church leicester

FIVE YEARS ON…
by Roy & Lydia Todd

Five years ago, the Junction Church held it’s first service. We will always remember the raw sense of excitement mixed with a generous dose of apprehension in the build up to that day. Every step along the way was faith after faith after faith. We knew things were about to change…but we didn’t quite grasp just how much. How could we? Yet as we’ve poured our lives into God’s house, the honour of serving Jesus and his bride has not diminished in the slightest. Actually, it has grown. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves that we get to walk this incredible adventure.

Five years later, we’re really encouraged to see just how much the Junction Church has developed. It is now a thriving community where hundreds of people have found faith in Jesus & are doing life together. We are one church in two locations – Loughborough & Leicester. We’re pleased to say that both campuses are in great health.

So what are our reflections after five years of pioneering? Well, there are too many to write about here. However, since we’re five years on, we thought we’d mention five:

1) IT’S ALL ABOUT GROWING BIGGER PEOPLE

Our goal has never been about building a big church. Our heart is to grow big people. We didn’t learn this from some leadership book. No. It was forged in God given conviction. That’s where leadership must really begin. God loves people. Our job is to create an environment where their potential is released and giants of the faith can emerge. Healthy culture is where this happens.

2) DON’T TALK TOO MUCH ABOUT VISION – JUST LIVE IT

Our ethos of leadership is ‘just get on with it‘. In other words, it’s better to accomplish something and then talk about it afterwards than talk about doing stuff and never accomplish it. Too much talk about vision is usually the sign of a lack of it. Vision should be seen….that’s why it’s called ‘VISION’. Leaders must live it first.

3) LEAN IN TO GOD’S GRACE

This is probably the greatest revelation we’ve experienced in five years. We’ve learned more than ever before that we completely depend on God’s grace for everything…EVERYTHING!! It’s like oxygen to our souls. Finding the rhythms of God’s grace helps make sense of life, no-matter what season we’re in.

4) RAISE UP LEADERS

This takes time and it must never be rushed. But wise leaders understand that true success is in our successors. Raising up leaders in every level of the Junction Church has meant taking calculated risks, believing in people, championing others and investing in the next generation. The Junction Church is full of sons and daughters of the house who ‘get‘ what this thing is all about. The future is looking great.

5) HONOUR THE KING

It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when ego is taken out of the equation. In the end, we live to honour the King. What matters to us is not the approval of people but the words of Jesus, ‘well done good and faithful servant‘. As long as the King is honoured, that’s what really matters.

Think about it. If this is what can happen in the first five years of the Junction Church, imagine what we can be accomplished in the next five? Right then. Lets do this. #LetTheFutureBegin #GetOnWithIt 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH

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.

student church leicester

MAKING YOUR UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE GREAT 
by Zara Dainty

University is an experience that is one of the best times of your life. I used to think that this was just because of the no-rules, no-parents, lets-get-drunk-every-night aspect. Personally, that’s never been my scene. So when I arrived at uni as a fresher, I thought they might be ‘alright years’. Truth is, my expectations were pretty low. Boy God was about to teach me a huge lesson! 

It’s an season unlike any other where we are surrounded by thousands of total strangers, where we learn to feed ourselves on very little money, and where we actually have to wash our own clothes too!! In the process, we turn into caffeine addicts, and sometimes, it can even feel like someone’s idea of a mad reality TV show! But amongst all the craziness, university is a time where God can seriously challenge us, build us, and influence us to become the people we’re designed to be. 

There are a few things I think are really important to remember when you enter university and throughout the following years where so many life changing things will happen: 

DON’T LIMIT GOD WITH LOW EXPECTATIONS. 

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) This verse says it all. Our human brains can’t even begin to comprehend the plans God has for us. I could never have imagined the life God had waiting for me when I came to university. I have done so many things I never would have thought possible and, if I had stayed in my comfort zone, I may never have realised the awesome-ness that was God’s plan. Don’t miss out on the opportunities you are given during this time, because He can do immeasurably more through you than you could ever dream of. 

YOUR IDENTITY IS IN GOD. 

