Anthony Delaney

Strategic Leader Ivy Church

Anthony Delaney

Strategic Leader Ivy Church

What are we doing?

We just celebrated again that Jesus relocated from the place of ultimate privilege and power in heaven and came to earth. He paid the highest price to live in poverty and face opposition and criticism from the very people he came to shed his blood and die for.

In John 20:21 he says, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” We are here because Jesus has sent us. We go to the world because he sends us.

How are we doing?

In every place there are people he longs to forgive, save, befriend, change and be with forever (Rev. 21:1-4). He is interceding for us, because the only way it will happen is through the church – imperfect people, perfectly loved, on the way to a perfect new life.

A yearly report can only scratch the surface of what counts in eternity. I thank God for all the great ministry I read about here through Ivy and its people. I am glad he called our family here ten years ago. The measure of ministry for me now is not what people think or say about us, but whether we faithfully declare and demonstrate that everyone can connect to Jesus, receive his love and live for his mission.

Why are we doing it?

The ‘What’ comes out of the ‘Why.’ I want to remind you why we exist as a church. Why do we encourage everyone to not just come to church but live out a full devotion call to servant hearted discipleship? Why do we call and train leaders? Plant multiple churches? Give sacrificially? Why buy a cricket and lacrosse club where non church people go, rather than a nice church building with a cross on top to invite them to?

It’s because the Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. That’s why. God wants everybody in his family, and because God cares, we must. The way we show our gratitude for the grace of God is by making our own lives count, living a life of extravagant generosity, and telling as many people as we can about the Good News.

How are you doing?

This is the most important item for review for you in this annual report. Last year God’s call on Ivy was for a year of Prayer. Can I ask, how did you do with that?

I know how I did with that. God does too. Public ministry measures differently, but the Father sees what is done in the secret place. I still have so much growth to come, but by his grace I had the unspeakable joy of growing closer and deeper in prayer in 2018. I learned to pray more the hard way – on my knees in times when I would rather have quit – but he kept me going. I learned again that he is always faithful and that he answers when I call out to him for my needs and yours. I learned that spending more time with him is most important for how more people will spend eternity with him. I learned again not to lean on my own understanding.

So I know we usually just review ‘us, but you are us. “If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” (1 Cor 11:31)

Can I ask – how fervently did you pray for your city? How faithfully did you pray for your church? How regularly did you pray for your leaders? For your own mission? For the places we are in already and are going to go in a year of hope? When did you last hear him for yourself? What did you do with that? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Overflowing? What sin did you lay down? Did you have the courage to do what he said, whatever others said? How intimate and passionate was your worship today?

Such things don’t make the annual report because we have to measure different outcomes – but what counts for heaven, where the incense bowls are filled up with the prayer of the saints? How much did you and I put in those bowls?

2019 is full of opportunity. Hope does not disappoint us. My biggest hope? To see the gospel flourish. We’ll never stop knowing, growing and going – no matter what – until Christ returns, so rather than leave behind a year of prayer we need to carry it with us and go even further and deeper. I urge you to pray for us. I plead with you, whatever else you do at Ivy (and I am so grateful for so many) – lift its leaders and mission and people to the throne of grace. Every day. Alone and with others. Pray for our unity. Pray for miracles and breakthroughs and healing. Pray that we will preach boldly as we should because only the cross can take away sin. Because Jesus is alive. Because people don’t need to go to hell, because heaven’s gates are open. Because our friends and family and neighbours can still be connected to the life, love and power of God. Because, as John Wesley said, ‘Prayer is where the action is.’

delegates attended the LAUNCH Conference

people were baptised at Ivy Fuse

young people regularly attended Monday night Youth

people became debt free through the help of CAP

people local to Merseybank became Christians through partnership with No Place Left

people attended Alpha at the Oaks

young people baptised

people struggling with debt were offered help, invited to church and accepted prayer

ANDY LEE

On behalf of the Ivy Eldership:
Adam Firth, Jane Edwards, Anthony Delaney, Rebecca Cheung, Robert Jackson, Robert Varnam, Sarah Small

Andy Lee

On behalf of the Ivy Eldership: Adam Firth, Jane Edwards, Anthony Delaney, Rebecca Cheung, Robert Jackson, Robert Varnam, Sarah Small

Of all the ways God could’ve chosen, He chose prayer as the way to mark the start of our relationship with Jesus. It’s almost as if God was saying start as you mean to go on. A deep and disciplined prayer life keeps us focused, fixing our gaze on the One who is doing and can do immeasurably more. Our lives are transformed from the inside out through prayer, empowering us to courageously put our faith into action. Through prayer, we get to see beyond the earthly realm, tapping into the unlimited resources of God who always has the eternal perspective.

What’s true of an individual Christian is also true of the bigger church family. The church is built to last when it’s built on a foundation of prayer. Prayer cultivates unity and harmony because through it we are inviting God to renew our hearts and minds and to align our thoughts with His.

In the bible, James calls us to draw near to God, and by God’s incredible mercy and grace He promises to draw near to us. The past year has offered up an abundance of opportunities for prayer, not that we ever need a reason to spend time talking with God. Having a direct line to God is in and of itself a miracle made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice.

When someone attends Ivy for the the first time, we pray for them to have a life-altering encounter with God. When illness or suffering strikes, we pray for the healing power of God to take over. During financial setbacks and career uncertainty we pray for peace and clarity to recognise God’s voice amidst all the noise. Where there has been tension and confusion, we pray for patient, clear and loving communication so we can model Jesus’ love in every situation. Whenever a brother or sister is in need of support, we pray that they could experience the kind of outrageous generosity and kindness that is taught in the bible.

