In my previous two blogs I have written about the principles of church planning, I now want to focus this down on what God is saying to us as a local church.
Laid into the very foundations of us as a church is a call to church planting. Not only are we a church plant ourselves which means it is in our DNA but prophetic words given to us from the very early days reinforce this.
In May 2002, a few months before our public launch Kim McCaffery brought this word to us.
God gave me a Firework: God gave a picture of a firework, which keeps spurting out. As you watch it you’re never quite sure what’s coming next, and it pours out all over the place. There is a force and an unknown nature to it, but the certainty is, you know it’s going to spurt out.
God said this picture describes church planting, because He will place a firework (per-ching! There it goes!) in Hope church, and there are going to be many churches coming out of here. From the very beginning you are going to put on a firework display and out of you, whole areas around here have got no chance, churches are being planted all the way around here.
But remember the unexpected nature of it, you don’t know when a firework is going to burst into life, but you just wait for the ‘WOW!’, when the next one appears. Have that in your spirits.
After we had been going as a church for a year we had a visit from Kerry Southey a prophet from South Africa, she brought this word to us.
I believe that there are going to be a number of church plants into the area and young people will do many of them… Start to ask God to lay places on your heart and to open homes in those areas … God gave me a funny picture of a frog with all the spawn coming out of the frog and then these little babies leaping into all sorts of places. A little frog pool with the spawn, then the tadpoles and then the little frogs leaping out doing new things in all sorts of surrounding areas.
I don’t think we have seen the fulfilment of these prophetic words, churches have been planted through us in this county and overseas but nothing to the extent described in these prophetic words.
I am excited to think that as we seek to engage with the whole of Luton, all the communities of the town and especially those communities for whom Christianity is a foreign language and church is an alien culture we will see church plants emerge like a firework spurting out and like little frogs doing new things in all sorts of areas. There are a few taking shape, we have had a youth programme for years and have recently added Breakout which focuses on students and twenties, there is also Timeout focusing on active retired people and Pathway engaging with Muslims. However I anticipate God calling us to plant into many more of the communities in Luton over the coming years.
To hear a recent talk and account of our prophetic words as a church listen to Tony Thompson speaking on “Hope Church Vision” on 10th Feb 2013 here
Questions for you to consider.
- Why do you think there is often a time delay between a prophecy being delivered and it being fulfilled? (This seems to be true both in scripture and experience)
- How should we respond to prophecies such as these? What should be your response?
WRITTEN BY TONY THOMPSON
Tony is an Elder at Hope Church Luton and part of the Leadership team.
He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.