History Of Hope Church – Just a Normal Family…

Over the last few weeks we have heard testimony of the ups and downs of Church planting in Luton.  I just want to give testimony to what it means for a family to hear, trust and follow God. Through the years our family have discovered the faithfulness and steadfast love of God through the many and varied situations we have found ourselves in.  God has shown that He is faithful in all of His ways. From the provision of money to ensure the house we brought had safe lighting and hot water, schooling and the provision of accessible and affordable music services to ensure that our children were able to develop and grow beyond what we could ask or imagine.

When God asks you to do something he does provide the resources and abilities for you to complete what he initiates. We took a risk with God as we moved from a quiet Cambridge village with excellent schooling and a fantastic network of friends.  Our children (triplet boys aged 10 and a daughter six) were catapulted into the centre of Luton, they had to be educated in the problems of prejudice, poverty, foster care and drugs. They wanted to be able to walk to school and have their own bedrooms, God granted their desires.  He put us next to a park, so they could play.  We had an open home and many children found fun, food and shelter within its walls.

Creatively and musically they flourished.  Far from ’nothing good comes out of Luton’ Luton blessed us.  They had opportunities that we could never have imagined. Through the highs and lows (including muggers who gave things back!!) as a family we looked to God and he never let us down.

All four of our children are now involved in Churches in London, Southampton and Wales.  They help and inspire others in worship, youth work and support church planting. They did not see many of their friends become Christians (The boys married the girls that did!), but their friends still value their relationships and knowing our family.  The seeds continue to grow.

‘Train your children in the ways that they should go’ As parents we made loads of mistakes but we endeavoured to keep our eyes and ears on God and follow him. Our children are trying to do the same and we are thankful that we followed His call.

Written by Jane Reynolds

Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team - you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church
Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leads Welcome & Inclusion

 

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History Of Hope Church – Kalla Tímea Story

 

 

Here is my story from 2005/6, when I was a member of Hope Church for 9 months. This is where I met Jesus and was baptised on the 10th September 2006.

When I met Yvette, the beautiful British lady, as I always saw her, at Central Baptist Church, I tried to refuse her invitation to Hope Church and convinced her (myself…), that I was a catholic and happy with that. However, I felt that I really needed to go to Hope Church, to a living church, where people talk to each other. (In Hungary I attended church, but no one ever talked to me). So, finally I accepted Yvette’s invitation.

Liz picked us up at the chaplaincy and on our way to Hope Church she asked me if I read the Bible every day and I said I did not. On the following Monday I went to a book shop and I bought a Bible (I often had no money for food, but still, I WANTED a Bible!). In my university hall room I had been reading my Bible for months… when one day I told God that He could come and do whatever He wanted to do in my life. He did so. I started to go to Ben’s cell group and my faith grew. In those days I had been in a relationship, used dirty words, had low self-esteem, and struggled with insomnia. By the time I moved back to Hungary, God healed and changed me from these problems and sins.

3 months later I went back to Luton, where pastor Tony baptised me in Simon’s outdoor pool. A Hungarian girl attended the ceremony and said that this experience convinced her that she needed to be baptised too (she was catholic as well), so she did so in Hungary.

Your examples, deeds and hard work for Christ at Hope Church echoes forever, I am the living example for that.

Written by Kalla Tímea

Kalla Timea

Looking Back At The History Of Hope Church – Part 4

The last 5 years worshipping in Hope Church Centre has been transforming, we are a very different church now than 5 years ago.

At one leaders meeting we were asked the question, if the church were a ship what type of ship would we be? A cruise liner, a battleship, a submarine? The answer we came up with was a flotilla of small ships. That is what we have become, lots of small ships, heading in the same direction, seeking to achieve the same thing.

There was also a picture given which described the leadership fort being burnt down replaced by a castle that couldn’t be burnt down. That has happened, we now have strong and established eldership and staff teams.

We have become very multi-cultural, not just in the congregation but increasingly in leadership. A few Sundays ago I suddenly realised I was the only white person bringing any leadership to that meeting, and I brought the notices.

We are established and respected in community. Our Open House drop in; our High Town community worker; our work with other both churches across the town and in the local High Town area; as well as in so many other ways, have produced this. It was because of this involvement that Luke and I received an Invite to Downing Street to help David Cameron celebrate Easter!

It feels like Hope Church is becoming something like the church God painted in my imagination many years ago.

  • We are helping people move from despair to hope.
  • People from different cultures are becoming friends and learning from each other, producing something of Kingdom of God culture.
  • We are involved and serving the community, not just gathering Christians but allowing many others to “touch the hem of Jesus garment”.

What are the major lessons I have learnt through God’s involvement in Hope Church?

Most of the time things take longer than you would like, but they do happen.

There are both birth pains and growth pains. It hurts when people leave. We get it wrong, I get it wrong. When I do, when we do, people get hurt. Forgiveness and humility are therefore essential. Not knowing everyone as we could when we were smaller is also difficult. We also hurt with those who hurt.

However, through it all I have learnt that God is amazingly faithful.

 

Written by Tony Thompson

– based on his sermon from 17th April 2016 – Click here to listen to it

tonyt

Tony Thompson is the leader of Hope Church Luton.  He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.

Looking Back At The History Of Hope Church – Part 3

God gave the growth but……..

We grew rapidly, but the core struggled. Some had personal challenges in their lives, for other Hope Church was not what they had expected, others it was Luton that was not as they expected. Some left, others were unable to carry weight in the church for a while. We were growing but sometimes it felt as if we would collapse under the weight of the growth. My prayer and the prayer of others was for reinforcements.

It seemed as if God answered our prayers when Kim Mc Caffrey, the prophet from Coventry mentioned previously, felt God was calling him to move to Luton. It felt right, he joined our staff team and brought a number of other families with him from his previous church in Coventry.

However, it didn’t work out. Tensions developed, relationships broke down. It was very painful for many people, not least myself. I felt terrible, questioned my ability to lead a church. I felt I had let people down. Eventually Kim and the others who came with him left, this time to join a church in Leamington Spa in the Midlands.

This whole episode set us back as a church and set me back as a leader.

Recovery – purchase of building – God’s provision.

It took a while to recover. Part of the recovery was to establish a formal eldership of myself and Wayne Parsons. This was September 2009. Just about the first thing we did as elders was look round the Polish Social Club on Villa Road which had recently been put on the market as a previous sale had fallen through.

It quickly became clear that whilst we could not afford it God was calling us to buy it. However through the provision of God, as had been prophesied soon after we started, we were able to buy it and eventually moved in 5 years ago.

The Miracle of the purchase included.

  1. Available at half the price it had previously been sold due to credit crunch meaning developers didn’t want it.
  2. We raised hundreds of thousands of pounds from members.
  3. Got a mortgage when they were hard to get. I still find it hard to believe a bank offered us the money. A private individual, not even part of the church, leant us the final £50,000 we were short!
  4. We were totally naïve about the size of the refurbishment task. It took a year, much longer than we ever imagined and then only because God provided a team of volunteers, some giving 2 days a week throughout that time and others giving up most Saturdays. It was tough, but we got there.
  5. Grants (money of the wicked as Kerry prophesied) we received that enabled us to furnish the kitchen, buy new chairs, upgrade the heating, purchase signs and many other things.

 

What an experience, what a joy when we held our first worship meeting in the Hope Church Centre in April 2011, 5 years ago. Click here to watch a video looking at that building project and the last 5 years.

 

Written by Tony Thompson

– based on his sermon from 17th April 2016 – Click here to listen to it

tonyt

Tony Thompson is the leader of Hope Church Luton.  He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.