A church for Halifax
Our vision is to plant a church in Halifax that will make disciples of Jesus that are equipped to serve their communities and plant more churches in Halifax and West Yorkshire.
Halifax is not London, it's not Worthing, it's not even Leeds - it's Halifax, and so we want to plant a church for Halifax. In order to do this we need to know the town and its people really well, and so for the first 6 months to a year the team will spend time just getting to know Halifax and its people. Most of the team have now moved to Halifax and we have children in the schools, jobs in the area and we are constantly looking for new ways to get involved in community life. We want to get to know Halifax, so we can find out what sort of church Halifax needs.
Of course Halifax needs churches that faithfully proclaim the gospel - that's a given - but how are we going to engage the people of Halifax with this message of help through Jesus and Life from Jesus? That's what we want to make sure we get right as we launch the plant. Our desire is to plant a church that is not only theologically robust with a strong ecclesiology - but to plant one that engages with the culture it is seeking to reach.
a church for north halifax
Our initial thoughts were that we would plant a church in the centre of Halifax, and try to draw people in from different areas of the town but with a particular focus on North Halifax.
Before moving we had already identified North Halifax as our main focus due to the fact there isn’t a strong gospel presence, whereas there are already a couple of healthy gospel churches in the South and West of Halifax. But the question was always - how do we reach this community? Before moving in we thought we could do it with a Sunday gathering in the centre and midweek activities in the community, but it has quickly become apparent that this won’t work.
Knowing that our focus was going to be North Halifax, Doug and Rachael (through the financial backing of a supporter) have been able to buy a house on the Ovenden estate. This has meant we have been able to get the kids into a school on the estate and really get to know the community in North Halifax. In doing this, what has become quite clear to us is that North Halifax has its own distinct feel and community, and so we are unlikely to reach the communities of North Halifax with a town centre church - regardless how many midweek activities we put on. If we are going to reach the people living in the more deprived areas of North Halifax, we need to be deliberate in doing so, we need to plant in the community.
Now, we do not want to plant a church that is homogeneous, that is only made up of people from one class, background or race - we want to welcome people into the church wherever they live in Halifax. But we recognise that we are more likely to have people willing and able to travel from other parts of the town to the North, than we are to get folks living in the North to travel to the town centre every Sunday. And so if we are going to be deliberate in reaching more deprived communities in North Halifax, we are going to need to plant in a place that is accessible to those communities.
a church that Plants
As Ed Stetzer puts it, we want to be ‘born pregnant’. We want to plant a church that has planting in its DNA, and so from day one we are going to be thinking about how we plant a church that will plant again.
a church that Trains
We also want to plant a church that is going to train more church leaders. Much of this will happen through the normal week by week training and discipling of members, but we also hope to be able to partner with Union School of Theology to bring a Union Learning Community to the town that can offer robust theological training for the whole of West Yorkshire.