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557 and counting

More than 60 churches have joined us since 2010 because they share our gospel vision to reach the nation for Christ. John Stevens introduces to the latest members of the Fellowship.

557 and counting primary image

FIEC is, and always has been, an association of autonomous local churches, and I was delighted that four churches were affiliated at the end of November. These latest affiliations are all smaller churches, and it is hugely encouraging that they are seeing growth and conversions and are bringing the good news of the gospel to rural communities and more needy places.

We are a diverse group of churches of varying sizes and social contexts. If we are to reach the whole nation with the good news of Jesus Christ we will need many more churches in towns and villages like these, and the support and encouragement of a wider network like FIEC is often vital for such churches that might otherwise feel isolated.

Bridgeway Church Stockport

Bridgeway Church was started in 2011 and is led by Kirk Crager. They have a membership of 25 and a regular congregation of between 45-50 adults, as well as children. They have been especially effective at reaching and discipling those in their working class area of Stockport.

Bridgeway Church

They meet in a converted shop just off the M60. They have community groups in the immediate area, but also in Glossop and Rochdale, and church members have a passion to see churches planted in these communities in the future.

The church is also a member of Acts29 Europe and they enjoy good fellowship with the other FIEC churches in the area, including Grace Church Manchester, City Church Manchester and Emmanuel Community Church in Heaton Moor.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

To connect to a wider body of gospel-centred churches and network effectively for advancing the gospel. We can offer our learned experience in mission and a warm heart of co-labouring from our leadership.

Outpost Church Ashford

Outpost Church is a relatively new church that was planted in 2011 by Roger Tanton, who was formerly a student worker at St John’s Church in Hull and at Cornerstone Church in Kingston.

Outpost Church

The church has a membership of 8 and a regular congregation of 20 adults and 15 children. Roger works bi-vocationally, supporting himself in ministry by teaching art in a local school. The church has seen a number of conversions and baptisms and attracts people who are not yet believers. Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

To identify with like-minded churches, to enjoy fellowship and be partners in the work of the gospel. To receive help and support regarding financial, legal and constitutional issues. We are a new and small church but feel that we can offer the churches of FIEC the following: Roger is willing and keen to preach at other churches and serve and develop closer links. Since starting the church we have seen people saved, some from non-church backgrounds who have really encouraging testimonies.

Lilbourne Evangelical Church Rugby

Lilbourne Evangelical Church is a rural church located in a village in the Daventry District of Northamptonshire with a population of 400. The church began as a Methodist chapel and the current church was established in 1986.

Lilbourne Evangelical Church

There are 10 members and a regular congregation of 19 adults and 8 children. In the last couple of years the church has seen one lady converted and five or their young people profess faith in Christ. They have built a good relationship with Emmanuel Evangelical Church Leamington Spa, which has sent them some young preachers. Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

To give us a wider base of fellowship with other evangelicals. To seek help in finding a pastor or other assistance.

Netherseal Baptist Church

Netherseal Baptist Church is in a village on the border between Derbyshire and Leicestershire with a population of 700. It was established in 1840 and today has a membership of 18 and a regular Sunday congregation of 35.

Netherseal Baptist Church building

They had very close links with other Baptist churches in the area, but became independent in 2013. Since then they have become well established and have grown.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

The church wishes to join the FIEC in order to unify with like-minded churches in promoting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Also to give and receive encouragement and support each other by way of preaching, prayer and fellowship.

It is a joy to welcome these churches, and they bring the total number of church gatherings and recognised church plants in FIEC to 557. I am pleased that more churches will be joining this week as our National Recognition Team meets to discuss applications, and I have already been asked to visit three churches in the next couple of months that are considering affiliation. You can find out more about affiliation here.

As part of the process of affiliation several of these churches have discovered that they don’t have adequate governing documents in place to meet their legal obligations. This is another important, if less glamorous, way we are able to help churches.

We can ensure that churches have appropriate governing documents, including trust deeds and constitutions, and a legal structure that serves their theological understanding of the nature of a local church. Find out more by contacting our expert solicitors at FIEC Practical Services for advice and assistance.

John Stevens photo
John Stevens - FIEC National Director

John is FIEC's National Director. He's married to Ursula and they have four children. He loves books. John blogs regularly – and at length – over at

Follow John Stevens on Twitter – @_JohnStevens