The book of Acts tells the story of the spread of Christianity over the first few decades after the death of Jesus. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles preached the good news of the gospel and started churches in town after town in the Mediterranean region. 

What is particularly interesting about the story is that not every town saw the same level of success, nor was each planned with the same level of detail. In some places, they were responding to guidance of God where to go, in other places they were implementing a strategic plan, and sometimes they just responded to the opportunities before them. Guided by the general instruction to make disciples to the ends of the Earth, they seemed very ready to take a shot at whatever opportunities came their way, knowing that sometimes it would work well, and other times not so much.

This is the same attitude that we see in the Old Testament story of Jonathan and his armour bearer. At the time, the people of God were under the cosh, hiding in fear from the Philistines who oppressed them. With no-one ready to fight, Jonathan turned to his young attendant and said, “Come let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” So on their own they embarked on an adventure and they had no idea how it would go. Along the way, they needed to figure out whether God was in it, but as they got started they were just having a go and trying to make something happen.

This is a key component in the life of faith. We always know that God is good, and there are promises that he has made that we can take to the bank, but often the details of how these will come about are much less clear to us and all we can do is to step out, try our best and trust God to make something of our efforts.

Have a Go Culture at CCM

When we talk about a Have a Go culture, this is what we are getting at. We are always ready to start new ventures and try new things. We know that it won’t always work (though it often will), but we are happy to give it a shot and see what God does.

In practical terms, the Have a Go Culture at Christ Church Manchester means that we let people take responsibility. We want to provide opportunities for people to use their gifts and talents and to take responsibility, and so we encourage people to step out and get involved in the life of the church. There are often people who are new to the church and/or young people who are playing prominent roles in our worship, in pioneering new sites and in reaching our city.

It also means that we invest heavily in training people. There is a difference between encouraging people to have a go and leaving them out on a limb. Having a go is closely linked to coaching and development, and just like Jesus would teach his disciples in the context of their ministry, so we look to provide input to songwriters, preachers, leaders, evangelists and others as they step out and take responsibility.

Having a go also drives our attitude to church and site planting. We are always planting new sites, and our approach tends to be to find a couple of people and a room, make a whole bunch of noise, and start praying. It is amazing what God can do from such a small start, and the willingness to step out into the unknown time and again has proved to be very effective for us so far.

Finally, the Have a Go culture has caused us to become comfortable with failure. Of course we want everything that we do to work, but we won’t allow that desire to hold us back from trying new and uncertain things. There are plenty of things that we have tried to do that haven’t gone as we hoped, but by developing the culture of always stepping out and seeing what happens, we keep the risk level low and ensure that the people involved emerge stronger for the experience and ready to give it another shot.