Posted by Jack Carter on 16th October 2023
By way of introduction we are Jack and Mez Carter. I (Jack) am on staff at The Oak Church as the Community Outreach Lead, and Mez does a mixture of Sing and Sign teaching and serving the church in other capacities. We have three children who are 10, 7 and 4.
Nearly 13 years ago, we were part of a group of people that helped plant The Oak Church into West Leeds from Mosaic Church, a city centre church in Leeds. We lead in various areas of church life and in the last 2 years have felt God stir us to plant a church. In the last 6 months we have sensed that call being specifically to East Leeds.
There is so much we could say about the last few years, but for both of us there has been a growing sense of urgency and desire to share the living hope we have. The phrase ‘this is not a dress rehearsal’ has been a constant travel companion on our journey. That journey has also featured, on a personal level, the relinquishing of control and comfort, and deeper trust in Him. It’s been a time where we have felt a deeper call to be motivated by love in what we do; 1 John 4:19 tells us that ‘We love because he first loved us.’ Our prayer is that people in East Leeds would know of this great life-changing and transforming love.
Why East Leeds?
Having clearly felt called to plant somewhere in Leeds the question became whereabouts in the city we were being called to. Five anchor points have led us to East Leeds.
1.Divinely appointed conversations…
Conversations with people about church planting increasingly featured East Leeds and so we decided to visit and prayer walk. Beforehand, we prayed that during the day we would meet key people and that we would be warmly welcomed. That morning, unbeknown to us, we were to cross paths with two key church/community leaders, both of whom said that the Spirit was on the move and gave us an emphatically warm welcome!
2. The prophetic…
A lot could be said but we will home in on a few. Mez came back from a walk about a week before we even thought about going to visit East Leeds and felt that the word ‘perimeter’ was significant. We didn’t quite know why exactly. Then, when driving to East Leeds for the first time we suddenly found ourselves on the new ‘perimeter’ road which is part of the East Leeds Extension plan. Consequent chats with Matt Hatch have revealed that Mosaic had been given key prophetic words in relation to planting churches. These have included that there would be churches on the 4 points of the compass in Leeds and, significantly, that there would be a rainbow going from West Leeds to East. As you can imagine, we found these both comforting and confirming!
The two accounts where Jesus performs miraculous catches of fish have been significant passages of scripture for us. God has spoken to us in so many ways through these. When the Spirit prompted a friend to send us this story again and we prayed, the Spirit gave us further revelation: that God was asking us, not to cast our nets over the other side of the boat, but the other side of the city. Our mountain-moving prayer is that God will bring so many people in East Leeds to him that, like the disciples, we’ll need to call in reinforcements!
4. Our hearts are stirred for the people of East Leeds…
We have both faith and peace for East Leeds. We are excited about what God is doing and will do in East Leeds
5. It makes a lot of sense…
East Leeds is really quite unchurched, but as an area is undergoing some major growth as part of the East Leeds Extension. In the next 10 or so years up to 20,000 more people are going to be moving into the area. Therefore, to be there at the start of many transition points for many people is an exciting prospect, especially when it comes to receptivity to the Gospel.
What about vision?
We are keen not to go beyond what the Spirit has revealed, but we are confident that God has given us 5 key words and areas that are shaping the wider vision we have for the church:
To Know- to pursue intimacy with and obedience to the Holy Spirit
To Show- the love of Jesus to those around us living thought-provoking and spiritually transparent lives.
A consistent picture has been one of being flag bearers and a highly visible presence in the community. Alongside this is the call to be bold and intentional, motivated by multiplication rather than addition.
To Grow- in relationship with God, His Word and fellow believers. To grow in character, giftings and discipleship.
To Sow – generously to the Spirit in prayer, in worship and in servanthood.
God has been growing our commitment to prayer, encouraging us by its impact and reminding us of the gift and weapon that it is.
To Go- making disciples who make disciples, releasing others to go further afield to share the gospel.
We both love and desire to release others and support them in what God wants to do in their lives.
What can you be praying?
As our church family we want to invite you to pursue God and pray bold and courageous prayers, asking Him:
Where do you want me?
What are you saying to me about this?
Please also join us in praying:
- for God’s power to be readying the ground for the seed of his gospel in East Leeds
- for a release of God’s power as we step into obedience. We can’t do this in our strength!
- that the Spirit would move and bring people to the plant
- for a variety of giftings- we are increasingly aware of things we aren’t gifted in!
- for other children to join the plant
From January, on a half-termly basis, we are going to gather to pray, worship and cast vision in East Leeds. All are welcome, but especially those who feel called to come or who are exploring the call to come.
If you want to speak to us to know more or ask some questions please either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or get in touch on 07762024335. We would love to hear from you.
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