If I could start this journey all over again, there are a few things I would do differently. I would definitely pray more and I would worry less, but there’s one thing that really bothers me. I talked too much.
Specifically, I talked too much about vision and what Manchester needed.
In my own head, Manchester needed the church that I was about to plant. So that’s what I talked about. I told anyone who would listen, and even a few people who didn’t want to listen (I owe a significant apology to a telesales guy who just wanted to sell adwords).
The strange thing is that 4+ years later, there are church planters moving into Manchester that are making a noise about what this city needs and how their church is the answer. I feel indignant. Is my church not doing a good enough job? Do you need to come and save the city because I am failing?
It’s not just Manchester either. I regularly see church planters take to social media and talk about how their town/city/village needs a “proper gospel church” (whatever that is). I feel embarrassed for them. I know in a few years they will be on the other end of their own rhetoric, and will realise how it all sounds a bit silly.
So I would like to apologise to the various church leaders and Christians in Manchester who have worked hard in this city for years. I was mouthy and disrespectful. I should have sought to serve you, learn from you and not belittle your efforts, intentionally or otherwise.
Having said all that, now that I am a church leader in Manchester, do I begrudge these new church plants? Are the new kids on the block annoying and getting in our way? No.
2% of Manchester’s population regularly goes to church, and I doubt that 2% is a good representation of this diverse city. This city needs planters who are ready to risk it all for a few souls, and I am cheering them on. I just hope they are quicker to listen than I was.