Strategic Leader Ivy Church
Strategic Leader Ivy Church
Everything we do and every pound we spend at Ivy is about “Helping people find their way back to God.” We want to reflect the Father’s heart so that those who are lost and alone can be found and at home in his love.
“Helping people find their way back to God” is not just our church’s mission statement; it is my mission and yours. We grow in Christ by loving one another deeply and living out that mission courageously to impact the people and places around us.
2019 was our ‘Year of Hope’. We said in January the anchor of hope is not to be found in the absence of storms but in the presence of Jesus. For many the year then brought so many tears we cannot count them among the many figures in this report, but we know the Lord collects them in a bottle. 
I conducted more funerals in a few months than in the past 11 years combined; people we loved whose families remain in my daily prayers. Even closing out the year we have further heartbreak as we support and grieve with the family of former Ivy staff member Sian Ashford.
What would we do without the Lord? Tough times either make or break us. There have been days when all I could do was what David did in 1 Samuel 30:6 – then get up, wash my face, and carry on. I thank God for those of you who have come alongside to love consistently, serve faithfully and pray fervently. For you who pulled people together when they felt like they were falling apart. The Lord sees what others may not.
Through it all, the Lord is good. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.  We have seen many new people coming to know Him personally and added to all our Ivy sites this year. If this is your first Ivy Annual report we celebrate you! Come to the Annual Gratitude Meeting, join as a member, get in a Grow Group, find a place to serve, throw yourself fully into the church family. You are not a number but a name known by God and he has brought you here ‘for such a time as this.’
At the end of 2019 the Lord told me he was digging out a deeper foundation here, for greater works still to come. That’s hard work, but in 2020 we shall see those things begin to come to pass more and more, for his glory. We continue to have a worldwide impact and kingdom influence way beyond the size of our buildings or congregations, because of the favour of God. Through LAUNCH and the coaching communities it births, thousands of new churches are being planted and others tell us we are leading the way both nationally and internationally in mobilising every member for mission.
I thank God for Zoe, a wife of noble character.  I am beyond grateful to my fellow elders  for their fearless love for the church; my fellow staff members  for their faithful service for the Jesus mission, and of course to you my fellow members for playing your part, guarding the unity, and using all your gifts generously. 
This report tells a remarkable story, and it’s your story. The story of one community in many places (and more to come) united by a laser-focus on “Helping people find their way back to God.” Thank you so much. Together, we are accomplishing the Jesus Mission!
Ivy Church Network Leader
1 Psalm 56:8 2 Psalm 126:5 3 Proverbs 31:10 4 Acts 20:38 5 Hebrews 6:10 6 Romans 12:4
On behalf of the Ivy Eldership:
Adam Firth, Jane Edwards, Anthony Delaney, Andy Lee Robert Jackson, Robert Varnam, Sarah Small
The significance of theming a whole year on Hope cannot be understated. It’s the one thing people are left to cling onto when everything else around falls and crumbles away. Hope is the desire for something to happen that will make things better than they are now.
Place the word Hope in the context of the living Word and a living God and suddenly it is elevated to a whole new level and even stronger meaning. Biblical Hope is anchored into the certainty of God’s faithfulness to his people, whom he also calls his beloved children.
How do we really recognise and be comforted by the loving arms of our protective Father if there are never times of weakness, despair and pain? How do we fully appreciate the grace and mercy of an all-powerful and sovereign God if there are not times when we acknowledge our need for it in our own lives?
And so how much more powerful is Hope – a confident expectation that God delivers on his promises in times of uncertainty when we go through difficult and questionable periods?
This year as a family, we have needed to gather around each other perhaps more than usual. There have been tears into the night, countless hugs and even more prayers.
We have rallied to model God’s love and share resources to help those of us in times of need. This is how we bring God’s Hope to those who need it. We prepare meals. We offer shelter. We contribute financially. We offer our precious time. This is God’s Hope at work in us to deliver God’s message of Hope to others.
There have been times of wrestling and fighting and struggling to maintain our Hope in God. God is big enough to take it. It’s who he is. It’s what he does. It’s what he already did for us on the cross.
There are some things where we want to draw a clear line in the sand and say “Okay, let’s move on”. Having Hope in God is not one of these things. Events pass, circumstances change, and situations move on… but there will always be a reason to hope in our Father in Heaven.
As a community, we rejoice in what God has been doing at all levels. He is present in the details and the intricacies of personal relationships, and he is also present and doing his work across Ivy as a growing network of growing sites.
