

    How can you build courage in those around you this week?

    If you have a story of someone you know who has displayed immense courage, drop us a line – [email protected] 

  • A Story of Courage.

    In our latest podcast, ( which you can listen to here )

    Nic shares a story of one inspiring woman who has shown courage in the face of great adversity. She is a great example of a real outworking of what it means to be courageous in your faith and actions. 

    This is her wonderful story, as told by Nic Harding:

    ‘My wife and I have known this amazing woman for almost 40 years.

    She was with us in Bristol. She didn’t have the most easy upbringing and she had some mental health issues. She had alcohol issues, but she came to God and she found a new life in him. 

    But she continued to struggle with many of these issues over the years. She eventually got married and had three fabulous children, but life wasn’t easy for her and those issues continued to cause her problems. 

    Eventually the marriage broke up. 

    She went through a painful divorce and one of the things she’d always wanted to do in the years previously, was to be a teacher. She had tried to get qualified on more than one occasion, but all the stuff that was going on just prevented her from being able to do that. 

    But after the divorce she thought; ‘okay, well I’m a bit free and now less responsibility so let’s have another go.’ 

    And she actually got qualified as a teacher and I just looked at her life and I think, wow, you had so much courage to keep going. She never lost sight of God in it through all the ups and downs through all the the struggles with alcohol and family issues. 

    She never lost sight of her faith – she is a woman of courage.

    Her story may sound fairly simple, but she kept going through years of struggle and ended up as a teacher, in a position of leadership.

    She went on to get a job in a CofE primary school. She became a class teacher in a shared class. But within a few years, she had some real opposition in the school. 

    One particular parent helper made a false accusation against her. They’d heard a child screaming and they’d assume that our friend was doing something she shouldn’t be doing, which was entirely not the case. But that false accusation, led to months and months of misery for her. 

    She was suspended for a total of six months. And one of the things you told me when I was discussing a story with her was that if it wasn’t for the fact that God had spoken to her before all this happened, she would have really struggled.

    It reminded me just how important it is that we are listening to God’s word for our lives. Not only because it’s a source of nourishment for us, it can really prepare us for the enemy’s attacks. 

    And you know, the enemy really came at her strong and hard to try and knock her. I think he could see her potential in this school and was trying to knock her off course. She had this scripture from revelation chapter three. It was about the church in Philadelphia. The little phrase  

    ‘I know you have little power and yet you kept my word and not denied my name’  

    The passage goes on to say that people will learn that I have loved you because you’ve kept my word about patient endurance.

    And this was probably a key phrase for her where it says, and ‘I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming’. 

    What she didn’t realise at the time, what the significance of what this was. 

    But very soon after that she went into this six months of suspension where she had no idea whether her job would be kept, whether she’d be sacked. But that word just kept her going, that God was going to hold it, even though she had little faith, little power, just a small amount. It was enough that got her. That’s enough to keep you going in the most difficult circumstances. And so she went through that six months and during that time she got to volunteer in a charity shop that was run by Christians. 

    She’s always been amazing at sharing our faith with people, so as the customers came into the shop, she never held back, she never felt sorry for herself. She thought, well, I’m here now. I can make the most of this opportunity. Every day was a courageous decision for her to step into her calling her gifts and the opportunities that God was giving him. 

    After six months, they eventually completely exonerated her, found no basis to bring any disciplinary proceedings and she was given her job back. 

    The thing is that that parent helper eventually became a member of staff at that school. So you can imagine that my friend had to really work through issues of forgiveness and sometimes forgiveness is costly, isn’t it? It’s it requires courage to forgive and you know, sometimes we think courage is all about the big exploits, but just it’s those little everyday choices where we, which takes courage to do the right thing.”

    This story of Nic’s friend, highlights when we respond with courage, it can have a kingdom impact.  

    Every day we can choose to make courageous decisions. to step into our callings in our gifts, into the place that God sends us to have influence for the kingdom of God.

  • It’s all happening in Blacon!

    As part of the Kairos Connexion network, we have missional communities spread across the UK. Every month, we aim to share a story from one of our network churches.

    It’s wonderful to hear what is going on around the country!

    This month’s story comes from Blacon near Chester. They have two missional communities and a thriving kids club being run by the team there.

    They recently multiplied Blacon central into two missional communities. Here is a quick update from one of their leaders, Ed Green.

    ‘Here in Blacon, we have two thriving missional communities.

    In the original ‘Blacon Central’ missional community, we are currently reshaping what we are doing specifically focussed around the children and families who attend Shout Kids Club. The children are mostly from the school where our own children attend.

    Shout kids club, is run by one of the core team. She runs a team in partnership with another church and it’s going really well!  It has grown to over 30 children and right now we feel that we wanted to connect more with the families. Some of them we already know well and have good connections through school.

