The Revd Paul Smith gives four talks exploring the theme “The Lamb of God.”
A weekend of Bible exposition, encouraging worship and prayer, great fellowship and wonderful hospitality. Come for the weekend or for a day.
When proposals for the new housing developments to the south of Loughborough town became public, Churches Together in Loughborough saw the potential for mission. As part of the development, space was to be made available for shops, healthcare provision, a community hall and a place of worship. After lots of discussions, the Anglican and Methodist Churches agreed to be the primary resourcers of a mission project based on the estates. So I was appointed with a remit to create community and a 5-year plan, with an aim to be a leading part in the construction of this community space. By the time I arrived the housing market had slowed dramatically and so the context was already different. We had to begin the listening process and try to discern the vision for this mission work.
Very quickly a small group of resident Christians from different denominations came together and, using Nehemiah as an example, began to fast and pray for the area. Not knowing exactly where to begin, we began to wait on God, trying to be patient. This verse spoke very strongly to us: Habakkuk 2:3 ‘But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.’
Soon we began to go into the community in different ways:
Open community events
Prayer structures have been various, from fortnightly prayer walking to Community Prayers, which we hope to develop to make more accessible. We’re currently looking at encouraging more prayer links from supporters.
The Resident’s Association
Listening – through this variety of engagement with the community we have heard concerns raised about:
Alongside this engagement with the community, we have been continually exploring the longer-term vision for mission in this area, which began by naming the project Reside with a strap line of Community, Relationships, Faith. The name Reside speaks about the incarnational ministry of the resident Christians in the area but also hints at Revelation 21 verse 3, ‘Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.’ We want to be a part of realising this promise for the people of South Loughborough.
And so our vision is for Reside to be an evolving Christian network, one that provides safe and welcoming places to explore the Christian faith, care for the community and collectively expresses each element of Church.
We envisage people becoming involved with Reside through one of two avenues: either through the developing Cell-Church structure or through the Network of activities serving the community.
Cell Church – open to Christians and non-Christians, but this is their Church.
A space to:-
The Network – open to Christians and non-Christians, as part of serving their neighbours, but they are still part of other Churches if appropriate. Currently the Network links are the biggest but the hope is that, as Cell Church grows, this will balance out and eventually Cell will be the biggest inflow. Though Reside will never be exclusive, as we will never suit everyone’s needs, we do want to encourage and enable service in the local community.
So next we are hoping to grow the Cell-Church. We want to set-up a Community Bus project that will become a mobile meeting place, serving some of the needs raised in the area and strengthening further the network of resident Christians serving in the area. Also we need to confirm the long-term sustainability for Reside as we are already half way through the initial 5-year grant funded term.
It is an exciting project to be involved with and there is so much potential for development, but it is the discerning of what is God’s will that is the greatest challenge. Please pray for us!