But this has not been the case at Enfield Evangelical Free Church (EEFC) in the north of London.
The time away from their original building gave the church an opportunity to reorien-tate, and some of the subsequent moves were triggered by the eight years meeting in a local school as Enfield town centre was partially restructured.
Thankfulness and growth
The EEFC church family is filled with a genuine and humble thankfulness to God for the new building entrusted to them for gospel work. The gospel-proclaiming, people-loving, prayer-filled church strategy has seen growth within the church family and this growth has spread out to churches and new plants beyond the four walls of the building.
Bush Hill Park Community Church (BHPCC) grew from the relocation of EEFC. Several elders and a substantial group of church members left EEFC to establish the church in an area previously unreached by a local gospel community.
The gospel message, often proclaimed alongside serving food, is growing the church. By treasuring Jesus above all, God is being glorified in the area.
Their pastor for the past five years, Jonty Allcock, left Bush Hill at the close of 2014 to take up a leadership role in a new central London church. So in January 2015 Stuart Chaplin became the pastor of BHPCC.
The initial work of supporting Causeway Free Church (CFC) in Potter’s Bar came from the request of three godly prayerful older ladies who came to EEFC for help.
The return of a couple from the mission field overseas proved providential, as Peter Maclure then became the part-time pastor at CFC. A number from EEFC joined him and CFC is now established again as a growing church family.
With gospel ambition and a desire to share Jesus where he isn’t known, came a growing realisation that in Enfield, geography and population density matters. The London Borough of Enfield has a population of over 330,000.
Dissected by the A10, the more populous eastern part of the borough has little gospel witness. Although a short distance geographically from EEFC in the town centre, experience suggested that those in eastern Enfield tended not to cross the A10 into Enfield Town.
Major roads and railway lines create boundaries between areas of dense population. This has led to the conviction that churches will need to be planted within the various communities, or ‘villages’, of eastern Enfield.
As a start, the current associate pastor of EEFC (Nathan Howard) and his family have moved into the Silver Street part of Edmonton. The plan is, God willing, to begin the new Silver Street Community Church around May this year. Several other families are moving into the area to start a satellite church of EEFC. This has also involved moving schools for a significant number of children. Some residents in the Silver Street area have been prompted to enquire why anyone would move in ‘that direction’ (from Enfield to Edmonton) as aspiration dictates that people move from Edmonton to Enfield Town, not the other way round. This in itself has provided gospel opportunities as, for those that live there, a move east makes no sense.
Responsibility before God
EEFC has found that a ‘what’s next?’ approach, fuelled by a desire to proclaim the Lord Jesus where he is not known, has always led to new opportunities. They see every opportunity for gospel advance as a responsibility from God, as they seek to pursue the unchanging priorities of preaching, praying and loving people. The ‘what next’ principle has helped to avoid any complacency that they have ‘arrived’ as a church and their prayer is that they will continue to share the joy of the Lord Jesus as sinners are saved.
And what is next for EEFC? There is no recipe or even a pattern for what may happen next. There is no detailed plan. Their prayer is that the four churches will be able to work in partnership, pursuing a shared vision to establish Jesus-centred Bible-teaching church communities in each of the ‘villages’ that make up eastern Enfield.
For more information about EEFC, see their website www.eefc.net/ or phone 020 8363 3354