Phil and Emma lead Hope Church in Crewe, England. They work with two other FI families the Nissens and the Christners, who are both a key part of the church. They have been there since 2002 and planted Hope Church just over four years ago. It began with a group of 15 (9 adults and 6 children) and has grown steadily to around 100 people today. Over 50% of the church is from unchurched backgrounds including a number of families who had dropped out of church life altogether. Crewe is a former railway town and is looked down upon even by its residents! There is a pervading sense of hopelessness and despair in people and so the challenge is to come in an opposite spirit by bringing hope in Jesus.
It is encouraging seeing what the Lord has done over these four years in particular, but the needs are great and there are 1000’s outside the Kingdom and ignorant of it. There is faith to see significant growth in the years ahead. The church works in schools and colleges, sharing Jesus love with young people who mostly know nothing about God. In a country with a rich revival history, England is now seen as ‘post-Christian’, with most people having never heard the gospel. Outreach is key because the needs are so great and the heart of Jesus breaks for the lost. It ranges from worship in the town centre, tea and coffee outreach, meals, barbecues and alpha courses. The purchase and renovation of a former Welsh Chapel, Hope Church Central, means that there are many more ways of reaching people. A mums and tots group started up recently seeking to reach the community around.
Over the past few years the unity between church leaders and their congregations has developed and deepened significantly. There is a new joint prayer initiative between the churches and Hope Church is at the centre of this. Phil and Emma’s desire is to see God’s Kingdom come in their town and beyond. They want to see lives impacted with Jesus’ love. Please pray for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit to touch this town and nation, that God’s name would be honored again!