We’ve witnessed, quite literally, the transformation of the Cheadle Hulme Sports Club into a community centre from which opportunities to share the Gospel will arise. A new venture (5:15) was launched in Wythenshawe which has seen multiple salvations and baptisms. Our sites will continue to explore how to be better at one thing: how to bring more people who are lost and alone to found and at home.
As we head into the year of Focus, let’s look above and beyond the earthly perspective, and place our hope and delight in a God who will give us the desires of our heart.
This September Academy allowed us to move to a 3:45pm service which is so much better for helping students find their way back to God. As a result we have seen new students connect with church and get baptised in that time. As with all change, it has also been a time of other members moving on.
Many of our students stepped out and began leading, including a student-led Grow Group, AlphaCourse and our first student take over service in November.
Wednesday afternoon Campus Outreach has grown in its second year and now includes a team of students and leaders from six churches across Manchester and the CU that go out to pray with students and share the gospel. We have had lots of opportunities to follow up with people and we have seen people come to faith through the team!
We baptised 8 people in 2019, including 2 in people’s homes! Seeing people making a public declaration of the hope they’ve found in Jesus is one of our favourite things to celebrate.
The Ivy CAP Debt Centre team visited 42 people struggling with debt in their homes in 2019. They offered free help, invited them to church and all of them accepted prayer.
13 families have become debt-free this year. This includes an elderly gentleman who had been working with CAP for 4 years to repay his debts. He loved the free CAP holiday he went on, his first holiday in 45 years! Also a lady became debt-free, who had been told she wouldn’t reach this point until 2396!
The CAP Team has doubled as Aidan Moss joined as a new Debt Coach. We can now help even more people in South Manchester.
We hosted a Christmas party for 45, where everyone enjoyed a great meal, good company and heard the good news of Christmas.
12 people went on a CAP holiday, with Ivy also providing transport support.
24 amazing Christmas hampers have been delivered. Thank you to all the generous Grow Groups who provided them and who contributed to the Christmas meal.
We also ran the CAP Money Course where 28 delegates learned more about budgeting, saving and spending well. There was overwhelmingly positive feedback on how useful the course was- look out for the next one in the new year!
In line with Ivy’s long-term desire to find a new site from which to grow, it’s exciting to reflect on the past year and all that has happened in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport. It’s here that we are developing in stages a large greenfield site, partnering with Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge Cricket Club and Cheadle Hulme Lacrosse Club, both of which have been based at the site for many decades.
To best enable partnership working, we have established Cheadle Hulme Amalgamated Sports Club Limited (CHASC) a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ivy.
With phase one work completed and phase two aiming for completion this year, the refurbishment, new pavilion and sports fields will enable Ivy to reach out to the local community and work in partnership through sports and other activities, as well as sharing the Christian faith. As the relationships which we have started to form grow, we will be hosting weekday and evening ministries in the refurbished meeting spaces, such as adult exercise classes, youth work, parenting courses, life skills courses, parents and toddlers groups and CAP money management courses, as well as establishing a church congregation there in 2020.
We want to acknowledge and thank all our grant supporters, particularly Brockbank Foundation Limited, who have helped us get this far on this exciting journey.
Whilst Ivy Church Didsbury has a lot to celebrate and be thankful for from 2019, as a site we have also been through what I can only describe personally as the toughest year of my life. 2019 saw the loss of several dearly loved members of our congregation and significant ongoing challenges for others. Those families continue to remain in my thoughts and prayers.
For many in this world experiencing a year like the one we just had, life would crumble, purpose be questioned and joy robbed. I am so thankful for the faithfulness of God. Within the heartbreak, I have witnessed a unity like no other, a community of believers who fully live out Romans 12.15.
So thank you to all those who have journeyed with us over the last year, your love, prayer and support has been a real blessing.
Our vision is that Ivy Didsbury is “Generational, Invitational and Hospitable”. In this we have lots to be thankful for:
Year Of Hope: Our washing line of Hope proved to be a real focus for us this year, a visual display of hopes being fulfilled.
Sunday Gatherings: 150+ Adults and Children regularly attend! We need more space!
Newcomers Lunches: Over 60 newcomers have visited this year. We’ve shared food & got to know each other better; it’s been awesome!
Community Sundays: Blessed the local community – litter picking / prayer walking / bags of hope / fun in the park!
Speakers Collective: We’ve trained and developed those with a passion and calling for up front speaking!
Prayer Nights: Held weekly prayer gatherings – with one oﬀ specials for a speciﬁc focus. Thanks Isaac for leading on this!
