Leading Through This Crisis

Calling all leaders in Welcome Church!

This crisis we are living through is having a huge impact on us all in so many ways: emotional, relational, physical, financial and more.

One of the key areas of impact is actually psychological, but it’s perfectly possible that we can be impacted in significant ways and not even realise it; we can be like fish swimming around in water who don’t even know they are wet!

This Thursday evening (2nd April) we are inviting everyone in Welcome Church who has any level of leadership responsibility to join us for a Zoom seminar and hangout.

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We are going to talk about the impact of this current crisis on both ourselves and the people we’re leading, with a special focus on the psychological impact this is having and how we can respond to that well.

We will talk from a Biblical perspective about how we can first help ourselves, and then help those around us to thrive during this time. You won’t want to miss it!

Join us online from 7.30pm for a catch up time, followed by teaching content from 8pm with Q&A afterwards. We will finish by 9.30pm.

Leaders: please bookmark this time in your diary now and let us know that you would like to be included by emailing info@allwelcome.uk. We will send out the Zoom code by e-mail nearer the time.

If you are part of Welcome Church and not sure if you should be included, count yourself in – we would be glad to have you there.

In case you missed it, here is our latest Daily Encouragement video, starting to talk about Emotional Wellbeing

New Elders For Welcome Church

This Sunday at our Vision Focus evening I had the joy of putting forward three men to join the eldership team at Welcome Church.

It’s a sign of God’s blessing on a church when godly leaders are raised up to lead and govern God’s people; when they are raised up as shepherds to feed, guide and protect ‘the flock’. It’s my privilege to propose three such men for this church (and I can see more on the way too).

Each of them will bring their own unique combination of gifting and personality, each has demonstrated solid character and good leadership, and they all model godly family life. Hopefully none of the names comes as a big surprise:

Eugene Engelbrecht

Eugene is married to Jodie and they have four children. Together Eugene and Jodie run a business called Engel construction. Eugene has a strong pastoral gift and loves to see people discipled, set free, full of the Spirit and thriving in God. He and Jodie also lead a fairly enormous Life Group.

Christopher Hawes

Christopher is married to Sarah and they have three children. Christopher works in a school as a drama teacher and Sarah works in acting, as well as serving the church in leadership in children’s work. Christopher has a strong Bible teaching gift and is hugely creative. He is also one of our Sunday morning worship leaders.

Mike Reid

Mike is married to Lou and they have three children. Mike works in London in underwriting and Lou regularly gives time as a volunteer, serving in our church offices and helping with pastoral care. Mike has a strong prophetic gift and a clear pastoral heart too. Mike is also one of our church trustees.

We wholeheartedly recommend these three men and their families to you and believe they will be a blessing to our church

They will add a solid strength to our current eldership team, and we are looking forward to what the future brings together. At this point in time all three will continue in their regular full-time jobs.

What next?

The Bible lays out what sort of person an elder should be in three places: Titus 1v5-9; 1 Timothy 3v1-7; 1 Peter 5v1-4. Do have a read of those passages.

Appointing elders is done in combination between apostolic oversight (Guy Miller), the current eldership team (Dean, Dub and myself) and the church.

The church, meaning each of the people who make up the church, has a God-given responsibility: we are called to submit to our leaders, especially our elders, and to receive their ministry in faith. We are also called to encourage them and make their task a joy (Hebrews 13v17).

On this basis, if anyone has any Biblical concerns please let us know straight away. Equally, if you agree that these men are awesome and will be blessing to our church please also let us know that too. Remember: everyone needs encouragement!

A date for your diary

On Sunday 23rd February, at a special meeting, we will appoint these men as elders. Guy & Heather Miller are going to come and join us and lead us through that occasion. Please arrive from 4pm for coffee and cake with a 4.30pm kick off, wrapping up at 5.30pm with more cake.

This will be a celebration for the whole church family, so come with your kids. We will also be meeting as normal that morning at 9am and 11am.

