Alistair and Kate Kemp
Nothing great ever happens overnight. Our journey in seeing the ‘dream becoming a an reality’ has been a long one, at times very all frustrating and not without tears. Having had the call on our lives for a number of years, it wasn’t until last April that God allowed us to put into practice all that he’d an been training us for.
We left the Christian Centre,Nottingham on a high with the blessing of the senior pastor, David Shearman and the elders. We’d been with them for nearly four years and they knew when we arrived that we were only ‘passing through’. In our minds we were staying for six months, twelve at most, and so for much of our my time with them, although we were ‘loving the journey’, we were also ‘chomping at the bit’ to move on. But at just the right time, God broke in, and through a catalogue of events, Scriptures and prophetic words, we knew it was time to pioneer a new work.
We left in April 2010 and spent ten weeds gathering people to pray with, and to enthuse about our vision, ‘to be an edgy, vibrant and enthusiastic church that by the year 2020 would birth three other strong congregations in the South of Nottingham’. We launched in June having grown from six to around 25, and at the time of writing, seven months on, our numbers are up to into the 90s with a regular attendance around the 70 mark each week.
God has blown our minds with favour, anointing, blessings, people, resources and financial provision. To date we really cannot think of any ‘lows’ – other than constraint of not having our own building; and there isn’t enough space to tell you of our ‘highs’, but if we could share some wisdom with you it would be this.
Enjoy where you are on the way where you are going. In other words, stop and smell the roses! Look for every opportunity to become a better you and always be prepared to learn in the waiting room.
Never run ahead of God. Abraham’s impatience led to the birth of Ishmael. Hold out for the promised. When you’re in the timing of God everything flows.
Follow someone else’s vision. If you can’t follow someone else’s, what makes you think anyone will follow yours?
Don t just leave one church and set up another. Take some time to share your vision with people to let people know are coming, to pray and to seek God s face for strategies and the spiritual keys to your area.
Model servanthood. Be hands on: we aim to be first at church to set up and last to leave after pack down. We’ve modelled it to such an extent that we no longer have to do it… but we still do.
Be ready to work hard, but also to play hard. Have fun with your people. Many people would see the time constraints of planting a church as a negative or a low but it’s all about personality. For us, being able to build God’s church is a vacation rather than a vocation. When you’re doing something you love it is hard to see it as work.
Don’t be too hasty into appointing people into positions of leadership, this way you’ll save yourself the agony of having to ask people to step down later on.
Never ask anyone to come with you! Just share your vision and your enthusiasm and let the Holy Spirit do the convincing and convicting.
Have a releasing culture, delegate well and be prepared to ‘give people a go’.
Be sure to have a spiritual covering. We’ve come under an apostolic network. At all costs, get accountability.
Dream big and don’t limit God. Ephesians 3: 20 tells us that ‘God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine’, and how true we have found that to be.
Be specific. Ask God for exactly what you need. We wanted a bass player and God brought us a professional musician!
Don’t give up the day job! We believe we are called to the workplace as well as the church. God has given us the capacity to do both and we don’t feel called to lay our secular work down . . . . yet! Pioneering and evangelizing communities doesn’t come cheap and being salaried gives us greater financial freedom to sow into the work. Do whatever you feel God is telling you to do and He will bless the work of our hands.
And finally, aim – but don’t strive – to forge great relationships with other churches in the area.