One Man, Two Roles

Martin Woodier has been commissioned as the new Co-Pastor of a church in North Yorkshire. But a key aspect of his role will be to lead a completely different church in West Yorkshire. We asked him to share the details.

At the end of September, my Commissioning Service took place at South Craven Evangelical Church. As well as serving as Co-Pastor, half of my role is very specific: to lead a new church plant five miles away in the town of Keighley.

When you look at church planting, it is sometimes done in a “missionary” style, where a church planter announces that he will be starting a church and seeks to rally troops from near and far to enlist alongside him.

South Craven Evangelical Church (SCEC), on the semi-rural border of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Lancashire, is taking a different route. It is a church planting a church.

Assessing the gospel need

SCEC has been concerned for a number of years for areas which are quite distinct from the nest of villages in which it is found. They are all 15-30 minutes’ drive away on good, open roads. This has been heightened in the past six or seven years as quite a few people have been travelling in from three directions to gather with the church.

After a lot of careful thought and prayer the church became convinced that the way forward was to take on an extra full-time Co-Pastor who would, rather unusually, have a split role between:

  1. Helping to strengthen the preaching, pastoring, training and leadership of the growing church in South Craven, working alongside the Pastor Paul Gamston.
  2. Leading a church plant in Keighley, working with the people from the church who already live in that area.

It was clear, both from the point of view of what the current church needs are and from the point of view of simultaneously leading a church plant, that this was a role for an experienced Pastor who would add to the strength of the team.

That is where I come into it! 30 years of pastoring Bethel Church in nearby Otley counted as sufficient experience!

If current terminology had been around back in 1986 when I started out in Otley it would have been called re-planting or revitalisation. We had ten members (including my wife, Kim, and me) and a maximum of 15 gathering on a Sunday morning. The church grew in fits and starts but overall slowly. Last summer I handed over the pastoral role to Chris Haley who I had been training there for three years.

Plans for Keighley

In my new role I get to serve alongside Paul which is a great privilege. We have developed a good friendship over the past few years and we’re confident that we can work well together. We are clear between us and with the church that Paul is the lead Pastor of South Craven Evangelical Church, with me supporting him and sharing the ministry with him, taking the leading role when he is not available. I am the lead Pastor for the church plant.

The work in Keighley is truly at an embryonic stage. We have about 14 adults and 14 children who we can be fairly sure will start the church. Keighley is a very different place to the villages of South Craven. It is closer geographically to South Craven but closer socioeconomically and ethnically to central Bradford (10 miles away).

We have a lot of praying, thinking, planning and plotting to do as we see the best way to reach a town which is very diverse and largely segregated.

So please would you pray for us? Our aims are:

  • To reach the lost in the large town of Keighley in a culturally appropriate way.
  • To create a community of gospel people in and for Keighley.
  • To love each other as we love Jesus, knowing this has an impact for the Gospel (John 13:34-35).

Adapted from an original post on the FIEC website

Trinity Church Scarborough – October news for prayer

Dear friends,
Thank you again for your prayers. We are excited to say that we have continued to see God at work through his Word and the Holy Spirit. We are still burdened to see more people come to repentance and put their faith in Jesus.
We really do value your prayers for the continual work here at Trinity Church Scarborough and we hope that you find this prayer update encouraging.

  • Praise God that the Celebration weekend went really well! Many people came to each of the events and heard the gospel. We met new people, built on already existing relationships and have had the chance to follow up with a number of people. Thank God for the success of this weekend and pray for us as we follow up with different people whether Christians or not.
  • We are still encouraged about the new teenage girls bible study. There are 5 girls attending and we ask that you pray that they all truly come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Pray for the leaders to discern well how to pray and speak to each of the girls as needed.
  • We really want to  keep evangelism a priority and we ask that you would pray for an emboldening of the church family as we seek to speak to people about Jesus. Please also pray for the evangelism team as they seek to coordinate different events and outreaches.
  • Give thanks for the Church family, it is a delight to see people from different church backgrounds united together in our love for Jesus. Please pray we would learn to love each other well and learn to speak God’s word more into each other’s lives.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:7-8

