I have always wanted this blog to be an honest account of what it’s like to plant a church/site in 21st century Manchester. So it is about time that I filled you in on some failure.
In the summer of 2011 I started banging on about starting a new site of Christ Church Manchester in Levenshulme. I had a plan. It was a fairly simple plan and I was convinced it would work. Basically, we were going to book a room somewhere in Levenshulme in the middle of the week, make a whole bunch of noise using social media, pray, worship and hope that people started showing up. Simple.
We found a room. Boom. Site planted.
Then a couple of things happened –
1) We lost the room
2) September, October and November at CCM:City distracted me.
So CCM:Levenshulme didn’t exactly happen because it didn’t exactly happen! We took the idea for a spin and we came up against a few obstacles, including my own time limitations, and we couldn’t get the engine started.
At CCM we describe ourselves as church planting entrepreneurs. This sounds a little grand but all it really really means is that we have faith that God will use us to start something from nothing. So at the very beginning of a plant we only need a tiny bit of leverage (a room, a couple of people) to give us the faith to keep pushing. With CCM:City a very cheap room, and a couple of visitors in the first few months gave us faith. Levenshulme needed to give us a tiny bit of faith quite quickly, and that didn’t happen.
Is that the end of the story? Nope. In fact I think I have a better idea of how we can make it work next time round.
Am I upset? Not really. In fact I am pleased that we took the idea out for a spin and I genuinely believe that something will happen for us at some point in Levenshulme.
To sumarise – CCM:Levenshulme hasn’t happened…yet.
It is, without doubt, going to be a weekend.
Lets get the excuses in early – If all we achieve at The Crypt is getting a DJ in a room and then being able to successfully plug him in then I will be pleased. If we actually get some people to show up I will be very pleased.
On Monday I will let you know how we got on.
Having blogged recently about how much I suck and how much I/we need to be honest about our suckiness I feel I need to move on. There needs to be some balance in the force (can a Christian blogger write that?). I cannot spend all my time moaning about how rubbish I am. (although, I am….). The important thing I need to remember is how irrelevant my rubbishness is. So in short, “I suck, but it doesn’t matter”. Why doesn’t it matter? Because God covers me.
Faith is not something many evangelicals talk about anymore. We place a high emphasis on a correct understanding of the word of God, yet for most it does not produce powerful living. The result of correct understanding should be correct living. I believe this is true because often we place value on a cerebral understanding of truth and not faith filled revelation.
I understand my position and I understand God is amazing and wants to do amazing things. I understand this in my head.
It is important to be honest. I think sometimes we can “spin” church and new innovations the church is involved in. It is also important to be positive as well but I guess our positivity should be based on Gods ability to act rather than our ability to talk things up or fiddle the numbers!
So with that in mind I have been thinking about the chapel. Honestly, whenever I think about it I am more excited than when Woking FC are near the top of the league (I get pretty excited about that). I feel like God is involved in this venture. That doesn’t mean it won’t fail because I am involved. I am human. Humans suck.
God seems to be reminding of us of the time Jonathan and his armour bearer just decided to take a punt and invade the Philistines outpost. Jonathan knew failure was a possibility but believed God was in it. Maybe if Jonathan had failed, and lived to tell the tale, he would have re grouped and had another go.
So, humanly, this is stupid. We have no students and CCM meets on the other side of Manchester to this new venue. Fortunately, God aint human.
Constant insecurity. Nothing will work. This will fail. You are going to look a total Muppet…..again.
This has been my thought process for the last few weeks. If I am honest most of it is fairly well founded. Failure is a very very distinct possibility; it is much more likely than success. Although, I don’t yet have a working definition of success that I am comfortable discussing in public!
On Sunday 27th September we are going to launch The CCM Chapel. My family and I moved to Manchester because I believe that God told me to start something that would reach a certain unreached people group in Manchester. I think he told me 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, and anybody else who is scared by church in its current forms.
How do I plan to do the above? No freakin idea. None what so ever. Seriously, it’s a little embarrassing. That is why failure is so high on the list of likely outcomes!
The CCM Chapel is a Sunday evening meeting. Currently the manager of Baa Bar in Fallowfield has kindly let us use the top room of his fine establishment.
So at 7:30pm on Sunday 27th Sept we will begin an experiment in church. To start with I imagine we will look fairly conventional (apart from the free shots…..long story), but I hope that we start to look and sound a little different. I hope that we can get a crowd that wouldn’t normally go near a church. After all, isn’t that the point?