Monks Road Threshold - update May10

Saturday, 1 May, 2010

Sarah and Carl Belcher share the story of Threshold Monks Road, a fresh expression in a needy area of Lincoln.

Duration: 4:24   | Download Download mp3

Transcript

Introducer: Sarah and Carl Belcher live in Lincoln and believe God's called them to plant a new church there. Threshold is a network of churches and Carl and Sarah have started a congregation in a needy area of the city, as Carl explains.

Carl Belcher: I think we'd always had a heart for vulnerable communities and as we'd just looked around we'd looked at this community and God I think pulled on our heartstrings and we thought yeah, this is where we want to be.

Sarah Belcher: The Abbey Ward as it's called, or we call it the Monks Road area, it's very diverse, there are quite a few young professionals, there are elderly people who've been here for years and years and have grown up here, there's a high population of Polish people and people from other Eastern European countries and there are high levels unfortunately of crime and in the government statistics we fall into the bottom 5% on quite a lot of areas unfortunately.

Carl Belcher: I guess you could say that the church tends not to do well in this area, if you looked at the population and the percentage which are engaged with church. When we moved into the area we didn't intentionally think right let's start a church, to be honest it was what I like to phrase a happy accident. And what we really wanted was not just to replicate yet another church providing probably similar things, but really engage with people who just wouldn't find themselves naturally engaging with church, who probably have no experience of Christianity or maybe even negative experiences of church and Christianity, and looking at a more incarnational and relational way of engaging with people and helping them to enter the kingdom.

Male voice 1: I am a different person because of what Jesus has done in my life since I've been baptised and became a Christian four years ago. I've become more peaceful, happier and a lot more cheerful.

Female voice 1: Eight years ago I moved into the YMCA, then I heard two people speaking about this church and I thought yeah that'd be just nice for me to come along, so I did. I got baptised five and a half years ago and that's when I changed.

Carl Belcher: Lots of the people we started to build friendship with probably would have felt uncomfortable in a formal and traditional church context. So for us it's always been about just being friends really. And even the end product of church wasn't something we kept in our focus, it was more to do with how can we help individuals on a very real and practical and relational level and then from there, as people then started to think hopefully I really like spending time with these people, what is it about them that we could help introduce them step by step to how God can impact their lives, and then as a result seeing them become part of the growing church community here.

[Crowd singing: …happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear…]

Sarah Belcher: A personal cost is part of starting a fresh expression. I think that with anything that God asks you to do, there's often a flip-side to it. I think that for family, for marriage and for things that maybe you wildly dream of hope for, sometimes you have to be willing just to trust God that things will be ok even when it doesn't seem like it. But again I just think it is so worth it to see other people come to know God. We really need to model as well that God comes first, then family and then church. But trying to get the balance can be interesting and sometimes there is a cost to it, yeah.

Introducer: Sarah Belcher, talking honestly about the price of planting a new congregation. And you can find out more about that fresh expression of church in Lincoln, by going to the stories section of our website, freshexpressions.org.uk/stories.

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