Identity is something widely discussed at university. It’s something everyone wants to find, and some people will spend their whole lives searching for. One of my favourite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 43:1 which says “Don’t be afraid, because I have saved you. I have called you by name and you are mine.” We are His. No matter what life throws at us, the one thing that we can be sure about is our identity in God. This verse also shows the incredible character of God as He doesn’t say “don’t be afraid because I will punish anyone who hurts you”, or “don’t be afraid because I’ll give you super powers to save yourself” even though, as creator of the universe He can pretty much do whatever He wants! He emphasises the one thing that we need to know to get us through anything we face. The only thing that actually matters. That we are His. 

REMEMBER, IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK. 

Sometimes, Christians can get the idea it is somehow wrong to feel a bit scared in life. It’s easy to interpret verses like “be strong and brave” (Deuteronomy 31:6) and to “not worry about anything” (Matthew 6:25) as meaning ‘don’t ever feel frightened‘. But that’s not what they’re saying. And sometimes, we put pressure on ourselves that can lead to feeling guilty when we are going through tough times, because we’re afraid of being afraid! But this is not the case. Having God in our lives doesn’t mean we won’t feel worried. It means that through those challenging times, we can lean on God’s strength to do what we feel that we can’t do. “His power is made perfect in our weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) The impact of this verse is amazing, as it implies that the less we feel we can offer, the more we can know God will provide. So in those times in your life when you feel completely at a loss – watch out – because God is probably up to something big! 

GET PLANTED IN A GREAT CHURCH!

The Sunday of my second week at university I found The Junction Church and with it, I discovered an incredible community. Having a place where I knew I could get to and be encouraged at the start of each week made all the difference in the world, especially in my first year. Getting around people who will champion you and support you is so important in life in general, but even more so at university with the fast paced changes that you will face, I can’t recommend enough that you get planted into a good church. God has awesome plans for each and every one of our lives, we just need to be willing to take away the limits we put on God and ourselves, keep our eyes focussed on the identity we have in the One who made us and learn how to look for God’s strength in our weakness.

 

CHECK OUT OUR STUDENTS PAGE HERE.

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

EXCELLENCE MATTERS.

I recently read an article which took aim at churches that pursue the value of excellence. The writer suggested church should be a messy environment reflecting the reality of a messed up world. Excellence, it was asserted, alienates people rather than connecting with them. 

Well, who could disagree with the importance of loving & reaching people where they’re at? But abandoning excellence is not the answer. Of course God accepts us as we are…but He loves us far too much to leave us that way.

I was born in west Belfast during the height of the Northern Irish troubles. I grew up in one of the most deprived areas in all of Europe. But what I observed during that time of conflict was the aspiration of a working class generation who dared to dream. They searched for something better than what they’d known up to then, resisting the patronising overtones of their middle class superiors which suggested they should “get used to the mess cos this is your lot”. So many of my peers sought to pursue a more excellent way because they longed to rise higher and go further in life. They had the audacity to believe for more..and so looked beyond the doldrums of despair toward a brighter future.

The point is…God never designed HIS church to pander to mediocrity, but rather to shine as a beacon of light in the fog of unbelief. As Paul says in 1 Cor 12:31, love offers ‘the most excellent way‘. We do a gross disservice to our towns and cities when we ever lower the bar and try to keep people where they are. That’s exactly what mediocrity does.

Excellence is a state of heart. It’s about doing the very best you can with what you have. It’s not about money. Nor is it about facilities and resource. It’s ALL about having a passion to help people reach their God given potential. A culture of excellence reflects the heart of a community which loves our world and wants to help others rise higher. We’ve seen this happen at the Junction Church over the past few years…where people have been so impacted by the culture that they’ve taken it into their families, schools, universities, work places & peer groups. Surely it’s this kind of gritty, everyday stuff that changes the world? Some call it ‘bringing the Kingdom’. We just call it ‘doing life well.’

If anywhere in the world ought to reflect excellence, it’s Church. It should never be thrown together in a shoddy, messy, untidy way. What inspiration is there in this? That’s why one of our values at the Junction Church is excellence…and we make no apology for it. It brings God glory when we create an environment that loves people, lifts their vision and helps them rise to greatness. That’s why excellence matters.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE

church leicester

WHY RELIGION HATES NOISE 
by Roy Todd

There’s a story in the bible about a blind beggar who caught wind that Jesus was in town. Upon hearing the news, he started yelling at the top of his voice ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!‘ (Mark 10:47). The reaction to his loud bellowing was one of predictable monotony by the religious people who stood by. They mocked him, ridiculed him, sneered at him and attempted to silence the noise. But the blind man was having none of it. He just shouted all the louder and eventually caught the master’s attention. Jesus absolutely loved it.

