A venue; a space that provides a springboard into mission, a base for the local church, and an access point to the gospel for those searching. Venues are not everything, (and we’ve seen God work powerfully through the lack thereof), however, sometimes the journey of trusting God for a space, and following him through the ups and downs, is as much the ‘end goal’ as the venue itself. This wells up in a glorious testimony of his faithfulness and care for his body, the church.
Here’s the story from the Iain Kennedy, from Glasgow Grace in Scotland, who shares the story of their new space to gather, as well as the waiting and in-between moments which have been formational for them as a church.
Our prayer is that these bricks will now bear witness, not to dead and dying religion, but living and breathing faith where preaching is bold, singing is loud, testimonies of lives changed are regular, and the baptismal pool well used. That it would be a place where people are confronted with life in God, and not the rotting religion they expect.(Iain Kennedy)
“Since our first public gathering in January 2019 we have met in 12 different buildings across Glasgow for Sunday worship. Building hire has been so challenging in Glasgow since Scotland’s first lockdown that we became Sunday nomads, spending an average time of four weeks in any one venue at a time. We got so used to moving we decided it would be easier to buy a van as a storage cupboard.
Along the way we kept praying, searching and believing for God to provide us with a long term space. We emailed, called and turned up to hundreds of buildings in the hope that one might become a Sunday home. Opportunities came and hope would rise but each time it would end in disappointment. I had sent one of my usual friendly emails to yet another church sadly closing its doors in our city. It looked like a great space. It didn’t have a leaky roof or rising damp! With each email sent or letter written we hoped that someone out there would read it with a heart still warm for God – looking to fill the space for Kingdom purposes and not another set of flats or pub. To my surprise, after only a week of silence, someone replied. We met and talked and all looked good. The building was exactly where we hoped with a brilliant worship space, rooms for kids and tots, and the all-important storage space! It was just a matter of time and we couldn’t wait.
Until that is, the contact we had in the church left his role and the new contact had quite a different view of how things were. He explained the complexity of their denominational decision making process and why it wasn’t certain at all. Months of silence followed. It had seemed so right.
We were tempted to give up on it and look elsewhere. After all, how much time do we want to be giving to bricks and mortar? We’re here to see people encounter Jesus and be changed forever. But when a couple of us felt prompted to sit outside the building one day to pray something shifted. We had a new rise of faith for this place. The next day a random number flashed up on my phone. I’d usually ignore them but this one I picked up and by the end of the call things were moving again. A couple of their committees met over the next few weeks and, slightly shell shocked, we were planning to move in.
It took 9 months from that first email before all of our Sunday firsts just five weeks ago and it was better than we could have hoped for. Our prayer is that these bricks will now bear witness, not to dead and dying religion, but living and breathing faith where preaching is bold, singing is loud, testimonies of lives changed are regular, and the baptismal pool well used. That it would be a place where people are confronted with life in God, and not the rotting religion they expect.
We would really appreciate your prayers, especially that God would use this venue as a base for effective mission and that it would only be the first of many here in Glasgow.“