Love in Christ,
Trinity Church Scarborough

Celebration Weekend – Trinity Church Scarborough

I’m writing to let you know more about a special weekend that is fast approaching in the life of Trinity Church. We are running a Celebration Weekend at the end of September. This is an opportunity to celebrate all that God has done so far and a chance for us to promote our existence in this beautiful seaside town.
In short, here’s what is happening:
Friday 29th Sept (8-10pm). A fun quiz with great prizes and a short talk from me on ‘The Big Questions of Life’
Saturday 30th Sept (2-4.30pm). A community fun afternoon with our celebration service and afternoon tea
Sunday 1st October (10.30-11.45am). A guest service with preacher Bishop Andy Lines
We are so grateful for all your prayers for the growth of the gospel here at Trinity Church. Here are a few suggestions of how you can pray for this event.
  • Pray earnestly for God to bring new people along to all the events
  • Pray the congregation will scatter invitations widely and liberally to their friends, neighbours and colleagues
  • Pray the congregation will come to all the events if they can – even if they are not their cup of tea. Their presence will boost numbers and give them a chance to talk to new people.
  • Pray that local people will start coming to church as a result, with a keenness to find out more about Jesus
  • In order to promote these events we’re hoping to be on local radio, have an article in a local newspaper, and will definitely spread the news on Facebook and have plans to be in the town centre over the next three weeks. Pray these activities are fruitful.
Some of you may be keen to join us for the celebration weekend. Saturday is the ideal day to come so you can be part of your own congregation on the Sunday. If you are planning to pop across then can you let us know so we can estimate numbers for catering.
Love in Christ,
Lee McMunn
Senior Minister

News from Trinity Church, Scarborough

There are a million things to do but only one thing is truly needed! Sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing his words is that one thing (Luke 10:38-42). Trinity Church Scarborough exists with this one aim: “To know Jesus and make him known” and so we seek to call the people of Scarborough to repent and trust Jesus with their lives so that they might come and sit at the feet of Jesus. We also call each other, as those committed to Trinity Church Scarborough, to continually sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to his words! As we get to know Jesus through his word and make Jesus known through his word, our prayer and striving has been and continues to be that at the center of all we do is a serious and joyful commitment to his word!

It has been an exciting few months as a new church in Scarborough and whilst there has been a lot to do, without doubt, the greatest joy has been the response of people to the word of God! We have had the Joy of seeing a lady profess saving faith in Jesus Christ and the joy of seeing believers from a diversity of church backgrounds find unity in the gospel of Jesus and the authority of his Word!

We started meeting together on Sundays back in May and if we thought it would be a slow start, how wrong we were! From our first Sunday gathering we had many visitors and it has been wonderful to see how many of these visitors have become active members of our church family. We began with little else formally other than meeting together on Sundays but the flow of believers that were interested continued and that flow has only just began to turn into a trickle. This culminated in our “Count Me in Breakfast” which gave an opportunity for us to clearly run through the vision and priorities of Trinity Church. For many it was an important marker and provided an opportunity for people to clear up questions and make a commitment to being part of our local church family. Our original “core team” has now become a growing church family of over 30 adults that longs to sit at the feet of our Lord Jesus and listen to his words.

At Trinity Church we would like to think that the door is open to anyone and amazingly we have seen believers and unbelievers gather with us on Sundays. Despite this we are aware that leaving the door open is not enough and we want to be a church committed to making Jesus known and so the phrase “taking it up a gear” has not only come into play as we began our four “Growth Groups” (more than the two groups we expected to start) but has also referred to the beginnings of some of our serious evangelistic endeavors. Wonderfully we have seen some come and hear the gospel on Sundays and we pray others will come to a whole host of other events and activities we will put on in the Autumn. Alongside this we have also desired and sought to go and share the gospel! We have seen this happen relationally as members of our church have met with unbelievers and worked through the Essentials and Identity resources and also in the form of “cold contact” as some of us have been out with Trinity Church leaflets, Essentials books and having very positive conversations with people at the football ground and town center. Even more recently we have been excited to have United Beach Missions back in Scarborough for a week. This has proven to be another exciting opportunity to make Jesus known to both Scarborough residents and holiday and day visitors to Scarborough.

