Here is a great bit of story from a church which has been involved in Learning Communities and how they’ve seen growth in their church and development of new missional communities.
“I had in mind to thank you properly for all the support you give to the wider church and particularly the help to us as a church. It has been invaluable and we see the kingdom advancing through your endeavours – Thank you so much; we see you as a real gift from God to the church.
Despite not attending the latest round of learning communities we are making steady progress with our missional communities. As you know, we decided not to go for the big bang and started with two pilots. We now have 3 MC’s and plans for a 4th and maybe a 5th. The pleasing thing is that each one has started ‘bottom up’ with people approaching the leadership. Inspiring stories are starting to come and it is exciting:
– We have one group for the ‘more mature’ and have an event this Friday to which we expect about 20 ‘not yet believers’ from nearby sheltered accommodation where we have been given an open door to go in and out.
– We run a group for families with children with disabilities and special needs. This is proving a real blessing for families and we are even getting people referred to this group from outside – amazing.
– We have started a third called ‘Cafe of Hope’ for all the contacts and friends we make through the cafe.
– For our next one, which is in embryo, we have a vision statement and leader for ‘Life cycle’, based upon the men’s cycling group but with a wider remit.
Thank you, once again, for your help.”
At the fourth gathering of the Liverpool and UK Learning Communities last month we held a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition where each team got to pitch to a group of Frontline Church business owners to take a share in a pot of money for a missional endeavour. Here are the reports from the winning teams about what they’re going to spend the money on!
Journey Communities, Bicester
“Our church, Journey Communities, is opening a specialty coffee shop as a business as mission. FLTR Coffee will be at the heart of one of the residential neighbourhoods in Bicester. At the core of this new coffee shop is a missional community with a vision for people to encounter life on earth as it is in heaven, and journey towards full life through relationships with God, his extended family, and their neighbours.
Construction for the unit where FLTR Coffee will be located begins soon. We want to capitalise on the moment it is being built and get the word out to the locals. We plan to use the £1,000 to buy a coffee trike, as well as the equipment and product needed, to go throughout our estate meeting our neighbours, offering free coffee, and telling them about the new coffee shop. A coffee trike will also allow us to promote the new shop at other local events leading up to its opening and be used to serve as another source of income that we can reinvest back into Kingdom mission.” –
Jeff Lothamer, Minister, Journey Communities
Stoneycroft Salvation Army
“Thank you so much for the award of £250 for The Meeting Place. The Meeting Place is our church’s first missional community. Its missional vision is: To be a community where people in recovery from addiction can make friends and meet with the God who transforms and heals and reach out in love and faith to others in recovery.
This MC has been running for 8 months now and during this time we have averaged around 18 – 20 men and women coming to every meeting. During this time it has been amazing to see how relationships have been developing, but one thing that has become apparent to us is the lack of safe social space for people in recovery to access. This is mainly because of the fact that alcohol is available in so many social spaces and the issue that most people in recovery find it difficult to make the time for safe social space because of attending AA support meetings nearly every day. Also due to the chaotic lives of many of the attendees, they are not able to organise something by themselves, at least at this point in their journeys.
We feel that we are currently in a season of breakthrough with this group, and we know that with this investment we will be drawn in to a season of blessing as the group starts to grow more organically as community is truly formed amongst the members. We will be looking at arranging a day trip away and a meal for group members in settings that will help them to relax and enjoy time together outside of more structured meetings. Our prayer is that this time together will not only enable the members of The Meeting Place to experience social time but also that relationships will be deepened, and that people will come to know the Lord in a deeper way as experience his lavish and free generosity.
In regards to the future, we plan on this being a kick start to us taking the initiative to finding more creative ways to bless the community, and we are going to seek to forge further links with our nearby Salvation Army hostel and other agencies that might want to partner with us in giving a much neglected and marginalised people group a fresh start to a life of dignity and hope.” – Territorial Envoys Craig and Gemma Gaudion, Church Leaders, Stoneycroft Salvation Army
Wirral Christian Centre Church
“The dream is see Christian young people energised as a community to make a substantial and sustainable difference among 17-30s in Birkenhead. For the young people of Wirral Christian Centre in particular to be doing life together not solely for their own benefit, but to be growing as disciples who make disciples, radically changing the culture of the town and enabling young adults to journey into amazing futures with God.
So, the plan is to enable the existing young adults community of the church to plan and to pray into being a ‘Night Church’ for Birkenhead. This would be a safe and welcoming Christian space of spiritual enquiry and encounter, which would serve and transform the night-time environment in the heart of the town. Starting one Friday a month (in partnership with the existing Street Pastors teams, and potentially with business owners we already know) we would develop a venue with a cafe space, a prayer space and a live music space – all designed to value those out during the night (and be a safe space for the vulnerable), and help them to explore what life with God could look like for them. This incredible and gracious grant would go towards equipping the ‘Night Church’ spaces (we have visited the pioneering space in Chester, and they have offered to consult with us on development), providing for running costs, and promoting the venture throughout the night-time economy of Birkenhead. We envisage this healthy rhythm of mission as an expression of a growing and vibrant community of young adults at WCC, and across the town…who knows what could be next as God’s kingdom comes in new and exciting ways to Birkenhead!” – Revd Greg Epton, Lead Pastor, Wirral Christian Centre Church