church loughborough

WHY I STOPPED SAYING

‘The BEST is yet to come!’. Who coined this phrase? Many preachers have claimed it as their own. But my understanding is that it was originated by an old English preacher called John Wesley who said ‘The best is yet to be‘.

Whatever it’s origins, I’ve stopped saying it. No, it’s not because I don’t believe it anymore. Nor is it because I’ve given up being positive. The reason I ceased saying it is for the sake of my sanity. Let me explain.

You see, too often, our hopes for the future can drown out the highlights of today. This struck me very strongly recently when I was reflecting on our journey at the Junction Church. Back at the beginning, the idea of hundreds of people meeting across three campuses was just a dream. Today, this is a reality…and it’s growing. Yet the visionary part of me kept forgetting to celebrate today’s blessings. I forgot what it felt like at the start. Instead, I was thinking of reaching more people. I was pondering more locations. I was looking at all the things we have yet to see. Nothing wrong with incessant optimism. But for life to be truly appreciated, we need to afford ourselves the space to slow down and breathe. 

It’s like planning to eat at a fine Michelin star restaurant. When you arrive and the meal is eventually presented, you relish it. You eat it slowly. You enjoy the occasion. You don’t just gobble it down with an optimistic grin that says ‘the best is yet to come!’. What would be the point of that? Yet sometimes, that’s just what we Christians can be like. We forget to LOVE the journey because we’re so fixated on the future!! Chill!!!

Ephesians 1:3 says ‘we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ’. Notice, this statement is present tense, not future tense. In other words, we are blessed right here, right now. We’re living it and breathing it and eating it and sleeping it!! Perhaps our challenge is that we just don’t see how blessed we actually are?

My vision for the future is as strong as ever, My dreams are crazier than ever before too. But I’m also determined to enjoy life more. Dreams are healthy. But drivenness is not. That’s why I’ve stopped saying ‘The Best is yet to come’. This statement, whilst sounding noble and right, can actually rob us of joy. 

For me, I’m living in God’s best right now. And tomorrow, I’ll be living in God’s best too. That’s my journey. If you’ll open your eyes, you’ll find that it’s yours too. Enjoy!

Check out the Junction Church Loughborough, Leicester & Nottingham.

church in leicester

FINDING A CHURCH YOU CALL ‘HOME’ 
by Roy Todd

When you find a church community that you can truly call ‘home’, cherish it deeply. It will prove a massive blessing to your life. Our heart for people who come to the Junction Church is that we would be a family where they feel loved, appreciated and where they can play their part. 

If you’re checking out the Junction Church, then here are 10 practical tips to think about on your journey:

1) Don’t search for perfection

Sounds obvious, right? But it’s important to remind ourselves that there’s no such thing as a perfect church. Because people are involved, there will always be flaws. So it is wise to settle in your heart that there will be plenty of imperfections.

2) Test the waters

We’re really relaxed about people checking us out. Many people have done this and ended up staying around because they love it. However, we totally recognise that we won’t be the right church for everybody. The important thing is to find a community where you can feel at home. Give yourself some breathing space and ‘test the waters’ to see if it’s right for you.

3) Have a heart to serve

Every church needs people who are willing to get their hands dirty and get stuck in. This requires our ego to be put aside. Serving is incredibly helpful in this regard. The great thing is that serving is by far the best way to forge friendships – and it’s REALLY good for us.

4) Make Sunday a priority 

Sunday gatherings are important. Think about it….there are only 52 Sundays in a year – which means just 52 opportunities to gather as a church community for corporate worship. So it’s wise to make Sunday a priority since there aren’t that many of them. At the Junction Church, we deeply respect people and so work hard to make Sunday’s meaningful, helpful and relevant to people’s lives.

5) Be part of a life group

Of course, there’s more to church than Sunday’s. That’s why mid-week life groups are so good. They are smaller gatherings where you can grow in community and do life with other people of faith.

6) Join the ‘planted in the house’ course

Four times a year, we host ‘planted in the house’. This is held over four Tuesday nights and is an opportunity to find out more about the vision of the Junction Church. It’s also a great way of catching the heart of who we are.

7) Be a contributor, not a consumer

It was President John F Kennedy who said ‘Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country‘. Well, maybe we could apply this to church too? Actually, it’s when we contribute that we get blessed.

8) Remember, friendships take time

We totally ‘get it’ that people are looking for meaningful friendships. So we work hard to create an environment that is friendly, welcoming and conducive to them. But it’s important not to try and force them. Truth is, developing authentic relationships takes time and commitment. So be patient, stay gracious and then watch what happens.

9) Church is not the answer to your needs

Say what? Yup, this might sound like a strange thing for a pastor to write – but it’s true. GOD is the answer, not church. Church is simply a community where we journey with others who follow Jesus, study the bible together, capture God’s heart and do life with others. God is our source for everything. Wise people manage their expectations.

10) Be open to a new experience

The Junction Church is a community that seeks to be biblical and contemporary. We are who we are. Our worship is current. Our teaching deals with everyday issues. We love Jesus with an uncompromising passion and we are committed to reaching those who don’t know him yet. So be open to a new expression of church. It will probably be different to anything you’ve ever experienced before. Avoid comparing it to previous churches (whether positive or negative) as this is never helpful. The point is…you’re on a new adventure in a new season. So enjoy the journey!

 

These are 10 tips that will hopefully help you find a church you can call ‘home’. If that’s the Junction Church, we’d love that. If not, we pray that you will find a community where your faith will grow and your relationship with Christ develop. Whatever happens, we pray that God will bless your life, your family and your future. #TheBestIsYetToCome 

 

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

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.

v3 conference leicester

V3 CONFERENCE 2017 
by Roy Todd

Later this year, the Junction Church in Leicester and Loughborough is hosting our first ever conference. It’s called V3. This stands for Vision, Vibe & Values. The dates are Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November 2017.

V3 is totally designed with you in mind. Our passion is to inspire you to be uncompromising in your pursuit of God’s purpose for your life. We’re bringing in some world class speakers who are friends of the house, people who we know will speak prophetically into your destiny & into the future of our church.

The conference itself will become an annual fixture in the Junction Church diary. At the heart of it is a desire to be both creative and gritty – inspirational and practical – contemporary and biblical. As our church continues to grow and we dare to venture into new territory, V3 will become a key focal point, a time when we come together as a church to remember WHY we do what we do. 

It’s easy to forget that the Junction Church is less than 5 years old. We don’t have a long history of families who’ve been connected with us over many decades. YOU are the history of this church. That means we have the incredible opportunity to influence future generations with authentic faith, courageous hope and real love. This is our time!

Point is, we’re far more interested in looking forwards than backwards. We dare to dream big and we make no apologies for it. It’s not about mere lip service…we’re already doing the business, influencing cities, carrying hope, challenging pre-conceptions about God & making a real difference to people’s lives. But we honestly believe there are far greater things yet to come.

That’s why we can’t wait to host V3 this November. Better still, we’re pumped about seeing you there!  Since places are limited, why don’t you go ahead and get yourself booked in today. This is going to do you SO much good!! 

To book into the V3 conference, click 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

REACHING OUT IS A CULTURE

Healthy churches are inclusive communities, constantly reaching out to those who don’t yet know Jesus. Archbishop Temple got it right when he said that the Church ‘exists for non-members‘. One of the greatest dangers for any local church is that it becomes an exclusive club where Christians have nice meetings and enjoy insular spirituality. This is not only extremely unhealthy but profoundly unbiblical too.

What often happens when a church feels challenged about it’s lack of outreach is that a committee is formed and plans are made for an ‘evangelistic event’. This is something that usually takes place in an alternative venue (so as to look ‘normal‘). The idea is that people bring their friends along and are hopefully impacted by it. Problem is…these isolated events tend to be a bit surreal and unreflective of ‘normal’ church, a bit like an office away day to the zoo. They convince Christians they’re achieving something, but actually produce little or nothing. However, what they do provide is some temporary relief from the guilt which many church leaders feel about their lack of outreach, thus allowing the church to get back to normal thereafter…at least until the next outreach event.

In my experience, these kind of events do more harm than good if they’re not feeding into great culture. For a start, they highlight an intrinsic problem. Reaching out is NOT an event. It’s a culture. For example, in the book of Acts, people were added to the early Church because of the exuberant and uncontainable passion of those who already followed Jesus. There was lots of misunderstanding and it could all look a bit messy at times….but in the mess, miracles happened. There was massive growth, not because of ‘events’ but a culture of outreach. This was just the norm.

Sometimes, I talk to church leaders and will ask them ‘how many people have started following Jesus in your church over the past year?’. The numbers mentioned are often very low, which indicates a lack of practical commitment to inclusivity, even if the heart and sentiment is otherwise. Remember, facts are stubborn things which speak for themselves. So good leaders don’t deny them but rather make facts their friends.

If John Maxwell is right when he says that ‘everything rises or falls on leaders‘, then it stands to reason that leaders must personally carry the culture they’re believing for before they can ever expect anyone else to catch it. In other words, leaders must model outreach and inclusivity. This means everything we do is open to constant challenge…from the way we speak to how we worship, what needs to be stopped and what needs to begin, the way we shape our services, how we schedule our week and prioritise our goals etc etc…it ALL matters if we’re serious about reaching out. 

In the end, what’s normal becomes culture. Everything that happens in the life of a local church should be seen as an opportunity to connect with more people…everything. When this way of thinking becomes the new normal, it’s amazing what can happen.

CHECK OUT OUR CHURCH IN LEICESTER

church leicester

THERE IS NO BOX
by Roy Todd

The term ‘out of the box’ is sometimes used to describe a way of thinking which breaks with conventional wisdom and dares to be different. People who consider themselves ‘radical’ often take great encouragement when they’re described this way. 

However, there is a fundamental problem with thinking ‘out of the box’. There is no box. It doesn’t exist nor has it ever existed. It is a figment of imagination, a self imposed limitation which only dwells in the world of it’s own thought life.

Most of our limitations are myths of the mind. When we ‘think out of the box’, we end up trying too hard to conquer limitations which aren’t actually there, congratulating ourselves in the process for this incredible feat of genius. But rather than accomplishing something great, ‘out of the box’ thinking tends to become fixated on theory rather than practice – philosophising rather than realising. In the end, little or nothing is actually achieved. It’s more about proving something to ourselves than accomplishing something of genuine significance.

Most truly ‘radical’ people have never really thought of themselves as radical. It’s rare to hear such a thinker describe themselves as ‘out of the box’. They are pragmatic in the main, thinking normally and practically about how they can get things done. It’s this contrast which makes them appear radical in a world of negativity that stifles possibility.

In his ministry, the thing which Jesus spoke most about was ‘the Kingdom’. In simple, practical terms, this is all about learning to make God’s reality our reality here on earth. It is for this reason He taught us to pray ‘Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven‘. In other words, the things which God values become what we value. Whatever God is passionate about, we become passionate about too.

Instead of thinking ‘out of the box’, it’s better to just think ‘Kingdom’. This way, radical becomes normal, supernatural becomes natural and extra-ordinary becomes ordinary. With our God, ALL things are possible.

 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH IN LEICESTER HERE

STAYING SANE IN A WORLD OF CRAZY
by Roy Todd

The world has gone CRAZY lately! You’ve noticed, right? Actually, when has it ever been sane? History teaches us that when human pride is involved, there’s a madness that ensues which will do anything to get it’s way. Egotism has led to anarchy, wars, racism, injustice and just about every other kind of stupidity you can possibly imagine.

The thing about pride is that it feeds on insecurity. While arrogance gives off the appearance of strength, it is actually just the cheap intimidation of confidence. You see, it takes a secure heart to be confident. It is teachable, humble and will say ‘sorry’ when it gets something wrong. Arrogance is never willing to do that. It is shallow, spineless & selfish, and it’s insecurity will always feel the need to prove itself by picking fights, bullying and making others feel small so it can feel big. Remember, little people belittle people.

Scary thing is…we’re all capable of developing an arrogant spirit. It’s insanity can so easily creep into our lives. How many times do good people get overcome with the madness of bitterness, unforgiveness, pride & hatred – willing to say or do just about anything to hurt others they don’t like? It’s crazy!!

So how do you stay sane in this mad world? Is it possible to keep a level head in the midst of a divided & dehumanising society that seems to care more about winning fights than winning people? Well, here’s the revolutionary advice of Jesus in Matthew 16:24-26. Hold on while you read it….

‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?’

Radical and unconventional as ever, Jesus teaches us about how to change the world. This is as gritty and real as it gets. It’s about denying your pride. It’s about ‘taking up your cross’ i.e. dying to selfishness. It’s about following HIS lead rather than doing your own thing. Paradoxically, far from limiting liberty, these things are the key to freedom. This is how you’ll stay sane in this crazy world.

As the world gets crazier, be sure not to engage in the rat race. Thing is, even if you win, you’re still a rat. So it’s not worth it. Instead, take up the challenge of surrendering everything to God. This is not weakness, it’s confidence – secure, at peace and courageous. When we learn to let go of ourselves, that’s when we discover the life of God.

 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.

church leicester

WHY CHRISTIANS RUIN GREAT SONGS
by Roy Todd

Christians have a habit of ruining really great songs. I think I know why. It’s because they sing them to death. Simples.

Take the song ‘Ten thousand reasons’ for example. When this first came out, it had a freshness and inspiration that was uplifting. But after years of churches singing it week in & week out, it has lost it’s impact because….yup, Christians have ruined it. When you’re just about to belt out ‘Ten thousand reasons’ for the ten thousandth time, you breathe a little sigh, steel yourself & then psychologically prepare for the journey over the next five minutes. The song has been killed!

Or what about the Hillsong classic ‘Oceans’. Wow! What a truly incredible song this is – lyrically profound and musically beautiful. But this amazing song has been ship wrecked by noble obsession. The countless attempts by Christians to relive the experience of the song again and again make it wearisome and uninspiring to a new generation who’d like a few experiences of their own. When I hear ‘Oceans’ now, I sometimes feel like I’m drowning in one. Interestingly, you’ll never hear this song at a Hillsong event. They understand only too well what can happen when a song is sung too much. This one is just too good to be ruined.

Years ago in the 1980’s, there was a song called ‘Shine Jesus Shine’. In it’s day, this was a revolutionary anthem, sung by congregations the nation over. 30 years later, it’s treated (unfairly) as a joke. Why? Not because the song wasn’t good but because Christians have ruined it!! It was for a season.  Some churches are still trying to relive the season…but it’s not 1986 anymore!

That’s the problem. There can be a tendency among some Christians to want to relive old seasons over and over again. Under the guise of ‘they don’t write songs like they used to‘, sometimes there’s an unhealthy resentment towards new songs and a gushing sentimentalism for a bygone era. Well ok, no doubt some great things happened back then. But remember, the good old days were never really THAT good.

Meanwhile, our creator genius God has new songs for today. They reflect what he’s doing in the world in THIS season. Lets enjoy them while the season lasts. Then when the next season comes along, lets look forward to those songs too. This is how we stay fresh and young at heart….by looking forward not back. Sure, cherish the good times you’ve had. But keep a strong conviction that the BEST is yet to come. That’s how we’ll keep our music fresh & creative.

Junction Church Loughborough & Leicester

WHY WE LOVE OUR CHURCH
by Andrew & Hannah Mitchell

Junction Church Loughborough & LeicesterFrom the moment we arrived at the Junction Church, we knew we were at home here. ‘Yes, this is what we have been looking for’ was the sentiment of our hearts. Everyone was so genuinely warm and welcoming and it was really refreshing. The pastors and team are outstanding, demonstrating excellence week in week out. The presence of God is tangible. We’ve never encountered His presence like this before. ‘WOW!’ is a word that pretty much sums up our experience.

15 months after beginning the journey, we can honestly say that becoming part of the Junction Church has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made for our family. The people are such a blessing to our lives and we thank God for bringing us here. It has been the start of an amazing journey for the Mitchell family.

The Junction Church vibe is contagious. You leave each week wanting more, and with a hunger to put into practice what we’ve heard. What’s fantastic is that the teaching relates to everyday life. We use it both in our work and home life, helping us develop and become better followers of Jesus.

Junction Church KidsOur eldest daughter Lily is 5 and is quite quiet. However that hasn’t stopped her embarking on her own journey with God. Lily’s journal and ‘show and tell’ sessions at school are filled with quotes and things she has learnt on Sunday’s at the Junction Church kid’s ministry ‘Thrive’. It’s great to hear how she actively talks about her own experience at the Junction Church to others. This really motivates us that if Lily can do it so effortlessly, then so can we all, whatever age we are.

God has totally transformed our lives and he has used the Junction Church as a huge part of that. We thought life was good beforehand, but now, life is GREAT and our faith has gone to another level. We can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store within the life of the Junction Church. The future is definately looking great!!

 

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

by Ps Roy Todd

From the moment we arrived at the Junction Church, we knew we were at home here. ‘Yes, this is what we have been looking for’ was the sentiment of our hearts. Everyone was so genuinely warm and welcoming and it was really refreshing. The pastors and team are outstanding, demonstrating excellence week in week out. The […]

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jealousy

LET'S TALK ABOUT...JEALOUSY
by Roy Todd

From the moment we arrived at the Junction Church, we knew we were at home here. ‘Yes, this is what we have been looking for’ was the sentiment of our hearts. Everyone was so genuinely warm and welcoming and it was really refreshing. The pastors and team are outstanding, demonstrating excellence week in week out. The […]

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WE NEED A NEW NORMAL 
by Roy Todd

From the moment we arrived at the Junction Church, we knew we were at home here. ‘Yes, this is what we have been looking for’ was the sentiment of our hearts. Everyone was so genuinely warm and welcoming and it was really refreshing. The pastors and team are outstanding, demonstrating excellence week in week out. The […]

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