church in leicester

WHAT REALLY MATTERS??? 
by Roy Todd

I recently read some Christian blogs which were full of complaint about churches that have ‘hipster’ lights, punchy music & a ‘style’ that is not to their liking. Afterwards, I found myself thinking….SO WHAT??? In a world that’s in desperate need of the life giving hope of God’s good news, are these things seriously worth getting so angry about? I mean, in the grand scheme of things….really?? 

So what if some churches like a few lights? So what if there’s a bit of beat in the music? So what if some churches don’t conform to traditional ways of doing things – and sing songs that have been written in the last 2 years rather than 20 or 200 years ago? So what???

Surely what REALLY matters is that people are encountering the life transforming grace of Jesus Christ? Surely it would be better to celebrate churches that are courageously reaching out and impacting a generation with the greatest news on the planet? Surely the REAL travesty is that there are so many churches out there where new salvations are few and far between?

The Pharisees detested Jesus because he didn’t fit with their expectations of how things should be done. They even accused him of being a compromiser, or as they put it, a ‘friend of sinners‘ (Matt 11:19). But what was meant as a carping, sniping criticism was actually an unwitting compliment. You see, Jesus related to everyday people, used illustrations they could identify with and connected with their lives. Meanwhile, religion loves to stay in it’s own little theologically correct bubble and feels better about itself when it is pontificating about what it doesn’t approve of. Every Christian would do well to take care not fall into it’s pit. It’s a death trap in which many churches today are paying a heavy price, their very existence on the edge of extinction.

If we’re going to win a generation, then the Church (capital C) is going to need to shake itself out of complacency and recapture the raw heart & essence of Jesus message. Think for a moment about the first line of the most well known verse in the bible – ‘For God so loved the world‘. That one statement tells us everything about the ONE we worship. If it matters to him, it ought to matter to us. In the end, that’s what REALLY matters.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

summer madness

SUMMER MADNESS 2017
by Roy Todd

In the short five year history of the Junction Church, the summer of 2017 has been the best so far! Whereas August is usually considered a ‘dead’ month because so many are off on holiday, we wanted to do something that served the Loughborough community. Ohhhh myyyy gosh did it exceed our expectations!

A year ago when the team first started planning Summer Madness, we thought we might have 15 or 20 kids register. This was the first time we’d ever done something like this and we didn’t know how many would come along. However, 105 kids actually registered on the week!! Each day, children from one small area around Old Ashby road in Loughborough would gather from 10am at the Hut (a local community hub) for 4 hours of games, fun, inflatables and a brilliant choice of activities. The feedback each day from parents was phenomenal, grateful their kids had not only been well looked after for a whole week, but they had the best time too!!

A team of over 30 volunteers from the Junction Church took a whole week out to serve the community, many using their personal holiday time to do it. I have to say, they represent the Junction Church at its very best. They are all heroes who gave 110% and showed what it really means to serve with excellence. We are SO proud of them.

As well as kids activities, we also ran a community cafe which was buzzing every day. This was a great opportunity for local people to take a few minutes out, grab a hot drink, eat some good food and enjoy being served by some of the friendliest people in town. The community cafe grew more popular as the week went on. It was sooo good! The people in this area are AMAZING. 

Funding for Summer Madness came entirely from the Junction Church. So why did we do it? The reason is because we genuinely love people and have a heart to serve in the community. This might sound like a strange thing to say for anyone who isn’t of faith, but it’s literally why we did it. The whole event reflected the kind of things we really value at the Junction Church, things like excellence, generosity and honour. This was church in the heart of the community, quietly getting on with loving and serving people. It was our absolute pleasure to do it. It keeps it all real. After all, faith is not something that is inward looking but rather outward focused, bringing life and hope to others, no strings attached. We loved it!

To finish the week off, it was great to see hundreds of people from the local community pouring into church for Sunday Funday. After a 1 hour service full of upbeat music and great vibes, we then served a BIG lunch accompanied by loads of fun stuff including inflatables, basket ball, face painting and so much more. One guy who never goes to church said it was ‘bloody brilliant‘. If you’re the religious type, you’ll balk at that. Not us though. It’s the ultimate compliment. 

So many people in the community asked us if we are going to do Summer Madness again next year. The answer is…YES. Our team are already working on something even better for next year. Watch this space!! Meanwhile, to all the incredible volunteers who served with such brilliance, you are true legends. We love and appreciate you so much. Your kindness has made a difference.

CHECK OUT WHAT SUMMER MADNESS IS ALL ABOUT BY CLICKING HERE.

