Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Posts tagged “multi-site church

Three Years and a Curveball

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.

Advertisements

A response to Andrew Wilson

I have become an avid reader of the What You Think Matters blog. It is often thought provoking, witty and the tone is just right. There is nothing worse than theology by angry/aggressive/annoying theologians. The writers on WYTM are none of those things and because they are involved in church leadership in some way I feel like they understand the practical reality of life (unlike some theologians).

So I was very interested by Andrew Wilsons article of Church leaders obsession with Church size . As usual it was very well written and thought provoking. As a church leader who obsesses a little to much over numbers I thought I would respond.

Cast your minds back to valentines day in 2010. CCM:City (or the chapel as it was known then) had been going for 6 months. We started with 7 or 8 people and frankly we still only had about 7 or 8 people. Every now and again a few visitors would turn up and we thought revival was breaking out. It wasn’t. The visitors would take the free drink, back away slowly and then change their mobile phone number.

On Feb 14th 2010 there was 6 of us sat in the top floor of a freezing cold vodka bar in Fallowfield. The meeting usually start at 7pm and by 8pm I realised that this week was going to be quieter than usual and usually we were pretty quiet. This was my magnificent church plant. 6 people and a headache. I remember the week after wondering if I had lost my mind. That was probably the lowest point.

Just over two years later it is easy to look back and smile (I have’t quite managed to laugh about it yet) but the reality is that when you plant a church (a site of a church in our case) then numbers are very important. If nobody turns up to meetings, joins a mission group or joins the community then you don’t have a church plant you just have an acute sense of loneliness. ACUTE.

Andrew suggest 4 reasons that leaders obsess over numbers, which I will offer my opinion on –

1. The first is that, in a group of churches where the size of congregation drives income and hence the staff base (which is not true in many more established denominations), larger congregations provide greater job security and opportunities to specialise for their leaders, two things which many (though by no means all) church leaders aspire to.

Well, yes Andrew is probably correct but in all honesty I suspect that this thinking starts a little while into a church plant. To start with you just want the thing to live! When there was 6 of us all I wanted was there to be 7 of us, specialising to my gifting had not even entered my thinking. To be honest my gifting largely consists of badgering people to come to church until they give in.

2. A number is one of the most rapid ways of placing your church in some sort of context for people who have never been there.

Absolutely bang on. When asked by another church leader “How it going?” I know they want to know how many people I have (at least that is what I assume they are asking). All sorts of internal assessments and judgements then get made. That is certainly what I do. Some repentance may be required!

3. It is hard to argue with the fact that in general, and all other things being equal, more gifted leaders lead larger churches.

This is hard to disagree with but I think I am going to disagree. I know a few guys who lead churches of a 1000 + and they are gifted in ways that I can’t even dream of. However, the gifting required to get a church from 0 to 50 is completely different and probably undervalued (I would say that though). In fact getting a church from 0 to 5 is hard enough so I am not sure Andrew is being fair.

4. The main reason we are tempted to measure leadership success by church size is simple: it’s because it’s easy to count.

Absolutely, and I love the alternative suggestions that Andrew suggests for measuring the health of a church but every church leader will still count people.


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.


The Chapel Changes

So recently I have been tempting you with nuggets of news. I have suggested that The Chapel is going to undergo some changes, a bit of nip and tuck.

Well from September we are going to start meeting on a Sunday evening at Luther King House while the mornings will stay at Hyde Town Hall. The evening meeting will be called CCM:City and our morning meeting will be CCM:East. The Chapel is going to morph into something else entirely.

I will unpack what these changes mean over the next few blog posts but to start with its worth covering a little bit of background that give some context to the change.

We started The Chapel in September 2009. Since we started we have seen 60 ish first time guests come along who would never otherwise heard of or have come to a Christ Church Manchester meeting. Up until March 2010 we averaged about 14-17 people on a Sunday night. Since the beginning of March we have been getting 20-25. So we are definitely getting somewhere.

We decided that the by moving to a slightly more conventional venue (the room we are using is actually an old chapel) and becoming a fully fledged site/location/campus of CCM we will be able to appeal to more people and will gain the freedom to turn The Chapel into something more outreach focussed.

I will write more over the week. Honestly, I am dead excited about how this going to work out. It feels like we are trying to be genuinely innovative in a City famed for innovation.