I am thinking a lot about Popcorn at the moment.
My friend Tom described Christ Church Manchester as being a little bit like Popcorn. We chuck a lot of seeds in the pan and turn up the heat. Some seeds pop quickly, some take a while and some don’t ever pop.
It sounds a touch flippant but I think it’s a good description of the season we are in at the moment. CCM:City started because I wanted to have a go, CCM:Withington and CCM:Salford started because leaders joined us who wanted to plant and loved our philosophy. CCM:Levenshulme was attempted because I wanted to have a go. It didn’t pop. Not yet.
So the latest seed is being thrown in the direction of Alderley Edge. Every Wednesday 5 or 6 of us meet in Alderley Edge to pray. We pray that a site of CCM will be planted. I love it and slowly but surely contacts are being made and ridiculous plans are being hatched.
However, most Wednesday evenings before I drive into the posh Cheshire countryside I find myself wondering what on earth I am doing! Why Alderley Edge? Why now? Why me?
What makes us decide that we should try to plant a new site in a new place, often when we have hardly any people there?
Faith. That’s all.
It’s a gut feeling that God might be moving and I want to see what could happen. I don’t have many people, in fact we have one gentlemen who lives in Alderley Edge, three people that come over from Silklife Church in Macclesfield because they want to stand with us and I have Jamie from CCM:City (Jamie’s a hero). We have a few other contacts and we shall pray that they find there way back to God and into the church.
What’s the plan? Ummm….the details are a little sketchy but I am going to use this small mission community to do a big attractive event.
We desperately want to see some fruit, so we are going to shake the tree and see what we get.
I was sat in a church planters training event recently and the speaker said that attractional church models were pointless. He felt that big events that attract people were a bad idea and in some way anti mission (I am simplifying his point to make my argument look better). As I listened to him talk I knew that I disagreed. Lots.
So in December we are going to do a big shiny, attractive Carols and Comedy event. We will take the CCM:City band, a comedian, a lorry load of mince pies and invite the whole town.
What could possibly go wrong?
Three years we have lived in Manchester.
Manchester continues to treat us very well. I feel like I have only scratched the surface of what this magnificent city contains. The people are generous, innovative and mad as fish.
Year three has seen the church grow with people and new sites take shape in Salford and Withington. I have also found myself travelling to Alderley Edge every week to pray with a handful of people about another site of Christ Church Manchester being established in North Cheshire. The futures bright, the futures wildly unpredictable.
In September CCM:City will be launching a morning meeting. This means CCM will have a 10:30am sunday meeting in Gorton and Fallowfield as well as a 6:30pm meeting in Fallowfield. This feels like a bold step considering our numbers. We will be a church of 60-80 in CCM:Gorton (+20 kids) and 50-60 at CCM:City (if every regular turned up at the same time) with three Sunday meetings. Breath deeply.
Starting another Sunday morning has been on our minds for a while. It is a logical step for CCM:City to broaden the range of people who could join us, we will even have kids ministry in the mornings. KIDS MINISTRY!
I have always tried to be honest on this blog about the journey we are on. So in the interest of honesty I should be clear that I have no idea how this is going to work. Everyone at CCM:City has brought into the idea (which is humbling) but every time you push into something new there is risk involved. Massive risk. That’s why it’s fun.
At this time of year I always wonder what I will be writing next year. I hope that I will be able to tell you about more Mission Communities, more Sunday meetings and who knows what else.