See you there!

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Time to celebrate!

Eldership Changes At Welcome Church

Welcome back! I hope you had a great summer!

Jo and I had a good break, including a relaxing holiday in Corfu. I also had a break from my blog for the Summer Season, but church life has now begun again in earnest.

Last night we had our “Vision Focus” meeting, kicking off plans for the year ahead. There are several pieces of information I could mention in the next few days, but one piece of news I wanted to share straightaway, in case you missed it, is a change to our eldership team at Welcome Church.

We do hope to be able to announce some new elders for the team soon, but we’re not quite ready to do that (perhaps that will come in early 2020), we did announce a change however.

Changing our team

As a team we’re always seeking God for the future. As we move into our new building it’s the start of a new season, and it’s only right that we seek God for His guidance; we want to be intentional about what God wants us to do in this next season together as a church.

As an eldership team, in the two years I’ve been here, we’ve been away together each year taking time to pray together, to discuss the future and to plan. We also have regular meetings together most weeks. I think we’ve achieved a lot together in the last two years and hopefully you can see the impact on the church in that time.

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Our eldership team with our amazing wives

To be honest, it’s a good team and we’ve had a lot of fun together and built some good friendships – I think this was pretty obvious to those who were with us at Westpoint for our karaoke number!!!

Getting outside input

As a church we’re part of Commission, and that means we get the benefit of not working in isolation; we get input and apostolic oversight from Commission – specifically from Guy Miller. Guy has been involved in the appointment of every elder on the team. He knows us as a team and is involved.

As a team we’ve been considering what the best shape for the team is going forward, and we’ve also drawn Guy into that discussion. We’ve been trying to discern what will serve the church best as we move forward, and we are making a change as we enter this next season.

We all have different seasons of life:

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Seasons Change

  • In 2017 Malcolm Kayes started a new season after 27 years leading this church, stepping back from staff and eldership, and jumping into retirement
  • John Wardill also started a new season, stepping back from eldership whilst continuing to focus on his work in Turkey
  • I also started a new season, moving to Welcome Church from Grace Church.
  • Dub Everitt did that when he moved here from Jubilee Church in Shepperton a few years back

 

The point is this …

 change in church eldership teams is a normal process 

It enables new people to come through and releases others to move on into God’s next step and plans for their life. As a team we’ve recognised that its time for a change.

David Maskell

David Maskell has been on staff at this church for 18 years, and has been part of the church for 40 years – that’s a long time! For just over 4 years he has been serving as an elder. I know that he works really hard in that role and many people have benefitted from all he has done.

The change is that David is going to step down from eldership and from employment at the end of this calendar year; it will be a new season for him and also for Tina.

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Tina and David

As a church we need to get ready to release him to the next season of his life.

David is not looking at retirement yet and is actively seeking his next step. He is in conversation with another Commission church, but it’s not something we can make any announcements about.

They are looking for someone with David’s skill set and they really want him, but that church need to work out if they can afford another person and have some work to do on that front. Nothing is decided, so please pray for him and Tina about that – they only want to go forward if it’s the right thing.

Whatever David’s next step is, this is going to be a huge change for the Maskell family and they will need your prayersIt’s also a huge change for us as a church to adjust to.

We know it will be a challenge for some people, not least for David and Tina having been here for so many years. It will also mean we need to make adjustments to how we deliver pastoral care as a church. David has been working on that already, with a brand new Pastoral Team taking shape, and there will still be a lot of things we need to work out for the future.

David will finish on the eldership team at the end of December and finish employment at that stage too. Obviously we need to take the time to mark that moment well when it comes, and we will do that on Sunday 22nd December during our morning meeting.

Costly

Changes like this are always costly, yet we believe that God always works things together for our good, both as individuals and as a church.

Let’s keep David and Tina in our prayers in the weeks ahead, and let’s make sure we show them that in tangible ways that they are loved and appreciated by us all.

