90 Second interview
Chris Drury - Lancaster
"There is recognition from the authorities that problems reduce as the community finds a sense of hope. Let’s be unconditional in our service yet unapologetic about our faith."
Who are you and what do you do?
I moved to Lancaster in September and now the Pastor of Lancaster Free Methodist Church (LFM). It’s really exciting to have seen church growth and God at work in our community already.
Were you involved in HOPE before?
I was part of the Preston team in HOPE 08. We launched a Street Pastors programme and the Church became a real voice in the city.
What are your motivations?
Well, 2008 was significant for me. Not only were we co-ordinating HOPE in Preston but I also travelled a very personal journey of growing in hope, after being widowed in 2007 and finding myself a single dad of four. Knowing some of the pain of life has really shaped who I am as a person but also the way that I minister. I am passionate about reconnecting hurting people with Jesus and see them discover freedom and hope.
What’s been happening recently?
God has really opened up opportunities in this city already. When I arrived I was told that the council didn’t work with the churches at all. Over the last 6 months this has turned around and doors have opened with police, social services, council, charities etc. It’s a God thing.
We recently joined in a council organised “Clean Sweep” at a local traveller park – which gave us as Christians the opportunity to make a difference through relationships. The council were more interested in letting us engage with the travelling community, helping the kids and identify underlying issues. Because among travellers there is often a distrust of police - the authorities said “You can do what we can’t do.” There is recognition that problems reduce as the community finds a sense of hope.
What is ‘Portfolio Evangelism’?
Portfolio Evangelism is my name for a concept we are establishing involving churches in collaboration. For example - one church might provide CAP debt counselling, one might work with the homeless, one might have great elderly support or youth outreach. We work out what we can offer among the churches and what we can do together. As a result, a ‘portfolio’ of services/activity can be presented at meetings with the council, under the banner of HOPE.
Do you have a vision for your community?
At LFM we launched‘unlocking our potential’ back in January - which is our desire to see people reach the full potential of all God wants them to be and then to see them use that potential to make a difference in community. We have just launched ‘Celebrate Recovery’ - a Bible-based 12 step programme for freedom from life’s hurts habits and hang-ups. We have not hidden the fact that this course is Christian but police and council are now pointing people to this resource - towards the Church as a place of hope.
We mustn’t promise what we can’t deliver. Sometimes churches can seem unprofessional when we try too much or address expert fields with inexperience. If we work in partnerships with authorities and community groups then everything is of the best quality and effectiveness.