Introducing Northern Lights Church

Northern LIghts

Last week Catherine and I shared our vision to plant a church in the north of England.  This post explains our church name and what it means.

The local church is the hope of the world.  If the gospel is to spread and people are to be brought into the kingdom of God then it is the local church that is going to make it happen.  There is nothing more exciting than the birth of a new local church.  A Billy Graham crusade is awesome for a day, but a local church is awesome for generations.

We believe that God is calling us to do a lot of things beyond the town of Halifax and in various countries in Europe.  But the foundation of our whole strategy is to build a healthy, vibrant, gospel-centred local church.  That church will be the platform from which other things can rise.  Missions require people and local churches build a community of people.  Missions cost money and local churches make money.

Therefore we will plant and build a church in Halifax.  We have a big vision for church planting and missions in Eastern Europe, and there are many stages to it.  The first stage, and the focus for the early years of our ministry, is to build a great church in Halifax.  We will not overextend ourselves and attempt to do too much too soon.  One of the church planting books we have read says that most church planters overestimate what they can do in their first year and underestimate how much they can do in the first 5 years.  So we have a large vision but are content to pace ourselves.  We will take each step in the right season.

The name Northern Lights Church was first given by the Holy Spirit to a friend of ours, and we loved it straight away.  Then some months later in my regular bible reading I came across 1 John 1.  I was arrested by the first half of verse 7 – “but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.”  That verse will be our motto – our tagline if you will.  As we have more in common with Him we have more in common with each other, and our relationships deepen.

To use it as a tagline it needs to be accessible to unchurched people.  The word fellowship is a church word, so I looked for other translations.  Here’s the Contemporary English Version – “But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other.”  Perfect.

We also deliberately want the plural – Northern Lights.  We want to plant churches that will light up the north of England.  We want to be dreaming about daughter churches and granddaughter churches from day one.

At our launch I will preach from 1 John 1.  I realised as this was unfolding to me that this section of scripture includes towards the end verse 9.  It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  That is one of the bible’s great salvation verses.  That verse will end our first message, and Catherine will then do an appeal for people to make first time commitments to Christ.  We believe that God will cause people to respond.

Do it Lord!!

John

10 Responses to “Introducing Northern Lights Church”

  1. You say,”The local church is the hope of the world.” Of course and in Halifax there are a good many local churches. In South Halifax 3. You add, ” But the foundation of our whole strategy is to build a healthy, vibrant, gospel-centred local church.” I live in west Halifax but am housebound and cannot worship in fellowship. What I do know is that in South Halifax, where I am told you seek to plant there already is ”a healthy, vibrant, gospel-centred local church.” at All Saints’ on Dudwell Lane.

    • Thanks for your comment Ken. All Saints is indeed making a splash for the gospel, and I thank God for them. I’ve already had a quick chat with the vicar. In fact I thank God for all the existing churches in Calderdale – there’s over 130. But despite that witness over 90% of people in Halifax won’t be in church this Sunday (and unlike yourself most of them don’t particularly want to be!) So what the town needs is not just one new church but hundreds of new churches. We will just be one part of what God is doing in the town. Just because we are starting a new work does not mean that we are dismissive of the ones currently active. Far from it – we want to see the existing churches thrive, and new ones get planted as well.

  2. Exciting stuff 🙂

  3. Being Canadian, and actually seeing the northern lights (aurora borealis) I thrill to the name!
    The Greek word “koinonia” (fellowship) has a deep meaning usually glossed over, because it literally means “participation”, often used to convey the meaning of “partnership”. We use it for coffee hour time, but it demands “social interaction” to the “benefit of all”. I could run on about this word, but may you find it and give it and share it not only among people, but people with God in Christ, too!

    • HI David, just saw your comment come up and even though it is almost 2 am here I am awake. Thanks for your reply. Where in Canada are you? I lived in Vancouver for almost 10 years. We travel there every now and again. We may be there in late August as we hope to take a quick holiday when we re-locate to the UK. Blessings, Catherine

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