September
22
2020
Church Planting Amid Covid-19

What a year! When I last wrote about planting a church in Epsom, Surrey, I would not have expected the copious challenges that have hit the UK and the nations around the world. Even as I write, the virus continues to spread and wreak havoc wherever it breaks out. But even with the outbreak of Covid-19, we take this opportunity to continue to lavishly spread the hope, kindness and love that is found in Jesus to those around us.

 

Having started our Sunday afternoon gatherings on Sunday 12 January we only got to meet 5 times before lockdown happened and since March we have been meeting as a church plant over Zoom. We have been pleased by how well people have adapted to this new way of doing church. All of my life I have known church community to be about being together face to face, whether one to one, in small groups, or meeting every Sunday in a building. Having opportunities to hug people to show love and affection, or a hand on a shoulder to reassure and encourage. It’s been a massive shock to the system to go online to ‘do’ church. But I do think this is an opportunity to hit the reset button on how we connect and communicate the gospel to those around us. Since March we have connected with a lot more people because of the move to doing activities online.

 

God is always on the move and perhaps now more than ever – these days feel like a wake up call for the church to look again and see where God is moving and stirring people’s hearts. It feels like the church has been winded by the virus, but as we take deep breaths and look around we cannot help but see the Spirit of God at work.

 

During lockdown one of the ladies who has been attending our meetings made a decision to follow Christ and with her husband has joined our first Alpha course. We are so pleased with these first fruits and look forward to having our first socially distanced baptisms sometime in the Autumn.

 

At the beginning of May we announced our new name, Gateway Church as a simple declaration that Jesus is the gateway to knowing God and it was Jesus that was going to establish and build the church here in Epsom.

 

At present we are still gathering online rather than in person, but this has given us the opportunity to meet new people from other areas, to make friends we would never have met otherwise. We are connecting more with those outside the normal reach of the church. We are venturing out and seeing there are many who are looking for friendship, connection and answers to a very strange world we are seeing unfold before us. The answer is and always will be Jesus. Jesus can and will transform communities and we will continue to look to Him as we take steps of faith into this wonderful community in which we live.

 

We are looking forward to sharing more about our journey so far at the New Ground Prayer Day (also on Zoom) on 30 September, so that our extended New Ground church family can continue to pray for us and for God to change lives in Epsom.

 

If you would like to know more or would like to consider being part of Gateway Church, the Epsom Church Plant please contact Rob: robncarter@gmail.com for more details, or find us on Twitter or Instagram.