We thought its about time we gave a little update on all things Inverness Vineyard. We just can’t quite believe its 9 months since we moved and upped sticks to Inverness. So much has happened, some we had planned for and some surprises (which we have become accustomed to as church planters!). There is a real sense of momentum the last few months, the last two families waiting to move have now sold and bought houses, we are meeting new people on a weekly basis with lots of folk exploring or re-exploring Jesus again which is just the biggest joy – God most definitely has a plan as we take our baby steps into the city.
After having a really great couple of months at our breakfast drop-in RISE we felt a pull to take that next risk step as a wee church. We are constantly reminded we are to continue to be people of faith. The very risks we took moving, changing jobs, making new friends, is to be embedded into the culture of the church and the people we gather – comfortable, settling and consolidating is a no-no! At RISE we were gathering anything between 10-25 each Sunday morning, having lots of fun but we sensed the Lord leading us to exploring starting Sunday services. There was a couple of reasons for this. Our Thursday night meeting was outgrowing our living room, 20+ folk worshipping standing on couches and squished up to windows and using all our posh mugs (easter egg mugs had to be used!) was fun but wasn’t creating space for more. Secondly we are incredibly passionate about and believe wholeheartedly in the gathered church environment – times of worship, digging into the bible, our children consistently having environments to encounter God- we have seen time and time again these are the spaces and places where God break chains, restores and changes lives.
So on 29th April, we launched our very first Sunday service! It was an absolute blast, lots of folk turned up which was just lovely, and all our equipment worked! We have started a series over summer called “Keys to the Kingdom”, journeying through the parables Jesus taught, and asking God through these stories what would he have us do in Inverness. Our teams have been fantastic, stepping up in every way, loving and supporting us wholeheartedly with launching services, and looking to take things from us to better support us. These services are twice a month at the moment, which feels right just now in terms of teams and the demands of that, we are going to see how that develops over the summer.
As we launched Sunday services, we have also launched 3 small groups which replace the big all together Thursday meeting. “Doing life together” is the strap line for our groups, we feel really excited by the guys we have leading those groups and how loved and welcomed people will be. We have also launched “KindNESS”, which is our church movement of generosity. At Easter we went out armed with 100s of creme eggs, and the end of the June we are out again, just to connect with people in Inverness, and bless them and see what God does with our small acts of kindness. We also have an amazing link up with Gateway which is a charity which tackles homelessness and poverty. And I have been involved with Clachnacuddin FC, a fantastic highland league football team where I am the new chaplain which has been great, though they haven’t needed my football expertise…yet.
So as you can see alot has been happening! Lots of joys, but not without the challenges. I think as church planters, we would value your prayers for finding the sweet spot of balancing everything. So much is happening already which we are in awe of God and SO thankful, but we want to add what God wants for Inverness, not what we think Inverness needs. Its so so exciting, but also has its demands with a young family. We had the sweetest moment one Sunday evening after one of our services putting our 3 year old boy Joshua to bed, when he said “Mummy, Daddy, I loved church today!”. If we can navigate the road of parenthood and planting (perhaps a future blog!), taking risks and pursuing Jesus and our boys can say that each Sunday night at bedtime, we will be doing just great! Lots to celebrate and we have found it useful these last few months to intentionally mark the moments, celebrate the breakthroughs, chat about our encouragements so that when the wobbles and attacks come, we remember what God spoke so clearly way back over 10 years ago and we are exactly where he wants us to be!
Thomas & Mhairi