Youth Take-overs: 2 fantastic services led entirely by our young people! We are now getting 20+ young people regularly attending!
Guest Speakers: Lynn Swart – Newday United / Michael Ball – Manchester House of Prayer / Tobbias Ngala – Newthing / Ben Jack – The Message.
Team: All teams have seen new faces join – thanks so much for serving!
Ivy is a catalyst church for the global NewThing Network, with Anthony as the Apostolic Leader in Western Europe.
RELATIONSHIPS: We believe we can do more together than we could ever do on our own.
We are now connected with leaders from across the UK, France, Germany, Greece, Norway and Sweden.
REPRODUCING: We are committed to helping churches reproduce at every level of ministry.
We ask our connected churches to sign agreements to reproduce their churches, this includes our own Ivy site leaders who are developing their multiplication of disciples, leaders and churches. This year we have fifteen churches in Western Europe who have committed to the 4R’s.
RESOURCES: Providing valuable resources to equip and empower churches to thrive and reproduce.
LAUNCH continues to be an integral resource for NewThing. In January we hosted the inaugural UK based ‘Catalyst Community’. We gathered 17 church teams from across the UK, France and Austria to learn about leadership discovery, development and deployment. The 33 sites present prayed over a community dream to see a further 1385 leaders raised up, 103 services started, 105 residents in place and 78 sites launch by the end of 2021!
May saw our first ‘Launching A Reproducing Network’ learning community begin, in partnership with Alan Hirsch’s 100M team. LARN gathered six influential church network leaders to create practical, trackable plans to become multiplying church planting networks. The Action Learning Plans that came out of LARN are already seeing fruit.
RESIDENCY: Fueling the mission of reproducing churches by training future church planters through Leadership Residencies.
The Ivy Church Leadership Residency is now in its fifth year and we have three amazing residents; Steve Hamilton, Louise Yuill (both from Sharston) and John-Mark Hutton (from Academy). They are all working part time alongside the Leadership Residency. Please pray for them as they go through the year and consider what God is calling them to after it finishes.
We have had a great Year at Ivy Fuse.
We have had a steady growth this year, but have also seen a real increase in the depth of community and family.
We have an extremely strong and gifted team of service hosts and speakers and we have a number of other people who we are going to raise up too.
We’ve not just grown through new people coming to Church but we have also celebrated 7 new babies being born this year. Our children’s and youth ministry continues to grow and thrive and we have created a third age category so that we can best serve the ever increasing number of children.
God has continued to lead us on an exciting journey in our worship in which we have encountered the presence of God in a really significant way – this has led to a release of the prophetic and words of knowledge in the Church.
We have continued to have monthly community Sundays (on the first Sunday of the month). On these days we turn our focus outwards to the surrounding community. The whole Ivy Fuse community seeks to go out into the local community to be a blessing, to meet local needs, to pray with people and share the gospel.
Aaron and Louise Leach are leading a regular group that meet in Partington on Saturday morning to go and pray and share the gospel with people on the streets. These guys have seen a real fruit from getting out and sharing in their local community and have now started a Sunday afternoon gathering in their home to disciple new believers.
We also felt a much stronger call to corporate prayer, and so we have an amazing prayer team who are leading and hosting monthly prayer gatherings at the Fuse as we seek to intercede for our Church, our communities, the City and the nation.
This year saw staff changes as Katy went on maternity leave and Loraine joined the team.
We had several successful events: Messy Easter had over 100 children attend, the Glow Party 74 and the Backpackers holiday club took 60 children on an adventure with Jesus around the world. The year ended with more than 40 families joining in Messy Christmas.
Sunday mornings are thriving with each site having at least 3 different children’s age groups. The children have the opportunity to encounter Jesus each week and are equipped and empowered in their relationship with Him. We have also focused on building relationships within the group and cementing firm friendships.
The new Mums’ ministry has been very busy this year with over 25 new babies! The mums to be have been visited and the team has prayed with them and over their babies.
Toddlers continues to be busy and 3 sessions are running each week.
Gospel sharing, Ivy connected, loving the least, planned multiplication
Have you heard the one about Oliver Brockbank accidently getting tiddly up a mountain in Egypt!?
Since Ivy started over 120 years ago people have been sent on mission far and wide starting with Egypt, India and China. As well as reaching far flung places Ivy has also been a centre for mission in Manchester. Oliver Brockbank, who started Ivy with Mr Green his gardener, was passionate about sharing the gospel and discipleship both here at home and on his own adventures abroad. He writes about his adventures in Egypt including knocking back a clear liquid in a convent on Mount Sinai that turned out to be an “abominable liquor” that upset his “temperance equilibrium”!
