People of Peace in Chester

Here is a short testimony from HBC Chester: 

Recently at HBC Chester we held an evening with a couple of baptisms – one of the people being baptised was Penny.   Penny is a member of the Core Team for one of our Missional Communities – Welcome MC. Penny’s decision to be baptised is a result of the growth in her own personal discipleship journey and a significant part of this have been the commitment Penny has made to be involved in our regular IPODs (Intentional Places of Discipleship – our version of a huddle).

The Welcome MC has developed a strong focus on the People of Peace that a number of the Core team have and they have held regular gatherings where these people have been involved along and they have also started up an “International Forum” This takes place once a month and includes the people of peace telling their stories of living in the UK and what life was like in the country of birth.   As a result of the developing and strengthening relationships within the MC Penny was able to invite these People of Peace to come and witness her baptism and to be involved in the evening gathering that it was a part of. At the baptism, 12 people of peace came along, heard Penny’s testimony and began to see the wider context of church and community that the Welcome MC belongs too.

Reaching neighbours in Liverpool

Our Missional Community’s vision is to reach our neighbours around the area we live in Liverpool.

We started with 2 other families, so 6 adults and 6 kids in total. We wanted our MC to be an extended family on mission, so it was important from the start to build it around stuff that works for the kids and with people that were willing to share their lives with us.

So every Friday, 5pm we gather together for food. We rotate between our houses (all spitting distance from each other), and we do it ‘bring and share’ style. Easy – no fuss. So 5pm till 6pm we eat, chat, catch up. We draw the kids into a bit of prayer. Occasionally we’ve had a kids bible story. We regularly have neighbours join us. Then 6pm till 7pm we alternate between dads and mums accountability. So one week the dads take the kids back home and the mums meet together, then the following week the dads meet.

We try and focus this around the learning circle and 2 discipleship questions (What is God saying & what are you going to do about it?) We pray together. We find that because we’re sharing what’s going on in our lives through our Facebook, when we do meet, we can pray for one another with greater understanding. More recently another family have joined us that we led to faith a while back, but have been on the fringes for some time. It’s been a real joy to see them get committed and grow in their faith.

Once a  month we do something more outwardly focused, so we tend to invite neighbours over for a drink, or extended one of our birthday parties out to the MC and neighbours so we can connect with them. We have a cycle of bigger outreach events for our housing estate, summer BBQ, bonfire night, Christmas carols and christingles, Easter egg hunt etc. Loads of people turn up to these and we’re building relationships with our neighbours.

Growth through involvement in Learning Communities

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.”

Building family in Sheffield

This term our sermon series has been based in the book of Romans. As we have done this we looked at the ‘one another’ verses that can be found in the Bible (did you know there are over 50 of them?), so we called the series ‘Love One Another-Living as Family’. This is how we introduced the series to the church:

“We are looking forward to exploring what these different ‘One Another’ passages mean. One of the ways we are going to do this, that we’d love you to start thinking about will be to encourage everyone to get to know one another better by eating together in each other’s houses; a sort of ‘Come dine with me’ but without the rating system! The value behind this is to enable us to get to know each other better and give attention to who we are called to be as the people of God.

 

The series is going to start on 29th January and will last for 9 weeks, so get the dates in your diary and perhaps put up 1 Peter 4:8-9 on your fridge. ‘Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins. Open your homes to each other without complaining.’

And if you really want to go deep, the greek word for ‘One another’ is ἀλλήλων, pronounced ‘ah-LAY-loan’. Try and drop it into conversation during coffee time….people are certain to be impressed.”

 

We’ve had a number in the church talking about how they have loved getting to know different people through this series. They’ve been invited to houses and then on the back of that have been inspired to invite people to their houses in return. These people then themselves go on to invite people and so on.

One of the great things about it is that it’s encouraged people from across the ages and different groups in the church to meet together and find out about each other which is helping to give a greater sense of family.  We used the twitter hashtag #tweetyoureat to share the fun!

 

Mike Rutter – Network Church Sheffield

 

North West Leaders Day

On the 16th Novemeber Kx hosted a Northwest Leaders day at Frontline. Here are some reflections on the day from Andy Glover: Team Leader at HBC Chester.

We’ve been on the journey of missional discipleship and missional communities here at HBC Chester for the past 4 years and during this time we have been developing our vision of missional living: of being both a gathered and scattered community as we launched a number of missional communities in October 2015. During this time we have appreciated the opportunity to connect and learn from other churches who are on the same journey especially those within the Kairos Connexion Network. Here is the North West of England there are 6 churches that are developing a closer working relationship with a shared vision for our region. As the Team leader of HBC Chester I am in a huddle with the other 5 church leaders led by Nic Harding this has been very helpful and beneficial to me personally so when the opportunity to gather together across the 6 churches with our leadership teams presented itself in Liverpool I was keen to get 3 other leader to go with me.

The morning was divided into 3 main sections – time to share some stories and reflections from each church, to hear from Nic on the vision for the NW of England focused on Reforming the Church and Transforming the Region and time to pray together. It was encouraging and inspiring to hear from each church and to capture some key learning from experiences of success and failure in each church as the vision for missional living has been pursued. In particular the importance of keeping discipleship at the heart of what we were doing missional was highlighted a number of times and to not to get discouraged when “we have a go but made a mess”. Learning from our mistakes is so important and enables everyone not be paralysed by the fear of failure!

Hearing from Nic is always encouraging and challenging and his 20 minutes of input on this day was no different, Nic highlighted the challenge of the ‘internal work in the church’ needs to lead to another reformation – this time its about putting discipleship back into the hands of ordinary believers! From this will flow an external work in society – transformation across the spheres of society by Christians living as disciples of Jesus 24/7. A Demonstration + A Declaration of the Gospel + A Saturation of Christian presence will = Transformation!!

Finally we prayed together using the 6 phrases of the Lord’s Prayer to provide a focus and enabling us to take time to seek God together and to pray for one another and the region. It was good to worship and pray together!