So as we crack on into 2009, thought I’d just reflect a bit on how the Hill City church-planting adventure’s going…
This time last year we’d been on the estate for 4 months and were running a Tuesday night home group which had about 6 people coming (including us), half of which were travelling up from Cardiff to support us! We were doing church as a family on Sunday mornings, which was nuts – we had a preacher (me), worship leader (Michelle), a Sunday School (Elen) and security (Boaz the dog!) For several months we did church like that, worshipping, breaking bread, studying the book of Joshua and loving life and Jesus together as a family.
In February we felt led by God to push the boat out and open up Sunday church in the house. There were 6 of us in the first week, and 4 of us the following week! Had we got it wrong? By God’s grace – no we hadn’t.
Over the next few months things started to move quickly, with community involvement increasing, new families joining and by the summer we had reached breaking point in our living room as the 20 number was breached. So we had to take it to the next level and go for a building.
We had used the Cold Barn Farm Community Centre several times for outreach events and I had also helped run several DJ workshops there. Furthermore, the manager and his family had become really good friends to us, so when the need for a building cropped up, it seemed the obvious place.
We asked, permission was granted and we held our first Sunday meeting there on 21st September 2008, with 35 in attendance! As well as the weekly Sunday services, we’ve also held further outreach events at the Barn including a Christmas event that saw 75+ people come. Furthermore, we are due to start a new weekly youth event there next month called Trevolution, as well as lots of other exciting community initiatives in the pipeline.
Have we got it sorted? No! But by God’s grace Hill City Church has grown 10-fold in the last 10 months, and at times it’s been hard to keep up! We’ve had times of immense blessing, heart-crushing disappointment, tears, laughter, gritted teeth and intense worship! Faith has been stretched, prayers have been answered, saints have been strengthened, the lost have been reached and Jesus has been glorified.
I’ve learned so much about both God and myself in the last 12 months that I thought I’d start writing some stuff about it all, so over the next week or so I’m going to share my Lessons Learned in Church-Planting with you. Hopefully it’ll be as helpful, humbling, challenging and encouraging for you as it has been for me.