Our celebration weekend will begin on Friday 29th September and finish with a 10:30am service on Sunday 1st October. We continue to pray that we will see many people throughout Yorkshire come to know salvation in Jesus!

News of the Scarborough Church Plant

Thank you for your prayers as things continue to move forward with Trinity Church Scarborough. It is vital that we remain humbly dependent on the God of Salvation as we seek proclaim the gospel to many.

 

Please continue to give thanks for the newcomers we’ve had since starting over a month ago. We have seen both Christians and non-Christians coming along to see what the church is about. We would love you to pray for our Count me in Breakfast on 2nd July which  will give people the chance to learn more about Trinity Church and we pray that as a result some would commit to joining the church family.

 

Give thanks for the number of people who want to belong to our new Growth Groups (small groups), and please pray for wisdom as we plan where and when to run them. We ask that God would use these times to help us chew over the sermon, delight in God more and apply what he has said to our lives.

 

Please also pray for our evangelistic endeavours. Please pray for us as we hand out Welcome Leaflets and other gospel resources at the opening game of the new Scarborough Athletic Football Ground which is just around the corner from our Sunday venue. Pray also that many will join our evangelism training which will be followed by the Essentials course which we will run on Sunday evenings in July.

Many thanks, Trinity Church Scarborough

Can you help a new church initiative for Doncaster?

Central DoncasterSt Mary's Wheatley is one of the areas identified by Gospel Yorkshire as an area of spiritual need and opportunity.  So we are thrilled to hear that the Church of England Diocese of Sheffield  is supporting a new work in St Mary’s, Wheatley.  The work will be headed by Andy Thomas, presently Associate Vicar of St Matthew’s in Cambridge.

Please pray for this initiative – that workers will be raised up; that Andy and Amy will settle quickly into their new church; and that Andy will enjoy fellowship, support and encouragement from the other evangelical churches already established in Doncaster.

You can contact Andy and get all the details here

Pathway to Planting (part 2)

Our Assistant Director, Daniel Grimwade, continues his short series of posts on the 5 steps of the Gospel Yorkshire Pathway.  You can get part 1,  where Daniel explains how we identify needy areas, here.

 

2. Define the approach

 

For the church plant to begin, there will need to be suitable workers and a definite approach outlined for what is to be accomplished. Across Yorkshire there are lots of church networks and groupings, many whom are interested in seeing new churches planted. The regional coordinators work with the various networks to clarify ownership and responsibility of each proposed new work, thus ensuring maximum prayer support and avoiding misunderstanding between different churches and networks. At this stage, it is not anticipated that all the details will have been worked out but a clear vision of what is being attempted will be clear for those wanting to get involved or support the work.

 

3. Appoint a leader

 

Leadership is key, and having a suitably qualified person or persons to set the vision and get the work underway is vital. On many occasions this step may come before or alongside step 2 (define the approach). As Jesus said, workers come when God’s people pray for the Lord of the harvest to send forth workers. The Lord then uses a variety of ways to connect leaders with those interested in getting the work off the ground – it maybe through a church network or denomination, or by advertising the need and opportunity through channels such as Gospel Yorkshire.

Pathway to Planting (part 1)

At Gospel Yorkshire we want to help churches plant churches right across Yorkshire. But how does that work? How do we go about identifying areas of need? How do we find the leaders necessary to lead church plants? How do we involve local churches? Over the next few days our Assistant Director, Daniel Grimwade, takes us through the Gospel Yorkshire Pathway, our guide to how we work to help churches plant churches in Yorkshire. 

 

When Jesus saw the crowds, we are told “he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. In response Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt 9:36-37). We need to see Yorkshire in the same way that Jesus does, and then heed his instruction to pray for more workers. As we pray we will find our own hearts filled with the compassion of Jesus, and we will become the answer to our prayers as he sends us out. But how does this become a practical reality, so that the outcome is that new churches are planted and more people across Yorkshire hear the good news?

