Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Archive for March, 2010

How are we doing?

The Chapel is taking a two-week break for easter (there must be something wrong with church stopping for easter…).

So this seems like a good time for a brief review of how we have done since christmas.

Up until Christmas we ran on adrenaline and a small amount of success. We had 30 ish visitors from late Sept to early Dec. Some of these visitors came back, some didn’t. Either way we made some good friends.

We recommenced in mid January and to be honest it was a little like pushing watery custard up a hill. A steep hill. January and February were just plain difficult. We had very few visitors and very little interest. People began asking questions. I was questioning the viability of the chapel myself. Valentines day was a low point as only six people showed up. Six.

Then in March something changed. Honestly I am not sure what changed but something did. Since early March we have had 21 brand new first time visitors, we have regularly got 20 people on the night and that 20  is different every week. So it looks like we have a regular crowd of 30 – 40 people.

The worship has improved with a real sense of Gods presence every week and the teaching has gotten better as well. We are better at following up newbies and we have the beginnings of a cracking core team.

We start again on April 18th until the end of May. We shall meet through the Summer to pray for September and train the core team. I am very very excited about September, back in January and February I couldn’t even think about September without feeling slightly depressed.

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Getting over myself

I get pretty hung up about music. I love it. I love music that has energy, passion, stage diving and volume.

I also have hang ups about worship music. The worship music genre is way way way outside of anything I would normally listen too. I am getting over it, and my hang ups don’t stop me worshiping God in a corporate setting but I still get twitchy.

The only thing that gets me through is the presence of God. If God is moving, people are prophesying and worshiping hard then I forget the music. It’s that simple for me.

At The Chapel we have two excellent worship leaders, Keli (who attacks his guitar) and Matt (more controlled than Keli but matches him for passion!). Right now we have an acoustic guitar and all our voices. Thats it and I love it.

Until a few weeks back it was hard work. I wondered if we need to shake it up a bit. Someone even suggested adding a bongo player (please God, NO). Then we did an evening of prophecy and pray. SDince then the presence of God has taken the whole thing up a gig. I am grateful that God isnt genre specific (or scared of bongos).


Pastor/Stalker

We have had 16 first time visitors in the last 3 weeks at the chapel. This means that since September 2009 we have had 50+ first time visitors. In all honesty I am blown away.

We now have a whole bunch of new lessons to learn (when do these lessons get learnt? At what point do I know everything? I look forward to that day.)

For example – How do we get these people to come back? It seems like a stupid question, but I specialise in stupid questions. So that’s where I am now. Chasing people. The Church pioneering books/websites/Guru’s never tell you that to get new people back you have to walk a fine line between pastor and stalker.

Anyhoo, the chapel now has a facebook fanpage. Joining it may be the best thing you fo this week. Probably,


Honest like this guy

If every church planter, church leader and blogger was as honest as Euan then there would be more churches in the world. The world of twitter and blogging could turn us all into turning us into self promoters and makes us compare ourselves unfavorably to others. Both of which cannot be good.

Anyways, read Euans blog.


The Links Effect

So I started doing this linking thing a while ago then I stopped because I just stopped.

Anyways, I want to share some stuff with you that I found interesting / entertaining etc.

  • Bomb the music industry – They are an American Punk collective. They are not Christians so use the occasional naughty word (poo, bottom etc). They cheered me up a great deal this week.
  • Luke Davydiatis reminded me why I love Charlie Brooker
  • Matt Hosier – Talks fatness.
  • Phil Whittall         – talks consumerism. He constantly challenges me on this stuff. My favorite blogger by a long way.
  • My second favorite blog at the moment is Levenshulme Daily Photograph. I live in glorious Levenshulmde have fallen in love with the place. It seems, I am not  the only one.
  • Manchester appears to have a few urban explorer photo blogs. Rookie is becoming a favorite of mine. This entry from a Manchester highrise contains some cracking photos.

Bugged

(Warning – this post is me clearing my head. What I write may seem obvious/dull to you but the process of blogging helps my thinking. Cool? Read on)

Since Christmas the question of what the chapel is has been bugging me. To be honest many people have asked me the question and that bugs me as well. I was asked if it was a church plant, if it would become a church plant, if it was an alpha course, a discussion group, or a prayer meeting. Someone even asked me if it was a “cafe church”? What does that even mean?

Anyways, questions and critique do us good. So I let the question fly around in my head (plenty of room up there) and finally I feel like I am getting somewhere.

The Chapel is absolutely and fundamentally a church. No question. It is a meeting of Christ Church Manchester. It is a meeting that is equal to our morning meetings. So The Chapel is a site of Christ Church Manchester.

This means that we are pioneering a site of Christ Church Manchester. We are not planting a church….. although when are we not planting churches?

Heh.


Healing power of thrash metal

So my blogging mojo has let me down like David Beckhams Achilles tendon.

So I am commencing rehab and hoping to resurrect my career. Or something.

Anyhoo, I have been thinking and pondering. Much of this thinking will remain in my head because if I speak it out loud you will all back away slowly mumbling something about a family matter you must attend to.

The biggest lesson I have learnt in pioneering the chapel is that first of all I have to change. In fact, I probably need to die.

What else? –

  • Comparing yourself to others only ends in madness.
  • Perfection is unattainable, so do not bother trying.
  • Do not live by numbers. Not ever.
  • Competition kills. Mutual respect and co-operation brings life.
  • People shop for churches. The wrong people consume you and then forget you. The good people buy in and work hard. Work out the difference quickly.
  • Working hard is not enough. It has to be deeper than that.
  • Finally, and most importantly, God waits patiently while we wander round working out all this stuff.

Pause, breath deeply and listen to some thrash metal. All problems fade away.


What is my goal?

Blogging is a breeze when you are doing well, when you are experiencing a measure of success. So when times get a touch more difficult you think you will keep blogging because then you can show how awesome you are at walking through difficulty and come out stronger on the other side. Like a bad hollywood film. One with Sandra Bullock.

I tried this approach for a while and I just began to annoy myself. So, I ran out of things to write about because there are only so many times you can be realistic about your situation, and annoy yourself before you start to think about giving up. I just don’t want go there.

Anyways, God is cool beyond my understanding. He is my Goal not the means by which I achieve some other goal. I hope I remember the lessons.