STRENGTHEN YOUR STAKES SPREADING LIFE TOGETHER: PHASE 3 CITY CHURCH 2018
OUR VISION GOD HAS CALLED US TO BE A GROWING, WORSHIPPING COMMUNITY OF JESUS-FOLLOWERS PASSIONATE ABOUT BEING AND SPEAKING GOOD NEWS TO THE WORLD.
THANK YOU 03 A FAMILY OF OBEDIENCE AND FAITH 04 TIME FOR PHASE 3 07 THE REALITY OF STRETCHING 08 STAKES TO BE STRENGTHENED 10 COMMUNITY HUBS VISION 12 WHAT IS A COMMUNITY HUB? 13 WHAT NOW? 15 WHAT WILL IT TAKE? 17 OUR NEXT STEPS 18 FAQS 20
“A GOOD PERSON LEAVES AN INHERITANCE FOR THEIR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN.” PROVERBS 13:22
“ONE GENERATION COMMENDS YOUR WORKS TO ANOTHER; THEY TELL OF YOUR MIGHTY ACTS. THEY SPEAK OF THE GLORIOUS SPLENDOUR OF YOUR MAJESTY.” PSALM 145:4-5
Thank you for taking some time to read and pray through this booklet. We believe that the Lord is laying before us as a church family an opportunity that, if seized by all of us with both hands, could have very significant repercussions for the story of the Christian faith in our region and beyond for several generations to come.
Please would you join us, as we each consider how we might contribute to what God is doing amongst us?
Life is short. Yet Jesus invites us to leave behind a dent by investing our lives “where rust and moth do not destroy”, and his encouragement is that it is possible to receive a “well done, good and faithful servant” when we’ve done so. Let’s live those kind of lives!
On behalf of the Church Leadership Team (CLT) James Duce, Mike & Emma Wooldridge, David Chirnside, Caroline Crombie
A F A M I LY O F OBEDIENCE & FAITH The journey that our church family has undertaken in recent years has been punctuated by moments of decision. Several times the Lord has spoken clearly to us about our call as a church and invited us to respond. Whilst these have been intimidating and daunting moments, where many might have been paralysed by fear or indecision, you as a church have chosen faith. You have chosen obedience. You have chosen to trust the Lord. You have embraced a lifestyle of sacrifice and generosity. You have made room in our family for more. And we celebrate together because of all that the Lord has done in our midst with enormous joy.
In 2012, those of us who were part of the family at that stage participated in a miracle. Spreading Life Together – our multisite vision – seemed like an impossibly tall order. But God had spoken and the family responded, giving more than £471,000 for the launching of new sites in Stonehaven, St Machar, Ellon and Inverurie. Literally hundreds of people have been the beneficiaries of that moment of decision. In 2015, a larger and increasingly fruitful City Church family was once again faced with the choice of faith over fear, and of obedience over inaction. Spreading Life Together: Phase 2 was about multiplication, about increasing the scope of our activity in the North East, and about gearing up towards the planting of churches throughout Scotland. Again the family rose up as one and pledged an increase of more than £19,000 per month – another miracle. Since
that day we have launched 2 further sites, Kingswells and Laurencekirk, and begun to plant churches in Inverness, and now Stirling and Inverclyde. In 2017, the Lord brought increased clarity to Phase 2 of our vision, by providing us with a target. We were to position ourselves as best as we can towards, and to plan for, the planting of 21 new churches across Scotland by the end of 2021. Now in 2018, we have arrived at an equally critical point in the journey. It is, again, an opportunity to participate in a miracle. It is, again, an encouragement to obedience and faith. It turns out that there is a very significant piece of the jigsaw remainingâ€Ś
I S A I A H 54: 2- 4 ENLARGE THE PLACE OF YOUR TENT STRETCH YOUR TENT CURTAINS WIDE DO NOT HOLD BACK LENGTHEN YOUR CORDS
STRENGTHEN YOUR STAKES
FOR YOU WILL SPREAD OUT TO THE RIGHT AND TO THE LEFT; YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL DISPOSSESS NATIONS AND SETTLE IN THEIR DESOLATE CITIES. DO NOT BE AFRAID; YOU WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME. DO NOT FEAR DISGRACE; YOU WILL NOT BE HUMILIATED.
