Planning for Burton…

For a long time now, we have had a heart to start a new church in Burton-upon-Trent. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a town very close to Derby, just south of us, down the A38. A few years ago, God spoke quite clearly to my good friends Matt & Louise Waring about Burton. Matt & Lou had been in Derby since the earliest days of Jubilee and felt that God had put it in their heart to move to Burton and begin a new church there. That started a process of Matt & Lou moving and beginning a Jubilee LifeGroup (small group) in Burton. That has done really well, has grown and multiplied as new people have joined and last year we were able to announce the Burton Church Plant.

MattLou

Matt & Louise Waring

Last Sunday we were able to announce the exciting news that Burton Family Church will begin meeting on Sundays in January 2018. That sounds like a long way away, but actually there’s much to do between now and then! The first thing is to find a venue and then there is lots of work to do on publicity and telling people about it. Our plan is to run an Alpha course over the summer term and then have a number of outreach events in the autumn, leading up to January.

We are very much looking forward to being part of what God is doing in Burton. There are already some great churches in the town, but there are also a whole load of people who don’t know Jesus yet. We want to play out part in helping to reach them with the good news of the Gospel.

So, if you’d like to find out more or maybe get involved yourself, you can contact Matt & Louise at burton@jubilee.org.uk They would love to hear from you! And please pray for us as we work towards the launch in January. There’s lots to do!

Exciting news from Jubilee Church!

One of the many areas we talked about during our Family meeting on Wednesday was the exciting news that from 1st September 2015 we are delighted to welcome a new member of staff onto the team – John Batten!img-team-john-julie

For a while now, we have felt as Elders that we needed to strengthen our staff team, with the ideal being able to employ another Elder. When Jeremy Simpkins was with us as Elders in January, we were talking to him about this and he agreed that this would be an important strategic next step for us. We have got a huge vision as a church and in order to see progress in this and for further Kingdom impact both in Derby and further afield, we need to add to our staff team.

Un-expectantly, John Batten recently found out that in the latest round of restructuring at work, he could apply for voluntary redundancy, and so he and Julie and us as Elders, began to pray about their future. Could it be for John to join our staff team?

John & Julie have been part of Jubilee Church since our very early days, when they moved up to Derby with their family from East Grinstead to be part of our church planting team. As many of you will know, John has worked as a Senior Management Trainer for a large UK supermarket chain for a number of years alongside being an Elder in the church since we first appointed Elders.

At a similar time as I was talking with John about this, we had had our Encounter Weekend with a team from Kings Church Horsham. One of the many prophetic words I received was about the current structure in Jubilee not being strong enough for the future and the need to re-look at the way we do things. The word spoke of enlargement and expansion, but also of re-ordering and change.

We have been praying into all of this as Elders, as a leadership team and Trustees for the past few weeks. On Sunday evening we had an Elders & Trustees meeting, where we unanimously agreed that bringing John onto our staff team in a part-time capacity was the right move for us and for him.

John is also a very natural addition to our staff team, having worked alongside me for many years both as part of our Eldership Team and as Chair of Trustees. John and Julie are known and loved by the church and I am sure you will be as thrilled as I am to have them around more.

This is a major step of faith both for John and Julie and for us a church. We don’t have the capacity in our current budget to employ John, but we do feel that this is a God given opportunity which we don’t want to miss. Therefore, we are holding a special offering on Sunday 28th June and Sunday 5th July where I would ask you to pray about giving generously into a fund to enable this to take place. I am praying for £20,000 to enable us to cover John’s salary (and pension, employers National Insurance, expenses etc!) for a year or so. As is our custom, we are committed to tithing this offering, and so we will be giving 10% of it into the Devoted offering in the summer. Please could you partner with us in this exciting and strategic step for us as a church?

I am very much looking forward to having another Elder on staff and to the many opportunities that this brings us in so many different areas of church life. As you might expect, there will be an important period of transition as we seek to restructure different areas of our work as a staff team. We want to make sure that this additional capacity is really effective and allows us as a church to grow and move forward both locally and in the way we are serving other churches.

This is a faith adventure. Giving is a faith adventure! Please join us on the journey and pray for all of us as we begin to work towards this exciting new chapter in the life of Jubilee Church.

Here’s a short video we put together about this exciting news!

This is the new normal!

ad_encounterFor some time now, I have been trailing the weekend just gone as one which I felt would be significant in the life of Jubilee Church. We were really looking forward to the visit of a team from Kings Church Horsham and had a real sense that God wanted to do something quite seismic in the church. He did!

We were wonderfully served by Andy, Trevor, Janet, Jo, Juliet, Nicky, Jules and Jon from Kings. This gifted team gave themselves to us over the whole weekend. It was a packed programme and they served enthusiastically and with such graciousness over the entire time. They had prayed and prepared and came ready to give. We are so grateful to God for them and for their heart to be a blessing to us.

The sense of God’s presence over the weekend was tangible. The prophetic gift which was released was incredible. God has certainly been at work in Jubilee this weekend, and I feel that He has raised the bar as to what is to be called “normal” in church life. The challenge for us now is to not go back, not to settle for anything less. If we are not careful to push on, then this weekend could just become a “that was nice” weekend in our history. I don’t believe for one minute that is what God would want. This remarkable weekend should serve to encourage and motivate forward into all that God wants for us. Sarah and I are certainly up for that. Who else wants to come on the journey?

