Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Archive for April, 2010

Soon people, soon

It seems that we are on the verge of a Chapel re-jigg. This is exciting and petrifying in equal measure. I am not going to tell you what they are yet because we are still fiddling with the detail but soon I will. Probably.

I can say that we have some high quality people who are joining us and a few people giving us funny looks. Either way we are desperate to have a church that is uniquely Manchester. The ride remains incredible.

Anyhoo, this (believe it or not) is keeping me calm –


Another reason to love Manchester

We hung out with some quality people last night. They lead a cracking church in Manchester called vinelife.

Anyways we agreed on so many different things, they are a touch wiser than us and they made me love Manchester a little bit more!

Also, it turns out we both like the cancer bats. Very pleasing.

Tipping points

Sometimes you realise that you may be on a tipping point. That point in time when change seems within touching distance, when your idea may be about to take off or go mainstream. It is important to concentrate on making the right adjustments so that you don’t set yourself back or destroy what you are doing completely.

I am convinced that pioneering stuff in church (probably in other organisations as well) is like being in a band. I remember listening to an interview with Chris Martin (lead singer of adult bore merchants Coldplay) where he was talking about a little known called the Arctic Monkeys. The Arctic Monkeys had been touring hard for a while, handing out free songs at gigs which fans had posted online. They were on the verge of something massive. Chris Martin was talking at length about how Alex Turner was a much better lyricist than him. Soon after this The Arctic Monkeys tipped and went stellar.

One of my favorite band of all time is Nirvana. Their first album “Bleach” is an incredible piece of grungey, hardcore, sludgey punk that only a few people (the right people) heard and loved. They got fantastic reviews and built a reputation on the American Alt scene. Then they made a few adjustments. They hired a new drummer (Dave Grohl), they hired a new producer with a “poppier” style (Butch Vig) and then released Nevermind. They became a global phenomenon.

A few minor adjustments. And then?

Change for the better

Changes are afoot.

The Chapel will look slightly different in September 2010. We have bagged ourselves a new venue.

I love Baa Bar. It is cheap and the staff have been so helpful, even to a bunch of wierdo Christians. I will miss having some standing behind the bar watching us worship and listening to our teaching. There opinion has been some of the most helpful when thinking about who we are.

Myself and Colin Baron spent a couple of hours with Matt Hatch and the Boxhead guys this week. They are asked some very good questions and helped us think through our strategy, our presentation, our publicity and our community building.

So we have a venue that is a touch more conventional than a vodka bar. More details and explanation will follow.

Slowly Slowly Catchey Monkey

I love Sundays. I love seeing who is going to pitch up, meeting new people and explaining who we are and where we are going. Mostly, I love it when the presence of God is there. Nothing feels more relevant than the church meeting God.

Anyways, this Sunday see the Chapel return (have I mentioned this already?). We are inching our way forward, which is awesome because there was a point, not long ago, when I thought we were nearly done. It feels different now. It doesnt matter if nobody shows on Sunday evening, I know that God is with us. Regardless of any success or failure we experience God is with us.

(6:30PM start. Cakes + Worship + Crazy idea for the future = The Chapel)

Push it.

Why bother? Seriously. Why pioneer a second site for an already healthy church in an area of the city where we don’t have many people? Its hard work, and the potential for looking stupid is high.

This line of thinking often flies round my head. So I like to remind myself why we are here, where we have come from and where we are going. I like the fact that a blog makes this public (at least to all 5 of you who read this blog!) becauses it gives me some accountability and means I have to show a bit of faith.

So, why start something in the City of Manchester when most of our church live on the east side of the city? The answer is simple,  we want to be part of a church that has broad influence over the whole of Manchester. We want to see the poor and the rich saved and added, we want people of influence to meet Jesus. We want to reach the young people of Manchester, metallers, the clubbers, the punks, the indie kids, students, artists, entrepreneurs, urbanites, gays, lesbians, those who have no idea, speed freaks, addicts, politicos, techie geeks, business people, single mums, the broken, mashed, abused  and all those who have no idea where and how they fit.

So, I will try anything that might bring these guys in.

18th April

This Sunday (and from here on in) the Chapel starts at 6:30pm.


Wide, Wierd and Disparate

The Chapel recommences on Sunday. The last few months have been a ride, and I cannot wait to get back into the wierdness that is the chapel. Mainly because I have no idea who is going to show up. March gather such a wide, wierd and disparate crowd that I am excited about reconnecting with new friends and meeting a whole bunch of newbies

Anyways, this week we are going to discuss the next year or so. I love looking forward because it makes me look to God and the whole idea was his, not mine.

We are pioneering the chapel because we want to see Manchester changed. We want Jesus to fix this broken, busted and beautiful city.

Anyways, if you live in Manchester come along. If you don’t then pray for us.

History Made?

A mate of mine purchased the delirious song “History Maker” in an attempt to get it too number 1 in the charts. He told me about a few people who had been inspired by this or brough back to faith. This goes to show that God is significantly bigger than my cultural preferences.

I found a number of people in the blogosphere who agreed with me. Hugh, Matt thought it was an April fool, Gareth brought the song even though he hated it,  Andy couldnt quite see the point and Chris just got angry.

Me? I think God can do what he likes when he likes using what ever means he wants (except Country music. It is the sound track to hell).

However, I still think that History Maker is not a good song, doesnt mention Jesus and is all about the individual (which seems an odd choice at Easter). I will struggle to explain the usefulness of this to my non christian friends and I think the whole thing makes us (me included) look out of date and put of touch. But what do I know?

Not a History Maker

This might be one of those blog posts I live to regret but I cannot contain myself any longer.

What is with trying to get History Maker to the top of the music charts? Honestly, why?

Will anyone become a christian as a result of this? Will anyone hear this music and think “Damn, those Christians know how to party?”. Will our culture become suddenly purer and more Godly as a result? No, no and no.

According to the facebook group –

 “This is a trumpet call to unite all online Christians throughout the UK to make history. Put aside talk of bunnies, chocolate, and easter egg hunts this easter and lets hear the message of Jesus Christ sweep the airwaves as we take delirious to the number 1 spot”

If you look at the lyrics they don’t even mention Jesus, which seems odd at Easter. In fact the song is very “me” focused. Let me suggest an alternative, Roll Away the Stone by Mumford and Sons. They use a banjo, which is almost inexcusable but the lyrics are packed with darkness, despair, repentance and redemption. That sounds much more like Easter to me.

Roll Away Your Stone
Roll away your stone I will roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside

You told me that I wouldn’t find a home
Beneath the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals

Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think
Yet it dominates the things I see

It seems that all my bridges have been burned
But you say ‘That’s exactly how this grace thing works’
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with every start

Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think
And yet it dominates the things I see
Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think
And yet it dominates the things I see

Stars hide your fires
For these here are my desires
And I won’t give them up to you this time around
And so I will be found
With my stake stuck in the ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul

And you, you’ve gone too far this time
You have neither reason nor rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine