Global Sunday is a service held by The City Church to celebrate how God has used that particular church to equip and send people across the 'globe' to pioneer gospel advance through starting churches, joining church plants or strengthening existing churches.
Before moving to Colchester I was based at The City Church for 15 years and was an elder for the last 7 of those years. For the last 3 or 4 years I was responsible for 'church planting' - encouraging, guiding, equipping and helping pioneers 'go'. being at Global Sunday was therefore a great privilege to see the fruit that has come out of that church.
Present on the day were ourselves and the Redeemer gang from Colchester (UK), the Groombridges from Nis (Serbia), the Eatons from Lille (France) and the Sharpes from Dublin (Ireland). All of these families have bent sent by The City Church in the last 3-5 years. Below is a quick list from memory of the places people have moved to from City to pioneer or strengthen churches in the last 15 years - or have moved for other reasons and had a positive impact on where they are) - I will obviously miss some!
- Dublin, Ireland
- Lille, France
- Helsinki, Finland
- Nis, Serbia
- Geneva, Switzerland
- Herne Bay, Whitstable Colchester - UK
- Portsmouth, London, Cambridge, Seaford and more - UK
- Fredericton, Canada
- Christchurch, New Zealand
- Doha, Qatar
- California, USA (this year!)
I am sure the list could go on! Being a part of that was a privilege, and one of the reasons I ended up overseeing church planting was because 'going to the nations' has always been in my blood since my early christian days.
I didn't grow up in a Christian family and always wanted to follow in my Father's footsteps as a Safari Operator, Game Guide, Professional Hunter...that kind of thing! Somehow God broke into my life and I came to know Jesus as a very real person quite young and in my mid teens I was thrilled by the vision of a church as the 'highest of all mountains' with the 'nations streaming to it' to worship God and find him (Isa 2:2). Ever since then the idea of 'going' and 'planting' has thrilled me. That is why we are in Colchester - God called us and our desires were stirred to 'go again'.
In my DNA, in the prophetic words over our church is this 'sending culture', this desire to 'touch the nations'. yes I want to see a large, healthy church in Colchester because that means lots of people are being saved and added! But the thought of being a resourcing, equipping, sending church excites me too! And I believe that is what God has for us...One year into gathering publicly these are the nations that have been represented in our church;
- South Africa
Three particular nations we have had the privilege of having people for a short time from, who have then gone back in some way encouraged and equipped;
- South Africa
We live in a town that has a University with a high percentage of foreign students - you can see why God brought us here and what He is doing! We get, in most cases, three precious years to train, disciple and equip (and be blessed by!) those who will return to nations around the globe! What a starting place?! More Lord!
BUILDING A STRONG SENDING BASE
At Global Sunday I was asked; 'What advice would you give to those considering pioneering?' - I found that an easy question to answer. 'Where possible be part of a strong and stable sending church, where you are known.' The equipping and support from The City Church to Redeemer has been amazing...yes the leaders BUT NOT ONLY THEM. Yes money...but NOT ONLY THAT. The prayers and the people, the friendship and the faith...people REALLY pray for us, people give, people visit, people love. I was met by a gentlemen on Global Sunday who had only been at the church for a few months - we had never met and he arrived long after we had moved - and he greeted me warmly, told me his family had been praying for us, that he felt he knew us. Wow! A few months into being at the church he had been caught up into the church's mission...if you can be part of a church like that, do it! If your church is not quite like that, set about praying for it and fostering that culture and engaging in churches that are more like that. Healthy 'parenting' produces healthy children!
Global Sunday was a shot in the arm and a teaser for what God might have for us! Well done City Church, and Lord - grant us a similar legacy!