This story teaches us that religion hates noise. That’s because the resonance of authentic faith disturbs religious fakery and offends the miserable silence of tedious respectability. Religion stands tall in a prideful pose, puffed up by it’s own sense of spiritual superiority & looks down with intolerable contempt on those who refuse to conform. But what it doesn’t realise is that it is blinded by it’s own self-righteousness. The irony of the story in Mark 10 is that the man who was physically blind could see more than anyone else in that crowd. He saw who Jesus really was – but the crowd were oblivious to this reality. His simple faith honestly believed that the ‘son of David‘ had answers to his needs and that he could hear him, hence his shouting. He was right and those who tried to quieten him were wrong. When the miracle worker is in town, how could anyone possibly stay silent?

The passivity of religion will always try to silence the passion of relationship. That’s because religion is emerced in a cosy world of quiet selfishness & pretence. When anyone ever tells you that your love for God and His house is too loud, too enthusiastic or too over the top, then always conclude that this is the voice of religion trying to shut you down. It’s what it always tries to do. 

No, its time to challenge the norm of religious thinking and shout louder, just like the blind man in Mark 10. It’s time to big up what God is doing, without any apology whatsoever.

God loves enthusiasm. It’s better to have a passion for Jesus that creates some disturbance than a respectable religious demeanour in which silence is the comfort zone. God has no interest in making us comfortable. His desire is to get us from convenience to calling, from faithlessness to faithfulness, from passivity to purpose.

Yes, there’s a time for silence. But now is not the time. The Gospel is God’s good news. How can we possibly stay silent about that? The local church is the hope of the world. How could we ever keep this under wraps? Jesus changes people’s lives. What possible justification could we offer for not shouting this from the rooftops?

This is a message that’s worth making some noise about. Don’t ever let religion silence you.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.

 

church leicester

7 TRAITS THAT BUILD TRUST 
by Roy Todd

No organisation will ever thrive in a low trust culture. It stunts growth, prevents progress and brings out the worst in other people. Just look around our society and you’ll see the effects of distrustfulness every day. This kind of cultural climate is precipitated by clouds of suspicion which hang sinisterly overhead, undermining confidence and empowering fear. 

If any group of people on earth should model a culture of high trust, it’s God’s people. After all, our message is all about faith, right? But trust is something which is built. That’s why James said ‘Faith without works is dead‘ (James 2:17). 

Here are seven traits that help create a culture of trust in your life:

TEACHABILITY

This is not just about being open to correction, but actively seeking input that will help you get better. Maintaining a teachable spirit not only keeps you fresh but bridges trust with others.

HUMILITY

C S Lewis once observed that ‘humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.’ Imagine the kind of trust that would be built if ego and pride were taken out of the equation? 

CONSISTENCY

Consistency is what creates credibility. The secret of building lasting trust is to keep doing the right thing long enough. Showing up matters. Faithfulness matters. These things build trust.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Going rogue without being answerable is one of the surest ways to undermine people’s trust. Keeping yourself accountable is about integrity. Submission doesn’t hold you back, it enhances you.

RELIABILITY

All the ability in the world is meaningless without reliability. When you become a rock solid person who does what they say they’ll do and keeps their word, this builds powerful trust.

RESPONSIBILITY

Freedom doesn’t happen by everybody just doing their own thing. This actually creates a chaotic culture in which people don’t feel safe. Taking personal responsibility and not blaming others – that’s how you build trust. 

INTENTIONALITY

Good intent is admirable. But being intentional is what helps build trust. It means planning ahead. It means respecting people enough to prepare in advance. This helps people understand you love them. When this happens, trust thrives.

 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE

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WILL YOU FINISH YOUR RACE?
by Roy Todd

Starting is easy – but finishing well is what REALLY matters.

