Saturday, January 29, 2011

Westcliffe Elim Community Church, Scunthorpe

Karl and Susan Jones (pictured here with Regional leader Gordon Neale) came to Scunthorpe two years ago. At that time their small, but faithful, congregation met in one of the worst buildings in the city

The reason for my visit was to speak at the opening of their new facility. The ribbon was cut by the deputy mayor of Scunthorpe and the service was attended by a number of local ministers.

When describing the journey of the past two years Karl publicly thanked Regional Leader, Gordon Neale, for the wisdom and input that he had brought to the process. I have no doubt that Karl and Susan will see steady and consistent growth in the days that lie ahead.

Onechurch, Gloucster

Virtually all of my speaking engagements during the year I restrict to our own Denomination. There are however a few exceptions and OneChurch in Gloucester is one of them due to the relationship that Marilyn and I have had over recent years with their senior leaders, Simon and Ally Jarvis.

Onechurch is a phenomenal church by any standards. When Simon jarvis was invited to pastor the church four years ago it had around 150 people in attendance. Today, due to the creative and visionary leadership that Simon has brought, that figure is nearer 600.

On the morning I was there I spoke the same message at three successive morning services. Those who attend cover a wide spectrum though my guess would be that the overall average would be around 30 - 35. Growth of this nature does not occur without strong and intentional culture shift. Anyone wanting to create a dynamic contemporary congregation that engages with community should seriously consider the model that Onechurch is developing.

Ealing Christian Centre

One of the most exciting Saturdays I have spent so far this year was with the ninety leaders of Ealing Christian Centre - the average age of which was around thirty. This great 1300 strong congregation led by Richard and Rajindark Buxton (pictured) is one of three Elim Church in the Ealing area.

The morning began with vibrant worship and it was a total joy to spend time with this engaging and dynamic group. Given the quality and acumen of its leadership base, ECC has a huge future.

Elim & Pioneer

One of the exciting developments in Elim over the past few years has been the relational links that our Movement has established with other Christian groups and Streams across the UK.

Over a recent twenty four hour period the leadership of Pioneer met with some key leaders from Elim at our International Centre in Malvern. It was a memorable time together and a great opportunity for both groups to get to know one another. Pioneer is experiencing great times and renewed vision under their new primary leader Billy Kennedy (third from right). We trust that this first meeting will prove to be the beginning of an ongoing and developing relationship between our two groups.

Romford Elim

The first time that I visited Romford Elim the c ongregation worshiped in a church building. On the last two occasions however the venue has been at their new location that has been hired to accommodate the growing congregation. Glen and Gill Podd have given great leadership to the church during the years that they have been there and, apart from his work as pastor of the church, Glen is the longest serving member on the Serious4God team - Elim's youth department led by Mark Pugh.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beirut, Lebanon

It was a great privilege to be invited to speak at a leadership Conference in Beirut, Lebanon. The pictures depict the main worship leader at the Conference and in the second photo (from left to right) Pastor Chaddy - senior minister of Abundant Life Church, Chris Jones Elim's International Mission director, Pastor Said, myself, Chris Whitehead, Chiswick Elim and one of the Elders of the church.

On the first day we visited pastor
Said's church which has a school, clinic and orphanage that care primarily for Muslim Hezbollah children. In the evening I spoke at the largest Pentecostal Church in Lebanon of which Pastor Chaddy is the senior minister.

Throughout Saturday, a leadership Conference took place for people from a variety of denominations. This was my first time in Lebanon and very quickly I learned of the warmth and hospitality of these great people.

The country, as most people are aware, has endured a painful history of war and conflict that have taken many lives. Two days after our team left the country the coalition government collapsed which does not augur well for the freedom of the Gospel in this strategic part pf the Middle East. Please pray for the courageous church in Lebanon and all its people.