Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Archive for November, 2009

How did we get here?

It occurs to me that looking back a little can help you fathom where you may be heading. I am a history nerd so really enjoy context.

So this week I am going to write about how family Simmonds ended up in Manchester. This involves explaining how God talked to me. Some of my more conservative readers and my agnostic buddies may find this a little odd. Not much I can do about that I am afraid! Read it anyway (tomorrows post is weirder…).

We got married in 2000 and we lived in Birmingham because that’s where Vix was at Uni. We didn’t really expect to stay there but we got stuck into churchcentral. We both led worship (Vix was an excellent worship leader. I was not!), we led small groups and we led the student work.

About two years before we left Birmingham we felt God stirring us that our time there was drawing to a close.

One night I was in the pub with a friend. We were discussing cool places to live and be part of a church, as he was in the process of moving away. Manchester came up in conversation and something clicked inside of me. I think it was one of those moments when God prompts you and you realise that you have to listen. So I took note and filed it away in my brain. I didn’t tell anyone. Not even Vicki.

Over the next few months I let it stew in my head. God started slowly talking to me about Manchester. The rainy city, as I am sure you are aware, is a very cultural city. There is always something going on. If a music scene starts in Manchester it is quite likely to effect a whole nation. During the 80s and 90s the Hacienda nightclub had a massive affect on the music scene, the club scene and the drug scene of the whole of the UK. If a band does well in Manchester they will be massive in the whole of the UK. This is not a common occurrence. This probably doesn’t happen for any other city in the UK apart from London.

The creative community of Manchester has huge influence over UK culture. So it occurs to me that if these influential people start getting saved then that could have a much broader impact than just Manchester.

In short, God was making me love the city of Manchester in preparation.


Celebrate with pizza

Tonight at the chapel we will eat pizza.

We will eat pizza because we want to celebrate what God is doing and what we believe he is going to do. So we will look back at what has happened and we will look forward to what we hope will happen!

Oddly enough, even though I love pizza I have a real yearning for curry.

How to name your church

Found this blog today. Very funny indeed.

My favorite is “The Original Church of God, Number 2”.

Blogging is for show offs?

A few weeks back I wondered where we go from here. I also postulated on how privileged I am to be able to start an evening meeting in Manchester. Since then our numbers have increased a little so the chapel final feels like it has a level of sustainability and life. Obviously we are so near the beginning we are still practically standing on the start line listening to the starter gun. None the less we are beginning to walk (running comes later).

Why do I blog about all this? Am I showing off? I hope I am being honest about my own basic stupidity so that showing off is not on the agenda. I want to blog my way through this whole so that I can have a record of how the chapel started, how it got off the ground and hopefully how lots of people got saved and God was glorified. Or it could be a warning to delusional nutjobs who think they have the chops required to plant a church when in reality they couldn’t plant cress. Either way I enjoy how blogging makes you think about what you are doing, what you have done and what you are about to do..

Anyways, I am basically flawed (apart from my taste in music and football teams) but God is not. So hopefully he will see us through to something good. Breath deep people, breath deep.


Mistakes to avoid in church planting

I found this interview with Ed Stetzer on the resurgence website. I have read a couple of Eds books and found them to be very helpful and insightful.

This interview has some solid gold advice on avoiding mistakes that I have already made!!

Kudos to Dustin Neely for asking the right questions.

The Pizza is in the oven

Back in October I blogged that at the chapel we would celebrate all our achievements and all of Gods blessing by having a party whenever we reached certain goals. I wrote:

When we get 20 (or more) people for two weeks running I will buy everybody involved Pizza.

When we get 40 people for two weeks running I will buy everybody involved curry.

When we get 50 people for two weeks running we will have a massive chapel party with a DJ and those funny stick things with pineapple and cheese on.

So on Sunday 29th November at The Chapel we shall have Pizza. A lot of pizza. This Pizza will be the best tasting Pizza ever.

A few weeks back when there were nine of us (including three in the band) I wondered if I would ever get to eat pizza. Cheers God.



The lessons that I am learning are vast and plentiful. However, the biggest area of learning is about myself, my own naivety, arrogance and shortsightedness. I guess the positive spin on this is that I am learning.

I honestly think that I expected something for nothing. I thought I could start the chapel without it becoming something I owned. I thought that I could have a run at this and if it didnt work quickly I could give up without being bothered.

I also didnt realise how privileged I am. The Chapel is not a church plant, it is an evening meeting for Christ Church Manchester. However, because CCM meets in Hyde (miles away from The Chapels target audience) it is possible that the two groups of people will not meet very often. This means we get to behave a little bit like a church plant while getting lots of cover from the larger church. This leaves me being very well looked after as part of the CCM leadership team as well as being employed by the church. Not many church planters get that.

We have been doing this for 3 months and I ready feel so different about it. Where we will we been in 12 months?

Matt Chandler on Christian Hollywood

Everytime I see or hear something by Matt Chandler I am impressed. He just seems like a decent guy.

There is some great advice in this video.


I love star wars and I loved the most recent star trek movie. So I was chuffed to discover that R2D2 makes a brief appearance in star trek. Lets hope this is for real…

Half way to pizza

Last night was a great night at the chapel. We a whole bunch of newbies and there was a cracking atmosphere all evening.

Oddly enough a remembered a talk by Nick Job from Silklife Church in Macclesfield from a few weeks previous. He talked on change and the need to be ready for God to bring change at any point. Last night felt like we were beginning to see the fruit of God changing stuff.

Chip from thebandwithnoname spoke. He was inspirational and laid back in a very mohawk kinda way. There was a moment last night when chip was speaking, with a Mohican haircut, drinking beer, while we sat in a vodka bar and I wondered what my granddad would have thought! Then I remembered my granddad never had to plant a church in the centre of Manchester!

We are half way to Pizza. One more week and Colin Baron will be buying us some of Manchesters finest Pizza. Cheers Col.