Onwards and upwards! Part 1: Team

We had a great ‘Vision Focus’ evening on Wednesday at The Coign Church. During the evening we highlighted a number of changes we’ve made and are continuing to make, and we also looked at our goal of helping people to …

“… Belong … Believe … Become”

Thank you for all the positive feedback on the evening

In this blog I want to mention three team changes:

Darren and Lois Forsdyke

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It’s a Petch – Forsdyke reunion!

On the evening it was my privilege to introduce Darren and Lois Forsdyke. Darren starts with us full time as Director of Operations from January 1st (although we might give him that day off as a Bank Holiday! 🙃)

Darren will be taking responsibility to lead and manage all the operational aspects of The Coign Church, which is a role we have a huge need for. He’ll also provide a ‘PA’ (Personal Assistant) function to me so I can be more effective in my role. So from January, or very soon afterwards, if you e-mail me … you’ll actually be emailing him! You have been warned …

Darren is taking on a huge role, and I know he’s well up to it; we worked together for the last 11 years! This will be a huge blessing for the Coign Church and we’re totally delighted to have this wonderful couple on board.

Nathan and Jules Silvester

During our evening we announced that Nathan Silvester will be leaving us at the end of this year. He and Jules are moving to Alton where he will be joining the team at Harvest Church in Alton as Associate Pastor.

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Nathan and Jules: we’re sure gonna miss ’em

Nathan has served us faithfully for more than nine years as our Youth Worker, and is ready for this new challenge. He will be missed! Harvest Church is another Commission Church; its good to remember that we are in mission together as a family of churches.

Their last Sunday at the Coign will be January 14th, so don’t miss the chance to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ to them both.

That leaves us with a question of course …

“What will happen with the youth work?”

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Ben and Nancy Martin – exciting times!

We answered that question too:

With immediate effect Ben Martin, who has been our children’s worker for a few years now, will be stepping up to a new role as

“Youth and Children’s Pastor”

This will be significant change of role for Ben and he will need to work differently; he’s also going to need extra operational support … so maybe Darren is arriving in the nick of time!

Ben will be working through lots of other people within the Church to make sure our children’s and youth work are as fantastic as they can possibly be. I know he has a heart full of passion fore young people and ahead full of exciting ideas.

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Becca and Ben Corbett – youthful always

Two very key players in all this will now be Ben and Becca Corbett, who will be taking on the primary leadership role for the youth in particular.

This is not an employed position, and they will be doing this as volunteers while still doing their day jobs. It was great to hear from Ben Corbett all about how they want to move the youth work forwards, building on the past and taking us into the future. Exciting times are ahead for our young people!

One more thing:

I want to say, “Thank you Coign Church”

Thank you for being receptive to change.

Thank you for your commitment to our future.

Thank you for coming on this journey together.

One thing is for sure:

We are a church that handles change well!

And in my next blog I plan to talk about where we’ve got to with our building plans, so look out for that.

Our Newest Signing

It takes a team to build a church!

The Coign Church employs a fantastic team of people; it’s a joy working with them. On Sunday evening I announced our newest team member, joining us from January 1st – here is the info again, just in case you missed it or need a reminder:

Running light

One of things Malcolm Kayes said to me on handing over leadership of The Coign Church is that the team has been running “one person light” for a while. Malcolm chose not to fill that position before I arrived, to give me the chance to work out who I wanted. I seriously appreciate that!

As a team we’re now clear about who The Coign Church needs, so from Jan 1st Darren Forsdyke will be joining us as “Director of Operations”.

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Darren and Lois Forsdyke (He’s the one in the church leader’s shirt)

Why do we need this role?

Large churches often find they need roughly a 50:50 split between pastoral and operational people employed; currently we lean much more towards the pastoral. As a result this impacts our church life – for example:

  • Our event management is often done by elders
  • Our administrative people are flat out busy almost all the time and often work beyond their paid hours
  • Our trustees carry more practical operational responsibility than they might
  • Our church volunteer involvement in administration is low
  • There is no “PA” (personal assistant) to support me in my role
  • Our equipment, buildings and facilities could sometimes be a little better managed and a little better maintained

Additionally, we’re about to embark on a significant building project which has practical, financial and spiritual implications affecting everything!

