Riding the waves

It’s an interesting season at Welcome Church right now with our new building up and running for Sundays; it’s like we’re riding a big wave.

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The Launch Sunday was certainly a day to remember with huge numbers of guests. After our Launch Sunday I really wondered what would happen next.

Would any guests actually come back? 

Would the tide go back out?

In fact we’ve actually seen lots of new people with us every week since then.

Our first baptism meeting was a great Sunday too, with seventeen people being baptised across the two meetings, each wanting to publicly show that they’ve committed their life to Jesus! There were many extra guests with us that week too.

God is impacting lives through Welcome Church, and it’s such a privilege to witness it. Some have come to faith in Jesus, others are at various stages on their journey. I would love us to keep riding this wave together.

The key part that Alpha plays

Whatever place people have reached in their journey of faith, Alpha is an exciting place for them to be. Each week great food is served, good friendships are built and personal faith grows.

Here are some eye opening statistics to consider: nine of the seventeen people baptised last week were on our Alpha+ course which finished last week, and a further five Alpha+ guests are booked in to be baptised on Easter Sunday.

Those statistics tell a compelling story!

Try Alpha

Our TRY ALPHA evening on Wednesday 26th February is really important for us all. We each have the opportunity to invite friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to come along to this evening to give Alpha a try. Your guests will have a brilliant time, so let’s go for it in faith.

Let me really encourage you, in this season of seeing lots of people coming to faith, to do three simple yet crucial things:

  1. PRAY: pray for courage and for opportunity, and pray for God to move as you take a step of faith
  2. SHARE: share the TRY ALPHA video on Social Media. Here is a link to it on Facebook, and here is one for Instagram.
  3. INVITE: invite people personally to come to TRY ALPHA with you. Do aim to bring them along; don’t just expect people to go without you.

When you hear that “Yes” to your invitation, don’t forget to book your place here at www.allwelcome.uk/alpha – it’s easy to do.

Who knows what God may do as we all take these three steps to invite the people God has placed in our lives? Let’s ride this wave together.

WE’VE LAUNCHED!! … What now?

Hi everyone. Dub Everitt here hijacking Steve’s blog again …

Wow!! What a Launch we enjoyed on Sunday!! It was an absolutely brilliant Sunday morning with hundreds at the 9am meeting and even more at the 11am meeting.

Our band led worship brilliantly, Mike’s Welcome Story stirred emotions across the room and Steve’s talk on the Prodigal Son, encapsulated by the video of Derek Redmond being supported around the track by his Dad, powerfully revealed the incredible heart of God to rush towards us.

And what amazing words we heard from our Architect Paul Ginever, who has been hugely impacted by working with Welcome Church on this project, as well as our Mayor Beryl Hunwicks and our MP Jonathan Lord speaking brilliantly on the impact Welcome Church is making. And then a presentation from Compassion topped it off so well, showing the impact we’re making on mothers and babies in Togo as well.

Oh, did I nearly forget … we were joined by hundreds and hundreds of guests across the morning in the adults meeting, as well as Kids Work and Creche also buzzing with guest kids having a great morning.

white-shuttle-spaceship-takes-on-39603The numbers …

At HG Wells recently we have tended to have roughly 560 to 600 people per week on a Sunday across both meetings, including kids and creche.

Our Launch Sunday saw 1,256 people filling the new building, more than doubling our usual numbers!!! And across the board, all of our guests LOVED IT!!!

What

A

Morning!

The question now is this: we’ve launched (BRILLIANTLY!) so what now?

That Launch Sunday has come, and the Launch Sunday has now gone. We’ve done all we can to invite and bring guests. Hundreds came, hundreds went away upbeat and impacted.

And three days later, our big Launch moment is now in the past. So, what next for us individually and as a church? Back to “business as usual”, whatever that may mean to us?

NOOOOOOOO!!!
I believe that what we’ve seen is something God wants to inspire us with. We CAN bring guests to church. They WILL love it. God WILL impact them. This can happen EVERY WEEK. Remember, this is about God changing people’s lives.

