Phil and Emma lead Hope Church in Crewe, England. They work with another FI family, the Christners, who are a key part of the church. They have been back in the UK since 2002 and planted Hope Church in 2010. It began with a group of 15 (9 adults and 6 children) and has grown steadily to around 135 people today. Over 50% of the church is from unchurched backgrounds including a number of families who had dropped out of church life altogether. For many this is their first experience of church and everything is new and exciting! It has been wonderful to see God changing whole families, from those in their teens to those in their 90s!
Crewe is a former railway town and is looked down upon even by its residents! There is a pervading sense of hopelessness and despair in people and so the challenge is to come in an opposite spirit by bringing hope in Jesus.
In recent years the unity between church leaders and their congregations has developed and deepened significantly and churches in Crewe have begun to pray and to reach out together as Love Crewe. Hope Church has been at the heart of this partnership and during the last 4 years there have been joint missions in the local high schools and college and in the town center. We have given out over 200 Bibles to young people and over 500 have heard the good news. There have been numerous healings and salvations on the streets as God’s people have been mobilized to reach out. Some of those responding has been added to the churches, but the needs are still massive as there are thousands outside the Kingdom and completely ignorant of it. There is faith to see significant growth in the years ahead but there are still very few young people who are Christians and many churches have no youth groups at all. In a country with a rich revival history, England is now seen as ‘post-Christian’, with most people having never heard the gospel.
Outreach is key because the needs are so great and the heart of Jesus breaks for the lost, but there is an increasingly positive atmosphere in the town to hearing about Jesus- it is such good news! We worship in the town center, do a weekly tea and coffee outreach, provide meals, do barbecues and alpha courses. The purchase and renovation of a former Welsh Chapel, Hope Church Central, means that there are many more ways of reaching people.
Phil and Emma’s desire is to see God’s Kingdom come in their town and beyond. They want to see lives impacted with Jesus’ love. Please pray for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit to touch this town and nation, that God’s name would be honored again!