    With this in mind, we recently invited families to come to our house for lunch and to hear from their kids about what they have been learning about Jesus, it was a bit of a squeeze – but we had a great time! 

    We then invited them to join us every month for lunch and to know more about Jesus – wonderful. 

    The second Missional community is called ‘Open House’ and has a group of families meeting regularly and focusing their energy towards the school where their children attend at the top end of their estate. Life is busy, and we have seen the need to incorporate missional living with our everyday lives involving our children and their school communities.

    We feel that we are on the brink of something very exciting in Blacon, we have seen people come to faith, be baptised and continue to grow as followers of Jesus.  

    We are hoping and praying that this will grow and we will see more and more people choose to follow Jesus and as a result have many more missional communities develop – watch this space! 

    Pray with us that we can continue to see where God is leading us, and seek his wisdom as we expand. 

  • Forest Church

    “If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise”… particularly if you happen to be venturing out on a Sunday afternoon into the woodlands between Bidborough and Southborough!

    One church which is part of our Kent Hub has shaping their missional community by starting a Forest Church!

    Clare Masters shares her story, here.

    In November 2018 we began a new monthly “Forest Church” service on Sunday afternoons, alternating between the two churches in our parish, St Lawrence’s Bidborough and St Peter’s Southborough. The significant difference to our regular services is that most of Forest Church happens outdoors!

    We begin in church with a short time of praise and worship, lasting about 15 minutes, and then everyone tumbles outside into the fresh air for adventures in God’s wonderful world.

    Forest Church is open to all ages, but seeks to give a special welcome to families, as we know that Sunday morning diaries are often problematic, especially for those with children involved in sports. (My own three children are grown up now, but Sunday morning football matches have been a complication for us for many years.)

    But 2018 saw a steady stream of families bringing their children for baptism, which led to many conversations about the difficulties of getting to church regularly on Sunday mornings. And as we prayed for these families taking first steps along the journey of faith, the idea of Forest Church began to grow.

    Rural ministry may bring challenges, but there are also special advantages. We may not have spectacular premises, but our premises are set in spectacular surroundings, a real gift from God!

    Around 40 – 50 people have been coming each month. The “service” component of our Forest Church is intentionally very simple, but we include a worship song (often sung unaccompanied), some confessional liturgy, Bible reading, short talk with lots of “audience participation” and interactive prayers. Although it’s only brief, it’s a significant opportunity to tell the good story of God’s love to a new cohort of families. And then we head outside for fun and fellowship.

    We’ve done different activities each month, with a mix of action and creative options to suit various ages and energies. November involved a fire bowl set up in the churchyard, cooking breadsticks and marshmallows on whittled sticks, making a giant hedgehog collage on the ground from twigs and different leaves, and finishing with sparklers and prayers in a big circle.

    In December (early Advent) we focused on Joseph the Carpenter and the surprises that unfolded for him. We went on a woodland walk imagining the journey to Bethlehem, stopping en route to create mud portraits of Mary and Joseph on tree trunks, played “hunt the donkey”, and also enjoyed a cake break in the woods and a mad game of passing a rugby ball round a circle of leaping children. In January, being Epiphany season, we thought about the wise men bringing treasures, and Jesus being the best treasure; and the activities included a challenging team treasure hunt (with chocolate prizes) and making winter bouquets from twigs and berries, to give to someone you treasure.

    What has been particularly wonderful has been the help we have received from some of the families who have come along. Two of the families have enthusiastically taken on organising the crafts and refreshments. Forest Church has also strengthened links with three of our local farming families (who we already knew through our toddler group and the primary school), and they have invited Forest Church to celebrate on their farms!

    In May we went to Four Winds Farm, a local sheep farm (Theme – the Lost Sheep!); in October we held our Harvest celebrations at Juddwood Farm; and we’ve been invited back to Four Winds for our nativity service this December.

    God is very good.

    If you have a story to share of what missional living, and church life looks for you, do send it through to us to [email protected] .

  • 5 Tips for Growing in Confidence as a Leader.

    At the end of August, we have the privilege of having Helen and Ben Askew hosting a Facebook live over in our community group. They shared with us their Top 5 tips for growing in confidence as a leader. 

    Below is a summary of the wisdom and insight they shared from 20 years on the coal face of missional living and leadership!

    Quick intro –

    Helen and Ben lead Kairos Network Church in Harrogate. Ben is ordained in the Anglican church and Helen spins a few plates working with The Order of Mission , teaching piano and overseeing missional communities.

    The church they lead is a family member church, they love being part of Kairos Connexion and enjoy the training and relationships. The also rescue guinea pigs occasionally. 

    So lets get down to it!

    How to grow in confidence as a leader.

    Ben starts by pointing us to 1Timothy 1 v7 – ‘For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’

    Come back to God and ask the Lord to grow courage within you

    Know who God has made you in leadership.

