Bridgeway Church | Manchester, UK
- Kirk Crager
- Jun 29, 2011
- Series: Church Profiles
- Categories: Latest News, Latest News - Western Europe, Church Planting Articles
Briefly describe your story of your call to plant a church
Through several short term and long term missions endeavours Jesus opened my eyes and heart to Western Europe as a gospel priority area. As I was involved in some training and ministry in the States I began to pray for opportunity to go. In September 2001, God called my wife and I to assist in a Calvary church plant in Rome, Italy. After three years, He directed us in His providence to the UK to take leadership of a small core group. The church had been “re-planted” several times already and essentially has been like a re-plant on steroids due to the various long term dynamics. It’s been challenging, but great to experience the sustaining grace of God whilst learning elements of both a re-plant and a new plant at the same time. Jesus has given us a heart to see a growth of gospel centred churches in the Greater Manchester area.
How did you build up your core? What advice would you give to guys in the core-stage?
Since we were a replant we had some existing people and have sought to develop leadership within that Core. However, we have had a new core develop every three years or so and have each time relationally developed the core through community and mission together...Also, we have seen specific Spirit-led occasions of putting on courses, meeting people in the streets or at pubs, and have sought to remain open to God's providence in who He is bringing to join us on mission...
What were the biggest challenges you faced in planting your church (and/or currently facing)?
As a cross-national planter there are always challenges in reading the culture well and being able to appropriately speak the gospel in the context. The general spiritual apathy in post-Christian Europe is a challenge that we face everyday.
How did you become involved with Acts 29? What have been the biggest benefits of being in the network?
After a bit of a shift on a couple of theological points, the guys at Acts 29 extended me grace in welcoming me into relationship. It all started through hearing some sermons from a guy called Mark Driscoll. This led to going to a boot camp, getting some training through the Porterbrook Network in Sheffield, and getting to know some of the guys in the Western Europe context. Having a network with the same theological framework is a bonus. On top of that, I have experienced some challenging and gracious pastoring through the assessment process and in relationship with the men who make up A29.
What advice do you have for men who are wrestling with the decision to plant?
Listen to time tested men who have walked the path and trust others to assess you and affirm your calling more than yourself.
What’s the most important thing you’d want to share with a new church planter?
The process of church planting is about the gospel, which includes our sanctification. The plant is not the goal...Knowing Jesus in His death and resurrection is the prize we are reaching towards.
How do you pastor your family?
It all starts with the Bible. We try to create a culture in the family where Jesus’ kingship and scripture is talked about and dealt with in every area… in the midst of our joys and pain. Deut. 6:1-6 is big…just constantly bringing the gospel into central focus while we eat, laugh, watch films, and interact with our church and neighbours. One of the biggest ways that I try to pastor my wife and kids is to repent to them and seek their forgiveness when I sin. I experience a lot of grace from them as I lead.
Outside of the Bible, what is the most helpful book you have read for church planting?
Church Profile: The Bridgeway Church
Launch Date: March 2011
Location: Manchester, UK
Mission, Vision, Values of Church
The Bridgeway Church is committed to being disciples of Jesus who make new disciples of Jesus and start new communities of disciples for the glory of Jesus.
What are some examples of God's grace that you have seen in your life and/or the life of your church?
We have seen the grace of God keep us as His kids through many spiritual, financial, and missional challenges in 2 foreign cultural contexts...God has given us grace as a church to proclaim the gospel en mass to our community and we have seen God change people through the power of the gospel as they develop relationships with people in the church.
How can we pray for you?
Please pray that I would be a healthy leader of my wife, family, and church for the sake of the gospel & Jesus' fame..
November 14, 2013
Event: 2013 Raleigh Boot Camp
Author: Ray Ortlund, Jr.