Summer Reading

In case you have a bit of time over the summer to do some extra reading while you enjoy the sunshine, here are some books that I found particularly helpful this year and want to recommend:

1. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes

This book, by Kenneth Bailey, looks at the life of Jesus from the perspective of those who live in the Middle East. A special focus is given to the stories of Jesus’ birth, his attitude to women, the Lord’s Prayer, the beatitudes and several of Jesus’ parables.

I found it extremely interesting, easy to read and personally challenging. It was packed full of insights that were completely new to me. I will definitely be reading more by this author and I would recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in the life and teachings of Jesus.

2. A War Of Loves – the unexpected story of a gay activist discovering Jesus

Jo and I have had the privilege of meeting David Bennett, having dinner with him and hearing him speak. This book is his autobiographical account of how he came to faith in Jesus, and the implications of this for his life. It is an honest account and doesn’t shy away from some deeply personal and challenging issues.

I would recommend this book to every Christian … I would even call it “essential reading”. Read it with an open heart and let God challenge you; it brought me to tears several times. And if you want to know more, David will be speaking in two seminars at Westpoint this year as well.

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3. Developing Female Leaders

This book, by Kadi Cole, is the one I’ve read most recently and is an absolute gift to anyone in the church. It looks at some of the reasons why women have struggled to maximise their leadership gifts in the church context and gives eight, easy to implement, best practices to help turn that around. It contained truths that I can now see are blindingly obvious, but which I had simply been unaware of before.

I particularly like how the author doesn’t have a big personal axe to grind; she just has a deep desire to help churches live up to the fullness of what they say they believe. Regardless of where we might sit on the “egalitarian” vs “complementarian” debate (and this book is not about that) this is relevant, practical and helpful. I’m looking forward to putting these steps into the practice in the months and years ahead.

4. Sustainable Power

Simon Holley’s book is not new (it’s been on my shelf for four years) but I only got round to reading it this year … and I’m so glad I did. It looks at the ‘rocks’ in our hearts and lives that can prevent God from moving in and through us to impact the world around us. It’s full of relevant stories and examples and is easy to read whilst being personally challenging to read at the same time.

If you want to grow in faith, grow in expectation and grow in your walk with God, this is the book for you. Just don’t expect to reach the end unchallenged and unchanged.

Hope you have a great summer …

… and if you do take the time to read any of these, feel free to (politely) let me know what you thought of them in the comments section below.

 

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?

Goodbye Grace Church

Today has been our last Sunday at Grace Church – after more than 11 years it’s time for Jo and I to say our last goodbye (and thanks for inviting us to the goodbye party too!) I haven’t blogged during this time of leadership transition at the church, but I’ll start again now as we leave and I begin my Sabbatical. Thanks for reading!

Looking back

In 2005 God called us to move to Chichester to plant Grace Church, which we started in 2006. This has been where our family has grown up. In case anyone is unaware, we’re moving to Woking now where I will be lead elder at The Coign Church; there are exciting times ahead.

Looking back I’m so glad that we responded positively to God’s call; God has done so much! It’s been our joy to see three congregations established: Chichester, Bognor Regis and Midhurst. More will follow I’m sure! It’s been our joy to see God at work in so many ways, and now he is calling on us on. I’m sure it will be our joy to see him at work in Woking too.

We want to say thank you to each person at Grace Church for the part they have played along the way. Thank you for friendship, commitment, encouragement and support. As we leave we feel very encouraged and very well sent! God has done so much, and there’s still so much more to come.

Moving on

The main reason for moving on is simply that God has called us to; it’s obedience. But there are benefits for a church when a leader moves on too, for example:

  • All leaders have their faults: we all have blind spots and weaknesses, as well as our strengths; change can be a blessing!
  • It creates room for other gifts to emerge: when a leader moves on it creates space for other people to emerge
  • It multiplies leadership: Grace Church has a great eldership team now, David supported by many other leaders too. David has come into his own as a lead elder. The church is going to do fine without us
  • It keeps the church fresh: New ideas and initiatives will find space and be released to flourish

And if God calls us to move on and we don’t do it, it could result in some problems:

  • Stagnation: a loss of the fresh cutting edge
  • Loss of anointing: a lack of God’s power and blessing on the task

Ultimately, when leaders stay beyond their God given time, what has been built can be damaged! So there are benefits to leadership changes in church life, and we’ll see those in Grace Church as we go.

