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Tell Us a Bit About Your Background
- Hannah grew up in a church planting family. Her family was involved in the early days of Newfrontiers, and they were involved planting churches in Haywards’ Heath, Horsham and Cowfold.
- This set an example for Hannah in terms of hospitality, and the importance of having an open home and meetings at her house.
- She then went to the King’s Arms Church and worked on their project. Through this, she started to learn the importance of pursuing God, of people, of the prophetic and of good leadership.
- She then moved back to Horsham, where she met Robin. They spent a lot of time talking about church and how they would do it.
- They started a pub outreach in Horsham and saw some people get saved.
“You don’t need permission to do kingdom business.” (Hannah Vincent)
What Job Did You Do in Horsham?
- Hannah worked for social services, doing part time admin.
- Robin was in the police.
What Is It Like Being Married To a Police Officer?
- It’s great.
- Hannah always wanted to be a police officer, so she found that she could live out her dreams through Robin.
What Happened Next?
- Hannah had always wanted to be part of a couple that leads a church.
- Robin and Hannah were invited by Martin and Louise White to join the team that was planting the Crown Churchin Birmingham, so they moved there to get involved with that.
Tell Us About Your Experiences There
- Robin transferred to a local police force.
- Hannah didn’t initially have a job.
- They went to support a church plant, but also to learn because they wanted to church plant themselves one day.
- If you want to be involved in church planting, a great place to start is by going and supporting a church plant.
- There were very different types of people on the team and this was a real strength. You end up learning lots.
- Moving was a bit of a culture shock and it was difficult. Hannah ended up quite isolated, but didn’t know what to do about it.
How Long Were You There?
- Between 5 and 6 years.
- There was a training school run by David Stroud and Tony Thompson about church leadership and planting.
- This was a time of dreaming and thinking and getting prepared.
What Was the Type of Church That Was Planted?
- It was in a very poor and multi-cultural area of North Birmingham?
Is That Why You Found Things So Hard?
- I am a friendship driven person, and I didn’t really have the hook to make friends with people.
What Things Would You Never Do Again After This Experience?
- Hannah and Robin’s stage of life had changed before the next plant because they had had kids.
- A lesson that Hannah learned was to be much more proactive in meeting people.
Tell Us About Your Next Church Plant.
- Robin and Hannah went to lead a new church plant in Bromsgrove.
- They didn’t have a particular place that they felt called to. They went to the people who were overseeing them and asked where they should go.
- They were given two options – Bromsgrove or Rugby.
- They had been advised by David Stroud to take as many positives as they could. Going for Bromsgrove meant that Robin could keep his current job, and there were already a few people there.
- Church planting is like watching Jesus’ jigsaw come together.
- One piece of advice that they were give was to give it they had for the first two years, so they did.
- They went on holiday near the end of this time and realised that they had lost the ability to relax because they had spent themselves so much.
- At that time, Hannah re-trained as a teaching assistant. She was looking for a job that would fit with the family.
- She had the option of pursuing a stressful career, or of being able to give herself to her family and the church plant. She made the choice by thinking of what she was most called to, and chose a job that fitted around it.
How Long Were You There For?
- Between 5 and 6 years.
- Wherever you are, be there forever (at least plan to).
- The church flourished and grew to around 100 people.
How Old Were Your Kids When You Moved On?
- 8 and 10.
Tell Us About the Family Dynamic When You Moved to Swansea.
- They had learned from other church planters to involve the kids in the process.
- They explained to the children the things that God had been saying to them prophetically, and then all four of them came to the decision to go.
- They left a growing youth group and came to a place where they were the only youth, so the cost was very high.
- There was also a cost with leaving their school friends.
- They had been given some money, which they set aside as fun money to do lots of positive things with the kids in the first year in Swansea.
Tell Us a Bit About Your Life Now
- Hannah is a pastoral worker in a secondary school.
- As a couple, they try to work harder, not smarter. The home is pretty streamlined.
- They consider themselves to be fairly committed, high-capacity people.
What Has Been the Pace of Your Church Plant?
- Because they came to Swansea with no team, it was slow (as opposed to Bromsgrove where they had more of a team).
- They tried to have fun.
- They delegated quickly.
- There are now times when every evening is booked, but they look ahead and plan to make sure there will be breaks.
Tell Us About What Robin Does.
- He had been working for the church in Bromsgrove.
- He got a job in Cardiff working for ‘Care For The Family‘.
- He has to commute an hour and a quarter each way. He has learned to use the commute well (phone calls, etc.)
Who was part of the church planting team in Swansea, and what were the original priorities?
- The team started as just the Vincent family, and then another couple joined them.
- A priority was for Robin to get a job.
- Hannah decided not to work for the first 4 months. They had a rental property (a good idea when you move to an area) and her priority was getting to know the area and looking for a house to buy.
- In terms of the church, the priorities were having a lot of fun with the kids and praying.
- They also linked in to support another church’s Alpha
How long were you in a rental house for, and how close was it to where you ended up living?
- 6 months.
- It was only a couple of miles away. They moved a bit nearer to the centre of Swansea.
What part does your home play in the early stages of church planting?
- It’s massive.
- Cook for large numbers of people.
- Don’t be too precious about possessions – care about people more than carpets.
- They met in the home until they felt like they were big enough to move to somewhere outside.
- They tend to meet in the afternoons and once a month they run a soup Sunday where everybody comes back to their house for soup and bread.
Why did you choose to have afternoon meetings?
- They have done it that way in both Bromsgrove and Swansea.
- A lot of people are into sport and Sunday morning is a key time for this, which can cause conflict for people.
- It is also a win for students, and for other people who like a lie-in.
How long was it until you started public meetings, and what did you do in those early public meetings?
- They have never done a formal launch.
- When it got too big for meeting in a house, they found a building and just moved in there and gathered for times of worship and short talks, with tea, coffee and cakes.
When you go out as a family or a couple, how do you maintain your own pastoral covering?
- In Bromsgrove, Robin and Hannah already had a relationship with Richard Thomas. Moving from Birmingham to Bromsgrove wasn’t very far and they were still connected in to the region.
- Swansea seemed much further away for them.
- They had to travel for it.
- They used tools like Google Hangouts and Skype.
- Peer support and meeting with friends was very important.
What advice do you have for helping teenagers to get and keep the church planting vision?
- Go to Newday so that they can connect with other young people who share a passion for Jesus.
- Get them to see many churches are there, and point out that all of those churches started because somebody planted them.
- Try to live it out. Teenagers will love what you love.
- Make sure they get plugged into good friendships.
What are a couple of ways that you have learned to work smarter, not harder?
- Hannah has learned not to be a control freak.
- Trust people to God. You don’t have the capacity to meet everyone for coffee.
Did you meet every Sunday in your home and then move to a venue?
- It was a bit more relaxed in the early days.
- As they grew and moved from the home to a venue, then it was every Sunday.
- Moving to a venue actually felt like a bit of a low. It was the start of taking on a whole bunch of new jobs!
[To Colin Baron] What would you say are a couple of take-away lessons for us all from what Robin and Hannah have done?
- We can’t all do what they have done. This fits who they are.
- Don’t try to make your wife into something she is not.
- Hospitality is massive and you can’t short-circuit that. But do it in your own comfort zone.
- Understand the pace and realise the seasons in your own life and the seasons in the church’s life.
- Love the city that you’re in.
What are a couple of things that Hannah has learned along the way?
- Know the grace of God.
- Follow where God leads, and try to be obedient and faithful.
- Live a life of no regret.
Does your church in Swansea meet every Sunday?
- They have some scattered Sundays where they take a week off and encourage people to be the church wherever they are.