I’ve spent the last couple on weeks on a study leave, given to me by the kind folks at Hope. The two weeks were specifically set aside to progress plans for planting in the Spen Valley. It was an opportunity to read, to pray, to plan, to do some of the endless admin tasks that come with planting a church, and to meet some people who are interested in joining with us. I’m really grateful for this time, and all it allowed me to do, and wanted to share some of the encouragements that came out of it.
Firstly, the opportunity to think clearly, in a focused way, about what Spen Valley Church will look like. To be able to set aside time to think and to pray about the distinctives and vision of the plant was really refreshing. I was able to clarify large areas of my thinking and get what had just been vague thoughts down into concrete ideas and plans.
Secondly, the opportunity to make real progress on raising the funds we need to plant in the Spen Valley. I was able to give the time needed to applying to funds and grant making trusts. I always find it encouraging, and humbling, to see just how many groups are willing to give sacrificially to Gospel work. We’re not there yet, and I’ll be applying to many more trusts, churches, and individuals over the next few months. We’re looking to the Lord’s people, wherever they are, to partner with us as we seek to see His Name worshipped in the Spen Valley. If you could help financially in any way, then details are here.
Thirdly, it was really exciting to meet up with people who are seriously considering whether they could join with us, and be part of Spen Valley Church. For each of the people I spoke to, joining us would require sacrifice and difficulty. And yet, people are willing to consider it because they want to see the Gospel preached in a place where it isn’t at the moment. Each of those people believes that the Gospel really is God’s power to salvation and that the people of Spen Valley need to hear that Good News, and therefore, they’re willing to think about uprooting large areas of their lives to join with us. That willingness to sacrifice for the Gospel really excites me. Maybe it’s something you’ve thought about. The apostle Paul said that he made it his ambition ‘to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”’ (Romans 15.20-21) There are 50,000 people in the Spen Valley, many of whom will never have heard the Gospel. Would you seriously and prayerfully consider joining with us so that they might hear? It’s been really encouraging to talk with people, but we’ve still got a long way to go to reach our prayer target of 20 adults. Could you be one of them? Do get in contact.
Finally, it’s been great over the last couple of weeks to have so many churches ask me to go and share our vision for Spen Valley Church with them. It was a joy, for example, to be with City Evangelical Church in Leeds last Sunday. This is the kind of Gospel Partnership that needs to happen if we are to see our county, and our nation, re-evangelised. We need to work together, give sacrificially, and pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers to the harvest field. Who knows. Maybe like the disciples in Matthew 9-10, Jesus’ answer to your prayers for workers for the harvest field might just be to send you!