A weekend with Dr. Setan Lee from Cambodia

photo 2Last week, Sarah and I were honoured to meet Dr. Setan Lee, who, together with his wife, Randa, started and now lead, Transform Asia, a ministry serving the nation of Cambodia. Transform Asia have around 45 churches, an orphanage, a feeding centre, a trade school, a day care centre, rice distribution and other programmes!

I met him at our ChristCentral Churches team meeting, which he was a guest at, and then we had the privilege of hosting him in Derby for a few days. He spoke to our leaders, at a men’s breakfast and during our Sunday meeting. (The audio from the Sunday morning will go up on the Jubilee website next week).

Hearing his story was quite incredible and very moving. He was saved during the horror of the Killing Fields in the mid 1970’s whilst escaping from the Khmer Rouge through the jungle into Thailand after 4 years in a youth concentration camp, where he saw hundreds of his friends and family killed. His life is now devoted to serving God, preaching a message of forgiveness and looking for ways to serve the people of Cambodia.

Setan and Randa’s life story is summarised here in this short video. I would encourage you to watch it. (WARNING – the video contains graphic images).

I will have the privilege of travelling to Cambodia next year with my good friends Mike & Kay Sprenger from Kings Church Darlington. Together, we will be teaching at a pastor’s conference for the churches Setan oversees and then get to visit a number of churches and projects that Transform Asia run.

According to The Joshua Project, over 98% of the Cambodian population is classified as “unreached”, that is less than 2% are evangelical Christians. The need for both proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel is clear, and a real challenge.

One of our core values as a church is to be involved in reaching nations. We are praying to see what doors God might be opening up here, both for ChristCentral Churches and for Jubilee. Watch this space for more!

What to do when there’s a prophet in the house!

JulianWe were very blessed to have our good friend Julian Adams in Derby this weekend just gone. Julian is a gifted prophet and a great gift to the church. The Heaven touches Earth conference we held on Saturday was attended by around 230 people from across Derby and the wider area.  I will post a more detailed review of this later in the week I hope.

Julian also joined us on Sunday morning at Jubilee. He felt he should speak about extravagant worship. Personally, I was both really encouraged and very challenged by this.

I was encouraged because I love enthusiastic worship. Public worship is indeed an overflow of our personal life with God and I love to be in a corporate setting where worship is enthusiastic and passionate.

I was challenged because of a comment he made which was, “Isn’t it funny how extravagant worship of others produces a judgmental spirit in us…?” I have certainly been guilty of this myself, sometimes being irritated by a passionate noisy worshipper in a meeting! When this happens, it reveals the true condition of my heart – not as in love with Jesus as I would want to be. There is a challenge here not to judge others but rather to look at my own relationship with God. (A story about not judging the speck in another’s eyes when there’s a log in your own comes to mind!)

As with all prophetic ministry, what Julian brought needs to be weighed. In fact, that is true not only of prophetic ministry but biblical teaching also. I would be the first one to encourage people to read scripture for themselves and compare what is being taught in church on a Sunday to what the Bible says. We need to be both feeding people with truth and teaching them how to feed themselves with truth.

This Sunday at Jubilee I will follow on from what Julian brought. We will look at what it means to weigh prophecy and how you do that in a God-honouring way. We will consider how all of us can grow in the prophetic, and we will look at the fundamental issue of receiving or being baptised in the Holy Spirit. I do hope you can join us!

Why multiply a LifeGroup?

One Biblical principle that seems to appear time and again in scripture, is the idea that healthy things grow. God has made it that way and it’s true of plants, animals, humans, and churches. I believe it’s also true of small groups. However, as small groups grow, they’re become larger, and not very small! When this happens, the group needs to multiply.

Some people talk of a group splitting, but I still remember Simon Pettit teaching on small group multiplication some years ago and saying (quite loudly), “‘split’, bad word… ‘multiply’, good word!”. This is partly because the word ‘split’ can have quite negative connotations. So multiply it is!

As a small group grows, it will need to multiply. This is a good thing, and should be done with great rejoicing and celebration. When a group multiplies, it is a testimony to the grace of God at work in that group and it means that this work can increase and reach more people. We should be aiming to multiply all our groups, and as we do so, we multiply leadership and multiply our effectiveness in the City.

LifeGroups are a great way of building community, discipling and reaching out. Let’s be asking God for strong, healthy groups that grow and multiply, and increase our capacity to reach our City for Christ.

Our first LifeGroup evening

This is the week we’re relaunching Jubilee LifeGroups across the City, and we had the first meeting of ours tonight. Maybe I’m biased, but I have to say, we’ve got a great group! Although not everybody could make it tonight, we still had a good turnout and already we’re praying for and working towards multiplying the group. Sarah and I certainly enjoyed the evening (particularly Naomi’s home made cakes) and look forward to meeting with this group over the coming weeks and seeing what God has for us together.

LifeGroups should be life-giving groups – both to those who are in them and those who are not yet. We need to make sure we keep reaching out, looking to love those who don’t know Jesus yet and serving our City. Let’s “do life together” and see what God does among us.