We’ve had a taste of what being an inviting church feels like, and the impact it has on those we bring. And God has a big encouragement for us:

“Do it again!”

So, as we look back on our Launch, and also look forward to “Welcome Stories week 2” this coming Sunday and the rest of this 6-week series, there are two encouragements I have for ALL OF US…

1. If you brought guests last Sunday, invite them again this Sunday!

This is an invite we can all make with confidence. We know they’re positive, and they now know what to expect.

But the reality is, only the boldest of our friends will contact us to say, “Please can I come next week?” Many, however, if they were re-invited, may well say “Yes!” So let’s re-invite them. And if they can’t make it this Sunday, see if the following Sunday works.

This doesn’t mean being pushy. But it does mean recognising it will take another invite for our friends to come, so it’s up to us to make the invite.

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2. If you didn’t bring guests last Sunday, the invite door hasn’t closed until our next Building Launch in another 40 years!!!

You may’ve invited people to the Launch and they couldn’t make it. Me and Tanya had 5 families who couldn’t come last Sunday but said, “We’d like to come another time.” We now need to follow up to say, “The Launch was amazing, a shame you couldn’t make it. What Sunday suits you? How about next Sunday?”

You may’ve not got round to inviting, or didn’t feel brave enough to invite. Well, after witnessing how brilliant Sunday was, and experiencing the incredible buzz of hundreds of new people thinking, “Wow! I wasn’t expecting church to be like that!” – I know you’ve now gained the confidence to think, “I can invite, because it’s brilliant!”

A second wave

Our Launch Sunday was a new ‘high water mark’ for us. In our Prayer Meeting on Tuesday morning, Tony Lynch brought a prophetic word about a 2nd wave, specifically of those who DIDN’T come to the Launch, but who we can invite again over the coming weeks and who will say yes!

I believe this is a word from God to nudge us and build our faith to go again.

You and I now know: if my friends come, they’ll really enjoy it. And God will impact them. So let’s make those invites.

God is at work

He’s working through you and me to reach out to our friends, and as they come to church with us over these Sundays He’s at work through His church as well.

I felt God remind me recently that a key role He has for us is to be door-openers – for us to open the door to introduce people to Jesus. From there, Jesus will do what He does – save and transform people! And that’s something we are all called to be a part of: leading people to Jesus, seeing lives changed, seeing Jesus get the glory.

Our invitations to church over these coming Sunday’s are us looking to open that door. So let me encourage you: let’s all make those return invites and those first-time invites, let’s pray and let’s see what God does!

Dub Everitt is Outreach Pastor at Welcome Church.

Launch Sunday … Welcome Church, We Have Lift Off!

On Sunday (19th Jan 2020) Welcome Church marked the official launch of our brand new building in the heart of Woking. We were delighted to see so many people there to celebrate with us.

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Just over 1,200 people attended across the two meetings, and this represents a new ‘high water mark’ for the church. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who was there including friends old and new and, whether you were there or not, everyone is warmly invited to come and join us next Sunday at 9am or 11am.

So much to pack in

It was a fast paced morning:

  • Our worship team kicked us off in brilliant style with some vibrant worship
  • We then remembered some of our 140 year history of buildings, looking back at our journey so far and forward to our future vision
  • We heard from Paul Ginever, the architect who designed the new building
  • The Mayor of Woking, Councillor Beryl Hunwicks, spoke about the importance of community and working together
  • At the 11am meeting Jonathan Lord MP, Member of Parliament for Woking, was present to share some very kind words of encouragement
  • Then Steve Blow, the Finance Director for Compassion UK, presented Welcome Church with a display board to mark the support given to mothers and babies in Togo through our partnership with them
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My Favourite Thing From Sunday 🙂

You can listen to that part of our meeting by clicking here.

