Sunday, June 12, 2011

Death to Life as One Church Brighton

Early up and off on Sunday morning to Brighton, seaside town of 250,000 which is in man respects culturally similar to Austin, Texas. In fact, the community has unofficially adopted "Keep Brighton Weird" as a tag line. One t-shirt was seen with the tag line on the front, and on back, "I'm doing my part!"

Greater Brighton is one of the most unchurched towns in Britain, with about 54% of its residents claiming atheism. In this environment, Dave Steell and family sensed God's leading to serve the Gloucester Baptist Church, a dwindling center city congregation. Within a brief period of having come to Brighton, Dave had a vision that Gloucester Baptist and another dying church, Florence Road Baptist, might come together to become one new church.

Space does not allow me to describe the entire process that led to the new church, but our team was privileged to worship with One Church Brighton, a part of the Body of Christ in the city. Where there were formerly two congregations that were close to death, the decision was in fact made to die. From the death of the two, one new church has been birthed.

For one year, the two congregations met together, heard the stories of those who were members of both congregations as Steell interviewed them week after week during worship. Then, on Easter Sunday, the formal launch of the new church saw the property filled with worshippers. While some members of the former congregations were not able to "make the journey" to become part of a new church, most have remained. Additionally, during the year of preparation for starting One Church, others who were not part of either church have come to identify One Church as their faith community.

Today, there is the critical mass for a healthy winsome church meeting at the Florence Road facility each week for worship and teaching. The center city facility, formerly Gloucester Place, is used for offices and public meetings of the community. Because of its location, plans are for it to become a ministry center for the city.

Our team had lunch with Dave Steell to hear him tell the story of two churches dying so that One Church could be born as a new healthy infant, with a vibrant future ahead. Just hearing the story brought us great hope.

Across America there are many places where the potential exists for similar death to life stories to be written. Pray for One Church Brighton, for Pastor Dave Steell and his family, and for the faithful congregations who are investing themselves to love Brighton in fresh ways. Pray for their effective service to the diverse and spiritual distant population of the city to which they have committed their lives.

1 comment:

Jerry Barker said...

Jealous (in a healthy way!) about what the Father is showing and teaching you!