I never met him (I have always wanted to) but he had a profound impact on my life. His book “The Cross and the Switchblade” and then Run Baby Run, which was written by Nicky Cruz who became a Christian in “The Cross”.
David’s story started in 1950s New York with God calling him to work with gang members. It is an incredible story of the gospels relevance to the most broken and lost people. Murderers, prostitutes, and drug addicts. Their own parents hated them and yet David Wilkerson found a way to bring the gospel in a way they understood.
Anyways, The Cross and the Switchblade put in me a desire to live in a city and work with the poor. It made a 10 year old boy sit up and look around at his comfortable background and feel profoundly grateful. That story also made me want to do something. I had no idea what that something was but once that desire is there it is hard to shake off. Thanks David.
Let me tell you about Kelani.
Kelani is a twenty-something dude who works like a dog. He has a full time job, studies at Uni, is in a band and leads worship or drums at Christ Church Manchester. He operates on the edge of tiredness the whole time and never complains.
Kelani was our one and only worship leader when we met in Baa Bar as the chapel. Kelani lives in Oldham and so would catch two buses from Oldham to South Manchester then back again every Sunday night. Sometimes he would drum or lead worship in the morning as well.
Often there would be 10 or 12 of us in attendance and Kelani would worship his heart out until we copied him. That doesn’t sound like much, but you should try leading worship in a cold, empty Vodka Bar with freaked out non-Christian bar stuff watching your every move. Thankfully Keli is all about the challenge and the pioneering.
We now have four regular worship leaders at CCM:City which means Kelani gets the occasional week off and also gets to drum.
It is funny what gets the blog juices moving. There I was in a local Christian radio station being interviewed by one of my friends about Christ Church Manchester, blogging and…uh….me. I found myself thinking how much I enjoyed talking about myself and then I remembered I had a blog where I could do just that! BOOM.
Anyhoo, there isn’t much to tell you except to say that I have a lot to be excited about.
Love Levenshulme has the potential to go up a gear. We are thinking about summer fetes, comedy nights, social media training and other things that I cannot remember. I honestly love this local community we have stumbled upon. God invented twitter for this.
CCM:City continues to gather momentum in ways I can barely claim credit for (won’t stop me trying though). People visit, people come back, people join and people make us a stronger community. Bada bing bada boom.
I have written about a few of our guys in previous posts and I will write about a few more of them soon but let us say that I am frequently overwhelmed by the quality of people that God allows to join us. One of those guys is called Mike Bradley. He is a singer songwriter type and led worship for the first time on Sunday night. He was the real deal. Anointed, passionate, unconventional, uncomfortable and surprising. God showed up and then hung around.
Mike goes by the name Perendiz and his music sounds like this –
And he also sounds like this –
It’s all free to download. Do it.
Food is a beautiful thing. I love food. I love eating it and I love other people making it for me.
Another thing I love is when people listen to a preach and then act on it in a way that improves their lives and makes the church stronger.
So let me tell you about Sharon. Sharon will one day be a creative genius that you will all of heard of but she will be my friend and she won’t be yours. Ha. I digress. A few weeks back we preached at CCM:City on food and the importance of hospitality. Basically, we expounded a theology of community based around dinner time.
It was a sight to see. A room full of people who were completely silent. The only noise you could hear was the penny dropping. So Sharon takes it upon herself to invite as many people round for dinner as possible every Sunday afternoon before church.
Week by week our church becomes a community that has mission at its core. Sharon plays a big part in that.