THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF CHURCH PLANTING
A young church planter with a vision to reach the student population in his home town says the journey so far has not always been easy.
21-year-old Jordan Armstrong, who is being mentored by Counties evangelist Andy Hodson, started a meeting in a coffee shop in the centre of Stourbridge two years ago but has since had to relocate after the café closed its doors. His vision is to reach the large student population of Stourbridge, which has three colleges, and also the people of an area in the town called the Old Quarter and Beauty Bank with the Gospel message.
Jordan shares his church planting experience so far:
I came to Christ on 25 July 2009 at the age of 11, following a powerful message that really challenged me at a youth camp called Oasis. I went to Soul Survivor in July 2015 and I felt a strong calling to something new and ended up at Church in the Community and have been there ever since.
In October 2016, Andy and I met together and we both shared our visions that we felt called to for the church plant, which were extremely similar, coming together to form a strong vision for how the church plant could look. Following this, we were blessed with an opening to begin the church in a coffee shop where we held our first service. It was a starting point to have a presence on the high street as people passed. The primary aim of the church plant was to connect with the students from the colleges in the area. We held weekly services for a while and saw a steady increase in numbers but last year we felt God closed the door on the café for us and we decided to use the café for outreach events rather than a weekly service.
After the café sadly closed down, we began to meet in what we call ‘Life Groups’ in homes in the area and we’re excited to see where God will lead us now. There’s around 20 of us who get together – we often share a meal together, enjoy fellowship,
Bible study, prayer and share communion. A range of people come along, some are students, some have fallen away from church and others are still exploring.
In order to still have a presence on the high street, we now do outreach in the town centre – this could be setting up a table in the high street and opening up discussions with people.
It’s definitely not an easy road when you decide to plant a church. There have been many ups and downs over the last few years. But for me the highlights are always when you see young people growing in themselves and in their service to church and knowing what it means to trust God, whatever situation you are in.
Andy has been great in guiding me and encouraging me through this journey. He
holds me accountable regularly and gives a lot of encouragement which helps me to continue to grow.
I love what I’m doing – to be able to connect with people and share what being a believer is and what it means is such a privilege. It’s not about giving up but trusting in God all the way.