Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

church in manchester

What could possibly go wrong?

This is one of those weeks that I used to pray would happen. I used to daydream about days like these. However, now I am actually here I am not so sure!

CCM:City started meeting in its current form just under two years ago. We had barely any people but we had an idea of what we thought God wanted to do. So we held our breath, closed our eyes tight, pinched our noses and dived in to the massive swirling pool that is church planting (that’s a touch dramatic but you get my point).

Two years later and we aren’t dead. Result.

In fact we have grown. People have joined, become our friends and new plans have been hatched.

So this week is a big week in the life of Christ Church Manchester. This week we start a brand new Sunday service. This means from this Sunday we will be running three services across two different locations in Manchester. This Sunday (2nd September 2012) we shall start a morning meeting at 10:30am as well as carrying on with our 6:30pm meeting. We will also carry on meeting at Wright Robinson School in Gorton at 10:30am every Sunday.  Exciting times / petrifying.

I was recently sat in a meeting about church planting and I was having a very civil conversation with an experienced church planter. I was telling him about our plans for doubling our sunday services at CCM:City, he asked how many people we currently had. I quietly mumbled something about “60 people on a good day” (we don’t get that many good days), he looked at me, blinked a few times and then changed the subject. Oh boy.

So, once again, if praying is your thing then please pray for us.

Pray for –

  • We want more people that bring people!
  • We want to plant a few more sites this year (Withington and Alderley Edge are in our sights)
  • God needs to move. Things are much simpler when he moves.

Cheers for reading.


Crying like a toddler (again)

I have been looking forward to writing this post for the last 18 hours.

Manchester has looked after the Simmonds family and CCM rather well in the last week. To be more specific, the churches of this beautiful city have really stepped up to the plate and slammed the ball out of the park on our behalf!

On friday I was sat with my good friend Nathan Whilians (from Kings Church) in a cafe. Nathan, being the good guy that he is, asked we what we needed. At that moment it occurred to me that this is a brilliant question and I cannot remember if anyone has ever asked me this question before. “What do I need?” is so much better than “What do you want?”.The things I want are stupid (people, money, recognition etc etc), the things I need are simple.

In a flash of reality I realised I needed God. I need God to move. I don’t need anything else. Nothing at all. Every perceived issue we have, every hope, every dream and every expectation all get addressed when God moves.

So I did what any normal bloke would do. I cried. right there in the cafe. Like a toddler (less stamping of feet but the point stands).

Nathan was gracious enough to wait for me to compose myself and then he prophesied over me and encouraged me while I did a bad bad job of getting my act together.

Fast forward by 48 hours and Sarah Smith from Vinelife was speaking at CCM:City. The Vinelife guys have been consistently amazing to us. They have served us, encouraged us, challenged us and very publicly supported and promoted us.

Anyhoo Sarah preached the Holy Spirit turned up, prophecy bounced around the room, Non-christians experienced God, Christians reconnected with God and our meeting was a mess (guess what? I cried. In fact I am crying now….).

You have to remember that we are a new church, we are fighting to exist and we are growing slowly. There is no reason at all that Kings or Vinelife should even know who we are let alone care that we succeed.

Something is happening in this city.

Further experiments in dance music

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the experiments in dance music we are attempting at CCM.

Our hope is that the music that we worship God too will be missional. We want people who don’t know Jesus to see and hear us worship and to be able to identify with what is going on. Also, I want our worship leaders and musicians to feel very free to be creative. I don’t want them to feel in the slightest bit restricted by my personal taste or by any expectation of what worship music should sound like.

I want our corporate worship to be Jesus focussed, Spirit powered and God inspired. After that I want creativity that makes God smile and that Non-Christians will be surprised by.

Anyways, Mike Bradley has finished another song. Fancy a listen? Of course you do –

Your Love Never Fails is by Jesus Culture.

Hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to post a version of Jesus saves which is probably the best song we have done so far. No pressure Mike. No pressure.

A hyperlocal city church?

In my last post I discussed the emergence of hyperlocal blogs and the affect they have had on mainstream media.

At CCM we have begun to talk about how we live as a multi site church. We have considered what our philosophy of church is, we have debated many different models and slowly we have realized that we just need to embrace who we are.

We are an entrepreneurial church. We love the new and we love to dream of the future. We are also a hard working church with many fully committed volunteers who give time, energy and money way way beyond the call of duty.

We have realized that we cannot rest on our laurels and that we must keep battling to see Jesus kingdom move forward.

We feel convicted to start many sites of Christ Church Manchester across Manchester and we want to see churches planted across the North West of England.

The sites of CCM will be focused on a locality (that can be a geographic area, a people group, a cultural group or combination of all) but will play a part in the whole city. The city church will be colored by the local and vice versa.

CCM:Levenshulme has a facebook page, a venue and a time to meet! All I need now are some people…

City Wide and Hyperlocal

At CCM we have begun to talk about how we live as a multi site church. We have considered what our philosophy of church is, we have debated many different models and slowly we have realized that we just need to embrace who we are.

So we have started talking about being a church that is city wide and hyperlocal.

Describing something as hyper local seems a little counterintuitive. It would be like describing an Ant as having elephant like properties. It is an oxymoron but it is a very useful oxymoron! Let me explain what I mean. Hopefully I won’t sound like a moron trying to explain an oxymoron.

