Ivy Church Annual Report 2017
young people became Christians
men engaged weekly via Ivy Cosmos FC
attended our first English Conversation Group
days of prayer and fasting at Ivy Academy
kids attended the Glow Party and heard the Gospel
pounds given away in our special offerings
All Together services
delegates attended LAUNCH Conference
Strategic Leader Ivy Church
A letter from Anthony
We’re all trading our life for something, but there are few things worth giving your life to. I love my Saviour, I love my family, and I love doing whatever I can to build the Church of Jesus Christ. I love being part of the most important mission that’s happening right now on the Earth.
I love that I get to do this together with a faith-filled group of fellow elders who provide wisdom and good governance, and a talented, sacrificially loving staff team sold out for our shared vision of helping people find their way back to God. I love that I get to encourage others like you to discover your purpose and deploy your gifts in the church and the world to fulfil our God-given potential together.
2017 was a year of increasing global uncertainty, and the speed of change we saw at Ivy in the Year of Acceleration made me so grateful that we serve a wise and good God of unchanging purpose who is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever.’ Whatever happens in this Year of Prayer as we listen and obey, our fixed point is that the Lord remains in control; always loving and intensely interested in each one of us as individuals and collectively.
God did what He was doing faster than we expected! It only served to stretch our faith and deepen our dependence, worshipping and ‘expecting a miracle’ in our own lives and to those in our world. We saw and heard countless stories of God intervening, providing for needs, uplifting lives, restoring relationships and opening opportunities for greater impact and deeper community in our churches, city and beyond.
Ivy Fallowfield became Ivy Didsbury and then Ivy Academy where it is flourishing. Then we started Ivy Didsbury too (Confused? You will be!). The team starting that have been phenomenal. Ivy Kingsway also overflowed into Ivy Sharston and Ivy Fuse – as Ben left to plant a ‘non-Ivy’ church with our love. Ivy Central didn’t just talk about the Kingdom of God all year but saw it come. Ivy Merseybank grew in strength, depth and numbers. Leaders stepped up, people stepped out, God stepped in. It’s the way we roll at Ivy.
As well as the many ways we continue to inspire and resource mission at home and globally, God opened various new doors too – and when that happens we walk through them.
A personal example is that I was given an unprecedented opportunity to launch my show Transforming Life on TBN-UK, Europe and Africa; available in millions of homes across the world providing the opportunity to present the Gospel message in contemporary ways across the globe. It makes for a lot more interesting friend requests, but is one of the many ways God has extended our mission reach for Him in ways we could not have expected.
We hosted an amazing conference for the second year. LAUNCH gathered 400 leaders and inspired them to believe (or believe again) that the Kingdom of God is expanding and we get to see that when we preach the message clearly, spell faith R.I.S.K and plan for growth not decline, then ‘according to your faith it will be done for you.’ A leader of a national denomination said he’d bring his whole board next year, another went home and stopped the ‘closing churches’ plan his region had been running and committed to plant more in 2018 than they closed in 2017! 150 leaders booked within a week for this year’s event. It seems we’re onto something that’s inspiring change way beyond our local reach there too.
Ivy continues to provide opportunities for people of all ages to find a place to belong and to establish strong relationships with one another and Jesus. Whether that’s through great children’s and youth work, through belonging to a Grow Group or serving on a team, we encourage people that the way to get closer is to get involved. I’m incredibly thankful to all of you who give so generously – and sacrifice your time too.
Many of our sites are full to the brim – a problem many church leaders would love to have – but our concern is that we need room for more people who are far from God right now, so expect more Ivy sites and services this year – with all the joys of change the adventure of faith brings!
What are my expectations for 2018? I expect God will continue to bless us. Why? Because of who He is primarily, but also because I see in scripture that’s what He does for people who have a deepening reliance on prayer, an exciting mission and vision, a clear focus on the Gospel as the main priority, effective and generous stewardship of resources, and the faith to challenge everyone, everywhere that the best thing you can do with this one short life is give it to Jesus and live it with His people.
young people went to Soul Survivor
Ivy Church Fuse Grow Groups started
people decided to follow Jesus during Sharston’s Alpha Course
committed to following Jesus
CORE Women classes delivered
couples completed the Marriage Course
people baptised at Ivy Academy
people joined a Grow Group
Elders Annual Report
When something is in acceleration, it means a change in speed and or velocity. And when something is accelerating, it has momentum. So what does a church in acceleration look like? More specifically what does Ivy, a church that is constantly on the move anyway, look like when it’s in acceleration?
Perhaps the best and only place to look, is at the people. The church is never the building or the facilities, the church is the community of people that gather in said buildings and facilities.
