When a new initiative is in the planning and dreaming stage, then it is perfect. It’s perfect because it is untested. At this stage, I am also the perfect leader because I have nobody following me, so my mistakes are unseen and have no consequences! Life was good.
I walked up and down the Oxford/Wilmslow Road, looking at every pub, curry house and community centre that I could see (totally missing the venue that we now use – unseen mistakes are wonderful!). I talked to anyone who’d stand still long enough and I even prayed a bit.
This eventually led us to Bar Baa.
Bar Baa (or Baa Bar, I can never remember) is a Vodka bar in the middle of Fallowfield. I had a brief chat with the manager and he let me have the upstairs room on a Sunday night for £20. He explained this was cheap, but that he was raised in a Catholic home and did not want to mess with God. So The Chapel (that’s what CCM:City was called at the time) had a home.
As I look back on this time I wonder what I would do differently at this stage. It’s a tough question because it was four years ago, I had no experience of church planting and I had an ego the size of Belgium. So we just did what seemed best at the time.
We started with a Sunday meeting because it felt like that was the best way to gather a crowd. We didn’t have a core team as such and we needed to find them. So I needed something I could invite people to.
Maybe I could have started in my house and made it more of a discipling missional community, but in all honesty that just sounds dull. I needed something that was a bit off the wall, hard work and something I could build a story round. A slightly manky vodka bar seemed to fit the bill.
In short, I needed something I could invite people to that grabbed my interest, so I could make it grab theirs. Make sense? It did to me and I would do the same again.