IT IS TIME FOR PHASE 3 We believe that the Lord has brought us once again to the edge of our capacity and capability, and firmly back into the realm of faith and obedience, because he has a particular group of people in mind: the future generations. PHASE 1 (2012) – To become one church in many places PHASE 2 (2015) – To play our part in writing a new future for the Church in Scotland PHASE 3 (2018) – TO STRENGTHEN EVERYTHING WE DO TO ENABLE THE LONG-TERM FRUITFULNESS AND LIFE OF OUR FAMILY. Our sense is that City Church is not to be like a fire that burns brightly for a season, generating heat and sparks for a while. God is calling us to be more like a lighthouse built solidly on a rock, which provides light to travellers for many generations. To make sure that City Church will remain a family of fruitful and vibrant local congregations many years into the future we will need to invest and to build today. And today starts right now.
THE REALITY OF STRETCHING
Over the last 7 years we have sought to keep in step with God’s strategy and schedule for us. This has involved stretching and then some more
Only 2 of our 7 sites are currently covering their own costs. Many teams are stretched. Our staff have given everything they have in the service of God and his family.
WE MUST NOT GO ON LIKE THIS AND GOD IS NOT ASKING US TO.
stretching… and then some more. Very often we can
In fact the very reverse is true. We believe that God is
easily imagine what Jesus’ disciples must have been
encouraging us, right now, to make a change.
feeling as they tried to feed 5000 people with one young boy’s packed lunch!
IT'S ABSOLUTELY AMAZING HOW FAR THE LORD HAS STRETCHED US. And we recognise that whilst we have stretched a long way, which has facilitated huge growth and fruitfulness, there are many areas of church life that will not be sustainable in the longer term.
Through a number of prophetic words and whilst we have been praying and fasting we believe that God is urging us to build strength, sustainability and stability into our endeavours.
And he’s asking us to do that for our own sakes, but also (and more importantly) . . .
SO THAT OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL HAVE THE BENEFIT OF A HEALTHY, VIBRANT, GOSPEL-PREACHING, KINGDOM-ADVANCING, TRANSFORMING LOCAL CHURCH FOR THEIR GENERATIONS TOO.
“TO HIM BE THE GLORY IN THE CHURCH AND IN CHRIST JESUS
T H R O U G H O U T A L L G E N E R AT I O N S , FOR EVER AND EVER! AMEN.”
STAKES TO BE STRENGTHENED
As we have sought the Lord’s guidance, we believe that there are 7 stakes that he is asking us to strengthen: STAKE #1 - KIDS, YOUTH AND STUDENTS The fruitfulness of these ministries is absolutely staggering – literally 100s of children and young people have become Christians and are being discipled exceptionally well. We sense the Lord leading us to invest in these ministries so that they can continue to increase in fruitfulness in each site whilst no longer being seriously overstretched as they are today.
STAKE #2 – WORSHIP Our worship teams serve us weekby-week so beautifully... and they are stretched. Our sung worship has been, and will continue to be, the fuel for the fire for all that God has been doing amongst us. The Lord is inviting us to invest across the sites to see children and young people developed as worship leaders and musicians; to see streams of workshops for the training and growth of our worship teams, as well as new songs written to serve our family and beyond.
STAKE #3 – EQUIPMENT We need to make set-up and pack-down in the sites much easier for the sake of the teams. This means the use of ramps and wheeled cages, as well as sound desks that remember settings from previous weeks. Much of our kit was bought on a very tight budget to serve the launch phase of our sites, and needs to be improved for the longer term. E.g. brighter projectors and blinds for the halls. Also some of the kit is tired and needs to be replaced.
01 02 03
S TAKE # 4 – STAF F HEALTH & LONGEVITY
Our staff have served us with such excellence and self-sacrifice – some of them for many years. They are hugely precious to us. The Lord is leading us to invest by facilitating sabbaticals for our pastors every 7 years. We also recognise that a number of our staff team are not paid what they should be and, to ensure they feel able to stay for the longterm, we need to address it.
STAKE #5 – COMMUNITY O UT R EACH
We have been so delighted with the way the Lord has been growing our social transformation ministry in each site.
And there is much more to be done. God is asking us to invest in the development of local community outreach in every site, working in partnership with our outreach charity, Integrate.
STA KE #6 – S IT E SP E CIF IC NEEDS
Each site, whilst bearing the familiar traits of our family, is serving a different community in a different way, and so therefore has different needs. We want to make a significant budget available to each site for use as the site leadership decides.
