If you had said to me twelve months ago that in March 2016 ChristChurch London would be meeting in four locations across the city, I’m not sure I would have believed you!
We have always cared about the whole of London, and have wanted to build a church that serves all the communities across the entire city. We imagined that at some point this might mean us meeting in more than one location, but I don’t think any of us foresaw it happening so swiftly.
I distinctly remember Eleanor Mumford speaking one Sunday at the Mermaid Theatre. She preached from 2 Samuel 5: ‘As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, move quickly’ and I recall wondering in that moment whether there was something of particular importance that we should be learning from what she was saying. It was no more than a whisper – a fleeting thing, like the wind in the trees – but somehow it was the prompt that we needed to give us confidence that God would guide us, and when He did, we should respond quickly.
I’ve told elsewhere of how these new services came to be – download the podcast from Launch Sunday to hear the rest of the story. But throughout the whole journey we have benefitted from various men and women sharing with us things they have sensed God might be saying.
So here we are, three months in. Already we have heard wonderful stories of new people stumbling upon our services; families feeling more connected than they have done previously; women and men taking on new serving roles and leadership positions; people inviting friends to a local service, who would never have travelled to us previously; and various people who have drifted away from the church over years, returning to re-engage with the good news of Jesus.
Alongside this, we have also held our biggest Alpha Launch events to date; we have continued to serve the city through our social action projects; and I am excited to have heard of people beginning to dream about new Connect Groups and projects that could contribute to the flourishing of their communities.
We already have so much to be thankful for, and it makes me wonder what else might lie in store for us, as we continue to listen for God’s whispers?
Just as we have benefitted from God’s leading as a church, it is important that each of us learns to hear His whispers in our own lives. History is full of stories of individuals achieving amazing things, in response to these sorts of promptings. They are rarely loud or forceful, and are often gentle and subtle. Like a whisper, they are precious and easy to miss. But the best way to hear them is to draw close to the speaker, inclining your ear, and listening carefully.
Beginning Sunday 3 April, we will be preaching a series entitled The Power of a Whisper. This series will help us learn to recognise the ways in which God leads us, develop the ability to listen to Him better, and have the courage to respond to His whispers.