Some final words

In my talk today I pointed three final words: Love, Obedience & Truth.

Love:

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this will all people know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” – John 13v34-35

Love for Jesus can overcome all barrier, so love one another, accept one another, bear with one another and forgive one another!

What enables us to do that? The certainty that we are loved ourselves: “We love because he first loved us” – 1 John 4v19

Obedience:

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” – John 14v15

The first command we obey is the command to love one another, rooted in a love for God; all the rest of our obedience flows from that. If you love Jesus, obey him. Our obedience is a demonstration of our love. We need to obey what Jesus calls us to do; we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

When we walk in obedience we walk in confidence; when we walk in disobedience, nothing feels right. There is no joy for a Christian living in disobedience to God. In his presence is fulness of joy; if you don’t have joy, whose presence are you spending your time in???

Truth: 

Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8v31-32.

True freedom comes by knowing the truth. Truth is not all relative! Truth is not unknowable! Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and life” – John 14v6. Jesus is the truth, and Jesus is knowable. You can find answers for life that are absolutely true, in Jesus.

The best way to avoid being deceived by lies is to know the truth, so learn the truth, read the truth, listen to the truth, meditate on the truth, obey the truth. The Bible is God’s word, and God’s word is truth, and it all points to Jesus and Jesus is truth!

 

A world to reach

We have a world to reach with the good news of Jesus. People need to see the love of God in us and feel the love of God through us. People need to see us living lives of sacrificial obedience to God, even when it’s costly. People need to see that the truth we have is impacting our world and our lives for good.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 15.21.18Most people will only experience the presence of God through us; you and I are the closest to Jesus they will ever get unless they also come to faith in Jesus for themselves! And for that to happen it is vital that we are living lives of love, obedience and truth.

So that’s three final words to remember: Love … Obedience … Truth.

And as far as my ministry at Grace Church goes …

… that’s your LOT!

 

Handing over: feeling excited … and a little bit sad

Wednesday 11th January is a massive day for me personally:

happy-05It’s the day I hand over the Lead Eldership role at Grace Church to David Thompson. This moment feels quite exciting: it’s like like the starter pistol marking the beginning of a race; it’s the first step on our journey to a new destination; it’s the commencement of our new adventure. Woo hoo!

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My Inner Baby

I’m excited about the future, and about the many things ahead for us, and at the same time I do feel a genuine measure of sadness at letting go after 11 years in the role.

 

Two Reminders

At the start of this week I want to remind Grace Church people of two things:

1. Wednesday Evening is important

I want to remind you of the importance of Wednesday evening’s meeting. It will begin at 7.30pm at St Pancras Church building in Chichester. John Groves will come and lead us through the evening together, and I’m told there are going to be cupcakes … nice!

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Cupcakes!!! Will ours look this good???

It would be great if every family in the church could be represented on the evening. Let’s show David and Ali our full support.

This is a significant moment

  • It’s significant for David and his family. Let’s pray for him and seek God for fresh anointing for this new role
  • It’s significant for Grace Church. We will receive a new Lead Elder who will lead the church into the future
  • It’s significant to me. I feel privileged to have someone to hand on to, who I am confident will do a great job; I don’t take that for granted, and I’m looking forward to being on David’s team until the end of April.

