Across Wigan we have many different communities where we live, work, study or play. In these communities we can grow and nurture faith, hope and life.
The Transforming Wigan movement is changing the static model of Church as 'religious-buildings-holding-religious-services' to the more vibrant model of Church as a collection of many different types and styles of Worship Communities enabling many different types and styles of people to gather and grow together as disciples of Jesus in Wigan.
Traditional and new Worship Communities will be grouped in Hubs to best serve neighbourhoods and networks. Each Hub will have two full-time clergy to lead and oversee the growth of the Worship Communities.
Each Hub will have a few of the current traditional church congregations that will be led through a'refresh' programme to help them to flourish and grow as Worship Communities gathering around their mission purpose rather than simply holding services.
Each Hub will also have a number of 'fresh' mission initiatives growing into new Worship Communities. These are currently growing in all sorts of places: schools, community centres, and junk food cafes to date. Some Hubs are exploring opportunities with certain groups including families, asylum seekers, young people, and carer groups.
THE MANY WORSHIP COMMUNITIES IN SEVERAL HUBS TOGETHER FORM ONE CHURCH WIGAN. TOGETHER WE ARE UNITED AND STRONGER AND BEST ABLE TO GROW AND FLOURISH IN THE FUTURE BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE POWER OF HIS SPIRIT.
‘Church’ is the collective noun for all the disciples in one place. The Greek word for church is ‘ekklesia’ which means ‘the called-out ones.’ In so many ways ‘church’ has come to mean so many things other than this. It gets caught up in buildings, services, priests and territory. In our place, Wigan, we are re-discovering the original tradition of church to be the disciples of Jesus called out together in our place to worship God, love one another and reach out to others with the good news of Jesus for today.
So, all this begins with you and me. First of all we have to hear – or maybe, re-hear – that individual call from Jesus to each one of us. He calls us, he gives us his Spirit, he equips us, he leads us and he sends us … and he promises to be with us wherever we go.
When we read in the Bible instances of when God says he promises to be with someone – as he did to Moses, Joshua, Gideon … and the eleven disciples when he commissioned them to go and make disciples – it is always in the context of sending them out to do the impossible! For us on our own what looks impossible probably is. God with us makes the impossible possible. Check out the victories of God through his weak people – people just like you and me.
Before we can look at refreshing our traditional Worship Communities or planting new ones each one of us needs to fix our eyes on Jesus and hear his voice calling and sending us. Each of us is called and sent. Each one of us needs to be open-handed and ready to serve as we recommit ourselves to that great commission to go into the world and make disciples of Jesus. The bit of the world we focus on is called Wigan.