Video highlights from #SummerMadness

Pics from #SundayFunday

Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday Sunday Funday

church in leicester

GO WHERE YOU’RE GOING TO GROW 
by Roy & Lydia Todd

If we could offer you one piece of advice in this next season of your life, it would simply be this: only go where you’re going to grow.

One of the greatest dangers of 21st century Christianity is a ‘spirituality’ that is insular and introspective. When faith becomes so inwardly focused that it gets consumed in it’s own little world, we must not mistake this as ‘deep’. It’s actually shallow. It mistakenly assumes that this is the only environment where faith can grow. Problem is, there’s no real growth at all. You see, faith must be exercised in order to increase. James 2:17 makes it clear that ‘faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead’. This means getting out of the comfort zone, lifting our eyes beyond ourselves, pursuing God’s greater purpose in the world and having the audacity to submit to God, not our fears. This is faith.

Our heart for the Junction Church in Leicester and Loughborough is to create an environment where people can truly grow. Our passion is not to build a big church, but to grow big people. We’re not content to be settlers. We’re called to be pioneers. That means daring to take new ground. It also means reaching the unreached, touching base with people who don’t yet know Jesus.

Interestingly, over the past five years of pioneering the Junction Church, the most fruitful periods of spiritual growth we’ve experienced have not occurred in the intensity of introspective meetings, but in the intentionality of reaching out to a world that desperately needs to experience God’s grace. It’s here where God imparts revelation more than anywhere else, where faith is active and we depend upon God’s supernatural provision. This is the atmosphere for miracles.

One of the wisest things you can do in life is to get yourself into an environment where you’re going to truly grow. Even if it scares you, embrace the intimidation anyway, and resist the temptation to settle into comfort. Sure, it’s a far more convenient life in the comfort zone – but if you want to broaden your capacity for genuine spiritual growth, then you’ve got to break free from the subtle restrictions which insular spirituality wraps around you. As local church pastors, we want to see people grow to become everything God has called them to be. This is our journey. This is our mission. This is our heart. Why don’t you get on board? Could change your life.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE – AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

church leicester

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS 
by Roy Todd

Picture the scene. It’s a balmy Virginia morning in early August – about 9am. The sky is brilliant blue and the sun is shining brightly. My wife and I are still buzzing from the day before when we celebrated the wedding of a beautiful young couple whose lives are bursting with joy and optimism. Now, in the afterglow of such a fabulous occasion, we’re enjoying a quiet breakfast under the shade of an Ash tree at a downtown street cafe. The vibe is peaceful and relaxed. We just sit there for an hour or two, chatting, laughing, drinking coffee, people watching. It’s all good. The name of the town? Charlottesville.  

One week later, the heart of Charlottesville is torn apart by the hatred of racism. A mob of white supremacists (mainly transported in from other places) contaminate the atmosphere, turning it nasty and vicious. Destruction and death are the inevitable consequence of its bigoted ideology which is intent on creating division and promoting fear. It is evil, pure and simple. The awful carnage it creates is a wake up call regarding the menace which lurks deep within. Its sinister motivation masquerades as acceptable, empowered by stoking the fires of division. Suddenly, 2017 feels more like 1817. In many ways, these are even more dangerous times. The voices of hatred & fear are growing ever louder, taking advantage of the uncertainty that exists around the world. It’s how evil works.

The very notion that any one race holds superiority over another is not only utterly delusional, but is as contrary to biblical teaching as it is possible to get. Galatians 3:28 clearly states ‘There is neither Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus‘. It couldn’t be any clearer. We must never be silent at even the faintest hint of racist thinking. The bible is unambiguous and unequivocal about this. The same should be true for all of us.

My thoughts turn to Britain, the nation I love. We would be wise to reflect on the events of Charlottesville, and understand that the menace of bigotry lurks here too. The UK Church is not exempt from this, subtle though it may be. Instead of paying lip service and engaging in moral protestations which make us feel morally better, it’s far wiser to put Galations 3:28 into practice. Our actions speak far louder than our words. It’s always best to model what is right.

If any community on earth should be showing the way ahead, it’s the Church. We are one in Christ. It is His amazing grace which unites our hearts. There is no place for racism here, subtle or otherwise…ever. 

WE ARE ONE CHURCH IN TWO LOCATIONS. CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH IN LOUGHBOROUGH HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.

church leicester

10 KEYS TO GREAT MUSICIANSHIP 
by Roy Todd

Before we planted the Junction Church, I had a dream of a community where incredible musicianship would be provoked and amazing songs would be produced. You see, I seriously reckon that church ought to be the most brilliantly creative community in town. So I guess part of the reason for this blog is to do some provoking!

