So we had our first night at the chapel.
Baa Bar proved to be a good venue and we had a lot of fun.
I expect 10 people to show up because I had no idea where the visitors were going to come from! In the end we got 19. We had a bunch from CCM who want to be involved, a few from Stockport Family Church who may also get a bit involved in what we are doing at the chapel and four visitors.
We had a great time worshipping and nobody slipped into a coma while I preached, which is a bonus.
We are at the very beginning of a journey. I am more excited than I could possibly explain.
I had a great time. They were a very friendly bunch and I never experienced that awkward visitor feeling you can get when visiting a church for the first time. I was attending as a spy, although I had been invited to spy so I didn’t need my wig and fake moustache (nevermind). I was given free pizza, cake, sweeties and met a number of very friendly people.
There was a great vibe and they had plenty of innovative ideas that I am going to shamelessly steal from them and pretend that they are my own. I met two guys that lead the meeting and they were very positive about The Chapel and what we are trying to do. They offered fantastic advice and even seemed up for helping us if needed. I was genuinely chuffed by how open they were to someone showing up in there city and starting something new. They seemed to have a real passion for seeing Manchester changed and all the Churches of the city strengthened, so we had plenty in common.
If you are interested (and you should be), The Chapels website is on line. The guys at boxhead have done stellar work in a short space of time to get this online for me. Cheers guys!
Have a butchers – The Chapel
This week could be crazy one. Not in terms of volume of work, although I have plenty, but more what it builds up to. The Chapel has its first meeting on Sunday evening.
I am not trying to be dramatic, because it is just one meeting and currently I can count the potential attendees of two hands, but I am curious to see what is going to do.
I feel like we are breaking rules all over the place. Conventional church planting wisdom seems to suggest that we should start a number of small groups in the area and then build up to a Sunday meeting. We should also do a number of practice meetings before “launching” or “going public”.
We are ignoring these rules. Not because we are particularly rebellious but because we have no choice. The Chapel is not a church plant but we are looking to gather a crowd and hopefully create a mission focused community that will be an important part of CCM. However, we currently have no people in the location we are to start a meeting (Fallowfield/Rusholme).
Exciting, very exciting. Or maybe stupid. But it must be better to look stupid having a go, than not having a go because you’re too scared. We shall see.
It is important to be honest. I think sometimes we can “spin” church and new innovations the church is involved in. It is also important to be positive as well but I guess our positivity should be based on Gods ability to act rather than our ability to talk things up or fiddle the numbers!
So with that in mind I have been thinking about the chapel. Honestly, whenever I think about it I am more excited than when Woking FC are near the top of the league (I get pretty excited about that). I feel like God is involved in this venture. That doesn’t mean it won’t fail because I am involved. I am human. Humans suck.
God seems to be reminding of us of the time Jonathan and his armour bearer just decided to take a punt and invade the Philistines outpost. Jonathan knew failure was a possibility but believed God was in it. Maybe if Jonathan had failed, and lived to tell the tale, he would have re grouped and had another go.
So, humanly, this is stupid. We have no students and CCM meets on the other side of Manchester to this new venue. Fortunately, God aint human.
So I am learning something new every couple of minutes at the moment. Today I discovered that my theory of only 500 Christians at Manchester Uni and Manchester Met may be a little wide of the mark. People with more knowledge of Manchester than me suggest the number is a good few hundred higher! It would still be fair to say that we are not exactly experiencing a revival but the situation may be slightly better than North Korea.
I also discovered that churches in this part of the world are proving to be very helpful indeed. A couple of guys from different churches have gone way beyond the call of duty to make my life a little easier. Honestly, I feel a little a humbled.
I also discovered this website of a club in Manchester called the warehouse project. The flash intro is fantastic. Apparently they have a car park as a venue. Hmmmm.
Yesterday’s blog post had a motive. I wrote how the student population in Manchester is basically an unreached people group (there are less Christians than in North Korea!) and I think the same principle could be applied to the rest of the Manchester population.
With this context in mind, the chapel draws closer and closer.
There are a number of churches in Manchester who already do cracking work with students. Vinelife run a Sunday evening meeting called reach. I met one of their students recently and he raved about it. They sound innovative, energetic and like they are growing quick. Then you have the hope church. They run an evening meeting in a pub. I have met a few of them and they are also impressive an bunch who are growing. It’s also worth mentioning Platt Church (big student crowd), Audacious (massive amount of young people students), South Manchester Family Church (consistently gathering students) and South Manchester Christian Fellowship (miles away from student land but still get a large crowd of students).
So why bother start something new? Seriously, what’s the reason? Is it empire building? Ego? Stupidity? Supreme arrogance? Well, I am human so you shouldn’t rule any of those things out! However, yesterdays stats surely explain why we need stacks more churches in Manchester. If churches are finding themselves in competition or feeling threatened by each other then we are all missing the point.
I was recently chatting with a friend of mine who works for UCCF. I asked him how many Christians he thought there are at the University of Manchester (MU) and at Manchester Met (Manmet). He guessed at roughly 500. To put this in context MU has 40000 students and Manmet has 35000. So that’s 75000 in total. That means the percentage of Christians at these two Universities is 0.66%. This must make them an unreached people group! If you check out this list from the Joshua Project you will see an even stranger context! Thats right, less christians than Syria, North Korea and Cambodia.
What makes this scenario wierder still is the vast number of churches around South Manchester. Friends of mine have described South Manchester as the bible belt! In which case the trousers have definitely fallen down…
Things I like today:
I like biffy clyros’ new song
I like the students @ vinelife blog
I like CCK’s new website
I like Wokings position in the league
I like my new church
I like my new friends
I like my new book