Gospel Growth in Greater Manchester
Phil Topham enjoyed a day out in Manchester earlier this month – one of the first of our 2019 Local Conferences for church leaders. Here are a few encouragements from the day.
“One of our older members is just so encouraged by the amount of gospel work that is now going on in Manchester.”
This comment from Mike Tindall, pastor of Grace Church in the Moss Side area of Manchester, was one of the highlights of our recent local conference in the city.
Mike explained that back in 2001 there were only a handful of gospel-preaching churches serving central and south Manchester. Since then, we have seen the launch of two FIEC churches: Grace Church and City Church. They have planted – or plan to plant – other churches in and around the city. Meanwhile, new churches in and around Manchester have also been started by brothers and sisters in other gospel-centred networks.
It’s that kind of insight into what is happening around the country that makes our Local Conferences so encouraging.
On the road with FIEC
Earlier in February, we visited Edinburgh, Sunderland and Leicester as well as Manchester. These were the first four of 26 Local Conferences we’re holding this year. It was a great joy to meet brothers and sisters for a day of Bible-teaching, discussion, planning and prayer.
I was particularly struck by the value of these opportunities for networking, as church leaders shared their encouragements and challenges before lifting their voices in prayer. There was also a wonderful heart for the region as we spent time looking at a map and identifying places where there is little or no gospel witness in Greater Manchester and Cheshire.
A silver bullet?
Among the delegates was Andy Smith who I had first met at The Hub Conference in January. He’s a ministry trainee at Firwood Church in Oldham who are in the process of applying for FIEC affiliation. It was great to see him again and to read his comments about our time together.
Writing on Stephen Kneale’s blog (Pastor of Oldham Bethel Church), Andy reflected:
“What I found most helpful about the day was the opportunity to chat to people about how they take the gospel to unbelievers in their communities. It was evident from our discussions that there is no ‘silver bullet’ in terms of methods and strategies. No one person has all the answers because we all work in different contexts with people from different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and social classes.
“Nevertheless, I believe that there is a silver bullet we all possess: the gospel message itself. We can agree or disagree on tactics and strategies for evangelism, but we are all united in proclaiming one message that we all agree has the power to transform the people’s lives of those who live in our local communities. I found this particularly encouraging.
“In our busy schedules it’s encouraging to stop, meet and pray with others who are battling to proclaim the gospel in our region.”
FIEC is passionate about Independent Churches working together. We believe we can do more for the gospel together than we can on our own. What better way to forge these interdependent relationships than by gathering with other like-minded church leaders in your region?
There are 22 more Local Conferences to come – we’d love to see you so find your nearest.