Pastor John Townley – Lead pastor of Light and Life Cornwall
Where to plant?
In 1998 I was mentoring a young man who was passionate about planting a church in Penzance. He inspired me with this same vision. Following God-given words through various people including David Ollerton, a church planter in Wales, we were certain we should plant a church there. We have never looked logically at a map for the next place but relied totally on God’s leading. In 2001 I received a picture of three Light and Life church centres, Helston, Penzance and Truro. At this stage, Penzance hadn’t begun on a Sunday and we didn’t have anyone from Truro attending Light and Life. We actively looked for God’s timing, knowing ‘where’ but not ‘when’. God moved Dave and Aimee Williams from Porthleven to Truro, providing us with a home there in which to meet. He also gave Margaret Hendy a burden to pray for Truro as she travelled there each day to work. In March 2003 God led us to a few people who were temporarily out of church and they became the core group on which Truro Light and Life was founded.
St Austell was different, but I had more confirmation to plant there than anywhere before. Here is some of the story; In January 2008 I was reading 1 Chronicles 28 and as I considered what was before me, I was overwhelmed by David’s humble, thankful, surrendered heart. This passionate man had received from the Holy Spirit a detailed plan to build a temple for the Lord. This huge assignment moved from a plan in his head to a passion in his heart but then God stepped in and changed everything. David says ‘I had it in my heart to build a temple but God said, ‘no, you’re not the man to do this’ and identified his son, Solomon, for the job. As I read those words God said to me ‘you will do the same, hand over the vision for West Cornwall and go to plant a church in St Austell.’ That very day two other L & L leaders confirmed it and more confirmation came in abundance in various ways over the next few weeks.
A God-given model
The vision of churches in triplets given in 2001 has continued to be our model. The strength of 3 churches working together has been fantastic, with the sharing of gifting and resources. The natural accountability is brilliant. Across Light and Life we are one big, extended family made up of mini families of 3 in different locations. We believe that God’s agenda for L & L is to multiply this triplet model. That is why in Sept. 2011 when the St Austell church had grown to 100 people, we asked God where the next two plants would be. He revealed to us Bodmin and Liskeard. Both places were confirmed at our next prayer meeting. These 2 churches are now in the early stages.
Re-opening Wesleyan Wells
John Wesley’s passion to see lives transformed through relationship with Jesus Christ is our heritage. He said ‘I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist…but I am afraid less they should exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power and this undoubtedly will be the case unless thy hold fast to both the doctrine, the Spirit and discipline with which they first set out.’ As Free Methodists re-opening Wesleyan Wells is part of our calling; not through traditionalism by resurrecting what Wesley did, but endeavouring to move in the power of the same Holy Spirit.