Last Sunday proved to be a very exciting day for me. I was invited to speak at the opening of a huge warehouse, which now is the meeting place for The King’s Church, in Mid-Sussex. About four hundred people gathered, both morning and evening, though the main hall can accommodate 500 easily. The whole site has spacious offices, children’s work, and many other aspects of a healthy, outgoing church. It is also surrounded by a large parking lot, which is an enviable asset in cramped England! The church that now meets there has its origins in what became our very first church plant. Nigel Ring, my long time friend and associate opened his home and we began a small meeting, which grew and multiplied and moved on until now it meets in this great new building.
Nicholas Soames MP, the grandson of Winston Churchill, spoke on the previous evening, and his opening remarks were; ‘this is nothing less than a
miracle.’ Nice to hear a Member of Parliament making such an acknowledgement!
Many dear friends gathered for this historic event, such as David Coak who was the first full time pastor of the church. Also, it was good to see Adrian Warnock, now so celebrated through his helpful blog, since he grew up in this church.
Other churches which we began in the ‘70s and ‘80s as small house churches also now meet in vast warehouses. King’s Church in Hastings, King’s Church in Eastbourne, New Life Church in East Grinstead, King’s Church in Lewes, and Church of Christ the King in Brighton all started with handfuls of people, now gathering hundreds.
Recently, I have been interviewed by three or four people who are doing Phd’s and Masters, researching the growth of the ‘new churches’. It is wonderful to see what God has done in recent decades. The first church I became involved with in London, was Allerford Chapel, now known as King’s Church London in Catford. It now gathers hundreds in four different sites, with five meetings on a Sunday! May God continue to bless and multiply His work for His glory.
Later of course, we spread up through England and into Scotland and Wales. You can find a Newfrontiers church now in many major towns. However, church planting will always be a pioneering activity, each with its unique challenges, set backs and achievements. But we think of those early ones with special affection and remember the joy and excitement of those pioneering days! The church is marching on!