It’s nearly 11 months since we launched and, as Pastor, I am genuinely delighted at all God has achieved through us in that time.
Sometimes, when we gather on a Sunday and one of our big families is away or there are a few people missing because it’s the summer holidays, the temptation is to look around and be disappointed by the number of people in the room.
But, when I stop and reflect on the journey so far, it’s pretty sensational. We started with 9 adults and 5 children. There are now 30 people, 22 adults and 8 children, regularly attending not necessarily every week, but at least every other Sunday. One lady, who had not been to church before in her life, and her two children are now regular attenders and have booked into Westpoint. She describes her faith as growing all the time and is considering baptism. She’s been reading Mark’s Gospel with us in Life Groups and it’s really refreshing to read it with someone who has never read it before and is so interested in finding out more.
Two people have taken Communion for the very first time and three people are praying about baptism as a step of faith in the new school year. I personally believe all three are believers in Jesus Christ and am encouraging them in that direction. At this point, I don’t know whether we will do the baptisms in a paddling pool or in the sea!
Chris preached for the first time earlier in the year and will do so again in September. I know he loved the experience, his content was solid and it’s exciting to think how God will use him going forward. Dayo continues to preach excellently.
Joystern, with Simon playing guitar, leads worship regularly. Simon has a job that means he works shifts on a Sunday, so we’re still very short of musicians and borrowing from surrounding churches. We really are praying for a gifted musician to join and commit to serving regularly. They would be a huge blessing to us and enable me to spend less time texting guitar players and more time praying, preaching and leading, so they really would be helping to fulfill the Great Commission.
We regularly have new visitors, maybe 1 or 2 a week. Most people visit having found us online, though I still can’t quite get our website to rank number 1 for church in Fareham. We have a big marketing push planned for September to celebrate our 1 year anniversary, as well as give us a big publicity boost. I really think our Sunday services are high quality. Most people who visit, living locally, come back again.
Since March, we’ve had an Easter series based on Matthew 26-28 and a 6 week sermon series in Isaiah 1-6. Can you believe it? It was a sermon on Isaiah 1 on Total Depravity, where we had our first person respond asking for prayer and wanting to give their life to Jesus Christ! Since then, we’ve been going through a sermon series in the book of Ephesians. It’s one of my favourite books of the Bible, full of deep wonderful truths about our salvation in Christ in the first half and full of practical instructions in the second half.
The biggest frustration has been administratively. We are still waiting on the Charities Commission to approve our application. And we have to wait on them before we can get our own bank account. We really hope it’s all sorted for the start of September, because we’re planning on introducing church membership at that time, as well as talking more about giving. Giving is already a difficult conversation without also having to explain why you’re asking someone to give to another church’s bank account. We’re once again grateful to ChristCentral Portsmouth staff who have managed our finances for us. It’s not a task Im looking forward to when we have our own bank account, but it will free us to really push on with our plans. Please pray for a speedy approval on our charity application.
If you’re interested in visiting a Bible-believing, Gospel-proclaiming, Spirit-filled Church in Fareham, do come visit us on a Sunday. You will receive a warm welcome, there’s tea & coffee for all after the service and I’m confident you will enjoy the service. Christians and Non-Christians alike have visited and given us great feedback!
If you’re a Christian living outside of Fareham, but have a passion for reaching people who do not know the love of Christ, we would love you to pray about moving to Fareham and joining our work. We do really believe that the harvest is plentiful here, but the workers are few. If you’re reading this and feeling like maybe God could be calling you to Fareham, please do contact us. We’d love to hear from you and share more about what we believe God has for us in the future.