Welcome Stories

This week also marked the start of our six week ‘Welcome Stories’ series. Many of us were deeply moved watching Mike’s Story, which showed the difference that Jesus has made to his life, helping him to get free from depression and more. You can watch his powerful story here:

This video should play, but if not please click here to view it via our church website

Towards the end of the meeting I talked about a question, the answer to which profoundly shapes our lives and daily actions:

“What do you think God is like?”

This talk was based on Jesus’ story of The Prodigal Son, and you can hear it by clicking here. For me, it was a morning to remember.

Please come again

I want to invite everyone who reads this to come and join us at Welcome Church over the next five weeks. We will be continuing our Welcome Stories series, and there will be another powerful Welcome Story video each Sunday.

Consider some fascinating facts about how, on average, we spend our lives…

  • We sleep for over 20 years of our lives
  • We watch TV for over 10 years of our lives
  • We spend 5 years 9 months in some form of transportation
  • We spend 7 ½ years eating and drinking

Why not spend 7 ½ hours over these next five weeks joining us for this Welcome Stories series? It will be a great way to brighten up these gloomy January and February Sunday mornings!

Finally, here are some photos from Sunday morning to enjoy:

 

New Building, New Life

This Sunday is the launch of our new Welcome Church building, and what an exciting day it will be. We’ve had a couple of practice runs over the last two Sundays, and I’m anticipating a great weekend.

Let me say up front, if you are reading this blog and you don’t usually come to Welcome Church, please do join us on Sunday at 9am or 11am. There will be free coffee and pastries and we promise a warm welcome for all. Just come as you are; everyone is welcome.

If you need somewhere to park then please head to Philips Court where we have free parking spaces available. The entrance to Philips Court is to the left of the Fire Station on Goldsworth Road (Postcode: GU21 6LE). Stewards will cheerfully direct you on arrival.

Here is a short video with all the details, please do give it a watch:

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it.

Ahead of Sunday, here are a few pointers and encouragements from me …

Let’s look out for every guest:

It can be nerve racking for anyone turning up at church for the first time, so let’s help everyone feel welcome. There will great coffee and warm pastries available before and after both meetings – let’s make sure that guests get to them first, or that we offer to bring something over for them. Some guests may be looking for the children’s work or the toilets – let’s be ready to show them the way. Perhaps you might offer to sit with someone who looks new.

In addition to those you will be bringing yourself, we have a number of ‘VIP’ guests coming including Borough Councillors, the Mayor, our Local MP, the architect, some of the building Contractors, local media and more. Please do speak to them and please help to make everyone feel at home. 

Let’s invite people:

Dub wrote about how to do that on this blog last week. You can read that here. Remember, people are very interested in the new building and want to see it. Many will come along if asked. Let’s go for it in faith.

Let’s fill up from the front and fill up the rows:

We have a lovely big building and it’s going to be fairly full on Sunday. One way to serve people well is to fill up from the front and to fill up the rows, not leaving big gaps. It’s a simple thing that we can all do to show love for others.

Let’s pray:

Whilst the building is beautiful and (in my opinion) impressive, we really want people to be impressed with Jesus. Let’s be praying through this week for God’s presence in everything and his protection over everything.

One more thing: another word about parking

As there will be many guests this week, if you belong to Welcome Church and are not bringing or arriving with a guest then perhaps for this one week, if you are physically able, you might consider parking in Victoria Way Car Park and walking across. We can validate your ticket so you get free parking. This will leave the nearby spaces free for our guests.

If you are serving at both meetings then please do park at Pulse on Cherry Street (GU21 6EE) as usual.

New Building Launch – It’s Time To Invite!

Hi everyone. This is Dub Everitt here, hijacking Steve’s blog to talk to you about our Welcome Church new building launch.

We’ve just had our first Sunday in the new building, and what an amazing time we had! I’m sure we’re all now thinking that if our friends joined us for the launch on 19th January they’d LOVE IT!

A warm welcome with delicious pastries and great coffee. Amazing worship, an inspiring preach and friendly people. And don’t forget: one of the most incredible Welcome Stories ever!

