We’ve had a lot of conversations recently that have gone a bit like this:
“You’re moving to Chester?”
“Yeah, we’re in the process of moving there now.”
“So, you’ve got a job there then?”
“No, neither of us has a job. And we don’t really have a house.”
“Oh, right… Why are you moving then?”
It’s at this point in the interaction that we realise we probably look irresponsible and potentially deranged, and it’s only right that we have a proper response.
Our response is something like this:
“We’re moving to Chester because our friends are starting a church there, and we’re coming to help them.”
Which is essentially it. But obviously it takes more than that for a family to pack up their life and move to a new place (and potential financial ruin). So here’s a little FAQ we hope will be helpful.
Like we said above, to help start a church. And because we feel it’s what God wants us to do.
A church? I didn’t realise you were religious.
Hopefully we aren’t ‘religious’. But we do both believe that Jesus is who he says he is, and this is the most important truth there is. It’s definitely too big a topic to cover in an FAQ, but we’re always happy to answer any questions.
What kind of a church is it?
It’s this one. We follow Jesus and try and treat people like he would and do the things he’d do.
Are you insane?
No, we don’t think so. We’ve come to this decision after several months of thought, prayer, and talking it through with our friends and families and, most importantly, each other. We think that it isn’t just a sane thing to do, but it is the right thing for us to do.
Aren’t you worried about your children?
Yes, of course we are. At the same time, now is quite a good time to do something like change cities. The Chap it too small to know better, his big sister (The Bookworm) hasn’t started full-time education yet, and we’re still (reasonably) young and energetic.
We’re a little bit worried about our eldest adapting and about removing her from her Nottingham friends, but she’s very confident and will make friends wherever she goes. We see this as a big adventure for our family, and it’s one that The Bookworm is definitely on board with.
We’re also pleased that there’s quite a big team of people heading to Chester too, including a few of her friends and her godparents, so we already feel well supported.
Not because God loves Chester more than anywhere else, or because there aren’t good churches there. Not even because it’s a lovely place to go.
John and Anna (who are leading the new church there) felt that they were going to ‘plant’ a church for ten years but didn’t know where. Earlier this year through praying, their friends, and a number of bizarre coincidences, they felt that God was saying ‘Chester’. You can read more about their story here.
What will you do there?
Most people will be familiar with the phrase, “love your neighbour”. In the gospels (accounts of Jesus’ life and death that are collected together in the Bible), Jesus is recorded as telling his followers that this is one of the most important things you can do.
So that’s what we want to do. Saying you want to ‘go and love people’ probably sounds cheesy and weird – we’re not talking about having some vague fuzzy feeling towards people, but about showing love and care through our actions. Simple things like taking out someone’s bins, throwing a party, cat-sitting, sharing some food, generally being good neighbours.
In terms of church stuff, we’ll do whatever we can to help. We aren’t going to be vicars (we don’t have those) or stand on the street shouting at people about hell. Adam is looking forward to helping with children’s work, and Sarah wants to serve some really good quality coffee.
How will you afford to live?
One or both of us will work, and we’re applying for jobs right now. Money was a big concern for us, and part of the reason we deliberated for so long about this decision.
While we were praying and stressing out about moving, I felt like God said to me, “don’t doubt that I will provide for you.” That might sound strange, but it isn’t so out of the ordinary, and we started to feel in our collective gut that it was okay.
The next day an anonymous envelope came through our letter box containing £500 in cash, and we felt that was confirmation enough to start really moving forward. What we didn’t know is that was just the first of several gifts (mostly anonymous) that we’d receive over the next few weeks.