Stewardship have helped Aigburth Community Church buy the building that they are renting so they can have a home of their own for the first time as a church. We interviewed Tommy Farrell their Trainee Assistant Pastor about their church life and the process they went through.
Tell us about your church?
Aigburth Community Church was planted in 2008 by a team of about 20 of us from another local church. We now have about 80 members and pre-pandemic we'd have about 160 people attending on a Sunday morning.
Can you tell us about your mission and activities?
Firstly, we want to grow together as mature believers. That means we take the Bible seriously and pray that God by his Spirit would continue to transform us to love him and live lives for him.
Secondly, we want to reach our community with the gospel. Our church is surrounded by people who are yet to hear the gospel and our task is to speak about Jesus in a way that they can understand and connect with.
Thirdly, we want to work hard to raise a new generation of the church. In God's kindness we have a lot of families attending and so youth and children's work is a big part of our church life
Fourthly, we want to engage positively in global mission. Suburban churches like ours can become consumed by their own communities, but Jesus is a saviour for all kinds of people in all kinds of places, and we want to take seriously the part we have to play in that too.
Finally, we want to be known for good in the community. Tim Keller says that it's good if our communities are ‘grateful for our churches even if they don't agree with us’. We want that to be true for us, so we make our facilities available to a wide range of community groups and try to be a positive presence in the neighbourhood.
Tell us about the community you serve in Aigburth?
Aigburth is home to approximately 15,000 people, about four miles out of the centre of Liverpool, on the south side next to the River Mersey. More educated than wealthy, Aigburth is often a stepping stone for young graduates and families on their way to the properly leafy suburbs on the outskirts of the city. Our church building is right in the heart of a community of densely built terraced homes on the road linking a split-site infant and junior school.
Are there any particular stories of how the church has impacted your community you wish to tell us about?
We are most excited about the eternal impact that God has made in the lives of local people through the witness of our church. It's a joy to see people from the streets around the building coming along, hearing about Jesus and putting their trust in him.
One example is a single dad who came along to an All Age Carol Service and received such a warm welcome that he kept coming Sunday after Sunday. Over time, through the preaching of God's Word, God has opened his eyes to the truth of the gospel. Although his baptism has been postponed three times due to lockdowns, we're hoping to be able to go ahead in a few weeks time.
In trying to be good stewards of an old Victorian parish hall that had fallen into disrepair, we want to commend the gospel to the community we so want to reach. The fact that our building is now a vibrant community space only helps us in the task of reaching people with the gospel.
Why did you decide to purchase the building you were renting?
We were half way through a 20 year lease on the building when I enquired about the possibility of purchasing the building. Two things were concerning us at the time, one was the need for more work on the building to maintain it and make it work well for our church and community and the second was the need to provide a long term stable home for the church family to meet in, for future generations.
What made you choose Stewardship as a lending partner for the property?
Stewardship has been a blessing to our church from the start as they've handled all our regular giving and payroll for church staff. That made turning to them for a mortgage an obvious choice to us. We were pleased with the competitive rates but also just to work with a lender who understood what we were doing and why it was important to us.
How were Stewardship able to work with you to achieve the purchase of the building?
Stewardship lent us half the purchase price of the building on a 15 year mortgage. We were really pleased with the way they helped us assess affordability for us as a church and the flexibility they offered with paying lump sums off in the way we hope too. As is often the case, the legal process of purchasing the building was much longer and more complex than we'd originally hoped or expected and in the midst of that Stewardship were both patient and responsive, for which we were very grateful.
How will the building help serve your church and your community?
What a thrill it would be if this building is the space in which lots of our community hear about Jesus for the first time and put their trust in him. We're praying for that! We're also hoping that the building continues to serve as a hub for community groups and local people to run activities that serve those living here.
You can support the work of Aigburth Community Church here.