COMMUNITIES

Starting Jan/Feb 2023

The church is not a building or a meeting.

The church is a people and a community. And those people are called to demonstrate God’s kingdom and make disciples of all nations. Including our own streets and neighbourhoods.

As a church community, we believe we are called to join other churches across the Nene Valley in reaching the diverse, wonderful communites that exist here – from villages of 300, to towns of 100,000, to a street of a dozen homes.

To do this, we all need to join God is His mission. And it may sound scary… but we think it might be remarkably simple. As simple as making a cup of tea for a neighbour, gathering with others who love Jesus and praying for those around us.

We want to start a journey together in January 2023.

AN INVITATION TO US

We believe the Lord is inviting us to join Him in His mission to reach those who don’t know Him. And we want to say an emphatic “YES” to Him. Here are a few of the things we’re doing:

Thinking Geographically

We cannot plan a programme to engage this vast, diverse area we call the Nene Valley. Thankfully, God has given us homes across the region! Are there people in your village, town, neighbourhood, or even your street you could begin to form a Jesus-community with?

Food & Time Together

We want to take time to eat together, hear each other’s stories, share our pain, our joy, pray for one another, encourage one another in the Scriptures, engage in practices for each other’s good. It’s simple stuff, but it’s vital. We also want to take Communion /The Lord’s Supper /break bread in these spaces.

Rebuild ‘The village’

“It takes a village to raise a child”. Most of us have heard this phrase. Provided we can do it safely and well (and we will scrap this element if needed), we want to invite our children and teenagers into our communities, to be actively part of our church and joining us on a journey toward Jesus.

Freedom to Respond

The Nene Valley is a diverse area. And our streets within those communities can be even more diverse. We want to give groups freedom to respond to the Lord’s invitation to meet the needs of their communities and engage with them. We will have a bit of a framework as to what this looks like – we want to be careful to maintain unity in the body

UNITY.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

Changes like these, where we want to empower people can lead to division, so we will be careful to provide a bit of a framework our groups can use to embrace one another, embrace disagreement, embrace those the Lord invites.

These may mean at times sacrificing our own wants, needs and preferences for one another.

NOW WHAT?

We would love to hear from those who might have a bit of a heart for a street, a community, and village or town; from those who have a heart for encouraging and discipling others; or those who just feel a ‘nudge’ from the Holy Spirit to respond. As we go on, we’ll make some invitations and have some conversations.

Chris and Clare Evans are going to take a lead on our Communities and shape them. If you fill out this initial form below, we’ll make some responses with time.

Timeline

We recognise for some this is a significant change.

We would invite everyone to seek the Lord and pray, particularly where there is an unsettling.

Jan/Feb 2023

We would like to see some of these Communities begin, and walk together through trial, error and success!

In this time, our current Groups may wish to continue for a season and walk together toward change. We recognise some of our current Groups may have questions, or need time to sacrificially part ways.

Sept 2023

By September 2023 we would love to see all of our current Groups wound down and those folks in Communities – enjoying time with others, engaging in mission, praying and seeking the Lord together.

Some of our Groups may get ‘repurposed’ – e.g. our Walking or Craft groups may take a different focus in community life etc.

LISTEN AGAIN

We first talked about these changes on Sunday 6th November. Tom introduced some of the changes to us – listen to the talk again below.

we want to make disciples across the nene valley

Now, we definitely won’t do this alone. There are wonderful churches and communities who love Jesus throughout the Nene Valley, and we want to play our part, as the Holy Spirit invites us. To do what? Make disciples and see God’s kingdom come.