Lessons Learned in Manchester - Securing the Beachhead
"Stockport, South Manchester, Christ Central, Bolton, and here at Christ Church were all planted by small numbers of people"
In the Second World War landings at Normandy in 1944, allied forces immediately faced the problem of navigating through the unfamiliar terrain and trying to secure the beachhead in order to properly resource an invasion of Europe. For the first few weeks after D-Day allied commanders were obsessed with trying to secure these beachheads and subsequent bridgeheads as well. The purpose of a beachhead was simple; to take and secure an area inside enemy lines from which further ground can be taken. I believe thatis the same in many ways in this sense.
Looking back over the history of church planting in Manchester I can see that getting metaphoric beachhead in the target area, has been the case to a greater or lesser extent for every one we have pioneered. Stockport, South Manchester, Christ Central, Bolton, and here at Christ Church were all planted by small numbers of people in a difficult area with the hope of gaining a beachhead in that place to wait for re-enforcements to be recruited. Re-enforcements arrived, sometimes in steady and regular numbers, sometimes in larger, more resourced groups as we saw in the last post.
For a prospective church planter, gaining the initial beachhead is a vital aspect of your planting journey. For some of you it may be slower progress and feel like holding ground while under fire, for others it may seem more progressive with more success early on. However, the important thing at this stage is to get that initial foot in the door, to get on dry land and set up your HQ in your living room or local coffee shop. It is not that you should hunker down and hide from your community; In fact the complete oposite you should take the ground gained to engage with the community. Most if not all churches begin this way, and you should feel encouraged if you are doing the same.