    Who you are, and who God made you is good – don’t fall into comparison. Comparison is the thief of Joy – and confident in leadership! 

    We need to walk in who we are ourselves. 

    ‘I’ve spent too much time trying to imitate other people’s style and skills, rather than looking to imitate their character’

    Develop your own skills confidently and inhabit your own personality. We often don’t see many different types of leaders, we need to see a variety of leadership types, i.e. not everyone is confident alpha male! You can be free to lead from the personality and gifts God has given YOU – not someone else.

    Lead as YOU not your best impression of someone else.

    Deal with your junk!

    We all have different things which have got in the way of us growing; sins, habits, disappointment, family or relationships. 

    Deal with your junk, or these things will pop up and undermine your confidence. We need to grow, practice repentance and belief. Turn towards the truth about what Jesus says about you. If you pay attention to things, they will weigh you down.

    Have people around you who are going to encourage you, invest in you, and help you grow.

    We need people around us on a few different levels, 

    Mentor level – to guide you.

    Peer level – to cheer you on.

    We are made to learn and to grow within community. We need other people around us to enable this growth.


    Who are the cheerleaders in your life? 

    Who can you go to for encouragement and some help?

    Accept your limitations

    You don’t have to be Jesus – that’s his job! 

    You don’t have to do everything. 

    It’s really healthy to get to know what you’re not so great at, what you find difficult. What are the aspects of your personality which you need to work on? 

    Know yourself and work out what costs you more than other things. Then you can empower others in your team to do these things, and to work collaboratively to build team which is whole and means you don’t have to be the star of every show.

    STOP! Have good periods of rest.

    Invest in yourself – know when you need rest or training. 

    You are worth investing in. 

    Good leadership is not about keeping on going and going and going, until you can’t do any more. That isn’t good leadership – that’s often pride. 

    You have to rest! 

    You are not so important that you can’t rest. God is much bigger than that. Invest in your health, your emotional wellbeing, have fun. Invest in your mental health, seek counselling if you are struggling, take time out to restore and rest.

    You may have times of self-doubt, this is normal, be honest with those around you.

    When we talk about growing in confidence in leadership, it is growing in confidence in who God is. When we trust in Him, in His ability.

    Keep asking God what is next, trust Him for the outcome.

    Thanks to Ben and Helen for these wise words of encouragement.

    If you want to watch the full video head to our community facebook group, here.

  • Missional Community – Family, Litter Picking and Community Action.

    One of our Missional Communities is full of families who love to hang out, feast together and encourage each other in their parenting.

    We are a real mix of people and ages and we love being an extended family to each other. Recently, in a number of discussions the area of helping raise children who understand the importance of ‘looking after God’s world’ and being a bright positive light for Jesus in our neighbourhoods was raised.

    The children in the group seem to grasp this instinctively whilst us adults seem to always find the challenges in this. So we decided to get out and do something really practical- litter picking the neighbourhood around our church building. 

    We have been litter picking a couple of times now and we have had some really interesting moments. Firstly it has been brilliant for us as a community to be out together serving in such a practical way.

    We have had some giggles and the kids have loved dressing up in the high viz like Bob the Builder!

    Secondly we have had some great conversations with our local council and they have given us all the equipment we need to litter pick in exchange for a few social media posts. These relationships have already been significant and we sense some ‘places or people of peace here’. Thirdly we have had some brilliant conversations with those in the neighbourhood. It is a mixed community around us in terms of age and ethnicity.

    It is an area which really needs to know the light only God can bring. Rich and Paul (two of the group) have especially had some significant conversations with some of the neighbourhood around why would a family group like us litter pick this community.

    “The amazement and welcome we receive from those we meet whilst out and about is certainly sowing seeds of hope and God’s love. 

    Finally though it has impact our wider church community. Over this summer we have been sharing in a video teaching programme called ‘It’s a wonderful world’ which has got us all engaging with practical ways we can ’tread lightly’ on the world God has given us.

    Do head to Burlington’s Facebook page to see the teaching or here

    Together as a whole church we are considering how we can steward the world God has given us well and in doing so be a light to others in our communities.

    The area of plastic pollution and zero waste challenges are hot topics at the moment and the church have a significant voice in this area. We are having brilliant and easy discussions with people of peace around this and our prayer is that these will turn into positive views of God’s family growing. 

    Do you have a story to share of life as part of a missional community? Do let us know!

  • Walking in the footsteps of Jesus

    We peered down into the house of Simon Peter from above, the exact same
    view that the 4 men with the paralytic would have had as they dug through the layers of mud and straw rolled and baked to provide a waterproof coving for the large, wealthy, beach-front property owned by Peters family, in order to get their friend to Jesus.

