CCK Elder Matt Davis and his wife Alison are going to be leading the very first multi-site venue of Church of Christ the King out in the West of the City. In this second part of the 'Towards multi-site' series, Emily Sneyd sits down with them to find out more about the launch and what it involves for them as a couple and for our Church.
Emily: Right, I’ll come straight to the point. Why did you move from sunny Hove to even sunnier Shoreham!?
Matt: That’s a very good question! When we were away as Elders last June, we had been talking about the idea of multi-site for a while, but there were several options open to us. During that time, God spoke to us very clearly about the West and it was decided as an Eldership that it would be our first port of call. The West is what I would regard as being on the extremes of the City and as such, we want to establish a base there that helps us to reach the folk more effectively on a local level. Around 150 people travel in from the West every Sunday, so we can expect that at least that number will join us, and there will be others looking in who might have considered joining CCK (who are with us in vision and values), but just couldn’t equate the travel into the process.
Alison: I guess my answer to this question would be simple; we were asked! The other Elders requested this of us, and God confirmed that we should. When Matt first called me and told me we had been asked if we would move, I said no! But my heart changed quickly, and when we went back to the guys to give our answer, we were able to say that God had confirmed it for us through situations and prophetic words, and we knew it wasn’t anything to do with our personal desires. Even our house sale and purchase was just eleven weeks end-to-end so we knew that God was in it and orchestrating things.
Emily: That’s a very speedy move!
Matt: Yes, very! Initially, it was quite difficult for us to think about giving up our house as we had invested so much in it, but our focus changed over the decade from restoring a house to investing in neighbours and building relationships. Uprooting ourselves was one of the toughest things, but we felt both as an Eldership and a couple, that to move house to lead the site makes a big statement and it really models leadership.
Alison: The other thing about moving into the area is that we are able to identify with and speak into people’s potential pain in not coming to the Centre and not seeing friends every week. And I think the fact that we’ve moved makes it easier for us to talk to non-Christian friends about the fact that we need to live in the area and become part of the new community that we’re trying to reach – they’re intrigued by it!
Matt: Yes, the pain of moving is balanced by a healthy theology of Church for me. We are doing this because we believe in the Church, and we believe in the Gospel at a local level – it changes lives. Some scripture which has really encouraged and been spoken over us is Mark 10:29-30 and Acts 17:26.
Emily: So how many adults and children are you anticipating being with you on the launch date?
Matt: If I’m being conservative, I’d say 150 adults and 40 children but my faith answer would be 200 adults and 60 kids. I think it’s important to state that we’re not in the business of trying to win people or force people to join us at the new site. We would ask that if you are part of either the Harbour or Adur Zone, that you consider and pray about it and allow God to speak to you about whether it is the right decision for you. I think as we develop this multi-site strategy, it will become clear to people where their home is. We just want people to have faith for the venue that they’re called to.
Emily: What will the next 6/7 months look like for you as you prepare for the launch?
Matt: Busy! As a church, I’m part of a multi-site task force team which is made up of individuals charged with building a blueprint for making multi-site work. This involves looking at practical things like venue and production, to family life which is things like children’s work and marriage. I’m also in that meeting as a future Site Leader and I will flag up those things that need to be addressed, particularly those of a pastoral nature. Ultimately, the end game is delivering a quality Sunday at the site, just as we do now at the Centre. Technically it will be a challenge, and for the moment it will probably be that we use a DVD of Joel’s preach most weeks. Simon Brading is also very involved on the team as he is charged with figuring out what the worship department will look like at the new site.
On a West planning level, we will have number of Zone meetings held jointly with lots of envisioning and praying for the site, and we will also be gathering members to pray and fast in due course.
Alison: I think for us personally, the next few months will be spent building good relationships, getting familiar with the area as well as getting to know other church leaders there. It’s also important that we continually give it back to God and be full of faith when there are knock backs. It’s about admitting that He has got it in hand and it’s all about Him and not about us, which can sometimes be difficult when you are perfectionists like Matt and I! When I think about what God is doing in the East (which will be the next multi-site), I can see that He is shaking it up. It’s not about us being comfortable on a Sunday, it’s about what he’s doing and who he wants us to reach.
Emily: If you could shoot for the stars, what would the first three years look like for the site?
Matt: I’m already dreaming! Primarily, we want to build a reputation for serving the community in a gospel-centred way. That starts with understanding the gospel! We also want to have a local influence and to have people saying to themselves, ‘God is clearly with that group of people’. We would also love to see multiple meetings on a Sunday in the near future.
Alison: I would say that we’d love to be winning people to Christ; to see people coming along and being saved. But more than that, we’d love to win relationships with other church leaders and become known in the community. A lot of people don’t like the corporate nature of big churches, but across the three sites, I hope that it’ll be easier to cultivate more of an intimate personal nature and I hope that people who perhaps haven’t been linked with us in the past, will be strongly linked in and be really with us as a Church.
Emily: Why should people of all ages come to Shoreham!?
Matt: I think it’s a common misconception that the Shoreham area is more for the older generation but actually there are a lot of young families there and I can name at least eight couples at CCK who have moved West over the last year! The average age is actually 39! The housing is good value and there are gardens and great schools. And it’s not just Shoreham that we’re talking about – many will travel to the site from towns such as Steyning, Bramber, Storrington, Washington and Upper Beeding. If God is calling you West, then come! But don’t just go because it is new and exciting, because we want you in it for the long-haul!
Emily: As a church, what three things can we pray for?
Matt: A great venue! We have our eye on some options, but we also need prayer for all the planning that has to go into getting it ready.
Alison: We also need to be praying for all the relationships that we’re going to be building in the area, with people of influence like the existing church pastors and people in the local council. We need favour on us from community movers and shakers, and to win the confidence of those around us.
Matt: And thirdly, we want our people to have missional confidence. With this presence that we’ll have in the area, we want people to be with us in vision and to have every gospel-confidence in inviting the unchurched along on a Sunday and into our community life.
Emily: What an exciting time! Thanks so much for chatting to us.