Salvations, healings, and baptisms. Plenty of them. Reconciliation, relationships, and restoration. This is what Ivy is about. Some people have moved on, lots of people have moved in. Change is inevitable. Sometimes the change has been quick. Often change is necessary in order to reposition for new opportunities God wants to make available. God is always on the move and we must be ready to move to stay in His will. After all, we are on a mission.
Helping people find their way back to God
Carrying out our mission at Ivy doesn’t guarantee stability or comfort, but it certainly gives us purpose. Whether as a whole community in the All Together services, at any of the 6 site services such as Ivy Church Fuse, or Ivy Church Academy, Grow Groups and everything in-between, our cause unites us. Our conviction defines us.
Our staff team continues to shift in terms of personnel and also in focus. To say they are committed and dynamic is a huge understatement. They regularly and consistently press ahead with passion in the areas of their calling and responsibilities to serve sacrificially and give generously. They set an example for the community they live in and beyond.
God expanded our reach and our connections outside of Ivy also. We formed new partnerships, and hosted conferences that unite and support God’s servant-leaders across the world.
It has been a huge encouragement and privilege to witness all the great works across the community. All glory to Christ our King. Of the many powerful testimonies we’ve come across that speak to God’s love, we know there are countless more behind the scenes and in the daily rhythm of life that have spoken directly to people’s hearts and brought them closer to Jesus. We encourage you to keep sharing and living out your story. God can and will use all of it for His purposes when we let Him.
As we give thanks for all that God has done in the Year of Acceleration, we eagerly and excitedly anticipate more in the coming year of PRAYER!
On behalf of the Ivy Eldership: Adam Firth, Anthony Delaney, Rebecca Cheung, Robert Jackson, Robert Nettleton, Robert Varnam, Sarah Small
Ivy people studying at WTC
pounds raised from Sharston to send The Oaks to Uganda
people completed Freedom in Christ
community lunches at Ivy Church Didsbury
people became debt free through CAP
kids responded to the Gospel at ‘The Search’ Holiday Club
active Grow Groups
Testimonies of Acceleration
One person, who was not from a church background, came to church through friends who attend Ivy. She made a commitment for herself after attending for three weeks!
“I believe sport to be such a powerful tool in being able to introduce people to Jesus & church; building relationship & community with others. Throughout the many different sporting opportunities in 2017 Ivy Sport delivered weekly basketball sessions. It was through this session that one individual was introduced to Jesus!! Building friendship & community, the opportunity came for an invitation & whilst continuing to regularly access the basketball sessions – Church started to feature as another regular weekly event. In the summer 2017 a commitment was made: another ONE for Jesus!! I believe sport played an integral role in the journey of this individual finding salvation. Those who know & love Jesus – were His hands & feet in the context of sport!”
We loved getting to know Sam and welcoming him into God’s family. Sam has lived on the estate most of his life. It was when he came along to help with the youth milkshake bar that he began to pray with us and ask questions. Sam started coming on Sundays and to groups in the week as well. He even shared what he learned at church with friends, family and people he works with. He purposefully delayed making any commitment until he had been through Alpha and had the chance to ask more questions. He ended Alpha and committed to getting baptised in January to kick off 2018!
We commissioned and sent out a student mission team, led by Sam Duquemin and Aoife Quinn to reach the students in Owen’s Park, a University of Manchester Halls of Residence that is home to about 3,000 students. The team grew to around 20 people that regularly go out on Wednesday nights to talk to students, pray and tell them about Jesus. The team saw significant breakthrough this year through meeting students who are interested in finding out more. They had the opportunity for regular follow ups and several made decisions to follow Jesus. But this is still just the beginning!
Aaron and Louise Leech, who are local to Partington, started a weekly street team. They go out every Friday with Nick Duffy and others to share the gospel in the local community. They recently baptised a local lady who made a commitment through their work.
Dan, who became debt free in May, said “Before coming to CAP we were probably at the bottom of the barrel, as low as anyone can possibly imagine. It’s horrendous being in debt. I personally was in total despair. The day when Gail and a befriender came to visit us at home I was filled with apprehension as was my wife; there was no need. That day and every day since, the curtains have been flung wide open, the weights lifted from our shoulders.”
“A real game changer! We have been exposed and grown more in these last two days than we might have in general church life over a long period of time. It was so encouraging to be with people that understand the pressures of leading churches and have a passion for Jesus, church and believe for multiplication. To be able to worship God freely, led by such passionately and committed musicians, for the quality of the main stage, the positive language used and the stories of our big God we heard, God is certainly on the move! Now we are back in the field, how do we feel? We believe that this is a reality, it’s on, all for Jesus.” – John and Jaci Hall, planting in Rhondda Valley, Wales
“I joined a Grow Group and went deeper and deeper in the Bible. I started to lead a small group for the first time in my life and it was so good. That is one of the reasons I realised I could be a leader one day.”