STAKE #7 –BUILDINGS
Whilst we have appreciated the agility that comes with using rented facilities for services and mid-week activities around the region, the seasons are changing. We have come to understand that each site will need some kind of local base from which to serve their community. Also, we intend to enlarge the kitchen in the Gilc Park building and refurbish various bathrooms.
A VISION FOR COMMUNITY HUBS
Our Gilcomston Park building has been a huge asset to us for many years and it is rarely empty. Every day its various rooms are in use from morning until night for all kinds of ministry and outreach. It has become known within the city as a place of refuge and hope. WE BELIEVE THAT IF EACH SITE IS GOING TO WEATHER THE STORMS IN THE DECADES TO COME, THEY WILL NEED A LOCAL BASE â€“ somewhere that can become known in the area as a place where community and love can be found. The truth is that, barring a joyful miracle, we are certainly not in a position to purchase a building like Gilc Park anywhere else in the foreseeable future. However we have become aware, through a series
of connections with people within our Vineyard family and the wider UK church, that purchasing large buildings might not be the only option. We have begun to pursue the idea of Asset Transfer as a viable way to obtain the permanent use of community buildings. UK law makes it possible for community groups, such as churches, to take possession of publicly owned buildings and operate them for the good of the community, and we have seen others do this very successfully. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE WOULD LOVE TO DO! These might not be large enough for a growing Sunday service, but they could easily accommodate all the mid-week morning-â€˜tilnight activity of our church. We are also aware of a number of churches around the nation who have been given buildings by other churches that have been in decline for some years and are keen to see worship and mission continue there. We sense that God may lead some churches to give us buildings over the coming years.
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY HUB?
• THE PL ACE TO BE Imagine a disused or underused building near the centre of your town. The paint is peeling from the windows and there are never any lights on. Suddenly it’s pumping with life. It’s been renovated to the same standard as the local Starbucks. And there is always something happening there. City Church runs Mainly Music there several times each week. The Storehouse food bank is there. Drop-ins run for people who are isolated or need help writing a CV. Young people hang out some evenings to find friendship and to encounter God. The Alpha course and various marriage and parenting courses happen there. You can get help for your debt there.
It’s also available for hire to the local community – so there are fitness classes, music lessons and you can even hire it for kids' parties or your wedding reception. The sense of community is being rebuilt within the town, from the inside out – It’s the place to be. • SELF-FINANCING We have seen examples of similar churchrun facilities becoming entirely self-funding (and indeed making surplus to invest into the community). By renting out rooms in the Community Hub for local people to use for meetings, classes, parties and receptions, the cost of running such a building can be covered.
â€˘ MODEST SIZE Our expectation is that these buildings would be perfect for all our mid-week needs, but it is probably unlikely that they would be large enough for Sunday services, for which we would continue to use rented halls. â€˘ EMERGENCY VENUE Without being overly concerned we are aware that, with increasing intolerance towards orthodox Christian faith in our culture, it may be that school halls and similar could become suddenly unavailable to us across the whole region in a very short time-frame. It would be very good to know that we could meet if necessary, squeezed into the Community Hubs in multiple services until other accommodation was found.
We have already begun to explore a number of potential buildings across the region, receiving a positive response. Whilst the eventual ownership of the Community Hubs may come to us at a low cost or â€œpeppercorn rentâ€?, it will cost a significant amount to negotiate the transfer (including legal fees), renovate the building and establish the programme. We have no financial resources to do anything like that at the moment. Subject to raising enough money we would hope to employ a part-time Community Hub Director to begin to look for available buildings and begin the road to this vision being realised. We recognise that it may be a number of years before each site has found and established its own community hub â€“ this is a long-term project that we believe will have very longterm impact.
“EACH OF YOU SHOULD GIVE WHAT YOU HAVE DECIDED IN YOUR HEART TO GIVE, NOT RELUCTANTLY OR UNDER COMPULSION, FOR GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER.” // 2 CORINTHIANS 9:7
WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
Having sought God on each stake that he would have us strengthen, and carefully costed each item, as well as planning our ongoing annual budget, we believe that God is asking us to imagine the regular general income of the church growing by £25,500 per month plus Gift Aid reimbursements. We realise that is a large sum – it represents an increase on current levels of around 50%. We believe that it will only be attainable if everyone who calls City Church their home embraces a vision for kingdom partnership and generosity, if everyone goes “all in”. And then it will be over to Jesus to perform the miracle!
