Thursday, April 21, 2011

One Church Brighton Launches

Recently I joined our ministry partner Bryan Doyle who serves Greater Europe Mission for a week filled with tube and train travel around London and other UK cities. During the week I had the privilege of meeting Kingdom leaders who are creating new and effective paradigms of ministry.

This is the story of two churches becoming one - not a merger, but a new entity. After two previous conversations about merging, Gloucester Place Baptist Church and Florence Road Baptist Church, are about to become a new church. In previous dialogues, reticence on the part of one or the other congregations always led to backing away; the costs were perceived to outweigh the benefits. But when both congregations were willing to die, something new, relevant and exciting could be born.

Gloucester Place Baptist Church and Florence Road Baptist Church officially launch as One Church Brighton this week on Resurrection Sunday. Already the two congregations have becoming one community of faith under the leadership of Senior Pastor Dave Steell. When two hundred plus year old congregations agree to die to allow God to birth one new church, it might just be that a miracle has occurred. Since last July, members of the two churches have been moving toward their launch as One Church Brighton; working through the tough issues of letting go of the old and learning to lay hold of something new.

The facilities of both churches will be utilized in the new mission focus, one as an office complex and community center to serve the center city, the other as the primary worship facility with good access to public transportation hubs in the city. As I worshipped with the congregation, I was in awe of the intentional processes they are employing toward becoming One Body.

In the midst of their identity transformation, this group of believers see themselves as one part of Christ’s larger Body in Brighton. It was a joy to hear the members praying by name for sister churches of various denominational traditions; including very specific prayers for upcoming events which they knew would be taking place over the next days.

In a post-Christian culture, the Body of Christ in Brighton is learning how to release itself to a fresh work of God in this generation. It is a lesson that needs to be heard again and again by churches throughout North America.

1 comment:

Jerry Barker said...

Looking forward to experiencing it in person!