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Time for a building project!

A genuine need

So there is a genuine need for someone extra, with a high level of experience and expertise in operations, and Darren is lined up to join us.

Darren has worked alongside me at Grace Church for the last 11 years, directing our operations and helping the church grow from a tiny church plant into a large and thriving multisite church. (He’s also had various other roles in business management and church employment over the years … but you can ask him about that yourself!)

We anticipate Darren taking responsibility for the whole of the operational side of our church life … all of it. He will be leading and managing a team that will include the other operational people – both employed and volunteer – and we anticipate that team growing and not shrinking! We need more resources in this area, not less!

A personal call

Darren has his own story to tell and his own sense of calling to The Coign Church. He feels led to move here and work with me and the team. Feel free to ask him about that when you meet him, and to send him friend requests on Facebook!

Family wise, Darren and Lois have two daughters. The eldest is married, lives in Chichester and leads the youth ministry at Grace Church along with her husband. The youngest lives and works in London and is part of a Newfrontiers Church there.

Do keep the whole family in your prayers as this moves forward, and Darren’s house is now on the market too – so we have two house sales to pray for!

And for those keen to meet Darren …

He and Lois will be joining us for our Vision Focus evening on Wednesday 6th December, 8pm at The Coign. See you there!

A New Season

It was exciting to be at The Coign on Sunday and to be welcomed into church membership … at last! I’ve missed being part of a church family over the last few months.

Contributions were brought during both Sunday meetings that mentioned it being a ‘new season’ for the church. Life moves in seasons, and each season has it’s own unique qualities. Here are three new things that can I see in this new season:

1. A New Role

I started my new role at The Coign Church last Friday. My first day began with a 7am  prayer meeting, followed by a trip to a coffee shop, and I can’t think of a better way to start! It was great that Jo could join us this week. On that note anyone is welcome to join us – 7am each Friday @ The Coign; it’s a good meeting.

My sabbatical has ended now and real life has begun again. What a joy to be released to work for a church; some days I think I have the best job in the world!

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My lovely new office space!

It’s a new experience to be leading a church I haven’t planted myself. There are so many new things for me to get my head around: a new house to live in … a new town to discover … a new church family to get to know … new ways of doing things … new people to work with … new systems and procedures … new challenges and opportunities.

It’s both exciting and challenging, but at least picking up after Malcolm’s 27 years of excellent leadership gives me a solid platform to build on.

2. New church offices

There will be changes ahead for us as a church, and one early change has been setting up new offices in The Coign building – and they are looking good; feel free to call in and see for yourself.

 

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Dean – also looking good!

A huge thank you goes to everyone involved in making the offices happen! There are too many people to mention them all by name, but special mention goes to Dean Guy who was the brains behind the design, and who did incredibly well to get things ready in time for 1st September.

 

It’s going to be different for all of us working in an open plan context, but it has potential to help in several ways, including:

  • A nicer environment to work in
  • A better sense of being a team
  • A greater feeling of camaraderie
  • An easier flow of information
  • More opportunity for collaboration
  • Increased day to day interaction
  • Closer accountability
  • Lower running costs 🙂
  • New moment by moment discipleship possibilities
  • And much more

It also creates a good place for volunteers to get involved … and if you fancy doing an Impact Year then let us know asap – we have space for two people.

I believe these offices can help us move forward in our mission together as a church, and ultimately that’s what it’s all about. They also free up the house and the garage as we start to consider what’s next for us in terms of buildings …

3. A New Team

Well … sort of a new team! Certainly a new team leader and some new ways of working together!

On Tuesday we had a team day in the offices to pray, talk about teamwork and discuss the future. A highlight for me was seeing the huge creativity of team members in response to an activity we did together that required people to ‘bring in an object’. The details of what was said remain confidential, but the items were certainly interesting:

The team I’ve inherited are a real blessing. I’m impressed with how hard people work, how dedicated they are and how much they desire to see the church move forward. Why not take the time to say “thank you” to some of them this week, and let them know that they’re appreciated for the job that they do?