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
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.