And on that note, let me remind you of a second thing …

2. Why we believe David is the right person for the job

Back when we made this announcement I listed ten reasons why we felt David was the right person for this role. Here are those ten reasons again:

  1. There is apostolic agreement to David stepping up; it seems good to the people who oversee our eldership team
  2. David has been ready to lead his own church for some time now; in fact if he wasn’t doing it here, he would be moving before long to do it elsewhere
  3. David’s own sense of calling; David feels a personal call to take the role on and is already developing a clear vision and strategy for the future
  4. The eldership team are united in agreement with David’s sense of calling; we have faith that this is the right way forward for Grace Church
  5. Shared values: David is already part of the team here; we have shared values. It doesn’t mean nothing will change in how we do things, but at the level of beliefs and values there will be continuity – Grace Church will continue to be Grace Church as you know and love it
  6. Shared history: David knows this church; he knows the people and how we came to be who we are. David has been here for two thirds of our churches life so far; he’s not new

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    “I’d rather have a cupcake”

  7. Ongoing community relationships: David has good ongoing links built with other church leaders in our area; he’s been doing that far more than me – it’s good not to be starting from scratch again
  8. The future needs of this church: to move forward well and continue to pioneer well, we need clear strategy, we need good systems that work and we need to continue to raise and release leaders; we believe David does those things well
  9. Understanding of our church: multisite is unusual; not just anyone could come and lead it well; David understands who we are and how we work – you can’t put a value on that!
  10. David is already leading a lot of the church: as elders we work as a team; it’s never been a one man show; he’s been doing a large portion of the job already!

That’s quite a list, and if I could add an 11th reason to the list I would say that it just feels right to me personally

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“It’s safe to come down now; Steve’s finished talking about you.”

Confidence!

I’m confident that God is leading this change … and because I’m confident that God is leading the change, I’m also confident that the future will be better for Grace Church than if we were to stay.

This is a good move.

This is a God move.

I believe there are exciting and fruitful times ahead for us all!

Go Grace Church!

 

 

New Year – New Beginnings

2017 is going to be year of huge changes and of new beginnings for Grace Church, and also for me and my family personally!

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David Thompson – captain of the ship!

Next week, on Wednesday 11th January,  I will be handing over the Lead Eldership at Grace Church to David Thompson, and although I feel a measure of sadness as one phase of my own life heads towards its close, I’m also excited at the new beginnings!

I’m excited for new beginnings at Grace Church:

This is a God initiated change and it’s going to be good for the church. David has all sorts of ideas and plans to help the church move into the future; he is very ready for his new role and I’m excited for him too.

I’m excited for new beginnings for my family:

We have a whole new chapter ahead for us in a new location and a new house. I’m pleased that we’re moving nearer to London, although we will miss being near the sea and close to some of Jo’s family. It will be good to have new places to discover and new people to meet. We are ready for our new adventure together!

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The Petch Family: ready for some new beginnings

I’m excited for new beginnings personally:

I will have a new church to lead and to love. I will have a new team to work with. I will have new challenges to face and new opportunities to pursue. And before I start in the new role I also have another new experience to enjoy: a sabbatical break. I’m getting excited just thinking about the possibilities this creates for renewal and refreshment before my own new role begins.

That’s a lot of new beginnings, but one thing that is ending soon is our current preaching series.

It comes to an end on Sunday 8th Jan. This is the last preaching series I will lead Grace Church through, and it was built around one key verse:

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As we go into this New Year together, although for many of us there will be a parting of the ways as the year goes by, let’s remember that we are each in God’s hands; he has plans for us and it’s our privilege to walk in them. God’s promises are true and reliable for each of us, whatever direction he is leading us in.

Let’s each actively embrace this new beginning:

Please join us on Wednesday 11th when we are appointing David to his new role. It’s at 7.30pm at St Pancras Church in Chichester, and John Groves will be leading us through the evening. This is a great chance for each of us to show our love and support for David and Ali as the changes take effect.

Remember: this has spiritual impact!

What we are doing is not insignificant and it affects the whole future of the church. We can’t afford to be casual about it! Come ready to pray and to encourage! Come ready to play your part as we step into this new beginning together.