For me, music is a passion. Growing up in Belfast, I studied classical piano at the school of music. This was one of the greatest institutions in the city, inspiring creativity during the weary days of ‘the troubles’. It wasn’t easy to get into it (which gave it a certain prestige) – and the standard of teaching was absolutely first rate. Whilst there, I went on to develop a keen interest in jazz piano, and that fascination has never gone away. I love music today more than ever. When it’s bad and ill-disciplined, I’m appalled by it. When it’s really good, I SO appreciate it!

Music is an art that stirs the heart, creates moments and gives expression to emotion that goes beyond words. In a sense, it’s a universal language. Imagine your favourite movie without the sound track? Wouldn’t be the same, would it? That’s the power of music – it changes the atmosphere.

In the Psalms, King David encouraged great musicianship. For example, in Psalm 33:3, he says ‘Sing a new song and play skillfully‘. This pretty much sums up my dream for music at the Junction Church.

Here are 10 keys (excuse the pun) for great musicianship:

1) Take interest – this stems from having passion, which is the child of inspiration.

2) Practice much – if this isn’t happening, then the musicianship will never be taken seriously.

3) Be disciplined – learn how to patiently flow with music rather than trying to force it to happen.

4) Listen to the vibe – this is especially important when playing as part of a team. Listening creates great music.

5) Be selfless – the greatest musicians understand the power of subtlety and not drawing attention to themselves.

6) Develop your craft – for music to be performed with skillful ease, it needs to be carefully crafted behind the scenes. That takes W.O.R.K.

7) Challenge yourself – learn to play proficiently in every key, especially the more uncomfortable ones.

8) Be teachable – every musician has something new to learn.

9) Master one instrument – stop trying to be a multi-instrumentalist. Be excellent at one instead of average at many.

10) Do it for God’s glory – let this always motivate the why behind the what.

 

If you’re a musician interested in being part of a great worship team, email: info@junctionchurch.net 

church leicester

WHY REAL VICTORY IN LIFE

It’s better to be underestimated than overestimated. When expectations are too high and unrealistic, disappointment is inevitable. What’s really important is what happens behind the scenes. To be victorious in life, you must win here first.

The bible character who illustrates this best is King David. Before he became king, he was deeply underrated. This was something he’d experienced all his life. For example, when Samuel was looking for a new king in the land, all of David’s brothers were in line first before David was eventually chosen (1 Samuel 16). Years later, when the Philistine champion Goliath taunted and humiliated the armies of Israel, David’s offer to confront him was treated with complete scorn (1 Samuel 17). Then when he finally stood on the field to face Goliath, the colossal giant was insulted by a kid who he looked down upon with utter contempt. What infuriated Goliath all the more was the fact that David only had a sling and some stones, wearing none of the usual armour a soldier would carry. However, in those next few moments, history was made as an astonishing victory took place. With one stone, David hit the giant and subsequently defeated the Philistine armies. Wow. With one stone!!

So….was this a fluke? Was it luck? Not at all. Behind the scenes, David was totally prepared for this battle. What Goliath didn’t know was that David had already defeated a bear and a lion (1 Samuel 17:34). Furthermore, David was highly skilled in the art of sling throwing. It is said that David’s skill would have been so accurate that he could have hit a target from a significant distance and with incredible precision. So in reality, whilst David was perceived as the underdog, the real disadvantage lay with the nine foot giant. He was an easy target for David that day. David was more than happy to be seen as the underdog. You see, status didn’t matter to him. What really counted was victory.

Underdogs are underrated because they are perceived as weak. But the perception is often flawed. When people aren’t aware of the battles you’ve been through in life, they often underestimate what you’re made of.

Before we planted the Junction Church, we hosted a series of Sunday night meetings in a small village. On reflection, those two years were the toughest of our lives. In that short time, we dealt with virtually every issue it was possible for leaders to deal with. The pressure was great and it nearly broke us. I can’t begin to describe what we went through there. Yet as painful as it was, it was absolutely necessary we passed that test. When we went on to plant the Junction Church, we were prepared for what lay ahead. Why? Because we’d been through the fire and not only survived…but thrived. We gained invaluable experience which prepared us to build a community that would be strong and healthy. 

What happens behind the scenes of your life REALLY matters. If you want to live in a place of victory, then this must be fought for when no-one else is looking. The battle is in your mind. It’s also imperative to overcome the struggles in your heart. When we deal with these well, that’s when we’ll triumph in life. Nothing will be able to stop you. When you learn to win those unseen battles, they create a steel inside you which prepare you for your key moments. You see, the real victory happens when we win while no-one else is looking. 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

junction collective

WORSHIP VIBES 
by Junction Collective

Hey!! We’re excited about releasing two albums. Yes, TWO!! 

