As of 17 January 2016, ChristChurch London now meets in four locations across the city each Sunday:
We remain one church but now meeting in a number of different locations, which means we can get the benefits of being local whilst enjoying the resources of a larger church and providing more opportunities for people to be involved in active service. And we think that there are many in London who will benefit from local services that have the resources to train and develop people like a big church.
As we have talked with people about these plans, there have been a few common questions that people have raised, so we have tried to address some of the most frequent ones. You can also hear more in David’s sermon from Launch Sunday.
What has led to this change?
There have been several factors that have led us this way:
First, we have found that many people love being part of a central London church but also want to make their faith work in their local communities. We hope that this model can provide for both elements of this.
Secondly, whilst church attendance overall is increasing, most of the growth has been in the morning, Consequently we began considering whether we should try something different with the afternoon meeting, relocating it to smaller venues in the east and the west that would give an added buzz. We wondered whether God has been using this to get our attention, just as events were used in the early church to take the disciples to start new churches beyond Jerusalem.
Who will be leading the services?
Tim Frisby is our service leader in the south, Andy Tilsley is the service leader at the Mermaid, I am taking a group of leaders to the West End with the express intention of handing over leadership to them within a short space of time and Andy Tilsley is taking another group East to do exactly the same thing.
How are we going to stay together?
Although we meet in four different locations we will be unified through our common mission and values and the Senior Leadership Team. Also, the preaching team will regularly speak in each service and we will have one Connect Group structure that will train our leaders through our twice-yearly Learning Communities. We will continue to meet all together to pray and for training events and seminars. All the services will share the same financial, legal, HR, pastoral, IT and communications teams and we will look forward to all meeting together two Sundays a year for our special Love London Sundays.
Will we all hear the same sermon each Sunday?
Most Sundays we are expecting that we will have the same preachers preaching in each service. However, occasionally we will ask people to preach who are not available for all four services and at those times we will have two or more preachers on that Sunday. They will all however, be preaching from the same passage of the Bible.
Will we see the other leaders at every service?
Those who are part of the church leadership and are not service leaders will be regularly at each of the different services. This means that leaders including David, Liam and Ross and Joy will often attend both the south and central services in the morning and Tim, Liam, Ross and Joy will do the same in the afternoon.
Will Connect Groups be connected to a specific service?
Yes. We will encourage Connect Group leaders to identify which service they will regularly attend and we would anticipate that in most cases the Connect Group would want to attend with them.
Will I need to choose one service to attend, or can I switch between them?
We would encourage everyone to make one service the community that they are particularly involved in. But we also understand that it is not always easy to get to church at the same time every week, so having meetings at different times across the city should enable more of us to attend more often as a result.
Why is ChristChurch London planning to continue meeting centrally?
We think it is really important to have services in the centre of the city. It is from the centre of the capital that so much of our culture is created and so many of our nation’s leaders are formed. A big part of our mission is to work for the cultural renewal of the city and to develop leaders who will serve society well. We think that the centre of the city is the best place to do this from.
How will Alpha function going forward?
Our evening Alpha course at the Grange Hotel in Holborn has been a great success and has served many students and young professionals over the years. We expect it to continue to do this with people coming from each of the four services. We also expect that some services will want to start their own Alpha Courses for those who cannot make a central venue on a mid-week evening.
Won’t this require a lot of extra volunteers and finance? Where are they going to come from?
In order to pull this off, we will certainly need more of both. As I look around at ChristChurch London, I’m often struck by the sheer number of capable people we have, and the energy they give to serving. But I also know that many people come in on a Sunday, see everything running smoothly, and assume there is no space for them to serve. The truth is, there is always a need, and going to four services will make this more apparent.
For some, this will be an opportunity to serve in new ways, as there is an increased need for team leaders, worship team members, welcomers, and so on. For others who haven’t served up to now, this is a great chance to try your hand at different teams and to find a place where you can put your skills and passions to good work. Some people are even considering attending one service to receive and then attending another where they can serve, which is a really helpful way to get the new services off the ground.
As for finance, we will also need increased income to cover many of the costs associated with these new services. As a church we have always benefited from generous giving, and we have seen God provide for our needs in remarkable ways. But that requires us to have faith, to pray, and to give.
We will be asking everyone to review their finances and consider whether they could increase their regular giving.
How can I get involved?
Firstly, think and pray about what service you might want to make your home, and try them out to see which best suits you. Secondly, if you’re not already, now would be a great time to become part of a Connect Group. This will help you to get to know others nearby, and start to build relationships with others who may be part of the same service as you. And thirdly, why not check out our serving teams and see if there is one you would like to join. You can find information about our teams here.
And if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.