Northern Gospel Project: Together, We Can Do More
A group of churches in Manchester are working together to address the need for more gospel churches across the north of England.
Greater Manchester is a rapidly growing city of 2.8 million people. Simply to keep up with population growth, 60 new churches of 100 people each would need to be planted by 2030. And church attendance would still remain at just 3.8%! That’s less than half the rate of London.
The task is huge!
We wanted to play our part in tackling that task. So, back in 2014, City Church Manchester was planted in the heart of Manchester to be a church accessible for the whole city. We’ve grown from 27 adults to nearly 400 adults, we've helped plant three churches, and directly planted Trinity Church in Prestwich – sending out 32 adults and children to North Manchester.
As wonderful as that is, it’s barely scratching the surface.
We’re increasingly convinced of two things. First: on our own we can only reach some, but together with other churches we can do more. Second: we need to be generous and open-handed, working with like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ across denominations and tribes for the sake of the lost.
Four years ago, these twin convictions led us to conversations with Christ Church Manchester, a church from the Newfrontiers family and deeply committed to church planting. In fact, they’ve planted five congregations in the past ten years and set up The Broadcast Network, an online training platform for planters and plant teams.
Out of these discussions, the Planters Collective was born. This is a joint care system for church planters in Manchester. Currently, nine planters (Anglican, Free, Presbyterian and charismatic) meet monthly to share, pray and provide peer-to-peer training.
But the conversations didn’t stop there.
We realised more was needed to help church plants get off the ground. We couldn’t just care for current planters - potential planters and their teams needed more help all-round. Real brass tacks help.
Out of this, the vision for the Northern Gospel Project was formed.
Northern Gospel Project
Northern Gospel Project is an ambitious initiative. By providing training, funding, and care, we want to see thirty gospel churches planted in Greater Manchester by 2030.
Multi-level training is already in place in Manchester.
- City-to-City Incubator: a two-year course focussing on soft skills for church planters.
- Plant North: a one-year introductory course for pastors and planters.
- The Broadcast Network: an online platform providing a suite of courses, articles, podcasts, videos, books and live events to train those involved in or exploring church planting.
We hope to raise a £300,000 seed fund for church planting. Here at City Church, we've already contributed £27,000 and hope to make our first grant next summer.
On the care side, we are multiplying Planters Collectives, providing gospel coaching, and launching care groups for both planters’ spouses and launch team members.
If you want to get involved as an individual or as a church leader, there are various ways you can:
- Sign up for updates on the Northern Gospel Project and support us in prayer.
- Give towards to the funding for church planting in the north of England.
- Connect with the training and care on offer for planters through the Project.
You can find out more about all of this, and meet some of those involved, at our conference in November.
Breaking Ground Conference
The Northern Gospel Project officially kicks off at our launch conference on 18-19 November, with an excellent line-up of speakers including Neil Powell, Femi Osunnuyi, and Jonathan Bell.
The Friday is targeted at pastors and lead planters. But church planting is for every Christian so the Saturday is firmly focussed on church members, offering a choice of eight workshops to attend with topics like:
- How Has God Shaped You for Church Planting?
- Raising Families in Urban Disadvantaged Areas
- Worship in a Church Plant
- From Vision to Mission - the First Five Years
Northern Gospel Project’s aim is to support and catalyse church planting throughout the whole of the north of England. So, everyone is welcome!
I look forward to welcoming you to Manchester for what promises to be a landmark event.