The first is called VIBE, a 14 track instrumental album which is a soundtrack to what’s happening in the life of our church. We really wanted to create something that’s upbeat, capturing the heart of what God is doing. We’d LOVE it if you would download the album HERE. 

Then in 2018 (January), we’re releasing our first worship album. This is called HOPE WILL ARISE. We’re currently finishing it off and you’ll hear more details about this soon!

Worship means SO much to us at the Junction Church. When we meet together as a community, we sing songs that express our love and passion for God. But why is music so important? Well, for a start, this is an art which is clearly used in the bible. For example, over 55 of the psalms were actually song lyrics that are prefaced with the instruction ‘for the director of music‘. It’s a pity recording devices weren’t around then as it would be awesome to hear what those songs actually sounded like!! Then in the New Testament, Paul sometimes quotes words from what many scholars believe where early Christian songs. Philippians 2:5-11 is probably one of them (it’s totally worth a read).

At the Junction Church, our heart is to create songs that are biblically based and which also reflect life in Century 21. Our boundaries are ancient but our outlook is eternal. The first part is really important to us and we totally believe in the importance of declaring God’s Word rather than just writing a bunch of nice lyrics. It’s the Word that produces faith (Romans 10:17). Without the certainty of biblical truth, all you get is a clash of confused noise. However, it’s also important to us that we reflect what God is doing today. Our heart is to help a generation connect with Jesus through the language of music.

Junction Collective is a team of musicians at the Junction Church who are passionate about using our skills for the glory of God. Our ethos is that none of our individual names are attached to the songs we write. That’s because we want to keep our ego’s in check. Our heart is to serve and we think this is really important.  We really love our church and we’re excited about what God is doing today.

If you’re a musician or singer and you’d like to get in contact, send an email to info@junctionchurch.net

church leicester

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE GOD 
by Roy Todd

Ok, it’s time for me to fess up. When we first planted the Junction Church five years ago, I was a bit bothered that our largest demographic was students. We didn’t plan it this way, it just happened. It’s not that I ever had anything against students either. No, the very opposite actually. I love them. They are the most incredible bunch of people to hang out with. They keep me fresh, laugh at my daft jokes, ask GREAT questions, are loads of fun to be around and I have learned SO much from this generation. But five years ago, I thought we would never establish a decent church with such a high percentage of students. Then I had my epiphany and I suddenly realised…silly me! Students don’t stay students for very long.

Five years later, those very same people are no longer at uni. They’ve graduated. And guess what? Loads of them have made the Junction Church their home. They’ve found a community where they can get planted, grow, develop, inspire others, encourage potential and love people to life. Now they’re the driving force of our church. They serve behind the scenes, lead the teams, are pioneering a new campus and they’re carrying great culture everywhere they go. They are sons and daughters of the house who profoundly understand that good jobs are easy to find but good churches are not.

I think I’ve learned a HUGE lesson in all this. Never underestimate what God can do. Truth is…He’s often doing more behind our backs than in front of your eyes. 

In those early days of pioneering the Junction Church, the demographic of our community meant that offerings were pretty meagre. It’s not that there wasn’t generosity. No. It’s just that people genuinely didn’t have much to give, which meant paying bills could be slightly challenging (yup, churches have bills too you know)! Sometimes before a service would begin, I’d nip out and withdraw cash from my own account and then put it into the offering. Afterwards when the team would tell me that we’d had record giving that day, I’d cheekily smile because I knew that I’d put most of it in!! The things you do just to encourage yourself when you’re pioneering a church!! But God constantly challenged us to hold our nerve, to keep showing up, to keep being generous, to love people and serve faithfully. Today, it’s amazing to see the Junction Church in Loughborough and Leicester bursting with life. In many ways, it feels like we’ve just got going. The potential is huge.

We must never underestimate the potential of people’s lives. If you have a bunch of students in your church, invest in them and keep sowing well, especially in times of lack. God has this amazing way of using our feebleness so that his glory can be seen. Remember, today’s seed is tomorrows harvest. Don’t underestimate God. Its amazing what He can do.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.

church leicester

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE WEIRD 
by Roy Todd

I love the work of the Holy Spirit. His desire is to draw people’s attention towards Jesus (John 14:26). On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), there were symbolic manifestations such as a sound like wind and then what appeared like flames of fire that sat on the believers heads. The Christians also spoke in other languages they had not learned. Interestingly, passers by thought this was all a bit weird and even thought they were drunk (Acts 2:13)! So Peter quickly realised he had to clearly explain what was happening and articulate the message of Jesus. The result? 3000 unchurched people responded and believed. 