2019 has been no different to Ivy’s origins as we continued supporting our mission partners here in the UK and overseas. Our partners in turn inspire all of us as we seek to help the people we know and meet find their way back to God and start a life of discipleship following Jesus. This isn’t a task for the select few, it’s God’s mission for all of us!
This year we’ve celebrated Margaret’s decades of service in China as she returned to the UK. We’ve heard of life groups multiplying across Southern Africa through the work of Dignity. We’ve witnessed many signs, wonders and baptisms as new disciples and churches are birthed here in Manchester through NoPlaceLeft. There’s been sacrifice and fruit in reaching locals and asylum seekers landing in Greece through Trish & Malc. There are lives, families and communities changed forever through the work of NewDay United in South Africa and missionaries trained in South America through Ray & Bridget. There’s been pain and difficulties alongside grace and amazing witness, including Flor’s faithful battle with cancer supported by her husband Steve as they continue to serve in Bangkok. There have been short term trips and partners sharing a wealth of knowledge, experience, resources and time with each other, Ivy and the wider Church. People finding Jesus and churches starting all over the place!
This is clearly a small snippet from some of your 24 partners- look out for new ways to keep up to date in 2020.
LAUNCH 2019: GO VIRAL was a huge success, God far exceeded anything we could have asked for or imagined. We gathered 550 church leaders, network leaders and church planters from 15 countries at The Edge, Wigan in November. The world-class line up of speakers included Bishop Oscar Muriu, J.John, Danielle Strickland, Neil Cole and many more. They challenged, inspired and commissioned the leaders to HEAR what the Holy Spirit is saying, SEE what the Holy Spirit is doing, and GO where the Holy Spirit is sending.
“LAUNCH is easily the best and most useful conference I attend, and it’s now part of my annual development. The mix of inspirational stuff, space for God, and practical seminars is very good.”
Over 70 people were involved in making LAUNCH such a success. Anthony Delaney and Emma Jeffery led from main stage and Joel Delaney coordinated the behind the scenes team; including the Ivy staff team and 20 Ivy volunteers who did an outstanding job of creating a welcoming and empowering environment for the leaders attending.
‘LAUNCH 2020: REFRAME’ is on November 16th – 18th at The Edge in Wigan.
We had around 50 Ivy members attend GO VIRAL and would strongly encourage you to book in for REFRAME as we know it will make a significant impact on your discipleship and leadership journey.
Jesus has always been present on Merseybank even before the first house was built in the 1930s but we’re beginning to catch up with him! Eight years serving as an Eden team and part of Ivy and we’re still learning and riding the highs and lows of estate life in new and deeper ways.
Last year sparked some of our biggest changes yet as a word given to Sarah & Steve came around much sooner than expected when Sarah was asked to head up the Eden Network in the UK. Steve stepped down from leading, with others finding new roles in other areas and a number of the team stepped in. Heather felt a strong call from God to lead the team and so began heroically taking things forward working two days (officially) a week as Ivy’s Eden team leader for Merseybank.
Having a time of change and a break from some of our more intense regular activities has given everyone involved with Merseybank time to rest, reflect, restore and look forward to the new things God is beginning to do across the estate and beyond. 2019 came to a close with the news that the daughter of one of our favourite older people (who gave her life at a Message youth event at the age of 83 before going to be with Jesus) also made the same decision giving us hope for even greater things to come in 2020.
Ivy Church Sharston started the year of HOPE in anticipation of all God would do.
We started the year gathering the Team Builders who help build our Church. We have had some changes to the team this year and are so thankful to all who served on team and to the new leaders, making 19 Team Builders. New areas of leadership are ‘Presence’, ‘Pastoral’ and ‘Hosting’ teams.
We celebrated new members joining us, held baptisms and dedicated new mini members!
We launched our monthly service ‘Five: Fifteen’ in Wythenshawe and each month have seen God work in incredible ways. People from the community came and had unexplainable encounters with Holy Spirit, finding healing, deliverance and salvation every time we met and we ended the year with a Christmas Spectacular carol service!
We’ve been blessed with some incredible guest speakers this year including Neil Cole, John Witt, Andrew Cannon, Bethel BSSM students worship team and more.
We pulled together as a Church to support the Newton-Smith Family creating an Art Exhibition to raise money, as well as supporting many others within the Church throughout the year in various ways.