Gospel Yorkshire is a partnership of Gospel churches and individuals working together to plant churches in our county. Our role is a to identify areas that need new churches, help existing churches to support church planting work in areas identified which are near to them, and promote the needs of Yorkshire to those who able to pray and give to the work.  We have developed five steps of the “Gospel Yorkshire Pathway”, which seeks to layout our approach in way which we hope can be repeated many times, so that many local more local churches can be planted across Yorkshire.

 

  1. Identify needy places

 

In one sense, everywhere needs more gospel work, so we need some criteria to help us know where to prioritise. Yorkshire is such a diverse place, with large towns and cities, but also huge rural areas. Coming up with a simple criterion such as ‘40,000 people within an accessible catchment area with no gospel church’ does not work for the whole county. We are defining a gospel church as “a place where non-Christians can hear a clear presentation of the biblical gospel, and where Christians are being pastored towards spiritual maturity”.

 

Following the example of Paul in Acts, we need to prioritise those places of significant population where there is no gospel church, and we need to think carefully about how that works in different places. We have regional co-ordinators in each part of Yorkshire whose role is to be in constant discussion with local church leaders, encouraging prayer and thinking about “where next?” Some of the most unreached groups of people are within the estates and districts of our cities and towns. We must not overlook them just because there is a gospel work in another part of town.

 

Whilst we have a responsibility under God to pray and plan, we recognise this is God’s work and he may open doors for ministry and church planting in places and ways we had not initially thought of. Therefore, we must constantly be open to the leading of the Spirit and seeing what God may have already begun.

 

Check back on Thursday for Part 2, and Friday for Part 3.

East Yorkshire

Iain Clements PhotoMy name is Iain Clements and I am the Gospel Yorkshire rep for East Yorkshire. I am the pastor of Latimer Congregational Church in Beverley.

I moved to East Yorkshire in Autumn 2013, but feel very much at home here! Before coming here I worked in a couple of churches in London (after studying at a theological college there), was a student worker in Durham, and studied and worked in Exeter, after growing up in Gosport.

I am keen to see gospel churches grow and be planted in East Yorkshire. If you would like to get in touch – please do, either through this site, the website of Latimer Church (www.latimerchurch.org.uk) or via Twitter (@IainClements1)

Report – back from Hannah Chan

At the beginning of the year, God burdened my heart for England, my home country, and a longing to serve there over the summer grew in my heart.  I had no idea what that would look like as I honestly did not know of any gospel-centred, Bible-based church in South Yorkshire, which is the county I grew up in.

God amazingly led me to find Gospel Yorkshire on-line, which answered the question in my heart about what the gospel even looked like in S. Yorkshire, and very quickly doors were open for me to go.  God blessed me with the opportunity to be in my home town, Doncaster, not only to visit and stay with family there, but to serve at several local churches that have a desire to reach out to their communities.

Hannah with Ian Fenton (Rotherham EC)

Hannah with Ian Fenton (Rotherham EC)

Though it seems like many in the UK think Christianity is ‘outdated’ and ‘irrelevant,’ it is clear that people are hungry for hope and Truth.  I am humbled and grateful to have ministered alongside people who have not given up on the church and are passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  God was so gracious each day in bringing numerous opportunities to teach, encourage, challenge, and share with a countless number of people from a variety of backgrounds, individually and in large group settings.

I travelled between Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham, and Sheffield, which gave me varied ministry experiences as each community and church is quite different, in culture, needs, and people.  Despite the challenges churches and Christians face in an increasingly secular world, we are to do our part as ministers of reconciliation to bring the good news to all and also stand firmly planted in God’s Word.  I am thankful that there were so many avenues in which to proclaim Christ – whether through open air evangelism, street parties, different age group ministries, food banks, Bible studies, prayer meetings, café outreaches, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFOL) classes, and international student ministry.

In my few months serving in S. Yorkshire, it was evident to me that evangelical witness is lacking in many towns but God also showed me that He is at work; He is mighty to save, and every day is a day of salvation.  May we persevere in the race marked out for us – for the praise, glory, and exaltation of His name.

“Now to HIM who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that ALL nations might believe and obey Him – to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen”                                   (Romans 16:25-27)