When venues run out of space we pray thanksgiving and gratitude over what God is building. When members of the community receive a platform to have greater influence we pray for God to use them mightily to reach those that are lost and alone. Whenever we step out of our comfort zone to plant seeds of love and share the Gospel, we look to God for exactly the words to say that will stir their spirit. When new land is claimed for Kingdom purposes we pray for vision and provision to multiply its impact.

Of the many lessons this past year has taught me about the Christian faith, a significant one is that without prayer to align ourselves to God’s perspective, we’d be fumbling around in the dark, relying on our own limited resources trying to navigate this broken and fallen world. Even when we do pray, as is certainly the case for me, we don’t always get the answers at the time we would like and in the way we would like. This shouldn’t speak to a lack of faith in us or to a God who doesn’t listen. Indeed, no believing prayer is ever offered up to God in vain. No, the fact that our prayers are answered in ways we may never have expected merely affirms the importance of seeking God through prayer in the first place.

Let us continue to be connected and bonded together through Jesus. Let us continue to pray with, for, and into all that we do so that we aren’t walking around in the dark, but are instead confidently walking in the light.

As we move into the Year of Hope, may we also bring into it our commitment to continue to pray without ceasing.

people attended the Ivy Church Sharston Away Day

CAP clients recommitted their lives to Jesus after coming to Church

%

of Fuse members are serving on a team

Ivy members are studying theology at WTC

new mums visited through Ivy Kids ministry

people went on overseas mission trips from Ivy Church Didsbury

people connecting through Ivy Sport Basketball teams and events

hampers were made by Ivy Grow Groups and delivered across Manchester to CAP families

Testimonies

Launch

“LAUNCH is the most inspirational and practical conference that I have been to. The team that came this year returned charged up and ready to multiply. We drove back with hurting heads and burning hearts; filled with great and practical teaching, inspired and equipped to lead into the next season.

At every level you have embodied hero making and releasing kingdom potential in others through the conference but also through continued relationship. You will probably never hear the full extent of the impact but I have also learnt that your hearts are okay with this. Ivy have also served God’s kingdom through LAUNCH, as a church and not just as individual leaders or a team, you are multiplying God’s kingdom. A great example to us all.”  

Stephen WalkerWilliams – Gold Hill Baptist Church, Bucks

Ivy CHURCH ACADEMY

“I think the Tuesday Morning Prayer meeting happening pretty much every week of the year is brilliant! We really believe those times have made such a big difference in what God’s been doing in and through Academy.”

STUDENTS

“One of our students, Joe prayed daily for his housemates for the whole year and towards the end of the academic term, one gave their life to Christ. Without his faithfulness in prayer she would not be a committed and thriving member of our church community.”

Ivy CHURCH SHARSTON

“Personally many of my friends and myself were trying to get pregnant, and God blessed me with a vision for one friend in particular who had been trying for years. Weeks later we found out she was pregnant, closely followed by all the rest and then myself. God has been so incredibly faithful to cluster us all together so that we are all here to support each other, and I am so thankful I get to see that big picture after all of the heartache we had as a group.

Grateful isn’t big enough for what I feel after this year of prayer.”

Ivy Church MERSEYBANK

We saw healing in the Den cafe for a lady who was brought over in the middle of our prayer night. She was brought by a neighbour who felt she should knock and come over with her. She’d be in pain for months, not able to walk more than over the road, but when prayed for, all of the pain went and she’s been free of pain since. Though she’s still working out what it looks like for her, she gave her life to Jesus in response to being healed.

Launch

“LAUNCH is the most inspirational and practical conference that I have been to. The team that came this year returned charged up and ready to multiply. We drove back with hurting heads and burning hearts; filled with great and practical teaching, inspired and equipped to lead into the next season.

At every level you have embodied hero making and releasing kingdom potential in others through the conference but also through continued relationship. You will probably never hear the full extent of the impact but I have also learnt that your hearts are okay with this. Ivy have also served God’s kingdom through LAUNCH, as a church and not just as individual leaders or a team, you are multiplying God’s kingdom. A great example to us all.”  

Stephen WalkerWilliams – Gold Hill Baptist Church, Bucks

Ivy CHURCH ACADEMY

“I think the Tuesday Morning Prayer meeting happening pretty much every week of the year is brilliant! We really believe those times have made such a big difference in what God’s been doing in and through Academy.”

STUDENTS

“One of our students, Joe prayed daily for his housemates for the whole year and towards the end of the academic term, one gave their life to Christ. Without his faithfulness in prayer she would not be a committed and thriving member of our church community.”

Ivy CHURCH SHARSTON

“Personally many of my friends and myself were trying to get pregnant, and God blessed me with a vision for one friend in particular who had been trying for years. Weeks later we found out she was pregnant, closely followed by all the rest and then myself. God has been so incredibly faithful to cluster us all together so that we are all here to support each other, and I am so thankful I get to see that big picture after all of the heartache we had as a group.

Grateful isn’t big enough for what I feel after this year of prayer.”

Ivy Church MERSEYBANK

We saw healing in the Den cafe for a lady who was brought over in the middle of our prayer night. She was brought by a neighbour who felt she should knock and come over with her. She’d be in pain for months, not able to walk more than over the road, but when prayed for, all of the pain went and she’s been free of pain since. Though she’s still working out what it looks like for her, she gave her life to Jesus in response to being healed.