We love FUN and believe Joy is our strength! Special Sundays included Wythenshawe Wheelers, kids takeover services and a load of treats throughout the year eating hog roasts, pizza, buffets and Communion feasts! Our Sharston Day Away in Marple was filled with sunshine, races, medals, a sweet shop, animals, nature, friends, fun, games, picnics, play, worship, word, prayer, chats, laughter, glowsticks, face paint, dancing and a silent disco!
Our mens’ weekend away was a time of fun, food and fellowship, of growing in the word and challenging each other to put the gospel into action in our lives.
There have been opportunities for growth in training and meet ups for team. Speakers Collective saw a group of our speakers grow in their gifting and we are excited to see that develop further this year.
Kids work has developed and grown and having the kids take over the service in December was something we want to see more of in 2020, as everyone loved it. Our worship leaders have led us into times of such intimacy with Jesus and we are so thankful for every Sunday morning, prayer meeting and other spaces where we have gathered and found our faith built and the call to GO echoed.
We have found that this year in many ways we needed Hope more than we could have known, yet have also had answers to prayers long prayed and breakthrough in the hardest areas. We are so thankful to everyone who is a part of this community, to our faithful God and are increasingly expectant for all He has in store this year!
A heart to reach the world of sport for Jesus
Golf: We had several Golf Days, where members from across all the Ivy sites gathered for some gentle competition, building community and relationship whilst encouraging one another in their faith.
Football: Ivy Cosmos FC entered its 9th season – bearing witness to those in the squad, as well as the opposition. The team went a whole season without being booked – a great testament to the players character, attitude and sportsmanship.
Basketball: The team saw its 100th competitor this year! We also enjoyed another charity fixture, this time raising money for the UN Refugee’s Agency working in Venezuela Well done Jonny Christmas for making all this happen!
Cheadle Hulme Sports Club: Looking forward, we hope and pray that we will be able to offer regular sporting activities, as well as Holiday Sports Camps and other events.
Knowing: Explored topic of intimacy with God through regular teaching.
Collaborated with a number of churches for a student led event of 24 hours of prayer and an evening of worshipping Jesus in the Holy Name church. Saw 5 student baptisms this year, 2 of which were baptised by fellow students who had been discipling them. Disciples making disciples!
Growing: 70% of all students are being mentored, 100% of students in grow groups. Students led seminars and worship at Spring Harvest for students and young adults. Student led grow group. Student led service.
Going: Fortnightly mission on Owens Park with 250+ students prayed for and 100+ gospel shares. Weekly outreach on Campus involving 7 different churches. Student led alpha for course mates.
WTC continues to be a wonderful experience of learning and studying within community. We have 31 students meeting each week at The Message (as well as 2 MA students) to worship together, watch recorded content, engage in video conference calls and enjoy visits from local practitioners. We have students travelling down from Glasgow and up from the Midlands each week. There’s a beautiful sense of family developing through and across the different cohorts. This academic year saw the launch of the Graduate Diploma in Church Planting and Leadership. We have 8 students from Manchester studying this particular course who are really enjoying it.
Ivy Youth has had another great year! Monday nights continue to serve our young people well, from across all the sites, bringing together around 50 young people aged 11 to 18 weekly either at the Central site or in house groups.
We continue to support and develop the youth on a Sunday at three of the sites: Fuse and Sharston and in both services at Didsbury, with around 75 young people in attendance across all the sites. Our amazing youth team does a consistently amazing job reaching and discipling these young people.
As always, a big highlight for us this year was our times away, one at Cefn Lea in Wales and our annual trip to the Christian youth festival Soul Survivor. This year we took 50 young people to the last ever Soul Survivor, where they all met with God in a real way.
Another huge highlight from our year has been seeing the youth run the Didsbury services, where they led the worship, hosted, gave the talks and facilitated the service. It was incredible to see their faith and them stepping out in new ways. We also baptised 6 young people throughout the year.
However, this year also brings some sadness as it is Emma’s last one at Ivy, as she leaves after nearly 10 years to develop her own youth organisation and work around music. As young person Kate, said in her prayer: “We thank you for the leadership that Emma has brought to youth and how she has gone above what is expected of her to bring the best to others.” We are so thankful to Emma and she will be missed.
Throughout the year there has been a diverse range of events, courses and groups which have taken place to help equip and grow our members and to reach out into our communities. A huge thank you to the many people who have served so faithfully and willingly to make these happen.
These have included: Grow Groups, Recovery Group, The Call, Women’s Bible Study, The Alpha Course, The Marriage Course, The English Speaking Group, The Parenting Course, Women Speakers, Worship Leaders Forum, Board Games and more.