Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Views from the sites : the Downham story

Nigel Mumford on when Downham joined King's

Downham Way Family Church, part of Newfrontiers, had been my spiritual home for about 30 years when in early 2009 I found myself leading the church and considering what God had for us in the future.

King’s Church was close by – we saw what God was doing there and I wondered if there was a way for us to share in it. I met with Steve Tibbert in a Brockley cafĂ© to discuss how things were going and over a cup of tea he told me that King’s was considering going multi-site. I was amazed - I had been praying about a future where Downham could become a part of King’s! I took this as a God-given opportunity and soon found myself in earnest discussion with Steve.

Nothing was definite – over the following months there was much to think about and to pray through. However, from October 09, with both leadership teams supporting such a move, the possibility was discussed with both churches and the conviction grew that this was the way to go. We proceeded slowly and carefully into the future we now believed wholeheartedly God was calling us to. Then, in Jan 2010, Martin and Ruth Alley moved over to Downham to work with us on the move to our multi-site future. Their contribution was invaluable as they helped us to get to know King’s Church and they got to know us!

By December 2010 we had progressed to the point where we formally closed Downham Way Family Church. This was another essential step in the process. While recognising God’s faithfulness to our church over decades and with our long history within Newfrontiers, we needed to ‘die’ to enter into our new existence as the Downham site of King’s Church. There was a recognition that this brought sadness for some but for many of us there was excitement, not to mention a bit of trepidation!

For three months we moved en masse to the Catford site for Sunday worship and midweek events – a valuable time that gave us all the chance to see more of what God was doing at King’s and a glimpse of what could be our experience too. Meanwhile the Downham building underwent extensive refurbishment - £100,000 worth – to prepare the site for all that was to come as part of King’s, reaching out to the communities around us.

We now look forward to a new future. I am now privileged to serve as part of the wider King’s team while Ben Welchman is Downham site leader and there are already encouraging signs of growth – a recent baptism saw over 200 people in the meeting. I know that God is leading us to even greater things, whatever the future brings and I am so glad that we followed His prompting and direction!