    It made me wonder how far I’d go to bring my friends to Jesus.

    Damaging property, risking anger and rejection, creating mayhem…
    not sure I’d go that far. Or walking down under the burning sun into Wadi Kelt, opposite the Jordan valley, where Jesus almost certainly had his encounter with the devil for 40 days after his baptism in the river.

    In this most inhospitable of places we meet a local shepherd bringing his flock up the path. On seeing us the sheep freeze, not sure whether we are safe to pass. With one small nod and sound from the shepherd they scuttle past, secure that they know the sound of the shepherd’s voice.

    I couldn’t help but think of Jesus words, ‘my sheep hear my voice and they follow me’. Do I know his voice as well as those sheep do their shepherd?

    So many kairos moments from Jerusalem, to Bethlehem, to the Jordan, to
    Nazareth and Capernaeum, and back to Jerusalem for Jesus final days.

    With Bob’s rabbi-like exposition of the scriptures under any nearby olive tree, we saw with fresh eyes the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus the man,

    Jesus the prophet,

    Jesus the miracle-worker,

    Jesus the teacher,


    Jesus the Messiah.

    We met with God powerfully in the upper room, where the Holy Spirit was
    poured out. Not the same building but exactly the same location. And then to discover that it was probably the home of John Marks family, the place the soldiers would first have come looking for Jesus before his arrest, the same place that Peter returns to when he was later released from prison.

    It was a wealthy home and almost certainly the location of the last supper, and Jesus’ oikos / base when in Jerusalem.

    So many stunning connections between the biblical narrative, cultural and
    historic insights, and archaeological evidence made the pilgrimage truly
    remarkable. We talk a lot about the ways of Jesus, and this trip brought them incredibly alive.

    I can’t recommend highly enough the experience of going with Bob Rognilien (author of Empowering Missional Disciples, and A Jesus Shaped Life) on ‘The Footsteps of Jesus experience’. It seemed like a lot of money before we went. When my wife Jenny and I returned we said ‘that was incredible value’.

    14 days of intense experience and insight to the life of Jesus. It was the trip of a lifetime for anyone who wants to know and love Jesus more completely.
    Check out future trips, availability and costs here .

  • When church happens with apples.

    At times, it’s easy to get so caught up in running, administering and leading a church, we can miss the chance to see the fruit of what is happening around us.

    From Cambridge to Newcastle, Coventry to Edinburgh there are people on the ground, spreading the love of Jesus in their missional communities.

    We know that it’s not about numbers, data, or results. 

    It’s about people. 

    People are messy, hard to predict and don’t fit into our neatly packaged ‘church’. 

    It’s as we see our missional communities grow, and people sharing the love of Jesus in every single area of their lives, that we see lasting growth which matures and develops.  Growth which isn’t just a ‘flash in the pan’ 

    Where people build authentic community, people will be added to God’s kingdom. 

    We loved this story from a group in Cambridge, building church, slowly but surely over an apple press!

    One of our missional communities hosted an annual event in the car park of my home, which was apple pressing. There are apple presses available to community groups in Cambridge, and because the city is full of apple trees it’s a great opportunity to connect with friends and neighbours and invite them to do apple pressing!

    People are invited to bring apples and empty drinks containers and join in a fun production line, Children get involved by climbing apple trees in the back of my garden to pick the fruit, as well as helping with all the pressing aspects. 

    Adults get into conversations as they chop apples side by side, and people in the missional community bring cake for a 4pm tea break. This has gone on at the front of my house for 3 years. 

    Most recently, however, the missional community decided they’d like to host the event in their neighbourhood to better connect with people in their own locality. This was great, and I still got involved. In fact, one of the families who’d helped pick apples the previous year and who don’t regularly go to church not only came again, but helped me connect with others in my neighbourhood.

    Whether it be over an apple press or a football game, taking part in activities neighbours already love to do, is a great way to make new connections and build relationships with those you may otherwise never speak to.

    Church based events are brilliant, but often it’s when we, the church, move out of our four walls and simply join in with what’s already going on do we see the most fruit. 

    If you have a story to share with us, do get in touch.

  • Discipling the Generations: 12th November, Sheffield

    Our annual Leaders Day this November is going to be focusing on the theme of ‘Discipling the Generations’. 

    Monday 12th November, 9.30am-4pm at St Thomas’ Church Philadelphia, part of Network Church Sheffield

    We are excited that we have Matt Summerfield (Urban Saints), John and Joanne O’Connor, (Junction 42), Rich Atkinson (Rebuild) and Lynn Alexander (Children Families and God) joining us to help us think through how we both disciple different generations of people, as well as how we disciple all-generations of people together as one church.

    This event is open to anyone and we have space for plenty of people so come along with your colleagues, teams and friends!  Tickets are now available at and we hope to see you there.

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