But here’s the thing, the thought of coming to church at all may raise lots of questions or nerves for people. But what if those fears were addressed so that many of our friends could say “YES!” to coming along?

So, what are these areas of uncertainty that they may be feeling, and what can we do to help?

As someone who has never been to a synagogue or a mosque before, here are the TOP 5 fears I would have if someone I know invited me to attend one:

  1. Where is it? / How will I get there?
  2. When I arrive, where do I go? / Where do I sit? / When do I stand?
  3. What will it be like?
  4. What should I wear?
  5. If I don’t enjoy it, will my friend be expecting me to go again?
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Feel the fear …

These fears are very real and understandable but a well considered invite can alleviate them all.

So here are the things YOU would be able to do to help ME to say “YES!” if you were asking me to come:

1. SHOW ME THE INVITE VIDEO: this would help me VISUALISE what it will be like. In the video I can SEE THE BUILDING, see the coffee & pastries, see the chapel, and I can see how amazing it all looks!

So I might say (or send) something like this: “Our Church has a new Building which looks AMAZING! Check out this 30 second fly-through video of what it looks like on a Sunday…”
Alongside you sharing this video on Social Media or messaging it to me, personally show it to me!

2. BE CLEAR: “It’s Sunday 19th January, there’s a service at 9am and again 11am and they’ll both begin and end with coffee and pastries!”

 3. BE HELPFUL: “I’ll pick you up”This will alleviate the fear of “How will I get there?” / “where will I park?” / “What if I don’t spot my friend?” / “Where will I sit?”

If you’re inviting lots of people, great! Come in convoy together!

4. BE REASSURING: “Come and give it a try. I think you’ll really enjoy it – but there’s no pressure to come again if you don’t enjoy it!”

5. BE POSITIVE: If I see that you think it’ll be enjoyable (which it is) it’ll help me feel confident about coming.

6. BE HOSPITABLE“Come back to ours for lunch afterwards!” / “We’ll head to the pub to watch the game afterwards” etc is the sort of thing that would clinch it for me! This extra act of kindness makes such a difference.

In summary, you could try something like this:

“Hey, why don’t you come to our church Building Launch on 19th Jan? It’ll be fun. I won’t be offended if you don’t fancy it, but I think you’ll really enjoy it! It’s 11am till 12.30. If we get there just before we can grab a coffee and pastry. I’ll pick you up on the way … oh, and we’ll head out to Nando’s for lunch afterwards, my treat!”

One final thing to say

81890862_10157620052203046_8693150692006690816_oOur Building Launch is something that would interest LOADS of people who are in our lives, our families, our offices and our streets. This is an invitation to a brilliant and inspiring morning!

EVERYONE IS WELCOME, so let’s spread our invitations wide so that lots of our friends can come and enjoy it!

A Day To Remember

We had our first Sunday meetings in our new Welcome Church building in the heart of Woking this week, and what a great day it was!

Around 750 people attended across the two morning meetings, and some  of the highlights for me included:

  • The sense of joy and excitement after so long waiting for a new building
  • Seeing so many people from our church gathered across the two meetings
  • The excellent coffee and refreshments (thank you Marcus, Sharon and team)
  • The top notch parking arrangements that came together and worked so well (thank you Richard and team)
  • Embarrassing the awesome Mike Deavin by getting him to sit on the stage in an armchair with a blanket whilst I preached (thank you Mike)
  • The amazing worship times … our musicians and sound team were absolutely ON IT! (Thank you team)

I also enjoyed gathering in the evening to pray around the whole site. 

An extra special thank you goes to Charles C for the huge amount of time he put in to make sure that everything worked in terms of sound, lights and visuals.

Next Sunday we will back again at 9am and 11am

You will see some changes to the building that have taken place this week as the builders have continued towards finishing the job.

And in terms of parking please do head to Philips Court again (left hand side of the Fire Station) and you will be directed from there.

Here are a few photos from the day for you to enjoy in case you missed them:

New Year. New Building. Important Information.

