Case Studies

St John’s Leyland

Suburban

Leyland is a small town in the north west of England with a population of around 35,000. St John’s church was a church plant of St Andrew’s, Leyland. It became independent of its mother church in 1991 when it became its own parish. St John’s is situated in the north west corner of Leyland, the church itself being situated on the eastern edge of what was once a large council estate. The area is now a mix of housing association properties and private housing bought from the council. To the church’s west is a large estate of private housing.

Preparation for the mission: There were two broad areas of preparation, these included prayer and training.

Prayer

On a couple of occasions we met as a whole church to pray. We organised two prayer weeks; these were during the first week in September and the first week in January (for the March mission). Here, we set aside 30 minutes at lunch times and in the evenings; we did this every day in order to pray for the mission. For several months before the mission we asked all the members in our cell groups to identify three people for whom they could pray, with a view to inviting them to at least one mission event. These names were shared amongst the cell group members and prayed for each week they met.

Training

The cell groups each did the CPAS Lost for Words course which gave confidence to individuals in sharing their faith with others. This was well received by those who completed the course. We also invited the mission team (a team from Oak Hill) to come and lead a training morning for us. Finally, our preaching series prior to the mission included a series on evangelism based on the Lost for Words course and a series on prayer.

The programme

We asked every group in the church (cell groups, playgroup, mum’s and toddlers, youth groups, etc.) to put on an event which would appeal to their friends or family members. At each event there would be the opportunity for a Christian speaker to share the gospel.

Each group, therefore, took on the responsibility of planning and running their own event. This meant that the organisational work of the mission was not in the hands of an overburdened mission committee; instead the work was evenly spread throughout the congregation and its various groups.

The mission programme

» Sunday 2nd

10.30am:Guest Service for all ages - followed by lunch and games: An all age service involving young people from our Levellers groups

3pm: Carers Tea - A tea for those who care for the members of our monthly Causeway Prospects group

7.45pm: Youth Cell - For the members and friends of our youth cell

» Monday 3rd

9am – 3.15pm: Classes at Worden High School - Opportunity to take classes and assembly at Worden High School

6pm: Level 1 (infant school age) - The team will lead and speak at our Level 1 Group for infant school-aged children

8pm:Men’s games and curry night: A fun evening with games and competitions (pool, dominoes, etc.) for men, with a speaker during the coffee break

» Tuesday 4th

9am – 3.15pm: Classes at Worden High School - Opportunity to take classes and assembly at Worden High School

2.30pm: Northbrook Gardens Favourite Hymns - A hymn singing session at Northbrook Gardens for older people with a short talk over tea and biscuits.

6.15pm: Level two (junior school age) - The team will lead and speak at our Level two group for junior school-aged childrenM

7.30pm: Ladies' meal - An evening at Farington Lodge.

» Wednesday 5th

9am – 3.15pm: Classes at Worden High School - Opportunity to take classes and assembly at Worden High School

1pm: Lunch Club - A meal for our regular Lunch Club members and their friends

7.15pm: Level 3 (High School Age) - The team will lead and speak at our Level 3 Group for high school-aged children

7.30pm: Chocolat DVD & Chocolate Fondue - A film evening at the home of June Day. We will be watching the film Chocolat and indulging in a Chocolate Fondue. The speaker will speak about Christian issues raised in the film

6.30pm: Car Treasure Hunt - A family event starting at the Tesco Car Park recycling area in town. For safety reasons this is restricted to High School aged children and above.

» Thursday 6th

Team’s day off:

7.30pm: Ladies' pampering evening

» Friday 7th

10am: Lunch playgroup event - For the mums of our Playgroup and Chatterbox children.

7.30pm: Ceilidh at Leyland Tennis Club - A family event with an experienced band and ‘Caller’ with a buffet supper and a talk over supper.

» Saturday 8th

8.30am: Men’s Breakfast and Golf - fried breakfast with a speaker followed by a round (9-hole) of golf at Yarrow Golf Club.

10am: Ramble and picnic - A ramble, no more than five miles, for all the family with a talk over lunch.

» Sunday 9th

10.30am: Guest Service - Our final mission event which will be aimed at non-Church people. Provision will be made for adults and children.

External help

We used a mission team from Oak Hill Theological College comprising six students and led by a faculty member.

Follow-up

We followed up with an Alpha Course which a small number attended, although since then the church has been using Christianity Explored instead.

Assessment

We didn’t have any conversions as far as we know. However, there was genuine surprise expressed by many church members at the willingness shown by friends and neighbours to attend an event at which there would be a Christian speaker.

We had a large proportion of non-church, non-Christian people at most of our events. This has generated a renewed confidence in mission. Since then we have agreed to run another mission three years hence which will be taking place this Easter.