Giles Arnold has acted as a trustee of CPI for the last decade. He took over as chairman of the CPI trustees in 2015.
Giles is a chartered surveyor and General Manager of Church Growth Trust, a role that uniquely combines his property management experience with his pastoral gifting and passion to see churches grow. Church Growth Trust is one of the member organisations that makes up Church Planting Initiative (CPI).
We spoke to Giles about his work and passions
The work that I do for Church Growth Trust (CGT) is a ministry and I find it incredibly fulfilling. CGT manages around 90 church buildings across the UK. We discuss with trustees of gospel halls and independent church buildings how we can take on the long-term ownership/trusteeship of their property, to ensure that it continues in Gospel use for the future. We encourage assemblies to continue when they wish to and, where they decide to close, we find new evangelical churches to take on the buildings. Often the new church is a church plant and we are delighted to be able to help by making buildings available in this way.
Being a trustee of CPI has been enriching in many ways. I have enjoyed personal contact with a number of church planters that we have and still support, seeing some of them regularly. It has been a delight to be able to help them both pastorally and in practical ways, such as negotiating leases on properties and in other cases letting them use CGT’s buildings or guaranteeing their lease.
For three or so years I led an independent church plant we started in 2006 with a Swiss family that had recently moved to the village. We saw three and a half years of incredible growth, both with people being saved, but also lives being transformed, as people were able to grasp and put into practice biblical principles. We also experienced an amazing sense of community, living as New Testament church and sharing our lives together.
When for various reasons we sensed that the Lord was closing the fellowship, there was a huge sense of loss. But the Lord even used this for my good, as he taught me to be more in love with Him than the ministry!
I am hoping that the work of CPI and CGT will continue to grow with fledgling church plants turning into established churches that are then considering church plants of their own and looking to connect more of CGT’s church properties with church planters.