Independence through Dependence
Lynne Johnson from Derby tells us the story of a gospel work planted 14 years ago that is now, in God’s goodness, becoming a fully Independent church.
In 2004 Woodlands Church in Allestree, Derby, felt that the time was right to plant a church on the nearby Oakwood Estate – one of the largest housing estates in Europe.
In the 14 years since, the new church has never quite reached the stage of being totally Independent. There have been a lot of changes as different Pastors have come and gone and numbers have grown and declined. But through all the highs and lows the church has remained faithful to the original vision of reaching out with the gospel on the Oakwood Estate.
In 2015 the church called my husband Aaron Johnson, formerly of North Shields Evangelical Church, to be the Pastor and lead the church down the road to Independence. Aaron and I arrived to find a church that was vibrant, determined and ready for the challenge ahead.
Three years on and the church has seen a few changes in personnel. The Leadership Team has grown and the vision and determination have become sharper. We also affiliated to FIEC in 2016.
That’s not the only thing that’s changed. After lots of discussion and prayer we decided to change our name from Woodlands Church Oakwood to Springwood Church. On 7 June our new website went live and a couple of days later we held a party to celebrate. We invited the folks from the estate to come and join us – and made sure the whole day was free of charge.
A huge amount of organisation and prayer went into the day and in his goodness, God answered our prayers. The weather was perfect, everyone was kept safe and the atmosphere was one of peaceful excitement. But, best of all, the people we invited came.
We estimated that between 150 and 200 people came to join us, including lots of children who dived down the giant inflatable slide, leapt up and down on the bouncy castle and showed their parents how to play crazy golf. The barbecue and café were a huge success, a number of people took away Gideon Bibles and a lot of friendships were made. We finished the day exhausted and exhilarated as we gathered together to give thanks to Almighty God.
The Fun Day was a huge date in the church calendar but people coming to a party isn’t what the church is about. On 29 September we will hold our official ‘Independence Day’ Service, but until then and in the years to come we will be looking to God to answer our main prayer – for people on the estate and surrounding area to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
So our prayer is simple. By September we want to see five more families and a few others, worshipping with us on a Sunday morning. Will you pray with us to that end?
Our strap line for the year is: Our Independence can only come about with our Dependence on God. We look to him expectantly knowing that in his time he will keep his promise and he will build his church.