This Sunday, January 5th, is an exciting one for us at Welcome Church: we will be meeting in our new building for the first time.

I am incredibly excited!

Here is some important information, including vital information about where to park.

Opening on time

Since September 2018 our plan has been to open on January 5th, and we are delighted to have achieved this target. The contractors have worked really hard over the last few weeks to get things ready and the building looks amazing.

Over the next week or two the builders will finish off a few outstanding items, big and small, and for now we are good to go for Sunday.

Details for this week

This Sunday we will meet at 9am and 11am as we normally do. It will be our regular kind of meeting with brilliant worship, relevant preaching, exciting kids work and a fantastic crèche. As an extra treat there will be coffee, pastries and muffins served both before and after each meeting.

On arrival please use the main front entrance from Church Street West, next to the yellow hoardings. This is the entrance to the original building. You will be directed where to go from there.

Looking round the building

It’s natural to want to look around the whole building, so please be aware that this will NOT be possible on Sunday morning because kids work will be in operation, the kitchen will be in use and the loft is not available this Sunday.

Parents please note that there will be a secure drop off and collection system in place for your children, and you will be clearly directed where to go. For safeguarding reasons, viewing the various kids rooms will also not be possible when dropping off or collecting the children.

However, we are meeting to pray at 6.30pm on Sunday evening, and everyone will be encouraged to view and pray around the whole building then. Please come ready to pray and explore!

Where to park on Sunday morning

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There is some vital and new information here.

First of all,  if you are able to walk or cycle to church, please walk or cycle. This is great for your health and also for the environment.

For this who do need to drive the following will be helpful:

  • For those who are disabled or have significantly limited mobility, our Oaks Road Car Park, with wheelchair accessible entrance, is available to you.  This week there will be 12 spaces available there. Please do not attempt to park here if you do not fit this category as you will be asked to move.

Please note: for safety reasons there is NO PARKING for anyone at all at the front of the building, either on or off the road.

  • For people who are serving at both meetings we have made a special  arrangement with a company called ‘Pulse’ for you to park for free in their spaces, against the Pulse building (Postcode: GU21 6EE). This building is on Cherry Street, which is a left turn next to Halfords Garage on Poole Road. It’s really obvious when you get there and only a 3 minute walk from the building.
  • There are enough spaces there for all who are serving at both meetings, and cars can be parked two deep. If you are not serving at both meetings please do not park at Pulse as you will probably get blocked in and those serving will not be available to move their cars for you. Fair warning given!

For everyone else please head first to Philips Court where we have lots of free parking spaces available. The entrance to Philips Court is to the left of the Fire Station on Goldsworth Road (Postcode: GU21 6LE). Stewards will cheerfully direct you on arrival.

  • Once this car park is full, people will need to park elsewhere, and stewards will let you know if this is the case. Please note that if you prefer to park in Victoria Way Car Park (which is only a 10 minute walk from our building) we can still validate your ticket for free parking!
  • Beware: single yellow lines on the roads near our building mean ‘No Parking’, even on a Sunday. You may get fined, as some have found by painful experience!

Respecting our neighbours

We want to be great neighbours to those who live near us, so please DO NOT park on Oaks Road or Vale Farm Road. And please also be quiet and respectful when you arrive and leave, especially in the evenings.

I’m really looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday for an exciting meeting and the start of a whole new chapter in the life of Welcome Church

 

Merry Christmas – what a year it’s been!

We’ve made it safely to the end of another year (almost), and what a year it’s been for Welcome Church! I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Some highlights

Along the way we’ve built a new building, moved into the annex, held an amazing Gift day, launched Welcome Works, sponsored 141 kids in Togo with Compassion UK, launched The Useful Wood Company, seconded Ben & Nancy to Gateway Church Basingstoke for a while, welcomed Rhea John onto staff, said goodbye to David & Tina Maskell, taken 300 people to Westpoint, finished meeting at the HG Wells Conference Centre, launched and shared our Welcome Stories, published our first book, run an amazing Fun Day, held a fireworks event with around 2000 people, put on a Carol Service for Woking (featuring both the Mayor and our local MP😃) and done a whole lot more too.

