We made a pretty exciting announcement last night at our Prayer Meeting: from January 2016, ChristChurch London is going to be meeting in four different locations each Sunday.
It is going to look something like this: south of the river between Oval and Clapham North at 10.00, the Mermaid Theatre, Blackfriars at 11.00, the West End at 16.00 and East somewhere in the Shoreditch/Aldgate area at 17.30.
Tim Frisby will be our service leader in the south, Andy Tilsley will be the service leader at the Mermaid, I will be taking a group of younger leaders to the West End with the express intention of handing over leadership to them within a short space of time and Andy Tilsley will be taking another group East to do exactly the same thing.
This will provide an opportunity for the whole church to get on a pioneering footing again. It will stretch us in new ways and provide new opportunities for growth. As one of our trustees said recently, this is “daring but achievable”. We think it is both of these and we think it is the way in which God is directing us to go.
We will remain one church but now meeting in a number of different locations. We think we can get the benefits of being local without the heartache of church planting and we think we can enjoy the resources of a larger church whilst providing more opportunities for people to be involved in active service.
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.
We think this approach also suits who we are. Our history and training has been in starting things (I’ve personally been involved in training leaders to start churches on four continents) and it is a great passion of ours to invest in others and train leaders. These are essential skills if we are going to continue to multiply services in different parts of the city over time.
We have deliberately made this announcement seven months ahead of time in order to give us all a chance to reflect, to pray and to work out what this means for us as individuals.
First, we will all want to think about which service we want to make our own. For some of us this will be a no-brainer. We will know immediately where we belong. However, for others it will not be so obvious and we will want to pray and talk. Please feel free to get in touch with any of us on the senior leadership team if you would like to talk about this.
Second, we will all want to think about where we serve. The starting of new services and, no doubt, new Connect Groups alongside them, will provide lots of new opportunities to do this. We hope that everyone will find an opportunity to contribute either on one of our Sunday teams or during the week in a Connect Group setting.
Third, we will all want to be praying about what we contribute financially. ChristChurch London has always been an incredibly generous church and these new plans will provide us with an opportunity to grow in this all the more! We will be taking a big offering in the autumn for the costs of hiring three new spaces on a weekly basis and the purchase of the kit that will be needed to make the services work. We will also be asking everyone to review their regular giving to help us to resource this step change at other levels too.
There will be plenty more to share on this over the next few months. In the meantime, you can listen to this recording from the Prayer Meeting, where we shared the story and took questions, and we would love to hear from you if you have any feedback.