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Meet a Western European Church Planter: Kirk Crager

Blog:   Meet a Western Europe Church Planter

Meet Kirk Crager, originally from America, now planting a church with Acts 29 in England

Where are you planting?
Manchester…specifically in the outlying area of Stockport, but with designs to plant Core groups in various parts of the Greater Manchester area. Leading to small church plants in different contexts in the city.

Briefly describe the story of how you came to plant
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 an 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 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 the growth of gospel centred churches in the Greater Manchester area.

How did you become involved with Acts29 Western Europe?
After I made a shift on a couple 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.

What have been some of the benefits?
Just having a tribe 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 Acts 29.

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. 

What advice would you give guys wrestling over a calling 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.  

Outside of the bible, what has been the most helpful book you have read for church planting?
In church planting, the most helpful thing I have read is the material in the Porterbrook Network Course.

How can we pray for you?
Please pray for the raising up of English elders and church planters in the city of Manchester that we can partner with for God’s glory.  As helpers in a foreign context we want to lead with a view to always yield to new leaders from the context as soon as it is appropriate.