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Additionally there’s been the usual, day to day stuff of church life that has carried on, including baptisms, pastoral care, Sunday meetings, worship, preaching, weddings, funerals, kids work, youth work, Life Groups, Alpha courses, ministry to the poor and lots more too.

If you’ve chosen to make Welcome Church your church then we want to say,

“Thank you for being on the journey with us in 2019”.

Looking forward to 2020

2020 is going to be and in incredible year for us. The new building will be launched in January, and there will be many God given opportunities and blessings ahead for us. I’m sure we will also face some big challenges, yet we have a big God who is with us every step of the way. Let’s all start inviting people to the launch event on the 19th.

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Something for us all to do

ImageIf you haven’t done it already, or even if you have, why not take a quiet moment over the next week or so to read Dub’s book, “Caring and Sharing”.

This book is our ‘manifesto for evangelism’ as a church. It’s easy to read, full of great stories and it will only take 1 or 2 hours to read from cover to cover.

I know that if we were all to put the principles in this book into practice in 2020, it would have a huge impact on many lives.

Merry Christmas

I hope you have an amazing Christmas this year, whatever you’re up to. Do take some time out along the way to reflect on the real reason for the season: Jesus coming into the world. Do take time to pray and to thank Him for all he’s done in your life. And I look forward to seeing you all in 2020.

Organised Chaos

Welcome Youth took over our Sunday morning meeting at Welcome Church today and we had a fantastic time together.

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The youth did it all: they led the worship, they hosted the meeting, they did Bible readings, they led us in prayer and they even preached. It was a lot of fun and no lasting damage resulted.

I want to say a huge thank you to them all.

Goodbye

This morning we said a final goodbye to the HG Wells Conference Centre. It was our last meeting there and we will start meeting in our own new building from Jan 5th. We also said goodbye to David and Tina Maskell who will be moving off to Grace Church in Salisbury, where David is starting his new job from January.

Launch Sunday

Dub took a few minutes to talk to us about our launch Sunday on January 19th. It’s going to be amazing and it’s time for us to start inviting people:

Organised Chaos

All in all it was organised chaos, and a whole lot of fun. We were reminded of Sue’s welcome story, from the Carol Service, and encouraged to share it to our social media feeds too.

And what better way to round off our twelve years meeting there than to celebrate communion together?

Here are some pics that sum up lots of what went on today. Enjoy!

Time To Say Goodbye

This Sunday will be our last meeting at the HG Wells Conference Centre as a church, and I’m looking forward to enjoying a great time together. From January 5th we will be meeting in our new building and a new chapter will begin for us.

Welcome Church has been meeting at the HG Wells for just short of 12 years. It’s good to reflect back on all that God has done in the lives of many people over that time. As we say goodbye we will end our time by taking communion together. (And please remember: this Sunday there is only one meeting and it’s at 10am. Don’t get caught out!)

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More than one goodbye

We will have another goodbye on Sunday too as it will be David Maskell’s last Sunday with us as an elder, and David and Tina’s last Sunday at Welcome Church.

We are now in a position to tell people what they are up to next: from January David will be taking on a new pastoral care role at Grace Church in Salisbury, a Commission church led by my friend Simon Redmill. David and Tina will be looking to move house over the coming months. It’s been good to see God’s hand and timing in their next step.

I know that Simon and the church are looking forward to David starting, and the role he is taking on seems to be custom made for him. Obviously it’s a big change for the family to adjust to, so do keep them in your prayers.

Grace Church were only told this news last Sunday, and we didn’t want to share it ahead of them being told. If you want to read more about this move, please click here for a link to Simon Redmill’s blog.

Important Health and Safety Warning

One last thing about Sunday: Welcome Youth are leading through most of our meeting this week. This means that anything could happen and probably will 😮.

Don’t say you weren’t warned 😃