|History and Vision
County Church started in 2003 when John & Liz Wilthew and Dennis & Kay Fancett moved to Northumberland with a passion to share the good news of Jesus with people who have not yet heard, to help believers follow Jesus, and to launch new churches across the county.
Over twelve months they were joined by around a dozen members of City Church Newcastle who wished to support the vision of planting churches in Northumberland. Subsequently, others have joined us, some from within the County and some relocating from other areas to be part of what God is doing here. You can read some of the personal stories of our members at County Church People.
In those early days, God gave us the concept of “changing the landscape by planting churches” and we have adopted this as our mission statement. We seek to achieve this by:
- Proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
- Pioneering small groups of contagious, Spirit-filled Christians.
- Planting churches which demonstrate the grace of God and which glorify Christ.
- Pursuing the unity of the whole church by working with other churches.
A second key word we received was that our growth would be like a strawberry plant, spreading out runners and establishing new plants. This describes our philosophy of always trying to reach out to the next area rather than seeking to draw people in to a central church base.
You may think our vision sounds rather grand. We agree. In our first few weeks when there were just 12 or so of us meeting in someone’s lounge, one of our earliest members described it as a ludicrously big vision for a ludicrously small group of people. We are completely happy to own that statement since it constantly reminds us we can achieve nothing unless God is with us. But of course we are certain this is a God given mandate and will press on with our task with faith and confidence.
Today, we have established our first church – County Church Wansbeck and our aim at present is to see this grow and expand until we are sufficiently strong to start a second church in another part of the County.
From 2007 to 2012 we also gave special attention to the Aln Valley through having one of our small groups based in the area, a fortnightly Kidz Klub and a monthly Sunday afternoon meeting for worship and payer. Over those years we were particularly able to serve the local community in the village of Shilbottle.
Whilst we are passionate about the church and our vision is to plant more churches, this will not always be possible as rapidly as we would like. But it is always possible for us to bring the kingdom of God to every location we live in or visit, and this is at the heart of our mission in the county.
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