We are thrilled to support Peter Roberts and Trinity Church Everton in Liverpool, England. Please keep Peter in your prayers.
What is the name of your church and roughly how many attendees do you currently have?
Trinity Church Everton and we have about 50 adults and 20 children attend on a Sunday.
Where are you originally from and where is your current church located?
I am originally from a market town on the edge of Liverpool called Ormskirk. I moved into the city 15 years ago for University. Our church is located in an economically deprived neighborhood of Liverpool called Everton. Both of our cities Premier league soccer teams (Liverpool and Everton) were established in our area over a 100 years ago.
Tell us the story of how God called you to plant a church and why you chose the current location for your church plant.
Whilst I was working/being trained by Christ Church Liverpool, I led a small team to think through where CCL should consider planting in the future. As we investigated various areas it became apparent that whilst there were a few encouraging church plants and several thriving churches in the south of the city, there were very few gospel-driven, culturally-sensitive churches in the North of the city. There are approximately a quarter of a million people who live in different communities in North Liverpool and most have never really engaged with the gospel.
We dreamt of planting a church planting church into one community of North Liverpool, which once established could then plant further churches into other communities in North Liverpool. We decided to plant in Everton due to three reasons. Firstly, it was a strategic decision, Everton is an area that acts as a gateway to the rest of the North Liverpool. Secondly, it was a pragmatic decision, our core team needed move to the area we where going to planting into. Everton is close enough to the city centre that no one in the initial core team had to find a new job. Thirdly, it was a theological decision, we noticed that most of the growing gospel ministry in our city was amongst the middle classes, but we believe the great news of Jesus is for everyone. We felt compelled to try and plant a gospel church amongst poor people who were not engaged by the great news of Jesus.
What is the spiritual temperature in your community/country? How does this reflect your church’s mission and focus?
I estimate that in our community over 98% of people do not go to church, most people round here think that Christianity is irrelevant. On the face of it most people say they are not interested in the gospel and being a Christian is a waste of time. The reality, however, is that everyone is longing for something that makes sense of their lives. We encourage our church to get to know the people around them and build relationships of trust. We find that when non-Christians trust us they begin to open up about things and there are opportunities to share the gospel into their lives.
Most people don't go to church so we do lots of things to engage people where they are at. Every week we stand on the main shopping street and give out hot drinks to get chatting with people, we run an addictions group and a mental health group, and we run a toddlers stay and play session. We are always seeking to talk to people and introduce them to the Lord Jesus. We want to be a church for people who don't normally go to church
Tell us one of the most difficult situations you have faced during your years as a church planter. How did God work through that particular situation?
The hardest thing for us so far has been dealing with people who seem to be making progress, maybe even they have made professions of faith, but then turn their backs on Christ. It has been hard investing lots of time with people and then seeing them turn around from Christ and rejecting us personally. God has used these disappointing experiences to humble us and remind us of the truth of his word. It has been a great encouragement to reread Mark 4 and see that Jesus explained this rejection will happen by some, but some will be good soil that receive the word and produce a large crop.
Tell us about how you have seen God working - maybe share a particular story.
When we dreamt of planting this church we were very aware that we came from a different background to the people we were trying to reach. All 10 of the core team had been through university, most had done further studies (doctors, PhDs, Masters), but most people in Everton had failed to complete college and many had dropped out of school early. It was always our dream that we might reach local people with the gospel and see them grow to then take the gospel out further.
God has been kind by slowly making those dreams a reality and given us some local people who are now growing as Christians. They are really helping us to contextualize the gospel to people's every day struggles. We are praying that one day they might become future leaders in the church.
Let me tell you about one guy. He is in his mid-30s and has spent over 12 years in prison for various convictions. He got connected to our church through our family member and started attending our addictions group. We seemed to be making some progress but after a few months he disappeared from church for a long time. Last year he contacted us and explained that he felt really convicted. He had come to realize he couldn't just play at being a Christian, it was an all or nothing thing. He knew Jesus was Lord so knew he needed to commit to following Christ. Since making that decision he has had to serve a sentence for a previous crime he had committed, but since being released has become a vital part of our church. He was baptized at Easter and recently became a member!
Please list any prayer requests we can share with our SRC family.
- Thank God for the miracles he has done in our small church. We have seen dead sinners come to a living faith in Christ. Praise God!
- Pray for our plans to plant a new church in 5 years time. We are in the process of training up new leaders for this.
- Pray for this year that we would see a good crop of people coming to faith. Pray especially that they might help us better reach our area for Christ
- Pray for our church that we would rejoice in the Lord always in the midst of trails and struggles.