Friday, 21 January 2011

Back to the Future

At the end of 2010 I wrote a letter to Pastor Gary of Hillsong London to update him of our progress over the year, BUT I wrote it looking back on 2011. I wanted to set in writing some of the things that we as a church will work hard to accomplish.

Steven Covey in his fantastic book "7 habits of highly effective people" stated that we should start with the end in mind. Andy Stanley also said that we should ask ourselves "what do we want people to become?" then work out the steps to get there. So take a read of what happens in 2011 and then let's begin to make it work.

31 December 2011

Hi Pastor Gary,

I thought I would give you an update on this last year of 2011. It has been a year of quite significant change for us in many areas. We have moved into our own building and at the same time made moves to make sure the church community is staying in the local community. Many of our Connect Groups are held in places where the public hangs out. We have also established Connect Groups that meet at different times to cater for different work & relationship needs. We have established a great relationship with Costa & Starbucks and also a few of the local pubs.

Our year started out with people seeking God in our prayer meetings and personal devotional time. We don't ever want to become a church that is dependant on our own efforts but relies on the Holy Spirit. We have always tried to give our best for God and then let Him do the rest.

Our Vision month of April was amazing. We started a 40 day fast on 1 March & finished on the day we took our Heart for the House offering. People fasted all sorters of things, food, social networking, television, coffee. It was great to see everyone's commitment to not only the fast but to seeking God throughout that period.

Our Heart for the House offering taken in April saw us be able to make the new building into an amazing place for us to meet and make an impact in the community. The building has a fantastic auditorium and place for Kids church. It has also enabled us to grow our United Youth and see leaders growing from our youth. Our campuses have expanded across the north east and into Tanzania. We now have 4 campuses with another one planned for next year. The Cowgate campus started with a connect group then the campus pastors moved onto the estate in order to have a local impact.

We have started a Wealth creation scheme. This is just people coming up with ideas to increase the finance within the church. The vision is always bigger that the resources, so as we increase our vision we need to increase our resources. Our increase in finances have enabled us to add two new members to our staff team. This has helped us to effectively pastor our campuses better and also the bolster our finance and administration processes.

Our "Double in Year" initiative has seen a huge increase right across the church. Because people are taking Jesus to the world, they are then able to bring people to our church community. We have doubled the number of Connect Groups, the number of people being baptised, the giving has seen huge increase and the number of people coming to Jesus for the first time has doubled.

As people are being added to the church community in all the campuses every week, not only are they being added but they are also being discipled. People are taking responsibility not only for their own growth but also for those around us in our community. People are getting together and helping each other pray, read the bible, serve in church and serve in the community. We have also given back the main responsibility for baptising people to the connect groups but mainly to the people who bring their friends in. They bring their friends & see them saved, they then have the privilege of baptising them.

We have programs that help with discipleship but it has been more about building a culture of discipleship. This has been particularly evident in our Men's Life. Our Breakfast Club has empowered the men to find their voice in discussions and the Real Men teaching nights have set a foundation for our identity as men in the church. We are now catching the established Sisterhood pretty fast.

Culture building has continued to be one of our priorities. We are also building a strong culture of hospitality and adding value to people by serving. Servolution has become a point of impacting our community through meeting needs where we can. All areas and generations in church life are involved in some way in Servolution. We have encouraged everyone to do what they can. There is no reason why everyone in our church community can't be involved. We have been able to increase our contribution to the local community where the building is as we now don't have to spend hours setting up and packing down. Through Servolution we have been able to distribute food and clothes to those in need, clean gardens and houses and reduce incidents of crime in Cowgate and the estate around the new building.

Our schools ministry kicked off this year in 1 school with Shine for girls & Strength for the boys. Some of them have started coming along to our Fuse & Wildlife nights. We are also starting to build a good reputation with the Head-teacher and teachers

We have not moved away from the 5 core values that we started out with. We still teach and model generosity, servanthood, submission, excellence and most importantly living for the cause of Christ. Our culture of connecting has gotten a lot stronger this year. We have moved away from just doing services on Sunday to making sure we use the day to connect and add value to each other's lives, especially the guests that walk through our door.

The Hillsong conferences have continued to help move us forward and give us a picture of what we are part of. People were making plans and putting things in place at the beginning of the year to make sure they could get there. It was fantastic to see that NCLC are still the largest sending, yet again beating Tom Rawls' church in Norwich.

Our church community is known for it's passion, it's generous nature and it's commitment to connection. I love that. But we are mostly know for our love for Christ and each other. We are called radical, weird, extreme and even fundamentalist by those that don't understand us. The great thing is we are not being ignored.

We are a church where the people who walk through our doors feeling broken are accepted. We are a church where people are finding their fit. We are a church were people are finding Christ and being made disciples.

Jon Cook

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad