By Zach and Audrey Langford
As most of you know, we work in a very difficult, post-Christendom context where very few choose to go to church or even know about Jesus. Our neighborhood in Birkenhead has just over 15,000 people and only four evangelical churches—each with about twenty people and no youth. The exception is our church, Egan Road, where we have very few adults, but a consistent and growing fellowship of children, youth, and young adults.
On June 2, our small church, which has an average age of seventy-six, made the monumental decision of re-orienting the church toward the young people and the local community. Pastor John Pemberton has decided it is time for him to retire and for the church to engage the next generation at a much more strategic level. Our great location, our building, and our growing youth ministry means that this is the perfect time to establish a church that intentionally reaches out to the younger generations in our neighborhood. We (the Langfords) have been asked to completely refigure Egan Road to help the church give birth to a whole new church. This is truly amazing! Zach will be the senior pastor and will disciple young leaders with the hope that, in the future, a local person will become the leader of this new younger-generation church.
This does not mean the older fellowship at Egan Road will close or die. The transition does mean that the new church will have new DNA, be able to configure the church facilities to prioritize reaching non-Christians, and be able to present itself in a way that non-Christians can encounter the gospel for the first time.
We are amazed that this old, faithful church is willing to “die to itself” out of its desire to see the neighborhood experience Christ. They understand that their ministry capability to the younger generations is limited, but they do know how to love young people, support them, and support a whole new ministry for them. Lately, we have seen a marked increase in our young people wanting to be discipled and be a part of the church. This change is coming at exactly the right time. We began a six-month home assignment to visit churches and prepare for this next phase of ministry, and then in April 2017, Zach and Audrey will assume leadership for the older church and start a whole new youth-oriented fellowship.
We thank you for your support and encourage you to follow us on this exciting adventure. We will need your prayers and support.
Zach and Audrey Langford serve as missionaries for Global Strategy to the United Kingdom. Learn more about Global Strategy at www.chogglobal.org.