Therefore we encourage you, as a member of City Church, to
ASK THE LORD ABOUT
WHAT YOUR CONTRIBUTION SHOULD
BE TO THIS MASSIVE VISION that the Lord has placed before us and, once you have settled on a number, to complete a pledge form and bring it to one our Gift Days on 7th or 8th October. It will take every committed member who is not currently giving to begin to do so, and everyone who already gives to consider their giving afresh.
OUR NEXT STEPS
2 3 S E P T O 7 O C T WE PRAY AND FAST We are now entering a 2 week period of prayer and fasting. There will be various opportunities to meet to pray together. The prayer room at Gilc Park is available 24/7 and can be booked in hour-long slots on our website. Please pass on anything that you sense God is saying to you about the vision via the church office.
7-8 OCT GIFT DAYS Weâ€™ll all be bringing our pledge forms to one of the 11 services that weekend. Please be there if you possibly can. If youâ€™re not able to attend, please email your pledge to: PLEDGES@CITYCHURCH.SCOT or post it in to the church office.
THEY WERE ALL TRYING TO FRIGHTEN US, THINKING:
‘THEIR HANDS WILL GET TOO WEAK FOR THE WORK, AND IT WILL NOT BE COMPLETED.’
BUT I PRAYED,
‘NOW STRENGTHEN MY HANDS.’
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T REACH THE £25,500 TARGET? If the number raised is significantly less then, to be honest, we will be extremely restricted in our ability to carry out the work that God is asking us to do. WHAT IF WE EXCEED OUR £25,500 TARGET? How brilliant that would be! Each extra £3000 per month could mean leasing a building in a site whilst we wait for the right asset transfer to surface. Or it could mean the employment of a community outreach coordinator at a site. It would certainly mean a new freedom, unrestricted by lack of financial resources. HOW LONG ARE YOU ASKING US TO COMMIT FOR? This gift day is different from the first one we did.
Previously we asked for 3 year pledges on top of your regular giving. This time we are asking everyone who calls City Church their spiritual home to examine their regular giving and set the level as the Lord directs, with no specific timeframe in mind. I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE A ONE-OFF AMOUNT – IS THAT ACCEPTABLE? Please don’t let us put you off from doing that! Across the life of our church, many people give one-off amounts in addition to their regular giving, for a range of different reasons – perhaps, for example, it’s a proportion of a bonus, an inheritance or the sale of investments. One-off gifts would mean that we could accelerate the schedule, which would be brilliant. WILL ANY OF THE PASTORAL STAFF, CLT OR TRUSTEES KNOW WHAT I’M GIVING? No. We feel it protects the pastoral relationship by keeping what you give confidential. This is between
you and the Lord, and we would not want anyone to feel pressurised. We would encourage you to discuss your giving in any accountability relationships that you might have – it’s odd that often we’ll talk about anything else except our financial affairs… Our financial staff will be responsible for counting and processing gifts and keeping records. HOW DOES GIFT AID WORK? If you are a UK Tax payer you may Gift Aid your pledge. This means that City Church receives 25p extra, for every £1 that you give, from HM Revenue and Customs.
I KNOW OF AN UNUSED/UNDERUSED BUILDING THAT WOULD BE PERFECT AS A COMMUNITY HUB... Or I have contacts, connections, knowledge or experience that might be useful. Who should I speak to? Fantastic! Please contact Chuck in the first instance at the church office. WHAT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? Please feel free to contact Chuck or Taryn at the office, or ask your Site Pastors, if there’s anything you need to know.
CAN I CHANGE MY PLEDGE? Yes. If for any reason you wish to alter your pledge (e.g. your financial situation changes) you can either increase or decrease your commitment. We just ask that you inform the church finance staff in writing.
‘ENLARGE THE PLACE OF YOUR TENT, STRETCH YOUR TENT CURTAINS WIDE, DO NOT HOLD BACK; LENGTHEN YOUR CORDS, STRENGTHEN YOUR STAKES. FOR YOU WILL SPREAD OUT TO THE RIGHT AND TO THE LEFT; YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL DISPOSSESS NATIONS AND SETTLE IN THEIR DESOLATE CITIES.’ ISAIAH 54:2-3
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