Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole when attending a church service?
Ignite Elim Church’s Moorland congregation is affectionately known as the original Chav Church, although if you’re keen on history you might find that the concept is not a new one. Throughout church history there has been an ebb and flow of breakthrough moments, known among the international church as revivals.
In 2010 Darren Edwards, our founder and current church leader in Lincoln, began studying at Regents Theological College with a desire to see churches established on housing estates in the UK. Darren’s aim was to bring a relevant breakthrough church to people that wouldn’t normally attend services for several different reasons. For some people church is too far away. Others feel isolated from church culture because they come from a different class or people group to the majority of church goers. Still others have just never encountered God in a real way before.
Coming from a housing estate and wanting to reach people like himself, Darren learnt about mission and history finding that there had previously been breakthrough moments on estates like his in the UK. Through the work of great men of God, like Evan Roberts, Smith Wigglesworth and George Jeffreys, our whole nation had seen a breakthrough moment. In fact, our denomination (Elim) and others had been birthed on the back of this breakthrough.
Wanting to emulate what had been done in the past, Darren began to pioneer Ignite Elim Church, also known as Chav Church by people all over the UK.
The word ‘chav’ when used to describe church in this way represents our desire to reach people that feel alienated from church because of the difference in culture. The word actually means ‘working class’ by definition, and well known political writer, Owen Jones, says that even people with money and aspirations can be called ‘chav’ if they have friends who are working class, or come from a working class school or area.
With that in mind, to fully understand who Chav Church might be aimed at you might list some job titles: builders, carpenters, farmers, admin staff, mechanics, cleaners and care workers. Not that we wouldn’t welcome bankers and politicians too, although they may feel like a mechanic in a traditional church.
In the time that Ignite Church has been in Lincoln we have seen many people come to faith. In fact, we stopped counting at one hundred decisions to follow Jesus, and started looking at those that are growing in the depth of their faith. We believe that we are to go on being saved, and that salvation isn’t a one time emotional decision.
Today we are one church with many expressions. With the same desire to reach the unreached, and see a new breakthrough moment in our city and nation, you may find us meeting in the local coffee shop, pub or community centre with an organic feel and Holy Spirit atmosphere.
As you might have already gathered by our videos and interviews with local media, our church services are slightly different to what you might find at some traditional churches. This isn’t to say that we are better than anyone else, but just that we are different.
Our services do not look the same each week, as we try to freshen things up with a relevant liturgy, sometimes putting preaching or worship to one side in order to focus our attention on what God wants from our service. You will also notice that we aim to be authentic in our walk with God, as our preachers don’t wear suits and ties, but choose to wear the same clothes on Sunday as they do on a Monday morning for example. Basically, we want the average person to be given the opportunity to meet with God in their own way, and to feel comfortable.
Our services also encompass a chance for your children to learn about God, and spirituality, in a way that is relevant to them. Our team of children’s workers is led by someone that is trained to work with children, and DBS checked. We care as much about your child’s spiritual experience as we do about our own.
Our services will, at times, feature live music in the form of modern worship songs and some songs that you might hear on Radio1.
Darren is an ordained minister with the Elim Pentecostal Church, and has a degree in Applied theology with Regents Theological College. Laura is an Assistant Psychologist for the NHS, and has a degree in Psychology with Lincoln University.
Harry has worked with the Elim Church in Rugby for a couple of years before coming to Lincoln, and has a Degree in Applied Theology at Regents Theological College. Hannah is currently studying theology with Regents too.