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.
Here is the CCM:City take on Jesus Saves –
I think this is my favorite one so far. It has a fair bit of cross over and so is probably not pure dance music but it really thumps!
We want Manchester to hear us and be surprised!
All three songs that Mike has re-imagined are here –
Let me tell you about my buddy Greg. Greg graduated a few years ago and we are good friends. He loves God, is intelligent and is the sort of Guy everybody likes. He also has a passion for hockey and decided that he want to play for the hockey team at Birmingham Uni.
Sports Teams at Uni are a tough place for a Christian to go. The social side of University sports teams seem to revolve around binge drinking, casual sex and drug abuse. The initiation events of University hockey teams have become the stuff of legend.
I knew Greg was in the hockey team and I knew he was a solid Christian so I asked him how he squared the circle. He told me that the only way to deal with this is to be Holy from the start.
He had decided that he was just going to stand his ground avoid from the very beginning. He explained that it didn’t take long for his teammates to realise that he just didn’t do all that stuff and after a while the peer group pressure eased up on him and eventually he had earned a great deal of respect.
This stuck with me. Defining yourself from the beginning of your time at University is so important.
I know a whole bunch of students who only remembered they were Christians about half way through their second year (usually after a bad hangover and a nasty experience). They had to reel back in a whole lifestyle that had gotten out of control. This was hard to do in view of their non-Christian friends.
Freshers’ week is a temptation to go crazy and it’s probably a first time away from home so there is a great deal of freedom to play with.
Should you party hard? Yes.
Should you have lots of Non-Christian friends? Please please please please
Should you love Jesus? Yes
Can you square the circle?
I wrote a few days ago about how Christians should not be scared of going to University. In that blog I promised I would explain how I thought Christians can beat the fear and make a success of University life.
So, first of all – Know God.
It seems so obvious but is so often forgotten.
All the guys and girls that I know who pursue a relationship with their father find themselves in a much better position to deal with the challenges that University throws at them.
Relationship with God doesn’t make you richer, or improve your grades but it does set your life on a foundation of Rock.
The importance of setting aside time in your diary and space in your head for God is impossible to overestimate. So many things at Uni look urgent and even more things look too exciting to miss and so we can find ourselves forgetting God.
Without wanting to get crazy and start setting rules let me make a few suggestions.
• Set aside time everyday to pray and read the bible
• Meet with a few church buddies to pray and get accountable
• Party hard
We Christians forget the value of a good party. At University it is easy to get caught in a vast Christian bubble. So we need to remember that constant contact with Non-Christians is a great way to build your relationship with God because they will challenge your thinking, point out your hypocrisy and laugh at your weirdness (and you ARE weird).
This post originally appeared on the Christ Church Manchester website.
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…
I am writing a series of blogs about the people at Christ Church Manchester that make me look good. The idea behind this is to prove that a church is only as good as the people that are part of the church and our church is packed full of people who make me look awesome! I suppose it is a little bit of a reaction against the celebrity status that church leaders sometimes get. Like they are the only reason their church is any good. Piffle, I say.
I met Emma at Newday. I explained to her that we were the best church in Manchester and when she moved up she should just join us without visiting any other churches. Thankfully, she fell for it and joined us.
On here first Sunday she said she was going to bring her friends along. I nodded politely but inside I was a big pile of unbelief (Sorry Emma, I should never have doubted you). Over the next few weeks she brought a long a whole bunch of people, some of them came back and some of them have committed to us.
Now because Emma is Godly and is probably a better Christian than me, we asked her if she would lead a Mission Group for us in her halls. She said she didn’t think she would be able to do it, which is probably the greatest indicator available that she would be an amazing Mission Group leader. So after a few weeks of arm bending she agreed to lead the group. I promised I would bring a crowd of people to get her started and Emma thought could get a few mates along.
On the night of her first group all of my invitees bailed out and Emma got 8 people there. Her crowd included 6 people who had never been to CCM before, and most of them were still in the early stages of working out their faith, if they had any faith at all. In other words, Emma started a proper Mission Group. The best thing I did was get out of the way.
I rebooted this blog last summer and decided that I would use it to chart the progress of the Chapel and my time with Christ Church Manchester. I thought it would be a good place to record my thoughts for my own future reference and, obviously, would be a useful resource for my ghost writer in the distant future (that is a joke).
I also decided that I would be as honest as I could be. I found self promoting self-back-slapping blogs to be a little tedious.
The process of blogging has become useful therapy when things are going spectacularly wrong and a good way of processing when things go well. So I guess I am recommitting to my “honest or nothing” approach. I am aware that sounds a touch self aggrandising, like I am the only honest Christian blogger on the entire internet and…..well…. I am a bit of a ponce, so deal with it and move on.
Anyhoo, CCM:City has started good and proper. Once again we are in the midst of trying to carve something out of nothing. The difference between Sept 2010 and Sept 2009 is the addition of a number of very gifted and driven people. My hope is they carry on making me look good.
Our prayer is that we get 50 people quickly, that the community continues to grow (I love these guys and gals) and that some freaks get saved.
Well, I didn’t barf which is always a good way to start a new church campus/site/location.
There was a whole bunch of us there because we couldn’t use our morning venue so the good people of Christ Church Manchester pitched up at Luther King House.
It was a good night and it was nice to have a packed out room. Our prayer is that by the end of the year (academic) we will have 50 people at CCM:City and 100 at CCM:East. Simple.
Ps here is another Spotify play list of what I wish church worship music sounds like but doesn’t. Yet.
So Sunday evening sees us rebooting The Chapel as CCM:City.
We decided that to effectively reach Manchester Christ Church Manchester needs to be a multi-site church. Some churches go multi-site because they have filled their venues. We, on the other hand, are going multi-site because we need to reach out! We need/want more people. A church that doesn’t want more people is a little weird.
As usual, I am monumentally pumped! We are doing (and planning) some ludicrously cool stuff in Manchester and I often feel like I am merely a spectator on someone else’s journey.
So CCM:City boots off on Sunday at 6pm. Not being there would be foolish.
What else are we planning? Well how about open mic nights every Sunday evening after church? Or a monthly Dubstep night? How about some punk gigs? What about some indie-schmindie gigs? That will do to start with.
Pause. Deep Breath. Try not to vomit.
(By the way, one day the worship at CCM:City will occasionally sound like this – http://open.spotify.com/user/timsimmonds/playlist/6v9x37X0ctQqguzXSubp3X)
This BBC article has genuinely ruined my day – Self harm figures set to rise in Manchester
Christians need to be careful when talking and writing about this sort of stuff. Sweeping statements and generalisations only serve to make us look ill-informed and a bit naive. So lets just say, I love my city and I sincerely hope that some of these people show up at my church.