We started on this journey nearly 5 years ago. We moved up to Manchester in the summer of 2009, and we started CCM:City in the September. There were 6 of us.
When we moved up, we joined Christ Church Manchester and became part of what they were doing in Gorton (east Manchester). Five years later, CCM now consists of four Sunday meetings in three locations. The most recent site planted out in February of this year, and we are already planning the next one (anyone fancy church planting in West Didsbury or maybe Cologne? – Seriously).
The handful of us that met in that dingy vodka bar for the first year is now about 100 of us. We have punched, kicked, and prayed our way to 100 people. Every new member is a battle won and every new Christian a wonderful victory.
Why am I telling you that? Am I showing off? A tiny bit, yes. However, there’s a strange truth that I discovered about myself that I did not expect and I cannot quite fathom. This is immensely personal. CCM:City is in my blood. It’s one of my children. There is no other way to describe it. I cry about it, laugh about it, pray about it, lie awake at night about it and worry about it.
This might seem odd but I didn’t expect it to feel like this. I don’t quite know what I expected but not this.
I think that if 5 years ago another church leader had articulated this to me, I would have told them, “God is sovereign” and that, “Jesus grows the church” and, “they need to trust God”. All of those things are true, but we have all worked hard for this and we are still working hard. In 5 years time, there will be more sites of CCM, more people, more salvation and probably more sleepless nights!
I once heard a church planter say that he never worried about his church and always slept well because God is sovereign. I cannot identify with that at any level at all.
If you want to plant churches, you need to know that it kinda hurts. At times, church planting is thrilling. At other times, it’s utterly mundane, and most of the time it’s neither. But it’s always deeply personal!