So does the Holy Spirit still work today? Can people experience him 2000 years later? The answer is…yes. There is nothing in the bible that suggests his work has ceased. The fruit of the Spirit are all for today (Gal 5: 22-23). So are all the gifts of the Spirit too (1 Cor 12:8-10). 

Yet one of the things that can deeply undermine the Holy Spirit’s work is the obsession some Christians have about pursuing strange phenomena. Whilst this may seem ‘spiritual’, the fixation on weirdness becomes a distraction and actually trivialises the Spirit’s work. Remember, the Holy Spirit’s main purpose is not to signpost signs – but to signpost Jesus. This is WHY he empowers us in the first place. 

If a church claims to be filled with the Spirit but isn’t engaging with the unchurched at every gathering, then the mark has been missed. It merely becomes a religious club and the only real growth that happens are the layers of insularity around the Christian bubble. A culture which searches for strangeness will always attract the few who love strange stuff – and alienate the rest of the world that God so wants us to reach.

Some think that the Holy Spirit cannot move in any gathering where there is any form of human scheduling. But this grossly underestimates him. If the Spirit wants to work, believe me…he can move! Heaven and earth won’t get in his way! However, he can minister with considerable ease through a programme that has been prayerfully planned. That’s why Paul encouraged the Christians at Corinth to organise their meetings ‘in a fitting and orderly way‘ (1 Corinthians 14:40).

At the Junction Church…we’re not pursuing weirdness. No. But we DO want to be totally filled with the Holy Spirit. We absolutely recognise our need to be filled with his power. In fact, our passion is to be so full of the Holy Spirit that we create a place where unchurched people can meet Jesus for the first time and find it easy to encounter his life changing grace. This is the atmosphere where miracles happen. Changed lives are the REAL evidence of his work.

COME AND CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE THIS SUNDAY.

Church Leicester

WHY WAS JESUS SO COMPELLING?
by Roy Todd

Lets talk about Jesus (my favourite subject!). He is the most compelling person the world has ever encountered. During his ministry, people flocked to listen to him.

Here are 7 reasons why he was so compelling…

1. He spoke “as one who had authority’

In other words, Jesus knew what he was talking about. This was unlike the confused message of the religious establishment who were all over the place. Yet in a world of confusion, his voice was crystal clear. Read more about this in Matthew 7:28-29.

2. He was relevant to people’s lives

The religious establishment tried to smear Jesus as a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34). But it unwittingly emphasised just how completely relevant he was (and how irrelevant they were). Jesus was a man of the people. He spoke a language they knew. They respected that.

3. He connected with people 

For example, Luke 19:1-10 tells the story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector. This man was as corrupt as they get. Yet when Jesus met him, he didn’t harshly confront him. Instead, he spent time with him. It must have been a compelling conversation as Zacchaeus emerged with a resolve to give his wealth to the poor and repay those he’d swindled. Result. 

4. He was a great story teller 

Jesus spent much of his time communicating through stories. Luke 15 is a great example of this. The religious establishment dismissed this as shallow and lacking substance. But they had no idea how to relate to people. Jesus did. People connect with people before they connect with truth. 

5. He empathised with people’s needs

You can see this in Matthew 8:3. Here, Jesus met a leper. During their conversation, he reached out and touched the sick man. This was an act of immense compassion by Jesus. After all, who would take the risk of touching diseased skin? Jesus did. He showed massive empathy, coming alongside a man in desperate need. 

6. He was vulnerable  

The shortest verse in the Bible is in John 11:35. It says “Jesus wept”. This was because his good friend Lazarus had died. Such a public expression of emotion was a demonstration that Jesus was profoundly touched by grief. He wasn’t cold and clinical. His vulnerability was actually a sign of strength. (READ A BLOG ABOUT THIS HERE)

7. He understood the power of appropriate silence

In John 8:1-11, the religious establishment confronted Jesus with the case of a woman caught in adultery. His response? Silence. Then, in a moment that could have been academy award winning, he invited any Pharisee who was without sin to be the first to throw a stone. They left. But Jesus stayed….cos that’s what Jesus does. (READ A BLOG ABOUT THIS HERE)

 

Read the Gospels for yourself, and you’ll see that religion was the enemy of everything Jesus was about. It still is. Jesus heart was warm and gracious towards people…and he was relevant to their lives. We could learn much from Jesus. 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND OUR CHURCH IN LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.