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?

Visit to Cambodia – January 2015

I thought it might be helpful to write a blog post about my recent time in Cambodia. I am well aware that my last post was over a year ago, so I make no promises about the regularity of such posts!

I am writing this on the plane back from Cambodia. This has been my second visit, and once again, it has been a great trip.

The main reason for going was to be part of a team teaching at the Pastors & Wives leadership conference for Transform Asia in Cambodia. Transform Asia (TA) have somewhere around 35-40 churches working together alongside a variety of social action projects right across the county. This is all led by Setan and Randa Lee, together with a small team of staff and other leaders. Both ChristCentral Churches and Jubilee Church Derby are partnering with TA and seeking to serve them and be a blessing where we can.

On the way out there, I met up with Mike and Kay Sprenger in Amsterdam, and we travelled the rest of the way together .

Landing in Phnom Penh on Saturday 17th January, we were met by Setan and some of his staff, and then we headed to the South West of the county where we stayed overnight. Mike preached on Sunday morning in Chhouk Kampot and I preached in the afternoon in Phnom Vor, both TA churches.

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Phnom Vor is right in the centre of a jungle area, in the middle of nowhere. There was, however, great 3G mobile phone reception! We saw 4 first-time decisions to follow Christ alongside 4+ healings. It was wonderful to see God on the move, but intensely frustrating not being able to speak the language and converse easily.  IMG_0053

After another overnight stay, we arrived in Kep on the Monday morning. This was the location of the conference and would be home for the next few days. It was great to have hot water once again, but not so great to have a mixture of geckos, large spiders and cockroaches! However, the view from the guest house more than made up for this!

Mike, Kay and I, together with Scott Price who works with Setan in Cambodia, all spoke on the theme of, “Don’t lose your way.” We were encouraging the 80+ delegates to hold fast in their commitment to Christ, and not to fall at the many obstacles that life throws at us. We looked at the particular hurdles that leaders often face, namely money, sex and power.

The teaching was well received, as were we. On the Wednesday evening we had an evening meeting where I taught about the Holy Spirit and then we prayed for one another. God moved powerfully and it10904011_10152594364755796_7242436137108835516_o was evident that the Holy Spirit was at work refreshing, encouraging and empowering people.

Serving this group of leaders was great fun. They have much to teach us about serving the poor, counting the cost and prayer. I trust we can serve them by teaching from the Bible and sharing from our experience in building the church.

On the Friday, we travelled back to Phnom Penh where Mike & Kay and I checked into a now familiar hotel and enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing together. I was delighted to visit the Blue Pumpkin coffee shop once again!

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The second weekend saw me meet up with Simon & Becci Brown They are leading the Newfrontiers Church Plant, Liberty Family Church in Phnom Penh and it was a great joy to see them once again, and this time to meet with their church on the Sunday morning. I preached on God’s heart for the nations as they had a special Sunday celebrating this theme.

They and their team of young leaders are doing a great job, building a church that is true to the model of church we see in the New Testament, and reflects the values we hold dear.

It was an unexpected bonus to also meet up with another Newfrontiers leader from the UK who had been travelling to another nation in the Far East.

It has been a real privilege to see what God is doing right across the other side of the word. It has been a joy and an honour to meet with leaders, encourage some churches and to preach and teach in a variety of settings.

At a prayer meeting on the Sunday evening as my trip drew to a close, God broke in and the Holy Spirit moved powerfully. We are praying and asking God for such a breakout here. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. And He’s the same in Derby and the UK & Europe as well as in Cambodia and South East Asia.

Heading out to Cambodia

So, here I am sitting in a lounge at Birmingham airport, enjoying some lunch before heading off into the unknown (for me!) of Cambodia, via Amsterdam and Bangkok. I’m heading out there with good friends, Mike and Kay Sprenger from Darlington, to teach at the Transform Asia pastors conference, to meet up with our friend Setan Lee and to see some of the churches and projects he leads. 

It’s a curious mix of feelings – excitement, nervousness and apprehension all mixed in with the firm knowledge that this trip is beginning to fulfill a number of prophetic words that I have received over recent years. 

God has spoken very clearly about Jubilee having a reach and impact far wider than Derby, and about me travelling to different places. Many of those prophetic words, whilst encouraging, at the time seemed crazy! Could God really do that with me, with us? Well, here’s proof that He can! 

So, what has God spoken to you about? What might He be calling you to do? Meanwhile, watch this space for some updates!