Week 2 -and weekend 2 offered some sharp contrasts. On Friday, I visited Oldham and met with Stephen Kneale, pastor of Oldham Bethel. The church is in a deprived community and is trying to do all it can with very few resources (come back tomorrow to find out what Steve and I talked about).
On Sunday I visited St Luke’s Gas Street. This is the headline Church of England plant in the city centre of Birmingham. A lot of money has been invested into purchasing and renovating a building and a large congregation brought together within a couple of years complete with staff team headed up by well-known worship leader Tim Hughes.
St Luke’s Gas Street is an example of the “Resource Church” approach and anyone who has read my musings on faithroots.net over time will know that I’m not a big fan of the concept. Theologically, I’m also on a different page to the HTB (Holy Trinity Brompton) approach. So, what was I doing there? It’s a good question and to be honest whilst others visited out of curiosity, in its early days I stayed away. The last thing you need at church is a grumpy person sat at the back who has come to find fault with you! I did have the opportunity to sit and chat over coffee with one of their leaders early on and to pray for each other. So before I go any further, I want to say publicly here what I said to him in private. My prayer is that Gas Street will be fruitful. We need churches in this city that are fruitful, that are preaching the Gospel and where people are growing in Christ. Even when we disagree with other believers about some things, where there is a unity on the good news that Christ died in our place and rose again for us, then we can pray this for each other. Continue reading