“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him… Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; he will not be ashamed when he contends with his enemy at the gate” Psalm 127 v3,5
Our family moved to Loughborough in 2001 as a deliberate decision to be part of Open Heaven church. OH was planted in the university in 1997 as a Pioneer church run by and aimed at students and has kept growing from there! Everyone has heard of Loughborough University, famous for sport and Paula Radcliffe, and high up in the league tables now for subjects like engineering too. It has been top of the Sunday Times list for ‘best student experience’ for the last 4 years: 1 in 5 of the population of the town is a student. It all makes quite an impact on an otherwise ordinary Midlands market town (not that ordinary – there is more to come in the next post!)
We were 15 years older than the oldest OH leaders and there were no other families of our generation in the church… and 9 years later, there still aren’t. But we are proud to call this amazing group of younger people our community, to stand in the heart of England as a mother and father cheering on the next generation. It was such a joy and privilege to spend the last 2 days with the OH leaders at their annual weekend 🙂
There are now two growing congregations; the second one is for the many young families that have inevitably started up as previous students have stayed on in the town. God has blessed this group year on year, as each October the intake of freshers provides a new wave of enthusiastic members – and a mission field! The passion for outreach to their contemporaries and desire to ‘make 21st century disciples’ is wonderful to see. It is unique. See the church website and blog for much, much more: the Open Heaven community’s role in Loughborough’s townwide church is abolutely key – more than that it lines up with what the town is called to…
“There is a gifting in this town to be continually young at heart with an energy that defies all logic. Churches that have been here for years will be rejuvenated. This is a place that can give new birth, to release new ministry, vision etc. It is not rooted in the past, it is a ‘today’ town, and we need to call the town into its destiny. Whatever is in the ancient past is not holding this place back”. Martin Scott, 2001
“Education was birthed out of the church (first school was in the Parish church)… schools and universities are going to flourish…there’s an anointing and there’s a favour that God has put upon those things” Sharon Stone 1999
“Revival is going to come to Loughborough through the educational establishments” Johnny Barr 1990’s
These are quotes from the ‘Town Prophecy Manual” that was put together in 2002 after a ‘sowing seeds’ team came to the town to pray. It is a summary of words that have been given over the years, a way of communicating the destiny of our home and keeping track in prayer. It is exciting to see the fulfilments coming through as heaven’s purpose and the land’s identity are lining up! Has your town or city got one?!
Over the years of Mercy Cry gatherings here we were led to pray into the curse of fatherlessness on the nation, calling for the ‘hearts of the fathers to turn the to children and the children to the fathers’ (Mal 4v6) that the land might be blessed. This stand for the generations has gone deep and been costly: in our own family we are living the prayer! The early months of this year saw a strong re-surgance of prayer (we worked hard at it and called it Prayer Gym!) as we faced the implications of Sam’s diagnosis and came together corporately to fight for his life – and also the life of one of the leaders’ little ones as she went through treatment for cancer in her leg. It has been a direct assault on all Loughborough stands for! Throughout we have been calling for restoration, that this generation may be empowered to throw off the shackles of the enemy and breakthrough into signs and wonders and the supernatural; we want this to be a seed and a catalyst out of this hidden heart, that we may see His glory breakout all across the nation as the sons and daughters rise.
So… as we have been honoured here as a mother and father may the promise for the new generation in its turn be fulfilled: “that it may go well for you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20v12). Our hearts are turned.