Wolverhampton Pioneer Ministries - update Mar10

Monday, 1 March, 2010

Richard Moy, ordained pioneer ministry in the Lichfield Diocese, tells us about Wolverhampton Pioneer Ministries.

Duration: 3:51   | Download Download mp3


Introducer: When Christians in Wolverhampton realised there were thousands of people in the city with no real links to church, they decided to do something about it. Richard Moy was appointed to start a new form of church and explained more to Norman Ivison.

Richard Moy: It was actually a vision that came from the Methodist Church and the Anglican Church fairly centrally as they looked at the 23,000 people in the night time economy they realised that the church wasn't engaging with them.

Interviewer: So how did you start? You knew there was this massive need, what were your first steps?

Richard Moy: My first step was to go to a monastery to pray, which is where I met my co-worker, Chris Heseltine-James, who's now training for ministry. My next step was to go to Sheffield to see the amazing work they've been doing at Thomas Crookes and basically steal and borrow most of their ideas around lifeshapes. And after that we had forty days of prayer and fasting and just waiting on God to see what he was doing.

Interviewer: So from zero to a Christian community in the middle of the city, how did that happen?

Richard Moy: Yeah, well basically we started with three of us on a Sunday night in a church praying and gradually a few people began to join that. And a year or so in we moved into a café location in the middle of town where it was more accessible for random people to come in and we're now finding that, well we regularly have 30 people which probably means we've got a pool of 50-60 people who come along and take part in the Sunday night worship.

Interviewer: And what sort of people have joined? Are they sort of typically young people who'd be out clubbing at night normally, or what?

Richard Moy: Yeah, we have a real range of people. They're all aged between 16 and maybe 32, 33, they've included a lad who graduated from Oxford but also a lot of people with very hard learning aspirations, very difficult backgrounds in terms of education, a number of people who are jobless and some people even who are destitute. So a right mixture of people in the congregation.

Interviewer: You're doing church that's right outside the box. If we looked at it, what things would surprise us about the sort of things you get up to?

Richard Moy: Well I think probably one of the biggest things that's different is that we operate around the learning styles, the Honey and Mumford learning styles, so we have one service that's aimed more at reflectors, which has a lot of spirituality input, one that's aimed more at theorists where we're trying to teach people deeply to get them to think why do they believe the things that they believe rather than just telling them what they believe, and one that's much more like Soul Survivor where, you know, we just have a big worship praise up and ministry time, and another which is just food and we have a testimony and we have communion at the end, really informal. But the thing that's developed even beyond that is our man night on a Monday night, which is fabulous. Where we have the most simple communion you could imagine, then we watch a film, we play Playstation and we eat food together. And 10 of the most fantastic blokes were there on Monday night out of maybe 15 who go regularly, and you're just looking at these are the leaders of the church to come and they're awesome guys and they're all growing as disciples.

Interviewer: Are venues important? You've no church building so how important is it that you meet in appropriate places?

Richard Moy: Well we use inappropriate places often. We use McDonald's, we use Yates's, we use a church-based café as well and we have now established a ministry centre flat where three of our guys live together and that's made a huge community impact on what we're doing.

Interviewer: Some people looking at you might say this is great, it's all good mission and very exciting, but it 'ain't church. How would you respond to that?

Richard Moy: Yeah at one end of the spectrum it is quite clearly church. We have the Vitalise service which most people would recognise as being obvious worship in traditional form. But at the other end we're just hanging out on projects with kids who've never had any contact with church at all, and we're light years away from making fresh expression amongst them, but we're in those tentative stages with them. So we operate a network church where we have some bits of the church are really strong and some bits are fledgling, some bits will only last for a season and some bits will last forever.

Interviewer: And can you ensure it's all sustainable?

Richard Moy: No, we don't want to ensure it's all sustainable, some of it should sustain and some of it should last for a season and die out and new things take its place.

Introducer: Richard Moy.

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