Send Me: Stories of ordinary people planting new churches

John McGinley

April 2022

When we hear about God doing amazing things through someone we can relate to, something powerful happens. The impossible becomes possible, imagination is released, and what God might be calling us to opens up.

Send Me is a collection of 16 wonderful stories of what happens when people hear the call of Jesus Christ to plant a new church community. Drawn from rural and urban settings across England, each story is filled with unique insights and valuable lessons, of God using women and men of different ages and different social and ethnic backgrounds to start something new. 

I find these stories of how new church communities are earthed and birthed by lay planters to be deeply inspiring. I don’t understand why we put up so many barriers to gathering as Christians in local communities to worship God and love our neighbourhoods. If God is calling you, then go and plant – God will equip you, and I trust that the Church of England will catch up and support you eventually!

RT REVD DR JOANNE GRENFELL, Bishop of Stepney

Send Me is an inspiring collection of 16 stories of courageous women and men that have discerned a local need and stepped out in response to God’s call. You cannot help but smile as you read the stories of the transforming power of God at work in these communities. I encourage you to read this book and as you do, listen out for God’s prompting. He might just be calling you too.

RT REVD DR RIC THORPE, Bishop of Islington

How exciting to read these stories of people building Christian community in estates, rural villages, and inner city, among ex-offenders, people with learning disabilities, and many who just never thought that church could be for them. If you are ever tempted to think church planting in the UK is about replicating trendy worship, read this book. Motivated by the transformation Christ has brought to their own lives, 16 planters explain how they have answered God’s call to share his love. Thank you to them, to the volunteers who work with them, and to the courageous clergy whose support made their journey possible.

VEN CANON SALLY GAZE, Archdeacon for Rural Mission, Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

God’s primary instrument for the transformation of society is the local church. These stories show that. But they tell of how God calls people like us to be agents of his grace. Here are stories of faith and obedience, vulnerability and risk, joy and hope. And I trust it leaves many wondering that if God can do this through these people, what might he desire to do through us . . .

REVD CANON CHRIS RUSSELL, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser for Evangelism and Witness

The Church has entered an exciting new era and John has gathered timely powerful stories of how we are creatively shifting in these days. These journeys will inspire you to hear and step fully into the call of God on your life, moving with the wind of his Spirit to perhaps dream and begin to see the creative expression of Church he has called you to release in this hour.


REVD ANNE CALVER, Unleashed Overseer

In a world that knows so much darkness, here are 16 stories bursting with the Light of Christ as ordinary women and men step out in faith to do extraordinary things with God and for God. The oft-repeated refrain in the stories of the power of prayer to open doors and change circumstances is a challenge to us all to pray more boldly as we seek to humbly share the good news of Jesus with the world.

REVD NICK MCKEE, Blackburn Director of Vocations and Chair of the M:Power Project Board

This book contains some great stories! They will warm your heart and inspire you. As one contributor said, anyone can do the sort of thing described here. Just find a friend, pray together about how you can love the people round you, build relationships with them, share your experiences of Jesus (the book contains some easy-to-copy examples), and see what the Holy Spirit does!

REVD DR MICHAEL MOYNAGH, author, advocate, and consultant on new Christian communities

These are brilliantly encouraging stories from faith-filled and faithful people who were willing to step out, develop relationships with others, and see what God does. They show what a beautiful tapestry the Holy Spirit can create as the people of God develop a mixed ecology of church bringing glory to our Lord Jesus.

REVD GARETH ROBINSON, Rector, St Philips Chapel Street and Head of New Wine England

If you ever wondered if you could pioneer a new church community, then read this book. The stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things will inspire you to get started.

REVD PHIL HOYLE, Pioneer Enabler for London, CCX 

Contributors