We have been in Manchester for nearly 5 years. By we, I mean the Simmonds family. The Manchester branch of the Simmonds family includes me (husband, dad, churchy workery type), Vicki (wife, mother, nurse), Abi (daughter, pupil, artist) and Esther (daughter, pupil, ninja).
We moved because of me. I felt called to Manchester and to church planting. Vicki and the kids gracefully allowed me to chase after my dreams. The move meant Vicki gave up a good job, we left all our friends and all our community connections. Vicki was onboard and excited, but she sacrificed more than I did. (You can read more about the effect on Vix here)
CCM:City meets now on Sundays at 10:30am and 6:30pm. Until we started this meeting, we were all going to CCM:Gorton (the original CCM). We have a bunch of friends there, and my kids get to join in with some brilliant kids work. Abi and Esi had a bunch of good buddies that they loved seeing every week.
To start with, the kids work at CCM:City was just my kids. So, me and the girls had to discuss church planting strategy! Trying to explain the importance of early adopter to a 5 and 3 year old is harder than it sounds!
We prayed together that families would join, and that children become Christians. Honestly, this is a new one on me. I felt a certain amount of pressure because I wanted my kids to be an important part of church life (as all kids should be), and at that moment we were the only parents with young kids! So our parenting skills (or lack thereof) were on display! However, there were some benefits to this, as my kids always had enthusiastic adults to play with every Sunday, and we had a total domination of the babysitting network.
However, I couldn’t help remembering that when I was a kid, I went to churches with amazing kids work and talented kids workers. There were dozens of kids my age and my parents had plenty of friends who knew the challenges of bringing up children.
There are now 6 or so kids in the City kids work and a few extra families. It doesn’t sound much, but when you are church planting one or two families can make a huge difference!