Looking back over 20 years of ministry, I’ve seen many people begin with great passion only to quit along the way. Lots of them were gifted and talented with huge God given potential. However, today, they’re no longer in the race. Some fell and never ran again. Others got weary and gave up. There were even those who became conceited and untrainable, thinking they’d made it when they were nowhere near the finish line. Ability was never the issue. It was always about the heart.

It takes character to run your race well, consistency to keep on track and courage to stay the course. It’s the easiest thing in the world to quit. That’s the reason why so many people do it. Question is, in a year from now, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years – what about you? Will you still be running your race? Or will you merely be numbered among those who opted for a more convenient life?

Hebrews 12:1 says ‘Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us‘. The background of this statement was the ancient Olympic games. In those days, the relay race was the premier sporting event. This involved a runner carrying a baton to a certain place, at which point they would pass it on to a team mate whose job was to run and pass the baton on again. This was a team effort, each member depending on the other to run well. So when the author of Hebrews writes about ‘the race marked out for us‘, this was the scenario he had in mind, alluding to the idea of serving God’s purpose faithfully in a world of faithlessness.

The point is…today is your race. You only get one chance to run this, and that’s why it’s important to run well. There has been a generation who ran before you. They gave you your start. But there’s also a generation that’s yet to come who will one day run from where you finish off. That’s why it’s imperative to finish well. The better you finish, the greater the start they’ll have. Remember, God’s purpose is ALWAYS generational. Proverbs 13:22 reminds us that ‘A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children’.

The question still stands. What about you? Will you finish your race? Will you complete your task? Will you fulfil what God has asked you to do? Will you be faithful & loyal to the end? How you finish your race will influence more lives than you know. That’s why it’s worth it to finish well.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.

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YOU’RE NOT MEANT TO ‘FIT IN’
by Roy Todd

Are you ready for a shocking confession? Ok, here goes. All my life, I’ve never really felt like I’ve fitted in. I don’t mention this to garner nauseating sympathy or to adapt some kind of victim status. No, it’s just an honest reflection about how I’ve always felt.

At school, I was never really the sporting type. While all my mates were playing football, I was in a music room practising classical piano. When I went on to pursue further music studies, I always felt different because I was a working class boy among a bunch of artistic upper/middle class students from far wealthier backgrounds. Then when I had the opportunity to take music further, I left it all behind and departed for England to study theology. This was to the absolute shock of my music tutors who were completely bewildered by my strange decision as they’d had high hopes for me as a musician.

When I arrived in England, I always felt different. Having an Irish accent didn’t help in this regard. Repeating every sentence twice during conversations became routine. As an Irish guy living in England during the so-called ‘troubles’, I sometimes felt like I was on the receiving end of more than a hint of suspicion too.

After graduation, while other people my age went on to pursue careers and earn lots of money, I went into ministry (against some very strong advice). But I wasn’t just a ‘normal’ church minister. Oh no. I became a poorly paid itinerant speaker for a regional network of 60 churches in the north of England. After four years, I began to travel nationally and then internationally, with doors opening all over the world. At one point, I seriously considered moving to America where there was no shortage of speaking invitations. But something inside of me felt unfulfilled by this idea. So to the complete surprise and even dismay of many of my colleagues & friends, I ceased travelling and decided to plant a church in Loughborough. Even this was different – pioneered from scratch, meeting in a Cinema and with a vibe which was quite different from ‘normal’ church. The story could go on….Yup, I’ve always felt like I never really fitted in.

Yet in a strange way, it’s amazing to look back and see how God has influenced this for good. You see, at the heart of everything I’ve ever done has been a genuine desire to serve God. I haven’t always got it right. But when the heart is right, God has an amazing way of guiding us to where he wants us to be. In a sense, when you decide to follow Jesus, you’re not meant to fit in. You aren’t called to be ‘normal’ either. Besides, what difference has ‘normal’ ever made? Of course, this doesn’t mean going out of your way to be weird! It just means that you have a perspective on life which lots of people don’t understand. That’s ok.

Romans 12:2 says ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world‘. In other words, no-matter what’s going on around you, it’s always better to serve God than just fit in with the crowd. Remember, people who just ‘fit in’ don’t make a difference. But people who have the courage to follow their God given convictions do. So there…being ‘different’ is ok after all.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH IN LEICESTER