The term hyperlocal has been stolen from the world of bloggers. In recent years modern media has experienced a seismic shift from the massive to miniscule. Blogs are remarkably easy to set up and run, so a huge number of blogs have sprung up run by individuals that focus on a locality. That locality can be a geographic area, a people group, a cultural group or combination of everything; these hyperlocal blogs are heavily influencing mainstream media.

However, it is more than that. This change has seen the democratization of news and media. People are writing about what they want to read about and other people are following, sometimes in there millions. The local is affecting the international thus “Hyperlocal”.

Hyperlocal is driven by passion, it is high maintenance but costs nothing.

How does this relate to church, in particular multi site church? More tomorrow.

Cheers Manchester

Two years ago I wrote this post. I wrote it in my kitchen in Erdington, North Birmingham. We were on the verge of leaving our home, friends and our church to move into Manchester. We are no heros but our journey over the last two years has been quite something.

The opportunities and relationships that have come our way have constantly caught me off guard. In particular some of the churches in Manchester have shown us incredible generosity and warmth. My heart is cold and cynical so I have often found myself sat in a meeting feeling humbled and unworthy.

I dont often say this sort of thing but I do wonder if God has something in mind.

There is not a great deal to say, I just wanted to share the love!

Impending Doom

I have to say that I am quite excited about Sunday evenings at the moment. Last year I had a vague sense of impending doom from Wednesday morning through to about 9pm on a Sunday evening. It was hard work feeling positive about 10 people in a vodka bar looking awkwardly at each other. Over the year we grew in number and in a sense of purpose but the first six months were a lesson in graft and humility.

This year is different. It is still hard work, and I am constantly humbled but we are much better at what we do and God is with us. That seems like a strange thing to write, but it feels like we have a sense of momentum that isn’t defined by the number of people in the room (unlike last year) but by God. Hard to articulate, but true.

This Sunday we have Phil Smith from Vinelife Church in Manchester speaking.

One of the highlights of moving to Manchester has been getting to know Phil and Sarah. They have been good friends and their church has been an example to us of Kingdom thinking. They have promoted us, served us and looked after us. We are effectively starting a community in the same place they have a community aimed at a very similar crowd. Are they threatened or territorial? Nope. Instead they helped us launch CCM:city by loaning us 40 people to give out flyers.

After all that lets hope he doesn’t suck….

Mind boggled Part 2

Last night at CCM:City we had an excellent time. It was our last “pre-meeting” before we launch properly on Sunday. I am unlikely to sleep much this week.

After the meeting we went out to do some flyering. There was about 15 of us pounding the streets of Fallowfield. I am no fan of cold contact work but there was something oddly thrilling about giving out church flyers with “Coke, Sex, Beer” written on the front. The few times someone stopped and talked they were completely caught off guard by the fact we were advertising church. Happiness is confounded expectations!

After 45 minutes of flyering we took a break and wandered up the road to meet some guys from Vinelife church who said they would help us out.

I have written about this kind offer from Vinelife before and to be honest I kinda thought it was be too good to be true. It is worth bearing in mind that I have a heart of stone and am a bad Christian. So when somebody makes a spectacular offer like this I expect them to come up short because 1) I distrust humanity, 2) there is no way I would come through on this sort of deal and 3) I am basically miserable.

So Phil from Vinelife said “Tim, I can bring 30 people to help you give out flyers for your church” and I was stunned at this offer of generosity. They stood to gain nothing from the deal. They would be handing out flyers on their own turf for a church that wasn’t their own. Mind bending.

To be honest the offer of help was good enough in it’s own right. If they had sent 1 guy down for 20 minutes I would still have been amazed. But they didn’t do that. They sent down 40 people (four zero) who flyered for a good couple of hours and promised to take flyers down to a load of different events over the week.

We gave out 1200 flyers in a few hours.

Sometimes you get utterly humbled by the generosity of others. Today I am humbled.

If any Vinelife people read this blog then thank you very much. Seriously, you guys are a class act.


Mind Boggling

I like to rant. I do.

But today I am going to say something nice. About someone.

Brace yourself.

A friend was asking me how the first few CCM:City meetings had gone. This friend leads another church in Manchester, it is not a Newfrontiers church so the jury’s out on whether he is saved or not but I like him none the less (that was a joke). He leads a cracking church which has been on the Manchester scene for many years and have seen many other church plants come and go. They keep plugging away and to be honest they are heavy weights.

It is also worth noting that they run a Sunday meeting that is squarely aimed at students, twenties and the creative community of Manchester which is exactly who we are aiming CCM:City at. In human terms you would think they would be slightly suspicious of us and even be a touch frustrated that we are trying to do the same thing.

So he was asking how CCM:City was going. He then asked if there was anything they could do, I suggested they give us 50 people. He laughed.

Then he offered help again. I explained that we had 4000 leaflets to give out and a couple of volunteers would be awesome (you have to understand that I thought he was being polite and wanted we to ask for prayer). Anyway, my friend said that I could have 25 – 35 people to help with flyers on Sunday night. Genuinely mind bending.

So on Sunday, even if they provide 1 person to help out it will still be amazing.

Work, Pray, Live

So here is another flyer . I know flyers aren’t that interesting but they make me happy. Publicity material needs to walk the line between representing who you are and who you want to attract. These flyers are slightly more towards the latter.

We will have another 2000 of these puppies in the next week or so. We are going to give all of these out as well.

So that’s 4000 flyers to distribute. Blimey.

And here’s the back!

CCM:City is this.

CCM:Chapel is this.

CCM:Chapel is this.

Pumped. Monumentally.