No walls were needed for one church plant in Devon – after its pastor felt a calling to go mobile and take their services to the open air.
Mars Hill Church decided to abandon their usual sports hall venue and take the church to the seaside town of Teignmouth with
Pastor Dave Longman said: “Going mobile has been fantastic and we have had people who are not Christian join our services because of it. We have also had some complaints but we believe although the gospel is a stumbling block to some people, it is also the power of God for salvation.”
The church felt that their time in the sports centre had finished. Dave continued: “I felt God say go mobile, take your services open air, let people see what the gathered worshippers do behind closed doors. To be a church without walls both in the week and on a Sunday. So we just went for it.
“The church has been amazing at embracing it, and people in the community are responding. We have now taken on a restaurant and cinema, and are in the process of renovations. Once this is complete we will move into the cinema. However, this is something we might to do each summer —
Dave and his team are now developing the old cinema building into a place of worship, as well as a community music and arts hub.
Mars Hill Church began in February 2009 in a rugby club function room, with a core of only eight adults and four children. The year before, Dave and his wife Lucy had been praying and dreaming of a church that would reach out to the most deprived area in Teignmouth. It later became apparent that God had also been speaking to a few others and giving them a similar vision of a church.
After setting up the church plant, Dave was invited to a CPI Hub meeting where he met others in a similar position. He said: “The Hubs were a great place to be around other people who were planting churches and to share stories and pray. Setting up a church plant is hard at times — you can feel isolated, have heavy work-loads and it can put a strain on your family.
“But the highs make it all worthwhile — seeing Jesus move supernaturally and changing lives. One year we saw around 50 people saved! Also to see true love as people give of themselves sacrificially and to witness the impossible become possible.”
And Dave’s advice to those thinking of planting a church? “Seek Jesus first above anything else, be totally dependent on him. Don’t rely on human resources, but believe in the supernatural resources of heaven — where there is a limitless inheritance waiting for those who will walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit.
“Don’t focus on programmes, but God’s presence. Don’t try to entertain, but demonstrate kingdom love and power. Be totally unashamed of the gospel — never water it down, be bold and courageous and trust that Jesus comes through every time. It’s all about him.”