Churches that make a difference in our City
A while ago I was walking through Coventry City Centre and I overheard a conversation between two people. They were discussing how much the city had changed over the last five years. With new buildings going up whilst old shops were closing down. They described how the ‘feel’ of our city had changed. It was just a fleeting moment of eavesdropping but it left me thinking; “What is the church’s role in changing the ‘feel’ of the city?”
As leaders of Coventry Vineyard, my wife, Vicki and I are committed to transforming the city that God called us to serve twenty years ago. We are committed to leading a community that brings the life of the kingdom to the lives in our city. And that is why I became involved with HOPE Coventry.
HOPE Coventry exists to grow a connected church that demonstrates the love of Jesus for the benefit of the city. As church leaders we meet regularly with other church leaders to pray for one another, the churches we lead and the city we serve. We have effectively removed any sense of competition between the various churches and are privileged to call these other church leaders are friends and colleagues. Out of our relationships we have joined together to serve our city through projects that demonstrate the love (and life) of Jesus, to our neighbours and the communities in which we live.
We are committed to growing a connected church that changes not only the ‘feel’ of our city, but transforms the lives of families, students, young adults, children, the homeless, the vulnerable, the elderly, the lonely, the broken, those in debt, those in despair, those without hope.
The more I got involved with HOPE Coventry the more I realised the key role it has in serving those who serve our city. In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, he returned to his city and having looked at the state of the city exclaimed “You see the trouble we are in?” The people responded by committing to rebuilding the broken city. Each group started rebuilding in the particular community in which they lived.
Last year I had a conversation with someone who was complaining about the churches in Coventry. In his view there were “Loads of churches but not much difference.” One of the things I love about HOPE Coventry is that it encourages a network of churches to effectively make a difference in our city.
I currently chair the board of trustees of HOPE Coventry and I have the privilege of working with others who are also committed to transforming the city that we serve. We work together because we want our city to flourish. The conversations we have are centred around how we can work together to bring peace and prosperity, help and hope, to others. We come together from different churches with one common objective: to benefit the city.
We not only talk about how we can benefit the city. We put our talk into action. The various projects that we support and facilitate bring together ‘loads’ of churches to make a difference. We do this because Jesus is already at work in our city. As His followers we look at where He is working and join in with His Mission. We cooperate with Him to transform lives, neighbourhoods and the city He loves.
Nick Sutton – Chair of Trustees, HOPE Coventry